All I knew when deciding where to spend our annual anniversary vacation was that I wanted the quintessential New England holiday. What does quintessential mean? Basically that something represents the most perfect or typical example of its category. It also meant I had my work cut out for me.
We thought about Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, but moved north to Maine. We skipped over Ogunquit and Kennebunkport and even passed up Bah Habah (for those of you who don’t speak New England, that’s Bar Harbor), Maine to stay on the quiet side of Mt. Desert Island in Southwest Harbor, Maine. We rented a beautiful cottage on Somes Sound and a short walk to Beal’s Lobster Pound. We gorged ourselves on lobster rolls, lobsters and blueberries. Blueberry soda, blueberry beer, blueberry pie, blueberry ice cream, blueberry…you get the picture. In fact we could write a post just about our Blueberry Chronicles. Hmmmm, there’s an idea.
We waited to purchase our groceries and liquid assets until we reached Southwest Harbor. We were rewarded with a visit back in time via Sawyer’s Market, and a free wine tasting across the street at Sawyer’s Specialties. Bikes rented from Southwest Cycle made it easy to visit the short Main Street for shopping and dining. We even stopped to purchase blueberry (surprise!) jam from a roadside booth where payment is based on the honor system. Welcome to Small Town, USA!
We purchased jewelry, met shop pups and found locally crafted items. We enjoyed a lobster dinner at Cafe Dry Dock, breakfast from Sea Biscuits Café and pizza from Little Notch Pizzeria.
We really didn’t have to go anywhere else, but it wouldn’t be a visit to Mt. Desert Island without experiencing Acadia National Park. We biked Eagle Lake Carriage Road, viewed the horizon from Mt. Cadillac, hiked the Ship Harbor Nature Trail, and visited Bass Harbor Head Light. We loved seeing the lovely purple lupines which only bloom in June and we partook in Rockefeller history with popovers and tea at Jordan Pond House. Just a few steps from the famous lawn we hiked the 3-mile pond trail along the water’s edge.
We eventually ventured to Bah Habah. Being there early in the season provided some sidewalk space to make our way between the tourists and shops to a free beer and wine tasting at Bar Harbor Brewing Company.
To celebrate our anniversary in style we booked a private sail on the Helen Brooks. Our adventure included a lobster bake for two on Cranberry Island. Our captain skillfully anchored the friendship sloop and rowed us to shore in a three-man dinghy. As we hiked the nearby trail, our dinner was prepared. It was very romantic.
But the best part was coming back to our beach front home and walking up the pine needle path to cook our own lobsters and savor a beer and sunset. Here’s to you Southwest Harbor, the quintessential New England destination!