Time Out: Acadia National Park (The Best Place to Have One)

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The view from Sand Beach at Acadia National Park, where the water was a whopping 40 degrees and the fog rollled in fast and furious.

L.M. Montgomery wrote about kindred spirits—the people who’s souls speak to yours in some deep and important way and who become the best of friends and comrades. I think there’s such a thing as kindred places, too. And Acadia National Park is just such a one for me.

Thankfully, last week I got to spend several days there with the two most kindred of spirits, my husband and my kiddo. Usually, we go to Acadia in the summer—swimming in Echo Lake, climbing every mountain we can get our hands on, and generally enduring the enormous crowds on every one of them.

In April, the park is very different. Most of the time we were there, the normal greens and blues were replaced by varying tones of gray. This was no less beautiful, but very different from what we experience when we go in August.

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I like to call this one “Glacial Erratic in the Fog.”

The sun was out on only a single day we were there—the rest of the time, the weather ranged from cool and misty to very cold indeed with a driving rain. We found this did not hold us back.

Indeed, there was much to see in the gray of April that you miss entirely in the summertime. The views from the mountaintops were different without those pesky deciduous tree leaves to block them out. Of course, there was fog to block out the view, but that’s another story.

SAM_2415Plus, we  got the occasional glimpse of something like this tiny nest (measuring only a few inches in height) hiding in a hedge.

SAM_2402There were deer and loons and woodpeckers, and frogs to serenade us at twilight.

There were also important lessons learned.

For instance, if you give an eight-year-old a cheap one dollar notebook and tell her it’s a travel journal, she will take writing in it hyper seriously, and keep its contents strictly under wraps (journals are private, after all).

The weather can change from 35 degrees with driving rain and gale force winds to nearly 60 degrees and warm sun—and then back again—in a mind-bogglingly short period of time.

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We took advantage of the lone day of sun to climb Pemetic Mountain, the fourth largest in the park.

Then there’s the importance of watching where you walk. It turns out that if you’re paying more attention to where your kid is stepping than to where you are, you will sprain your ankle (who knew?) and then have to hike another couple of miles back down the mountain and to the car. After which, you will spend weeks to come in an air cast.

But if you can, using Elsa from Frozen as your role model, just let it go, taking the good with the bad and focusing predominantly on the former, you can enjoy every blustery and beautiful, arctic and aching moment of vacation.

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Time Out: Acadia National Park

IMG_0107The moment I’d been waiting for all summer has now come and gone, leaving lovely memories in its wake: our family trip to Acadia National Park in Maine. Acadia is by far one of my favorite places in the whole world, and over the last couple of years, it’s been a real joy introducing my kiddo to the park.

Every day, rain or shine, we hiked. One day we had torrential downpours, so we did some very modest hiking. IMG_0127

The rest of the time, we hit a different mountain every morning. We swam in the afternoons.

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We took the challenge route up Gorham Mountain so we could explore caves with whole worlds of tiny organisms living in them.SAM_0733

We had lunch at Jordan Pond House (lobster stew and popovers…bliss) while we gazed at this view.SAM_0686

Afterward, we visited one of my favorite spots in the whole park… SAM_0688

which I love all the more because I’m not the only one who loves it.

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When you sit on the bench, this is what you see. We sat there for quite some time.

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We ate ice cream at a different place every day and danced in the streets of Bar Harbor to Petula Clark.

On our last night there, we drove up Cadillac Mountain to watch the meteor shower and gaze at the stars.

And we relaxed in a way that we cannot ever seem to do at home. No email, very little cell phone reception, all work left behind. Honestly, I didn’t write a word the entire time I was there, and by the time we finished each day’s activities I was even too tired to read. It was that wonderful a vacation.

Of course, now it’s back to the grind of regular life, in which there are deadlines to meet and far too much work to be done in order to meet them. But we had a wonderful trip, and one that (I hope) has left us all recharged and ready to tackle regular life again!

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