Bar Harbor Day One: Making Maine

I’ve lived most of my life in mid-western America, travelled out west, visited the south, beached out on the East coast, and once I even saw Canada.  But I’ve never known much about the little pocket of America we call New England, other than that they have a chowder named after them, and a lobster infestation, which seems to bother no one.  It was time for some learning.

Waking up before the mightiest of dawntreaders, I began my day at 3:30 in the a.m. to catch an early flight out of Cincy.  With all of my packing done the “night” prior (4 hours before), my zombie-like waltz from bed to van to plane to plane went rather well.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One        Plane One: obligatory wing photo.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One   Plane Two: a young family catches up on missed sleep with a group nap.

After flying through Detroit, we made it to Bangor, Maine, home of the worst traffic lights and not much else.  I would reserve judgment for after arriving at my planned destination of Bar Harbor.  But things weren’t looking good.  Why are there so many cars, kayaks, and campers here?Bar Harbor Trip Day One     Bangor Airport.

Tourists.  Tourists everywhere.  Tourists on the street, tourists in the shops, tourists in the trees.  It felt like I was entering Disneyworld.

We weaved through the map-wielding, photo-posing posses to get to our hotel, The Bar Harbor Inn.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One

Bar Harbor Trip Day One     Dad was overwhelmed by the “America” of our hotel.

We couldn’t check in yet as it was still too early.  So we gathered behind our hotel to an outdoor yellow-umbrella’d restaurant called the Terrace Grille.  Bring on the lobster.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One

Bar Harbor Trip Day One

The food was rather good and the view was spectacular.  Overlooking the harbor, I ate my first bite of Maine lobster.  And it was good.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One     Turning my head to this view was the only thing that could distract me from my lobster roll and sangria.

It has become my goal to complete the Maine eating challenge: that being, to eat lobster somehow in every meal whether it be lobster mac n’ cheese or lobster rolls.

After our first successful meal, we still had time to kill before we could check in.  Time to explore the town and figure out what this Bar Harbor place is all about.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One    Priority number one: survey the area for next meal.  All menus must be read.

After wandering around for a good while, checking out food places, walking through parks, and toying in shops, I feel like I learned a lot about Bar Harbor and its flock of tourists pretty fast.  And I liked what I saw.

First and most importantly: it’s dog friendly.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One     Nearly every shop had a water bowl outside and a sign that welcomed pets to hang about the shop.

Bar Harbor is home to some sweet olde looking places.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One     The Criterion Theater opened in 1932 but has recently been struggling for financial reasons.  It was a popular hangout back in the day for the “summer colonists” as the locals called them.

It’s a really good place for family and fun.  With all the shops and foods, there is no way you won’t find something for everyone.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One     Whether it’s ice cream.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One     A splash in a pond.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One     A well-needed break.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One     Time to work on your moves.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One   Some adventure.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One   A romantic getaway.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One    Or riding your bike into the harbor.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One    Props to this kid, he was glorious.

I’m beginning to see the appeal to this place and understand the massive army of tourists, heeding the call to fight off the lobster armies amassing in the harbor.  It will be a gruesome buttery fight, but only one side can win.

After setting up some tours (when in Rome…) we were finally ready for another wave of lobster.  But first, in normal Didion family tradition… Cocktail hour in the hotel room.

Bar Harbor Trip Day One     Cocktail hour.  Cocktail hour never changes.

The night went on with another successful stamp in my Maine eating challenge book.  I ate many things from the sea.  But after a long day of travelling we were all ready to turn in pretty early.  But tomorrow, the real adventure begins now that my feet are wet.  Which might actually be true when I go out to catch the sun-rise over the harbor for some obligatory vacation pics.

As always, thanks for reading folks.  If there’s anything you think I should see or do while I’m up here.  Let me know!  There is a handy comment box somewhere around here somewhere.  Also, if you want some inbetweeners and extras, follow me on twitter @Pdidion.

More to come!

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