Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Whirlwind Fall Trip: Canada, NE Maine

Mr. P. and I just returned from a fantabulous trip in Northeastern US and parts of Canada, and it all started with a desire to see this (below).
Ft. Kent, Maine: Rt. 1, mm 0
We literally built our trip around seeing this northernmost mile marker zero on US Rt. 1.  Inspired by previous trips to Rt. 1's southernmost mile marker 0 in Key West, FL in 2006, 2446 miles south, and a New England trip in 2006 that only covered the lower half of Maine, we set our sights on going back north. This stop was hilariously anticlimactic but, thank goodness, we had plenty of other greatness on our itinerary.

Twelve days, 2700 miles, 10 states and 3 provinces later - a whirlwind trip - we are home!  Without further ado, I present you with photo collages of all the highlights of our trip.

Niagara Falls: from both the US and Canadian perspectives - powerful, amazing force of water in the most spectacular, jaw-dropping visuals. It is an unforgettable site, one I haven't seen since I was a child, but will never forget. Mr. P. was equally impressed. We would definitely go back again.
Niagara Falls
Below are a couple of very brief videos (each a half minute or less) which I shot at the Falls and posted on my YouTube account. You can read the descriptions there for a little more detail of each.
From Table Rock (Canadian side):
And from the Cave of the Winds (US side):

Montreal: a sleepover and brief passage through this town, with a few hours to hit the high spots of the Parc du Mont Royal, and the port near the Bonsecours Market.
Montreal Fall Flora and Foliage
Quebec City: a city that exceeded my expectations!  We were fortunate to secure two nights at the famous Le Chateau Frontenac (pictured below), which is often sold out.
Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City
We were able to not only view much of the city right from our hotel windows...
Architectural sites in Quebec City
...but we easily walked throughout the town and explored for two days. A city rich with history and architecture, we took in many of the top sites listed on the web as must-sees.
Statuary in Quebec City
We then headed back to the US.  After crossing the border at Ft. Kent, we slept over in Bangor, then headed straight for Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.
Acadia National Park / Bar Harbor, Maine:
Acadia National Park splendor: trees, granite, water
Oh, the pink granite rock in such great abundance (so much so they make their curbs and fence posts out of this rock)!  The splendid colors of the maples, white birch, firs and ash trees against the rocks, water and sky!
By the way, did you know if you are 62 or older (as Mr. P. is), you can obtain a Senior Park Pass that's good for the remainder of your lifetime to access over 2000 recreation sites nationwide? Yep, all for just $10.  Normal (7 day) fee for an automobile in Acadia was $20. Worth it!
Acadia National Park, Otter Point sinking fishing boat, October 7, 2014
Oh no!  A sinking charter boat (above photo, bottom R)! Yes, we just happened upon that as we were driving on the 26 mile Park Loop Road. (No one was injured, only one person was aboard, and rescued by the Coast Guard boat, pictured).
Bubble Rock peak, Acadia National Park
We hiked to the top of the 'Bubble Rock' trail (above photo) where, from the peak, we had 360° views of the park below us! The climb is labeled moderate (some steep grades, some level stretches), but the views were incredible.

We spent three nights in the adjacent park town of Bar Harbor (2010 population: 5235). Such a quaint town, albeit a tourist port with 2-3 daily cruise vessels (we stayed away at peak hours).
Bar Harbor, Maine port and shore walk
We took in lots of great, local foods, including Maine lobster and blueberries....
Good grub in Bar Harbor, Maine
We just enjoyed ourselves, leisurely, throughout the town's side streets, the shore walk, and the national park.
Flora and foliage of Bar Harbor, Maine
Our trip delightfully extended the seasonal display of fall color in our world.  Colors were near peak in the areas we traveled, and they're now nearing their peak here, back in our hometown, capital city.
Charleston, WV capitol building, Fall 2014
In the destination cities, I mostly window-shopped. We had one day of rain while in Bar Harbor, so I antiqued in nearby Ellsworth.  We also made a stopover in Lemoyne, PA on the trip home and I did some antiquing there.  I'll share the shopping in another post, another day..and while shopping wasn't the focus, it's always a fun piece of any trip in new places.

I hope you enjoyed our trip recap.  Feel free to comment on your travels to any of these places and mention any highlights. I'm always open to finding new inspiration for road trips!

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