It’s common to grow up in a place and not see many of the things that visitors make a point of seeing. I’m saying this because I grew up in the Boston area, and my only trips to Maine were to Kittery and York, towns near Maine’s southern border. I had also been to Freeport once to shop at the L.L. Bean store. So I thought it was a good idea to visit to Maine this past July to see Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.
Even though it was summer, the weather was warm, not hot, when I was there. (I was fortunate enough to be there between heat waves). I arrived at Acadia National Park and left my car at the Visitor Center. I got a map of the park and decided to use a shuttle bus to get to one of the beaches. While waiting, I noticed there was an off duty park ranger at the bus stop. People were walking up to him and asking questions, so of course I had one for him. I wanted to know why the area is called “Down East.” He explained it to me, but I’m still a little unclear, other than it’s about the geographical relationship of the area to Boston.
One thing about going to the beach in Maine: the water is on the cold side. It was bracing. I only waded in up to my ankles, as opposed to the hardy people – mostly children – who were splashing around in the water. I stayed clear of them because I didn’t want to get wet.
After the beach visit I got back on the shuttle bus and rode around the park to see some of the highlights. I didn’t get off but took the bus all the way back to the Visitor Center. When I saw all the serious hikers getting on and off, I was relieved that I was only there for a leisurely tour!
Next up was a stay at nearby Bar Harbor. Since I enjoy shopping, this was an ideal place because there were several blocks of small shops in the downtown area. From this section of town the views of the water were lovely. People strolled around, the crowds were moderate, and everyone was friendly. During the evening an ocean breeze cooled the air. People’s homes (or summer cottages) were a short distance from the shops. In their front yards were blue, purple, and pink hydrangeas in full bloom. It was a charming sight. And I knew I was seeing a different side of Maine than I had before.