Friday, July 15, 2011

The Maine Event

Last Wednesday we woke up from our first night in Maine to a lovely cool morning and breakfast on the porch. The B&B was full of people excited about their adventures. Many were hiking, biking, and being outdoorsy in Acadia National Park. That is a huge attraction for visitors, and was a big reason for us making the trip up north!


We were so excited to get going for our day of biking in Acadia! We rented bikes at the Bar Harbor Bike Shop and rode 1.5 miles to the park. From there we spent most of the day biking the extensive carriage roads built by the Rockefeller family. According to the Park Service website:

Forty-five miles of rustic carriage roads, the gift of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. and family, weave around the mountains and valleys of Acadia National Park. Rockefeller, a skilled horseman, wanted to travel on motor-free byways via horse and carriage into the heart of Mount Desert Island. His construction efforts from 1913 to 1940 resulted in roads with sweeping vistas and close-up views of the landscape. His love of road building ensured a state-of-the-art system.

Acadia’s carriage roads are the best example of broken-stone roads—a type of road commonly used at the turn of the 20th century—in America today. They are true roads, approximately 16 feet wide, constructed with methods that required much hand labor.

The roads were engineered to contend with Maine’s wet weather. Stone culverts, wide ditches, three layers of rock, and a substantial six- to eight-inch crown ensured good drainage. Rather than flattening hillsides to accommodate the roads, breast walls and retaining walls were built to preserve the line of hillsides and save trees. Rockefeller, naturally gifted with the eye of a landscape architect, aligned the roads to follow the contours of the land and to take advantage of scenic views. He graded the roads so they were not too steep or too sharply curved for horse-drawn carriages.

Road crews quarried island granite for road material and bridge facing. Roadsides were landscaped with native vegetation such as blueberries and sweet fern. The use of native materials helped blend the roads into the natural landscape.

The first sight we saw when we entered the park was this lovely bridge.


A lovely view of the rocky water rushing below...


And, our first park picture together...


The only thing I hated was borrowing a helmet! Ick!

Much to our disappointment, we chickened out on renting the tandem bike. It would have been the perfect opportunity to experiment, but we had heard it was a little tricky and I really didn't want our vacation to turn into a marital dispute! We kept thinking about how the two person kayaks are often referred to as "divorce boats." So, we opted for the "recreational mountain bikes" as they called them on the form. I got a Gary Fisher and Dynamo got a Trek. We really missed Kermit and MUTT, but those bikes were fine. It's amazing how comfortable you get on your OWN bike!

The carriage roads were very smooth and wonderful as you can see by the photo below.


The views were spectacular!




The water in the lakes and ponds in the park was so green.



Everything was well marked. There was no way we could get lost!


We decided to ride up Day Mountain to see the Park from a different angle. At the top you could see the ocean in the distance. The temperature was even cooler at the top!



Here was the elevation marker!


At the top there were actually two ladies there to take our picture! And, later we found out they were staying at our B&B! Funny!


When we got to the bottom of the mountain it was about time to head to the Jordan Pond House for lunch! Everyone goes there to eat! On the way we saw this lovely gate ahead!


And, this "house."


The construction and materials throughout the park were amazing! I cannot believe that they built everything years ago by hand!

After stopping for lunch at the Jordan Pond House, which is famous for its popovers, we headed out for more riding!

On our way we stopped at this really neat bridge over a rocky creek!


Parallel to the bridge above was this little walking bridge...


I was walking around taking photos, so Dynamo decided to take a rest!


Continuing on our way, we saw more beautiful sights...



We started to climb the side of a mountain...


The only thing between us and the bottom were those big rocks on the side of the carriage road.





We just loved the stone bridges...


We finished up our ride in the park, turned in the bikes, and decided to go check out Sand Beach. It was there that we decided to take a hike. Stay tuned for details in the next post. There's so much to share and tell that I think it's best to break it all up! Sorry if it's taking too long. We should be finished recapping in a couple of posts!

Thanks for reading! To be continued...


Charleston Hokie said...

I am loving seeing all of your pictures from your trip. The stone bridges are so pretty, aren't they? I giggled during your post about the tandem bike. I pictured Chad & I on one of those and could almost hear the "choice" words we'd be calling each other. "Pedal Mother Fricker, pedal!" HA. Your trip looks like it was amazing. :) Although, your hospitality friends asks for more pictures on the inside of where you stayed. XOXO

Anonymous said...

Great pictures. Maine looks like a beauitiful place. Sounds like you guys had a great time. I was really looking forward to Tandem bike stories thought. Maybe, next time.