One of my favorite things to do in the fall is hit the trails to take a hike. Don’t get me wrong, I love hiking at any time of year, but doing it in the cooler temperatures of fall that don’t leave you questioning how many layers of clothing you can appropiately strip off is really quite lovely. Growing up with Acadia National Park almost in our back yard, I was pretty spoiled. I remember packing our lunches to head “down to the island” and thinking to myself, do we really have to do this again? Now that I’m older and can appreciate the beauty of nature a little more than I could when I would listen to my portable CD player the whole time like a moody adolescent, I find myself asking WHEN do we get to go again?
Something else you will soon learn about me is that I have been waiting just about, oh I don’t know… 27 years to get a dog. I had been building up in my head how much more fun all these great things I get to do around New England would be if only I had a 4-legged companion to bring along with me. Well friends, August 29th we brought home little Maggie (Magnolia when she’s misbehaving)! Our little goldendoodle is now just over 4 months old and a total space cadet on the leash, which had me fearful that our first hiking experience with her may not go as well as I had been dreaming of. She proved me wrong!
My last trip home to see Maggie, my oldest friend made the trip up from Boston to join in on the fun, and reconnect to our roots. The miles we have covered hoofing it and biking this island with our parents (if we knew the exact number) is pretty impressive. My parents are complete dolls and really indulged us, even down to packing the energy pills (Peanut M&M’s) they use to pretend to give us when our legs started to hurt and our spirits started to break. The best hikes I have done in Acadia National Park include The Beehive, Mt. Champlain, and the hike on Day Mountain down into Hunter’s Beach. Maggie will be able to handle these eventually, but this time we let her lead the pack (pun intended) on the Ship’s Harbor trail. Across the island there are so many trails that accommodate many levels of mobility and hiking abilities which is one of the many reasons people will go back year after year.
Ship’s Harbor starts on the Park Loop road and leads out to where the rocks meet the sea and you can’t help but let a wave of serenity wash over you. There is something so powerful to me about looking behind you to see mountains, and turning around to see such a powerful body of water hitting the rocks. It’s a nice reminder that there is something bigger than us out there, whatever it is you may believe in.
A trip down to the island just wouldn’t settle well if it didn’t finish with a lobster roll and ice cream. If you’re sticking around Mount Desert Island, I’m a big fan of Thurston’s Lobster Pound, but if you’re heading off the island after a long day The Happy Clam Shack is always a real crowd pleaser, especially if the sun has set and the market lights have already been turned on. In regards to the ice cream, I’m all in for Blueberry Hill. I thrive on tradition, and it just wouldn’t feel right to go anywhere else. Twist in a cone with rainbow sprinkles, all day.
If you’re lucky enough to make it to this very special spot, do not take it for granted. Let it clear your senses, disconnect from your phone and reconnect with those around you, and take lots of photographs so you can remember how picturesque it is five, ten, maybe fifteen years from now.
Until next time, stay gangster.