09.30.2012 - 09.30.2012 60 °F
Today is Sunday. Time to leave Lincoln, NH, The White Mountains and the entertaining purveyors of the Mt Coolidge Motel and navigate some more country miles until we reach the eastern coastline and the Unites States of America at the coastal town of Bar Harbor, ME.
I'd like to make mention of Mt Coolidge Motel in Lincoln. Yes, the place looks like it was built in 1955 or earlier or whenever US-Route-3 was laid. Of scours the same can be said for most of the motels, homes and other businesses. See, it is in the DNA of these hearty people that inhabit the extreme northern latitudes of this great country to keep all the old stuff looking new ... whether it be a motel, barn, house or tractor. That's kinda how we saw the Mt Coolidge Motel ... older looking but good as new. In addition to that Kevin and Vicki, the owners, will treat you like your best friend from high school. All this at half the price you'd pay at the big chain motels. So, anyway, here is what the place looks like:
The office as viewed from US-3
The cottage with our premium rental parked out front.
Now, the cottage can't be more than about 200-300 SF, but it squeezes plenty in there. This pic shows the main bedroom/foyer/kitchen. Off to the right is another bedrooms and in the middle-back is a room with a twin bed and the bathroom. The regular motel rooms were small, but immaculate.
We took this picture on Saturday night when we returned from hiking. We had happy hour with some drinks, cheese, crackers, college football and other things that make a fine evening. We dragged this table and chairs in from the screened-in front porch.
This is one of two covered picnic tables along the creek behind the motel. You can see how nice they keep the grounds.
These chairs are for lounging along the creek. One evening when we came back they had a campfire going. By the time we settled in and were ready to join them, everyone had gone back to their room ... not the wildest crowd you ever wanted to party with.
The next two photos are of The Common Man Restaurant right on Main Street in the heart of Lincoln. We dined here on the very first night in Lincoln. It's not fine dining, but it's good dining. Prices were reasonable and the atmosphere was wonderful ... just like I'd except for a place in rural New Hampshire. They served local favorites. This joint was really hopping every evening. We were glad we didn't leave when they told us we had a 20 minute wait. We lounged in the lounge with a bunch of other folks that looked like they were glad to be alive, so it was a big success.
So after spending the morning documenting Lincoln's finest establishments, we got serious about the road trip to the coast. We started out retracing our footsteps from the first day as we went north up the Franconia Notch Parkway and then east toward Twin Mountain. After Twin Mountain, we were in totally uncharted lands. Since we expected that fall colors would be non-existent in Bar Harbor, we were obligated to photograph the last decent foliage.
And the last white-steeple church !!!!
And finally a photogenic barn.
After the barn photo session it began to rain cats and dogs. No problem, we've seen one or two real downpours in our day, so we just drove and drove. I knew we were getting close to the ocean, 'cause I could smell it! That is a good thing. We passed through Ellsworth which is another real city with all the modern amenities and just kept on driving until the sign said BAR HARBOR, ME. Actually, we went directly to the visitor center for Acadia National Park. There are 50 steps you have to climb to get from the parking lot to the visitor center. These steps had become a pretty impressive cascade as a result of the heavy downpours. I found an unofficial path to the visitor center and asked the ranger on duty what we might be sure not to miss during our visit. Before I left, I wanted to be sure they were aware of the flooding on their stairs. He says: "Oh, yeah that happens a couple times each year". How can we be so fortunate to be there when wonderful things like this happen?
Armed with enough things to do on our short stay, we had to put the pedal to the metal to make the 3:00 PM tour at the Atlantic Brewing Company. We were three minutes early. Our tour guide was a hysterical young lad that I am pretty sure worked for beer. There are two main things I remember from our brewery tour: 1) they let us sample lots of beers that were really good, and 2) Anhauser-Busch has a major factory in Maine that produces a quantity of beer equal to the annual output of Atlantic Brewing Company in only 17 minutes. My take on this is that I am very thankful that Atlantic and others are focusing on quality over quantity.
It was only about 4:00 and we had traveled from NH to the end if the USA, we had endured monsoons, climbed a waterfall at the Acadia visitor center, we toured a brewery and tasted a half-dozen microbrews. Still feeling the the day was young but also sensing that something was missing, boom ... a lightbulb went off: you are located only 10 short minutes away from one of the finest lobster pounds on the coast of Maine.
THURSTON'S on Bass Harbor near Acadia and Bar Harbor.
So, what is a lobster pound? You got me!! Here is my definition: "A very informal dining establishment serving the finest fresh lobster with all the best accompaniments". You first have to decide whether you want a small lobster of about a pound or so, or a medium lobster 1.5 -2.5 pounds, or whether you really want to show off and get a bigger-than-you lobster of 3-plus pounds. Medium seemed right. To the order, we added lobster roll and crab cakes. Here is our 2 lb lobster wishing he wouldn't have taken the bait.
So we poured up two Bar Harbor Nut Brown Ales and stepped out onto the outside deck to take in the sights on this amazing little harbor they call Bass Harbor.
As you can see from these pictures, the view from Thurston's is just amazing. If you are a big fan of seaside locations, pristine fishing vessels and a general atmosphere of saltiness, you will want to come to Bass Harbor, even if you don't have lobster at Thurston's. We finished off our beer and 15 minutes passed in a flash ... cha-ching our food is ready.
The food was really good, but I was even more excited about the overall scene on this little harbor. There was at least 50 beautiful lobster boats anchored on the placid waters. The tide was at it lowest level of the day showing off all the odd things that spend half their time underwater. All the homes and buildings that sit on the bluffs look they came from the pages of a maritime history book. Since I am a self-professed boat junkie, it was the boats that I really marveled at. Here are a couple of my favorites:
There is a building that sits about 50 feet to the left of Thurston's. I am not positive, but based on the fact that 100's of lobster traps were stacked on the pier, I think it was a place the buys the lobster or that it was maybe owned by a seafood company. This completed the postcard-perfect visit to Bass Harbor.
From Thurston's we drove into Bar Harbor, getting lost for the 25th time in 4 days, before finally checking into The Bayview, a stately property directly on the waterfront in Bar Harbor. More about The Bayview and Bar Harbor to follow on the tomorrow's blog entry.