Every time my family comes to Vermont, my brother Lian tries to convince everyone to visit Acadia National Park in Maine. The sixteen hour car drive such an adventure would necessitate never gets much traction. A few weeks ago, when Lian told me he'd be in the area for a friend's wedding in Massachusetts, I knew we could finally make his Maine trip happen.
Or at least, I hoped we could. I always underestimate the amount of work there is to be done on our land, and how much time it will take to accomplish it. Last summer, we thought we'd be moved into our house by August! When that didn't happen, I thought for sure we'd celebrate Thanksgiving with my family at our place. Instead, our house was still a construction zone, and Lian helped build kitchen cabinets.
Right up until Lian's arrival, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to head to Maine, or if I'd have to put my brother to work helping us get ready for Andrew and the strawbalers. To be honest, this conundrum made me feel a bit sick to my stomach. Our homesteading project has already taken us far from family and midwestern friends, and very often, our non-stop building projects keep us away from local friends, too. I do not want to say on my deathbed, "well, I ceased to see the people I loved, but I sure did build some cool buildings."
So, because I really did think we'd be ready, and because Tyler and I promised to not over-work ourselves this season, and because I really wanted some quality sibling time, I did the unheard-of: I took three days off, right smack dab in the middle of building season. I packed hot dogs, snacks, and sandwiches, whipped up my usual pre-road-trip banana bread muffins, and stuffed all of our camping gear in the car. I picked Lian up from a bus station in New Hampshire, and away we went, headed north!
It's amazing to me how easily I slip into adventure mode, even if I'm just a few hours away from home. Armed with an atlas (which we didn't crack open) and two phones (which we used for routing and music), an obnoxiously squeaky styrofoam cooler, and no real agenda, we wound our way through the misty mountain roads of Maine. As we navigated in the general direction of Acadia National Park, we were filled with a wonderful anticipation: we were headed towards the ocean.
We got out to stretch our legs in Bath, Maine. It was rainy and cool, and we meandered around small seaside town for a bit. I got a hazelnut latte at a coffeeshop, and then we walked around a cooking store (my favorite kind of store). After a brief look at the harbor, we headed back towards the highway, and alternated between taking the scenic route and the speedy route. At one point, a wrong turn led us to the Rockland Municipal Fish Pier, where we enjoyed a long chat with a friendly lobsterman who was repairing his traps.
After another couple hours of driving, we decided we were up for driving all the way to Acadia. As we drew closer, it really felt different, North, and I was reminded of when Tyler and I drove to the Arctic Circle.
At last, we made it to the ranger station and got all paid up for two nights of camping, plus a National Park Pass for Lian. Thankfully, the rain that had been following us on and off on our journey mercifully stopped just as we were ready to set up the tent. I'd forgotten that our Big Agnes is practically in tatters and is in no way water-tight anymore!
Finally, after we'd put the finishing touches on camp, just as the last of daylight was rapidly slipping away, Lian and I walked the five minutes to the the rocky, craggy coastline. Though we don't have long to spend here, I'm so glad I'm here with my brother!