G and I just got back from a trip to Mount Desert Island, Maine, and it was the best vacation ever. Maine is insanely, breathtakingly gorgeous. We’re already talking about a trip back. I made a non-scientific, incredibly biased list of the best things to see, eat, and do if you ever make it to this beautiful island.
- Hike the Precipice Trail.
This trail, which summits Champlain Mountain in Acadia National Park, is not for the faint of heart or the weak of limb. Parts of the hike are so steep that there are iron ladders and handles in the side of the mountain to make the climb possible.But, like many Hard Things, it was so, so worth the work. Sitting at any summit with Grant is my favorite.
- Eat a lobster roll or three.
Right after hiking, we jetted for Side Street Cafe in Bar Harbor, where I had the best lobster roll of my life. Lobster rolls are the perfect food, and this one had the perfect amounts of lobster (lots), mayo (only a smidge), and a toasty, buttery (but not TOO buttery) bun.
- Eat a whole lobster.
G had never eaten a whole lobster before, so that was high on our list. The wait at Thurston’s Lobster Pound was long, but the food was WORTH IT. We intended to order two medium-sized lobsters and ended up with two super-sized ones. #VACATION
- Read a Stephen King book.
Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, and he lives in Bangor, Maine, so I had to read one of his novels while I was in the state. I picked The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, which is about a 9-year-old girl who gets lost in the Maine woods. Seemed appropriate.
- Lounge on the Sand Beach.
The Sand Beach at Acadia is so beautiful and weird. It’s like a regular east coast beach, but in the middle of the woods. I read half of my novel, Grant took a nap, and we did not get in the cold, cold water.
- Go to the Abbe Museum.
The Abbe Museum is dedicated to sharing the history and culture of the Wabanaki Nation, a group of Native American tribes that are indigenous to the land that’s now Maine. What made this museum so special and so interesting is that it was curated by members of the Wabanaki tribe, instead of by historians or anthropologists that are removed from the culture by several layers of experience.
Bearing witness to the terrible losses and injustices that Native peoples suffered on the land where we were vacationing felt important to both of us. The exhibits are a mixture of art, history, and personal storytelling, and everything was gorgeous and well-written. Worth the time and money 100 times over.
- Eat at CJ’s at least twice.Since Grant has dairy allergies, we almost never get dessert on vacation. We walked past CJ’s on the first day of our trip and saw the words “dairy-free” in the window. The manager explained their whole process for lowering cross-contamination risk the second he heard we had allergy concerns 👍. They had three dairy-free sorbets and two dairy-free ice creams, different flavors each day. G had four flavors in all: chocolate coconut, graham cracker, raspberry-vanilla swirl, and mocha cappuccino.Other awesome eats: Project Social for tapas like lobster-stuffed piquillo peppers, Jeannie’s Great Maine Breakfast for their strawberry rhubarb jam and homemade bread, and Galyn’s Restaurant, where we had the most delicious Dijon-white wine mussels.
- Walk to Bar Island
At low tide, you can walk across a normally submerged sand bar to Bar Island. We did this while exhausted from our Precipice hike, so I didn’t appreciate it as much as I could have, but it was beautiful. G played in some tide pools, and I sat on a log.
- Go on a sunset cruise.
We sailed around the harbor on the Margaret Todd, a four-masted schooner. G loves sailing, so this was super fun for him. We shared pink wine and pistachios, and met some fun people to chat with.
- GET ENGAGED.
While I guess this activity isn’t available to everyone, watching the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain — the first place in the U.S. where you can see the sun each day — is. Which is what we were doing when Grant said a bunch of nice things to me, got down on one knee, and asked me to be his wife.I am over-the-moon happy.And the nice people we were chatting with on the cruise above? They got engaged on Cadillac Mountain, too, except in 1989. To meet them on the day we got engaged felt very auspicious.
So, go to Maine. I can’t promise you’ll come home with a new fiance, but you’ll have a hell of a time regardless. Eat a lobster roll for me!
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