Sans plan, a few friends, and us, mapped out our 4th July-long weekend along the undulating east coast, from CT to the state of Maine.
First, we were greeted by Portland, where, the occasional warmth from the sun, howling winds, the swirl of the sea and the incessant drizzle from the tropical storm, Arthur, snuggled us into a local pub, Rí Rá. Best part? We made it just in time for the World Cup football game between France and Germany.
As we sat by a table overlooking the harbor, relishing our home-cut fries and white bean burgers, the clouds outside began to further darken.
Reluctantly, we made our way back into the tempest, in the direction of Belfast, where we were booked into the Belfast Harbor Inn. A town situated in mid-coast Maine and, yes, it came with a view of the Penobscot Bay.
As if a sign, we promptly perched ourselves on the balcony, watching the moored boats sway in the distance, droplets of rain dancing on the eddying current and just a glint of the eclipsed sun. A sense of repose reined (and I know I speak for all of us when I say this).
Decidedly, we sat indoors all evening after a quick stop at Rollie’s, a local restaurant serving, probably, the crispiest onion rings on the planet!
As dusk turned to dawn, we drove, in the downpour, on the Penobscot River Bridge, only to reach the Narrows Bridge Observatory, 447 feet tall, dauntingly situated on the bank of the Penobscot River (ultimately leading into the Atlantic Ocean). In under a minute, we were atop the tallest public bridge-observatories in the world!
Getting a bird’s view of the place, including Verona Island and the Hancock Bridge, was indeed a splendid sight. Ignore the beads of rainwater scattered as tiny specks and covering the entire town that morning.
Next, Fort Knox. A statuesque fortification, that immediately took us back to the 1800s and the American Revolution. We toured this establishment, built to keep out lumber-invaders, and soaked in its history.
After a heavy Mexican lunch, we travelled some distance to get to Acadia National Park via the glorious, Park Loop Road. The sunlit afternoon, the queue of serrated trees, and the ribbon of a road ahead of us made for a delightful drive. But before that, a quick beach stop!
We neared one of Maine’s most scenic points, Cadillac Mountains. The hills were soft where the sky stood high and blue. While watching the dynamic, summer sky as we dwelled in the comfort of our lives taking shape.
We then took the route to Jordon House Pond, the source of public water supply, again, established in the 19th century as a summer destination with serene outdoor dining. The reservoir was swollen from the rains, slapping against the stony shores every now and then.
Acadia is a mammoth-sized park. Our next visit was to the Sand Beach: fine grains, crystalline waters, uncongested, and a stiff sea breeze that could bring back childhood memories.
Unwillingly, as the evening light started to set in, we made our way back – the land seemed sunk into the ocean.
Ended with some off-the-beaten-track Thai red curry and mango sticky rice.
As the morning dawned bright, we blocked out the day to do some kayaking, along the glittery, turquoise, leaping waters of Castine Bay, which is incidentally bioluminescent by night.
Our kayaks took us a long way from the shore, leaving behind a trail of frothy water, and met us with azure lake houses and freewheeling seagulls.
A fitting end to a beautiful holiday.