Friday, June 18, 2010

The Rain in Maine Falls Mainly on the Coastal Plain

Freeport to Bar Harbor

June 17, 2010

We are starting to think that the reason there are so many lovely gardens around here is that they are sprinkled daily by Mother Nature, no human intervention necessary.

Fortunately, the rain lets up just long enough for us to pack the car and make a stop across the street from our charming family-owned motel to take a picture of this classic roadside attraction. Known by the locals as the FBI—Freeport Big Indian—it has stood here since 1969, when it was erected to call attention to the Casco Bay Trading Post, a gift shop specializing in Native American souvenirs. The Trading Post is long gone, but the 25 foot tall fiberglass Indian continues to stand guard over the Route 1 gateway to Freeport.

For our next big event, we drop by the L.L. Bean Flagship Store a few miles down the road for a commemorative photo next to their 90th Anniversary Boot, which is surely the World's Largest Boot. No need to shop there today—since all the L.L. Bean Shops in Freeport are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we did our shopping last night. (Dick emerged with a bulging shopping bag, and I found nothing.)

Today is a very special day at L.L. Bean—they are hosting the Maine Moose Hunting Permit Lottery, and they have activities scheduled all day to celebrate, including a moose call seminar and a free archery range. Over 40,700 people have applied for moose hunting permits this year, and starting at 6 p.m., they will draw and read out the names of the lucky 3,140 people who get permits. Last year, 82% of people with permits actually bagged a moose.

As we driving through driving rain, we spy a far more interesting retail operation up the road a ways—the Maine State Prison Showroom, selling merchandise made by prisoners at Maine State Correctional Facilities, and staffed by prisoners and uniformed corrections personnel. Decoys, model sailboats of all sizes fully rigged, furniture, wooden toys, gifts and souvenirs—the place is packed with merchandise, including some artful one of a kind sculptures made by creative prisoners with a lot of time on their hands. I am most intrigued by these lovely carved ball and chains, which are labeled "wedding gifts," but not needing any wedding gifts right now, I settle on souvenir toast tongs.

We manage to get to the Acadia National Park Visitor Center just in time to talk to a ranger about planning our day at the Park tomorrow, and to see the last showing of the day of the orientation film about the park.

The skies have finally cleared by the time the film is over, so we decide to drive the Pink Cadillac—by which I mean drive the road that climbs up Cadillac Mountain, which is mostly comprised of pink granite. At 1,345 feet, it is the tallest mountain on the East Coast, and the panoramic views from the top are magnificent. We enjoy walking the trails all around the summit, and by the time we are done, it is getting to be dinner time.

The town of Bar Harbor, at the southern end of the park, is teeming with restaurants. We decide on Havana, a small bistro specializing in fine dining Latin American cuisine, and end up sharing the best meal of our trip—an appetizer of seared foie gras over sautéed plantains; the best paella we have ever had, made with fresh local lobster, clams and mussels; and a dulce de leche molten cake served with vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.

Our hotel room looks out over the harbor, but we scarcely have time to enjoy it before dark—it has been a very full day.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, fun day. At my first glance at your page, I thought Dick had got dressed as an Indian! A testament to your sense of fun.