July 30, 2012

Great Maine Breakfast Reflects Logging Camp Past

Maine logging camp cooks

The standards for a great breakfast in Maine are high, hearkening back to the logging camps.

Lumbermen would refuse to work if they didn’t like the food.  The output of the cooks, whose reputations grew among workers in the Maine woods, was as much a factor as pay in selecting where to work.

Camp cook culinary renown grew with mastery of breads, pastries, pie, and, of course, baked beans – which hearken back even further to Maine’s Native Americans, the Wabanaki, who prepared them with maple syrup and bits of venison or other meat.

That tradition of a hearty breakfast is alive and well today for visitors to Acadia National Park at Jeannie’s at 15 Cottage Street in Bar Harbor, which serves The Great Maine Breakfast.

It’s hard to resist the namesake breakfast on your first visit.  The delicious homemade baked beans come with three eggs, grilled ham, home fries, toast, and a buttermilk pancake.

Great Maine Breakfast

Of course, if your preference goes more toward black beans, you might opt for the three-egg Spanish omelet with provolone cheese. Topped with a very fresh and spicy salsa, it’s also served with home fries and homemade toast.

Jeannie's spicy Spanish omelet

No Bar Harbor breakfast spot is popular – and, believe me, Jeannie’s is – if it doesn’t offer some version of eggs with lobster.  Jeannie’s lobster specialty is an omelet filled with that iconic crustacean and topped with a creamy Mornay cheese sauce.

If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t be disappointed.  You can choose from blueberry pancakes or French toast stuffed with cream cheese and jam.  Jeannie’s is also known for its strawberry rhubarb fruit spread, which is packaged with pancake mixes, as a great gift to take to those who had to stay home.

Vegans can relax with vegan oatmeal and walnut pancakes topped with a warm, savory homemade applesauce.  If you’re a vegetarian who loves tofu, as my daughter does, go for the scrambled eggs with spiced tofu, peppers, and onions.  It’s also topped with that deliciously fresh homemade salsa.

Jeannie's Cottage Street Bar Harbor

There’s nothing fancy about Jeannie’s, which doesn’t take reservations.  But friendly and fast service will get you out early, as well fueled as any Maine woodsman, to tackle your hiking trail or carriage road in Acadia National Park.

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July 21, 2012

Beyond Arrowheads and Animal Bones at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor

I’m a bona fide nerd and proud of it.  But, I realize that what appeals to me may not similarly captivate others, so, at least in my capacity as a blogger, I urge active use of the “Comment” function.  If something I found fascinating on Mount Desert Island was utterly boring to you, please let me – and our readers – know.  Comment.

With this strong sense of self-awareness, I visited the Abbe Museum in downtown Bar Harbor recently.  I know that high on everyone’s agenda for a visit to Acadia National Park are a trip to Cadillac Mountain, bike riding around Eagle Lake, tea at Jordan Pond House, and photographing the Bass Harbor Lighthouse.  But what are the alternatives on a rainy day in Bar Harbor?  Everyone wants to know.

It was chilly and drizzling rain, so we decided to visit The Abbe Museum.

Abbe Museum Downtown Bar Harbor

The museum actually has two sites – the original trailside museum at Sieur de Monts Spring and the newer home for the ever-expanding collection, which opened at 26 Mount Desert Street in downtown Bar Harbor in 2001.  The mission of both is to showcase the history and cultures of Maine’s native people, the Wabanaki, through changing exhibitions, special events, teacher workshops, and craft workshops for children and adults.

As we entered the renovated 1893 landmark, which has spacious, contemporary galleries, I was struck by a family with two young boys.  They had just finished an engaging conversation with the museum’s only docent and were enthusiastically referring to scavenger hunt master sheets as they pored over display cabinets of arrowheads, animal bones, and early tools.Mother and Son at Abbe Museum

As directed by the docent, I proceeded to a timeline, which was the entry point for the current major exhibition, Indians & Rusticators: Wabanakis and Summer Visitors on Mount Desert Island 1840s-1920s, which will end its run in December.  It immediately captured my imagination, because I live in Somesville, the first settlement on Mount Desert Island, founded in 1791.

There was an amazing handwritten piece by the great granddaughter of Daniel Somes about the family’s generosity in allowing the Indians to camp on the perimeters of “their” land at no cost; yet she herself yearned to be an Indian.

A basket from that period of the first settlers was the first among many.  The Abbe Museum has the largest and best documented collection of Maine Indian basketry.Basket exhibit Abbe Museum Bar Harbor

The exhibition’s timeline continued with the subsequent “discovery” of the island by artists starting with Thomas Cole and including Frederic Church and the other Hudson School painters.  The next period of Mount Desert history was the “development” of the island by rusticators, the wealthy who built massive cottages in Bar Harbor.

A while back I had learned that the first guide book to Mount Desert Island, which was very much a hiking guide, was written by a woman, Claire Barnes Martin, in 1877.  Since I’m an enthusiastic hiker, it was cool to see an original print of the book, along with a pair of women’s boots that would have been worn on these hikes.Lady's hiking boots Abbe Museum

Most fascinating was the demonstration of entrepreneurism of the Wabanakis throughout these periods.  The Indians came back to the island for the summer season and opened up “businesses” in Bar Harbor.  Here they offered summer rusticators fishing trips, paddling lessons, and activities for their children.  They even provided fortune telling.Abbe Museum Bar HarborAbbe Museum canoe

I left the museum wishing I had more time to spend there, but we had made plans for an early dinner at Thurston’s (one of my favorite restaurants on Mount Desert Island) in Bass Harbor with friends.

Later at Thurston’s, I recognized the father of the two little boys I had seen in the museum and I greeted him, “I saw you at the Abbe Museum today.  Your boys were really well behaved.”  “No,” he said.  “They are usually a lot more active.  But they just loved that scavenger hunt.”

So, don’t take it from me.  Those are two strong recommendations for the Abbe Museum as a great thing to do when it rains during a visit to Acadia National Park.

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June 27, 2012

Satisfy A Dream: Learn to Draw in Maine

What’s on your bucket list?  To swim with dolphins?  See the Northern Lights?  Master the tango?

Now that you’ve moved into fantasizing mode, how about learning to draw?  If that’s always been a dream, then a true fantasy vacation would be a sketch trip to an idyllic New England island with a well-known artist who teaches around the world.

Sketching along the shoreline of Little Cranberry Island
Sketching along the shoreline of Little Cranberry Island

On July 12 at least this dream can come true!  Maine artist Judy Taylor welcomes you to join her for an all-day workshop, “Drawing the Figure on Islesford.”

Yoga instructor Mary Kate Murray will serve as the model for the sketch trip which will feature figure poses throughout Islesford on Little Cranberry Island.  Says Judy Taylor, “We’ll draw on the dock, down by the beach, on the deserted road with pines, ocean, fishing gear and rocks as our background.  I’m so excited about the compositional opportunities!”

Isleford Nude - Judy Taylor
Islesford Nude – Judy Taylor

Ms. Taylor is particularly well known for her work with figures.  The Maine Department of Labor awarded her a commission to create an eleven-panel mural depicting scenes of Maine workers, which Governor LePage ordered removed last year, stirring considerable controversy.

This year Ms. Taylor has taught workshops in New York, Venice, and Florence, as well as Maine.  Her studio, which includes exhibit space of her work, is on the “Quiet Side” of Mount Desert Island.

The fee for the July 12th workshop is $150, which includes the ferry, lunch at the popular Islesford Dock Restaurant, and model fee.  Enrollment is limited to ten.  Reserve by July 7 by calling 207-244-5545.

Then, plan the rest of the activities for a week in Maine by researching the best places to explore, eat, and stay on Mount Desert Island.

Boathouses on Islesford - Judy Taylor
Boathouses on Islesford – Judy Taylor

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June 26, 2012

14 Ways for Families to Save on a Vacation to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park

Image

Acadia National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the U.S.  Attracted by the vistas of where the mountains meet the sea, over 2,300,000 people visited Acadia in 2011, making it the ninth most-visited national park.

Acadia is also a great vacation option for families on a budget.  With just a little planning, you can enjoy great scenery, restaurants, and outdoor activities – without a credit card bill the next month that takes all the fun away.

Here’s how.

1.  Rent a cottage so that you don’t have to eat every meal out.  There’s a wide array of rental options available through Mount Desert Island real estate agents or online.

2.  Better still, camp!  Sites at Blackwoods and Seawall, the two National Park sites on Mount Desert Island, are within a 10-minute walk from the ocean and only cost $20 a night.

3.  Take advantage of free ranger-led programs.   You  don’t have to be a camper to join the evening festivities at the campgrounds,  which are very entertaining, especially for kids.  Other programs take place throughout the park.

Ranger talk at Seawall Campground

4.  If  you’re 62 or older, get a $10 lifetime entrance pass.  The regular pass to enter Acadia  National Park is only $20, but seniors can buy discounted passes at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center that they can use at more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.

Hulls Cove entrance fees

5.  Bring  your own bikes.  It may be inconvenient to schlepp them,  but Acadia’s carriage roads offer 45 miles of car-free biking great for  the whole family around lakes, beside babbling brooks, and up  mountains.  If you want to bike more than once – and you will – renting for a family can get pricey, with rates running around $22 a day for adults and $15-18 for kids.

boy biking in Acadia National Park

6.  Stock  up at supermarkets to avoid paying higher prices in  small specialty markets.  There are large Shaw’s and Hannaford’s in Ellsworth, where we often stop.  Hannaford’s also has a large store on Cottage Street in Bar Harbor.

7.  But bring staples from home.  Pack just a few of the items you buy in bulk at home (tea bags, lemonade packets, and sweetener) so that you won’t have to stock up and then waste what you don’t use.

8.  Gas up off island.  If you forget, don’t worry.  The Somesville  One-Stop/Mobil, conveniently located right in the center of Mount Desert  Island, has great prices.  However,  prices fluctuate significantly around the island.  For example,we’ve seen prices 11 cents higher in downtown Bar Harbor.

9.  If  you’re renting a house or cottage, look for one that offers a kayak you can  use.  Tandem kayaks run $35 for three hours.  Depending on your  family size and how long you want to explore, this could add up.  Remember, places like Great Long Pond and Jordan Pond (below) offer hours of exploration and relaxation.

Kayaking Bubbles

10.  Take the Island Explorer bus around the island and save on gas.  The island is big.  You can put 130 miles on in 4 days.  And, remember, taking the bus is a great, safe way for teenagers to show a little independence and get around the island themselves.

11.  Explore options for educational activities.  Kids love touch tanks as a way to learn more about lobsters and sea life.  As wonderful as they are,  boat cruises can run as high as $43 per person.  A less expensive option is an oceanarium.

Touch tanks with lobsters

12.  Substitute activities like tide pooling as a no-cost alternative to movies or shopping.  Kids love climbing the rocks around Bass Harbor lighthouse.   Blueberry picking is permitted throughout the park.  Another great activity is to walk across the sand bar Bar Harbor to Bar Island while it’s low tide.  Last time I did this I saw a baby seal.

Child tide pooling Acadia National Park

13.  Cook  out ocean-side at one of Acadia’s great picnic areas, such as Seawall (below) or Pretty Marsh,  with grills provided by the park service.

Seawall Mount Desert Island Maine

14.  When you finally splurge on lobster (as you should!), choose  a lobster pound that offers options for your kids if they prefer grilled chicken or even PB&J.

Maine lobster dinner

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June 1, 2012

Martha’s Vineyards Devotees: Ready to Explore Another New England Island?

You’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard so many summers you can’t count them.  You’ve biked from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown, laid back on South Beach, kayaked on Sengekontacket Pond, and watched the sunset from Menemsha.  You have several Black Dog t-shirts.

If you love a summer vacation that combines outdoor activities, great seafood, and New England scenery, but you’re looking for something new, this year you might want to discover Mount Desert Island in Maine.

Bridge in Somesville, Mount Desert Island

Mount Desert Island and Martha’s Vineyard actually have a lot in common.

  • They vie for second and third place as the largest islands on the eastern seaboard.
  • They are made up of a variety of towns with distinct and different characters. While Bar Harbor and Oak Bluffs resemble each other in their Victoriana and commercialism, Bass Harbor and Menemsha attract visitors to their fishing villages for harborside photographs and lobster dinners. White clapboard houses and iconic steepled churches adorn the streets of both Somesville and Edgartown. And among these towns buses bustle too many summer visitors from here to there (though L.L. Bean makes it free on MDI).
  • While a fiord divides Mount Desert Island, Martha’s Vineyard has a state forest in the middle of hers. Mount Desert has two distinct sides, the eastern portion best known for its largest town Bar Harbor and the less populated eastern side known as “The Quiet Side.” Similarly, the Martha’s Vineyard towns divide east and west, with the western villages on their “quiet side” known as “up island” not because they are north, but higher in longitude. This is a carryover characterization from the Vineyard’s nautical past, just as “downeast” is for Maine.

Both islands offer great dining as part of the summer recreation. If you like the traditional lobster dinners at Home Port, you should visit Thurston’s in Bass Harbor.

Bass Harbor, Mount Desert Island, Maine at Dusk

Bass Harbor, Mount Desert Island, Maine at Dusk

For us it’s a rite of summer to stand in line overlooking the postcard-perfect harbor with a beer (try the local micro-brew Harbor Lighthouse Ale) and begin the debate: Should we have hard shell or soft shell? How many pounds? Steamers or chowder? Standing in line heightens the anticipation of the sweetest lobsters we know anywhere. It may be in part because they’re cooked in seawater piped in from the harbor. You can opt to have your lobster alone or with a “basic dinner” of corn, coleslaw, roll, and Thurston’s blueberry spice cake (so good you’ll want to buy extra for tomorrow’s breakfast).

And Thurston’s even has its own t-shirt.

Maine is the state of not only fisherman, but also farmers. So, in recent years when restaurateurs have become increasingly committed to seasonal menus and local production, Mount Desert Island has emerged as a magnet for foodies.   And at the top restaurants in Bar Harbor and Southwest Harbor you are not going to see scallop appetizers at $20 and grilled salmon at $40, prices common at Vineyard eateries like the Beach Plum Inn.

Maine Trenton Downeast Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll from Downeast Lobster Pound, Trenton

The greatest difference between MDI and the Vineyard is that the Maine island is home to the first national park east of the Mississippi, Acadia National Park.

With 30,300 acres on the island, Acadia occupies half of Mount Desert Island.  Not only does it have the tallest mountain along the eastern coast, Cadillac Mountain, a popular spot to watch the sun rise, but there are 23 other mountain peaks that can be accessed by 125 miles of pristine hiking trails.  Routes range from challenging for the fittest among us to trails that are easy for seniors and kids.

Hiking Trail, Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park

Hiking Trail, Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park

Sand Beach, rimmed by stunning pink granite cliffs, is a popular spot.  Glacial lakes also attract swimmers and youthful sandcastle builders, as well as sailors and paddlers.  Walkers and cyclists enjoy 45 miles of car-free carriage roads that weave around the mountains and valleys of the park.

Sand Beach, Acadia National Park

Sand Beach, Acadia National Park

Today, next to his Black Dog and Menemsha Blues t-shirts, my husband has several from Acadia, including my favorite which features a long list of hiking trails.  Better still, we’ve done them all.

Hiking in Acadia T-shirt

If you love Martha’s Vineyard, you may want to learn more about Mount Desert Island. OUR ACADIA offers tips for exploring, eating, and relaxing.

November 13, 2011

Hawk Watch on Cadillac Mountain — A Great Addition to Your Acadia National Park Itinerary

I went on a Hawk Watch during my October hiking trip to Acadia National Park.  Call me a nerd, but I think hawks are interesting.

  • Hawks see much farther than people do – and eight times more clearly.
  • This keen eyesight plus their hooked beaks and taloned feet make them effective predators.  But they also pirate food.
  • Female hawks are larger than males, sometimes twice so, and most pairs mate for life.
  • The most common hawk in North America is the red-tail, but not all of its 14 subspecies have the distinctive coloration.
  • Northern birds migrate south during the winter.

Which brings me back to the Hawk Watch.

Every year, from August to October, park rangers, volunteers, and visitors gather on the northern ridge of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park to count the migrating raptors.  The purpose of this data collection, to which Hawk Watches throughout the U.S. contribute, is to monitor the populations of hawks to ensure their preservation.

According to the National Park Service, there’s been a large increase in the numbers of bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and osprey compared to the 1970s. From the 1940s to 1970s, their populations were severely threatened by the pesticide DDT, which caused eggshells to thin and few young to survive. It was banned in 1972.

What do eagles and falcons have to do with hawks, you’re asking.  That’s another fact you should know:  “Hawk” is the general term for some 270 species of birds which are daytime predators.

Most of the migrating hawks we saw that day from Cadillac Mountain were sharp-shinned hawks.  “Sharpie west of Ironbound,” the Raptor Intern Delora would call out.  All binoculars would then search the sky for the speck.

Hawk Watch Cadillac Mountain Acadia National Park

Veteran volunteers were savvy about identifying birds and all of the islands in Frenchman Bay.  They had great equipment.  They were also warmly dressed and had snacks.

For the rest of us Raptor Ranger Lora had plenty of information and a tray of brownies. Visitors came and went; kids participating in the Junior Ranger program interviewed Ranger Lora.

Junior Ranger Program Acadia National Park

You can learn more about what goes on at a Hawk Watch in Acadia National Park by reading the “Riding the Winds” journals, created each year by Acadia’s raptor interns.  This year Delora Hilleary, shown below with a raptor specimen, added stunning illustrations to her observations about the migrating raptors.

Raptor Intern Hawk Watch Acadia National Park

For more ideas on what to do when you visit Acadia National Park — including tips for the best lobster pounds and breakfast restaurants — visit OUR ACADIA.

October 31, 2011

Thinking of Hiking Cadillac or Champlain Mountains in Acadia? Go in the Fall.

Compare these two pictures of me on Cadillac Mountain’s South Ridge Trail this October and last.

Gauging the weather and what to pack is a key challenge for hiking in Acadia National Park in the fall, but the rest is bliss.

One reason is that during autumn the mountains on Mount Desert Island’s eastern side – in the areas of Bar Harbor, Ocean Drive, and Jordan Pond – are much less crowded.  We chose two of the most popular, Cadillac and Champlain, to hike this fall.

The West Face of Cadillac, according to Tom St. Germain, is the shortest, but most difficult, of the eight ways to hike to the top of Acadia’s tallest mountain.  During a mile of hiking, the elevation changes 1100 feet.  The granite face often seems to be at 45-degrees – not an angle of repose for a hiker.  We used crevices in the rock to be able to move across it. 

After rigorous stretches, we’d stop and look back over Bubble Pond. 

West Face Cadillac overlooking Bubble Pond

West Face Trail then intersects with South Ridge Trail to reach the top of Cadillac Mountain at 1532 feet.

For the descent we hiked down the South Ridge of Cadillac all the way to The Featherbed, a small glacial pond filled with rushes, the inspiration for its name. 

View of Featherbed from Cadillac Mountain

This 5.2-mile hike compensates you for all of its challenges by ending with a long stroll on a carriage road beside Bubble Pond.

Carriage road along Bubble Pond

For our hike to the top of Champlain Mountain, another popular peak, this year we chose an old trail that was new to us.  Beachcroft Path was built in 1915 as part of the Memorial Paths program created by George Dorr and was reinforced twenty years later by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression.  This history gave us a lot to think about as we climbed the stone stairs in switchbacks up the western face of Huguenot Head.

Beachcroft Path to Huguenot Head

 Beachcroft Trail has great views of the Tarn, as well as Otter Creek and the Atlantic beyond. 

The Tarn from Beachcroft Path

Huguenot Head then connects to Champlain Mountain, where you ascend first on more stairs, then across a sheer, steep west face marked by cairns.

West face of Champlain

The spectacular top of Champlain, overlooking Frenchman Bay at an elevation of 1058 feet, is the same reward hikers get when they climb the Precipice

Top of Champlain Mountain Acadia

With late afternoon sun spotlighting the Porcupines, we descended along the north ridge of Champlain on Bear Brook Trail. 

Porcupine Islands

The walk back along the road past Beaver Dam Pond was a bonus.

Beaver Dam Pond

To help you plan your itinerary for Acadia National Park, including the best restaurants in Bar Harbor and other nearby villages, visit OUR ACADIA.

October 22, 2011

Acadia Photo Workshop – Seeing Maine’s Rugged Coastline Through An Expert’s Eyes

Bob Thayer PhotographySteal a shower cap from your motel to cover your camera in the rain.

This was one of the first photography tips we got as eight of us clustered around Ranger Bob Thayer, who would lead the three-hour program “Focus on Acadia,” an offering of the National Park Service at Acadia National Park in Maine. 

From mid-May to mid-October visitors to Mount Desert Island join park rangers on walks, campfire programs, hikes, and boat cruises to learn more about Acadia and build knowledge as naturalists.  Ranger-led programs range from tidepool school to birding for beginners.

This rainy October morning was the last time this season Ranger Thayer would be teaching his photography workshop, but neither that fact nor the drizzle that would turn to steady rain before we left the Sieur de Monts Nature Center impaired his enthusiasm.

Our group included a retired couple with tripods in tow, a point-and-shoot mom accompanying her daughters who were definitely “off auto,” and another park ranger who admired Thayer’s skills.  Fred and I were the novices.

The photography lesson began.  Think about light and composition.  You must know your equipment.  Anticipating the format in which you will present your photographs is an important first step.

Starting our field work, the park ranger helped us think through our first shot, as he set up his own camera on a tripod.  We were on Jesup Trail where a “cathedral” of golden foliage covered a new boardwalk. 

Jesup Path Sieur de Monts Nature Center

Then we looked through his viewfinder and realized this wasn’t any ordinary park ranger walking us through some canned curriculum.  We were in the company of someone genuinely talented. 

Bob Thayer, it turns out, is a naturalist, photographer, and author of three books, including Acadia’s Carriage Roads, which I had bought years ago. And here we were, taking it all in, courtesy of our National Park Service.

The instruction continued.  Walking alongside the Wild Gardens of Acadia,  Bob Thayer pointed out potentially interesting shots and convinced us that, despite the many “must see” spots to photograph in Acadia National Park, some of the best are the simplest.

Then we jumped into our respective autos and the caravan moved to our next destination.  The rain thwarted the customary stop at Sand Beach, which was an acceptable trade-off because this bad weather was giving us terrific light that made the foliage pop.  Our next stop was Monument Cove, where Fred took these shots.

Monument Cove Acadia National Park MaineAfter another stop along the coastline, we concluded at Jordan Pond, where we learned a “painterly” technique created by moving the camera on a slow shutter speed. 

Jordan Pond Foliage

In three hours each of us had received individual instruction and encouragement.  The “lecture” was informative for participants at every level.  I had even discovered parts of the park I’d never seen, despite my explorations during the last eight years.  

We said our thanks and goodbyes.  As some headed to the Jordan Pond House for popovers, Fred and I walked back to the parking lot with Bob Thayer.  I told him about my Web site to help people plan trips to Acadia, a hobby; I do marketing for a living.

That reminded me that the most powerful word in the marketing dictionary also applied to this workshop, which had been substantive, customized, and inspiring.

It was also  free.

 

September 1, 2011

Last Call for Summer: Maine Lemonade

When I was a little girl growing up in Massachusetts, I learned that the two primary crops of Maine were potatoes and blueberries (and that the state bird was the same as ours – the chickadee).

Now, as a New Yorker for more years than I’ll admit, I’ve discovered a cocktail that combines those two great crops and makes me as happy as when I’m listening to a chickadee.  It’s called Maine Lemonade.

Maine Lemonade is a summer concoction created by spiking a glass of lemonade with blueberry vodka.  Adding extra ice cubes and a sprig of mint puts it into cocktail category.

The trick, though, is to use Cold River Vodka.  Cold River Vodka is a 100 percent Maine potato vodka that is flavored with Wyman’s Wild Maine Blueberries.  The flavor of these smaller, more intensely flavored berries is sweetened only slightly, which makes Cold River Vodka the perfect foil for the tartness of lemonade. 

And Cold River Blueberry Vodka is a “true” vodka at 80 proof.  Remember that as you cope with the fact that summer is, really, almost over.

(But don’t lament for long.  Plan a trip to Maine to see the fall foliage.  Ideas here.)

 

August 28, 2011

Top Artisanal Ice Cream in America Is Just Across the Village Green in Bar Harbor

President Obama chose coconut.  My husband blueberry.  And I opted for two scoops – kahlua chip and salt caramel. 

I’ll never feel the same about Haagen-Daz again.

Apparently I’m not alone in my assessment of MDI Ice Cream.  This is what all of Mount Desert’s best restaurants – including Red Sky, Havana, Café This Way, and Fathom – choose to pair with their homemade puddings and blueberry pies. Red Sky, in fact, has built a banana split with bruleed banana, maple-candied almonds and sun-dried cherries around three flavors of MDI Ice Cream.  When Downeast Magazine published their itinerary of what to do in Bar Harbor, their late-night recommendation for the active traveler was a visit to MDI Ice Cream.  And this summer both Food and Wine Magazine and Mother Earth News have included them on their lists of best artisan ice creams nationwide. 

Still, MDI Ice Cream is a low-key place that avoids sensationalism.  No lobster ice cream here.  Linda Parker founded it in 2005 in Bar Harbor, where there are now two retail shops, one on Main Street across from Havana and the other on Firefly Lane just off Main Street and across from the Village Green. After six years in Bar Harbor, she has also opened on Exchange Street in Portland.

Taking a look at their flavors, you have no trouble buying into her motto: Fearless Flavor.   Chili chocolate, blackstrap banana, candy shoppe, nectarine prosecco, nutella, mango jicama habanero, lemon basil, and cookies.  But, believe me.  They’re not weird.  They’re delicious.

Ice cream and summer vacation go together.  And, let’s face it.  You can’t take it with you.  Like the breeze on Sargent Mountain or the sound of the gulls over Bass Harbor, we’ll enjoy it while we’re here.  So, for now, move over Haagen-Daz.

Plan your trip to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

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