So after we left the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and the fort we headed east towards Acadia National Park. We had laid out all of our choices and Acadia had won for destination two of our Maine trip. We decided after much googling that we needed to do the Park Loop Drive. But first we had to drive an hour to get there. Along the way Amanda and Julie studied our maps of the United States and we counted all the National Parks....forty eight. We expressed to each other our desperate need to visit every single one. We wondered about what made somewhere earn the distinction of being a National Park. We talked about the ones we had been to. The ones we had almost been too. And what we imagined the ones we had not been to were like. It was a great conversation :) And before we knew it we were there.
We stopped and collected brochures and maps at the visitor center because that is a very important part of trips....collecting brochures that you can enjoy forever and ever and then wonder years later why you kept it. I got reassurance about my directions and my goals from a park ranger, we paid the $20.00 to get into the park, and got back in the car. The Park Loop Road is 27 miles long. It is supposed to offer some of the best coastal views in the park. I became enamored with the idea of this drive as I had read about the places along it with sweet names like Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, Otter Cliffs and Cadillac Mountain. All these places and many others are all along the Park Loop Road. We drove in to the park proper at about two in the afternoon. We got onto the one way road and just drove and stopped at our leisure. I love, love, love doing that. For some reason that does not happen when the whole family is involved. Sadly, most of our stops were covered in pretty thick mist. But we did not let that bring us down. And actually it did not really bother us because we did not know what we were missing. Since we have been home and I have looked at pictures of these places minus the mist I realize now what we missed. SO I HAVE to go back now and see it when it is clear because I now know there are amazing views out there.
Sand Beach was totally shrouded in mist yet the crowds were out in force. It was so humorous to me to see all these people sitting on this mist covered, cold beach totally acting like this was normal beach day. We were wearing jackets. When you looked out to the water there were lots of barely distinguishable bodies out in the water frolicking like they were in the Bahamas :) The water temperature was just as you would imagine Maine water to be...freeeeeezing :) We did not spend too much time at Sand Beach but I am glad to know about it.
Thunderhole is one of those places you have to time just right because it depends on the tide. The tide was coming in but it was not high tide so it was not performing at its best. But It was still very cool to watch the power of the tide. To see all the water suck out, watch the water level sink so low and then within seconds this narrow passageway between the rocks would fill back up and water would shoot out of this hole. It was very cool. I could have watched that for a long time.
After exploring everything we could in the mist we headed up to Cadillac Mountain and as we headed up the mist lifted and we were on top of the world :) All the clouds were all around us. Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain on the Atlantic Seacoast and the best part is that during Fall and Winter Cadillac Mountain is where you can go to see the first sunrise in The United States....yeah, totally on my bucket list.
At about six o'clock we headed out of Acadia and back towards Massachusetts. We got home at about 1:45 am in the morning. It was a fabulous trip and I am ready to head up to Maine for Fall.