Sunday, October 26, 2008

Road trip: Maine, part 1 (Not Acadia)

We spent the second night of our trip at the Chapman Inn, a bed and breakfast in Bethel, Maine. We chose the location based on the Rough Guide's suggestion of Bethel as a cute town and its approximate equidistance from Burlington and Acadia National Park. There are not that many places to stay on Highway 2 between Burlington and Acadia anyway. So this is where we stayed:

I was mostly asleep around 12:30 when we heard whispering in the hallway and what Justin assumed to be drunk people trying to unlock our room with (obviously) the incorrect key, until Justin yelled "This is our room!" and they left. The next morning at breakfast, we found out that the inn is the only certified haunted bed and breakfast in western Maine. So maybe they were ghosts instead of drunk people. Anyway, we loved breakfast, which included pancakes made from fresh blueberries, fresh apple cider, freshly baked bread, and a lot of other fresh things. Yum. Also Auletta was made much of. And I accidentally booked the wrong night but they had space for us anyway. So we enjoyed our stay, ghosts notwithstanding.

And Bethel is pretty! Look at the little town green:

From there we drove eastward and ate lunch in Bangor at the Sea Dog Brewery, which we liked enough that we stopped there on the way home too. More importantly, we drove by Stephen King's house and took a picture of Justin standing in front of it like the creepy stalkers we are. Justin noted he had an Obama-Biden sign and a Stop This Endless War sign, because we are creepy political junkie stalkers.

Then we continued to Bar Harbor, Maine, on Mt. Desert Island, the gateway to Acadia. We're so used to the huge scale of national parks in the west--I got up before 4 AM once to take sunrise pictures in Canyonlands, because it took nearly an hour to get there from Moab--that it's weird to stay in a town a couples of miles away from the park entrance. I kept comparing Mt. Desert Island to Martha's Vineyard. I think Mt. Desert Island wins because 1. you don't have to make reservations eons in advance on an expensive car ferry to get on and off it, 2. it's not insanely crowded (at least in October) and does not have stupid regulations against traffic lights at intersections that are ridiculously unsafe without them, 3. it is cute and not very pretentious (kind of chessy, but that's okay). See that clock? It's cute!

Of course you would be insane to swim in the ocean there, at least in October, but since Auletta is apparently prejudiced against oceans and I'm not a big swimmer, that's fine with me. So we were there at the end of the season--all the shops were having their sales on tourmaline and scrimshaw and whatever else you buy when you're in Maine, affordable accommodations were not hard to find, and the foliage was at its peak. I think it peaked a little late this year (down here at least it seems we've had a mild autumn), so our timing was perfect and I took some lovely pictures. More in the next post.

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