Sunday, July 30, 2017

Roadboy Bikes Acadia - Days 3-4

Day 3 - A ferry to Winter Harbor and a ride on the Schoodic Peninsula

On day three the titanium colored skies kept threatening us with rain. After our route review we made a quick walk to the Bar Harbor docks to catch the ferry to the Schoodic Peninsula.

This is the only portion of Acadia National Park that is located on the mainland. On our short ferry ride we passed some gently arching dolphins, a few of the islands beachfront summer "Cottages" (this is island understatement; here a "Cottage"is actually a huge mansion owned by wealthy seasonal residents typically from Stamford, Boston and New York etc.) and seemingly thousands of the little buoys marking a lobster trap below.

The Schoodic Peninsula is a relatively new addition to the park (joining in 2015). Prior to 2015 this area housed a naval base and most recently was attracting the eyes of developers. That all ended when an anonymous donor purchased it that it could be added the park. Its new roadways, jagged granite coastline and quiet fishing villages make for a wonderful day of bicycling. We stopped for an awesome lobster roll and blueberry pie at the Corea wharf before riding back to Winter Harbor for our return ferry back to Bar Harbor.

Looking Back on Winter Harbor

Lobster Boat Checking Traps

 Lobster Traps
 Lobsterman's House Perched Over Water

A Decommissioned Lighthouse

Day 4 - The Sand Beach Loop Ride

Dorr's Mansion

We began Day 4 visiting the site of George B. Dorr's Cottage. Dorr (referred to as the "Father of Acadia" and its first park Superintendent) lived here entertaining anyone he felt could aid in getting the lands of Acadia acquired for turnover and designation as a national monument / park. The 30 room cottage was completed built by Dorr's parents in 1880.  

He lived here until he died at the age of 90 in 1944. After his death the mansion was then left to deteriorate to a point where it needed to be restored or demolished. The UPS opted to demolish it in 1951. Despite the harsh winters the herringbone brick floors of the enclosed porches still remain almost perfectly intact.

Frenchmens Bay
(Directly in Front of the Dorr Cottage)

Dorr went swimming in Frenchmen's Bay almost every day (even having to chip ice in winter to do it). In fact it was here in 1934 while swimming he suffered a heart attack at age 80. At that time he was told he had six months to live. Instead, he lived another decade.
Passing a Gatehouse to Rockefeller's Carriage Trails

From the Dorr Cottage site we pedaled the Sand Beach Loop road. This road is what 90% of the visitors to the park will see and it includes stops at Thunder Hole and a ranger stop to view falcons nesting in the rock ledges above the road. There was also a stop at Sand Beach where we watched drivers drive round and round looking for a parking space. We parked the bikes and went straight to the nice sandy beach (for swimming if you ave anti-freeze in your veins). One of our riders dove in. I dipped my feet in and discerned that it was indeed refreshing. 

If it is that cold in July, my respect for Mr. Dorr's mid-winter swims went way up.

The roads went up and down from waters edge to hugging the cliffs above the shore (translation there were lots of hills). 

Next we came to Jordan Pond where many families were busy picking blueberries. The day finished with many of our group making the optional ascent of Cadillac Mountain (which is 3 miles straight up), I passed.

The Road Showcases Acadia's Rugged Coastline

Making Decisions About Climbing Cadillac

The day was filled with sunshine and the ride really energized everyone in preparation of the next few days of riding on John D. Rockefeller Jr's network of car-free carriage trails.

Roadboy's Travel © 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Roadboy Bikes Acadia - Days 1-2

The Road to Bangor Maine

Day 1
The first leg of the bike tour involved getting to the pick-up point in Bangor Maine. That involved a rental car and a whole lot of northbound traffic. We began with WAZE directing us to make lots of odd little detours off the interstate. But obedient as we are to all things electronic, we complied for a bout half the trip and then just said "oh hell no" and made the rest of the trip on the tollway.

Here is where I inject how much I despise tollways.

Along the way we had a great lunch, saw Santa in July with seemingly all of the drivers in the states of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts conspiring join us in our drive. 

When we arrived in Bangor we had a pretty great dinner at Mason's Brewery in Bangor and crashed. 

 Santa in a Wading Pool

Traffic Heading North

 Dinner at Mason's Brewery on The River
(Home of their own brew: Hipster Apocalypse)

At Mason's Beer Starts / Ends in the Same Place
(In the immortal words of Archie Bunker, "Nobody buys a beer, they rent it")

Day 2
Day 2 began with a drive into Bangor to drive by Stephen King's residence.  It turned out to be located on a lovely tree lined street filled with huge historic homes, King's being suitably creepy and among the largest.

Stephen King Lives Here in Bangor

After that we turned in our rental car, met some of our fellow bikers while hopping about the shuttle bus sent to transport us to Bar Harbor Maine.

Bar Harbor is a picturesque thriving seasonal tourist town full of restaurants, ice cream parlors and t-shirt shops.

Welcome to Bar Harbor Maine

A View From Our Hotel - The Bar Harbor Inn

There we met the rest of our fellow bikers, tour leaders and got fitted for our bikes. Then it was off for an 8-mile warm-up ride. It also gave us the chance to test out the (wonderful) new GPS route maps the tour company (Vermont Bike Tours) now uses.

Vermont Bike Tour Guides Ann and Terry  
Conduct the Welcome Orientation

The day ended with a truly wonderful lobster dinner at the hotel in a dining room with an extraordinary view of the Harbor.

Roadboy's Travels © 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Roadboy's Day in Boston

Too Little Time
Too Much To See

I have traveled through Boston on numerous trips. In every case I either changed planes or was just in the city long enough for a client meeting. 

This summer while planning a bicycle trip to Maine's Acadia National Park I decided to fly into Boston and spend a day sightseeing before driving north to Maine.  Knowing full well I'd just be scratching the surface, at least it would be a scratch.

The day began with an inspirational visit to the JFK Library. From there we took the MTA to The Public Garden and enjoyed a great Vietnamese food truck lunch (which I finished off with a super desert - lime panna cotta with coconut ginger on top).

Then it was a visit to the Old Massachusetts State House and a walk through some of the nearby "burying grounds". We finished off with a visit to the AMAZING Museum of Fine Art and a wonderful dinner at Aquitaine.  

Here are a few photographs taken along the way.

The John F. Kennedy Library

The library was built completely from donated funds. It was designed by I.M. Pei and opened in 1979. It receives about 6,000,000 visitors a year while serving as the repository for the papers of John and Robert Kennedy as well as about 90% of the manuscripts of Ernest Hemingway.

The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library
(I hadn't noticed the little butterfly in the photo until now) 

"But an Idea Lives On"

The Pavilion

The Library's Columbia Point site rewards visitors with stunning views of the sea he loved and the city that launched his career. 

The exhibits portray a president that felt that with programs such as the Peace Corps every single person could make a difference. He counseled that American's must "celebrate the past and awaken the future".  I'd suggest his advice that we as a nation should never shrink from our global responsibility (by looking inward instead of outward) is more important that ever.      

The Massachusetts State House and the King's Chapel Burying Ground

The golden domed Massachusetts State house (dome was clad in copper from Paul Revere's foundry) was designed by Charles Bullfinch and completed in 1789.

 Viewing into the Hall of Flags of the State House

The Ceiling of Nurses Hall

About a block from the State House we visited the King's Chapel Burying Ground on Tremont St. Begun in 1630 it is the oldest cemetery in Boston. Today there are 505 headstones remaining of the more that 1000 buried there.

The Headstone Carvings Here Were Amazing 

 Headstone Detail
(Death Snuffing out the Candle of Life)

Boston's Museum of Fine Art
Our last stop before dinner was probably my favorite. The Museum of Fine Art (the MFA) joins the list of "Bests" for many reasons. If you cannot find something that brings you joy here, your heart has stopped.
My favorite area gallery was its superb Art of the America's collection (with numerous works by Winslow Homer, Mary Cassett and John Singer Sargent) all embraced by Foster + Partner's luminous Shapiro Family Courtyard with its enormous glass piece by Dale Chihuly.

Seated Bodhisattva
(Eastern Wei dynasty - about A.D 530)

North Corridor of the Art of the America's Wing

Embracing Art
(The modern painting behind the sculpture captures a young girl's reaction to this very sculpture)     

Fishing for Oysters at Concale, Normandy
John Singer Sargent 1878

 Boys in Pasture
Winslow Homer 1874

 Detail from Boy's in a Pasture

 The Fog Warning 
Winslow Homer 1885

Detail The Fog Warning

 American Folk Art
Circa 1905

Harper's Cover 1898
(Celebrating the Presentation of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, Detective)

The Shapiro Family Courtyard

Selfies With a Giant Chihuly

This visit just confirmed my need to return when I can spend more time in this wonderful city. Tomorrow we drive to Maine!

Roadboy's Travels © 2017