We continued walking down to Sand Beach. Â The entire walk was only about a mile, but there was a lotÂ to see and we took our time. Â I noticed the leaves were starting to change colors and collected a few of the prettier ones.
Sand beach is one of the few sandy beaches in Maine. Â According to the ranger, in the winter, the sand is washed away, and there is a huge gap between the last step to the beach. Â Come spring, the ocean brings the sand in again.
We learned that the water rarely gets above 55 degrees F. so it is chilly year round. Â However, it is a lot of fun to play in! The kids squealed and laughed as the cold waves crashed around their legs. Â The waves started rises higher and no one had clothes to change into, except Megan who wore her shorts under her pants. Â We did not want cold, wet children, so we reluctantly decided to leave after playing awhile.
As we walked back, the heavy fog started to lift. Â As the fog lifted, many people started arriving and the mostly empty beach started to fill up for the day.
After watching the sun rise, we hiked to Thunder Hole. We walked since we did not want to drive all around Park Loop Road again.
Thunder Hole is neat! The waves come into the inlet in such a way, that it sounds like thunder at times. When we got there, there was another couple already there, but we had the place mostly to ourselves.
We could hear the thunder while we walked, but once we got there it was much better. We stayed and enjoyed the noise and watching the water spray for quite a long time before moving on.
On the way back to the car, there were a lot of people and the thunder was much softer. We think we missed the best noise by just a little bit. We hoped to return another day, but we ran out of time. It is on our wish list for a future visit.
While at the welcome center, I noticed that they were offering a sunrise ranger chat. Â We were to meet twenty minutes before sunrise and then after enjoying that, aÂ ranger would lead a discussion about the park.
We told the kids we were going for an adventure the next morning and went to bed early. Â Everyone had everything they needed in the car. Â Next time we plan such an early morning adventure, we will let them sleep in their clothes if they want; especially when we need to wake them at 4:30!
We were a few minutes late getting to the assigned spot. Â The Park Loop Road is one way, and it took longer getting around it than we planned. However, we still were there in time to watch the sun peek over the horizon and enjoy a wonderful sunrise.
The ranger did a great job on his talk even though it was on evolution and the earth taking millions of years to form. Â He was an interesting speaker. As part of question time, he asked for people to point to something and he would explain how glaciers got to the area. Â Adrian pointed at the ranger and he came up with a very good story explaining the history of how everything worked (over many many years) so that he could one day work at the park.
After a beautiful sunrise, we observed the fog starting to come in. Â If it had come earlier, we would have missed the sun coming up. Â According to the ranger, it was the best one he had seen all summer!
One place we knew we all wanted to visit was Bar Harbor. We had been told that when the tide was low, you could walk across a sand bar to an island and explore the island. You had to be sure to be back before the tide came in or you would be stranded!
The bar was a lot of fun to explore. Â Allan had Megan taste the water (“Yuck! Salty!”) We found lots of sea weed, a few different kinds of crabs and the best discovery was made by Audrey… a seastar!
The island was pretty also. Â We took the path to the other side and looked down into the harbor. Â It was a nice walk with some rocks to climb over and lots of people for Megan to say “hi” to. Â She Â and Adrian were a little concerned about getting back to the mainland on time, and we had fun teasing themÂ about spending the night on the island.
The next day on the way home from the park, we stopped at Bar Harbor again, this time to show the kidsÂ what it normally looked like.
We spent most of our time in Maine exploring Acadia National Park. Â It was a wonderful park and we would have loved to be able to spend more time there. There were so many neat places to see and explore. Â We chose some of our favorites and the kids are already asking to go back one day.
The first day we visited the visitors center and talked with rangers, who were extremely friendly, and planned part of our visit. Â We decided to drive up Cadillac Mountain and explore there. Â We knew that Acadia is a very popular park, but we did not expect it to be so busy since school had started in many places.
After exploring Cadillac Mountain, we headed back toward the campground. Â There were a few stops we wanted to make along the way, but we needed most of the afternoon to enjoy them.
From New Hampshire, we drove the rest of the way into Maine. We were surprised by how many “watch out for Moose” signs we saw. Unfortunately, as hard as we looked, we never spotted one.
Just inside of Maine, we stopped at a welcome center with extremely helpful attendants. They found more ideas that looked interesting than we could do in a month! Once we got on Mount Desert Island, we stopped to pick up a National Park pass and Junior Ranger books for the children to work on.
While we drove, Allan mentioned that the campground we were staying at had made a mistake and called to see if we minded having a cabin for one night. We did not tell anyone and they enjoyed the surprise.
We were very glad to stop and know we did not have to move very far for a few days!
From New York, we traveled through Vermont and into New Hampshire. Â Allan had planned a shorter drive, because he found a great place for us to stay.
Pine Haven Campground in NH was very quiet! Â We were at the end of the lane, with only one other tent, so we had a lot of space to play. Â We grilled sausage, corn and other veggies we picked up from the farmers’ markets on our trip. Â Then we enjoyed s’mores and lots of roasted marshmallows.
No one really wanted to leave the next morning. Â Allan started washingÂ clothes while we got breakfast started and then cleaned up the area. Â The kids enjoyed playing on the see saws and then got Allan to play a few rounds of Octaball before we piled into the car around 9:30 for the last leg of our trip to Maine.
If you click on a picture, you can see it as a slide show.
On Saturday we drove through Pennsylvania and New York. It was a long drive, but we enjoyed Â getting treats at the small farmer’s markets at the restÂ stopsÂ and along the road.
Andrea was really excited to see that peaches were in season, so we stopped at a few places hoping to buy some. Â Unfortunately, we did not find ripe ones that would travel well until we reached Vermont. We did find some maple cotton candy that was a lot of fun to eat.
We stopped for gas inÂ Portland Harbor, NY. We discovered the first lighthouse in the United States to operate using natural gas used hollow logsÂ as pipesÂ to get the gas where it needed to be. We enjoyed a very quick picnic nearby because the bees were fond of our lunch!
We stayed at a Â KOA inÂ Herkimer, New York. Â It was extremely crowded! Our two tents sat side by side with a trailer on one side and a group of people and a few tents on the other. Â The nice thing about the campground was there was a riverÂ that the kids could play in. Â We could have rented tubes and tubed down the river, which is what most people seemed to enjoy.
Since we had a long travel day, we went out for dinner. Â Allan had picked a place that looked good, but was closed early. Â So we drove around town looking for another place. Â We discovered Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner. Â It was fun place to eat and everyone was very friendly.
We went to bed soon after getting back from dinner and were up and ready to start traveling again before most people at the camp ground were getting up for the day.