How we visited 7 states in 7 days — Part 1
Summer 2016 started with a wonderful week long road trip to northeastern states. We were four young companions who decided to start an adventurous journey to conquer the northeast. We passed through 9 states which were in order of our visit: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusettes, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont.
Although we did not spend tremendous time in some of the states (like Massachusettes, given we had visited them before) but I can still count thouse as we passed through them. In this two-part post, I will tell you about our experience and locations we visited.
Day 1: Leaving Philadelphia toward Connecticut
We decided to use Friday afternoon for getting together, loading our stuff on the car and hitting the road. As we were living in four different cities. The journey had a quite long start-up time. I had to hit the road first from D.C. picking up one of our friends at Baltimore, my fiance in Philly and our other friend who took the bus to Philly from upstate NY. I left D.C. at 1 PM and by 6:45 PM we all were in the car and everything was loaded in the trunk. For reference, we just used my midsize sedan for the travel.
Tip: We actually found this strategy very helpful because all of us had seen Philly, Jersey and NYC areas before so we were not afraid to lose anything if we drive after nightfall. By leaving Philly around 7 PM we arrived at our first stop in New Haven, Connecticut before midnight. Therefore the next day morning we could enjoy the new area with fresh minds and a delightful night sleep.
Day 2: Rhode Island and Portland
We left our hotel in the morning and head toward Newport, RI for lunch. But instead of following Google Maps and taking the highway, we went through the coastal road to see beautiful scenes, delightful beach villages.
Our first stop of the day was at “Ben Miller” castle near Brandford, CT where the owners gave us a complete tour of the castle and their options for having a wedding there. My fiance and I actually liked the place and inquired about their availabilities. You can check more pictures and their address from their website.
After spending a good few minutes at Ben Miller’s castle, we hit the road again toward Rhode Island. Although the Providence is the well-known city in RI, we realized that Newport is such a tiny beautiful city with good dining. Its geographical location also helped us to keep our track close to the water to continuously see beautiful scenes.
Tip: I strongly recommend you spend a while for visiting Thames St in Newport. There are various beautiful botiques in this street which you might like to explore.
After spending half an hour in couple boutiques in Thames St, and visiting couple harbors just a block away from the street we decided to head to a restaurant for lunch. Fortunately, Yelp helped us to choose a beautiful yet delicious place to dine. We decided to dine at Safari Room Restaurant which is located at the ultimate southwestern part of the city. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining options. If at the time of your visit the temperature allows, do not miss the opportunity of enjoying the view. To all four of us, the price compare to location and taste of the food was fair. The food portion was adequate and it was delicious.
We spent a good portion of the afternoon enjoying the view and taking pictures before we head back to the car to continue our trip. We had another 3.5 hours drive ahead of us before we arrive at our night stay resort in Portland Area.
After leaving New Port, RI on our second day of the trip, we drove directly toward Portland, MN. Our room was just half an hour north of Portland.
Day 3: Visiting Portland Headlight House, Arriving at Acadia National Park
We started our third day of the trip by shortly exploring the resort area and snapping few pictures from their signature light house at the resort.
It was time to head toward the famous Portland Head Light, so we drove back toward Portland, stopped by at a local cafe to grab breakfast and then drove again to the head light. The big bummer hit us once we found out that not only the weather is too cloudy and dark, the headlight was also under construction! It was open to public but the building was not definitely in a good shape to snap wonderful pictures! Here are some shots we took that day.
Although all our efforts were not in vein! the stoney beach right beside the light house is known stone balance art. The beach was fun to spend few minutes running around and taking several pictures. Particularly, I found the following combination of water, algae and stone so interesting.
Next Destination: Acadia National Park
From Portland to Acadia National park was 3 hours if we took highway, but as we were seeking beautiful sceneries, we decided to stick to Maine Route 1 which goes through the ocean shores. The route was beautiful throughout the way until we reached the town of Camden. At the beginning we did not have any intention of stopping at the town, but the beauty of the town (specifically the shops on both sides of the route 1, made us to turn around after passing couple hundred yards of the town and park the car so we have the chance of exploring some of the stores.
I do not know why I did not take any pictures from the town it self. We took several other pictures focusing on details but nothing to show the town and the beautiful shops.After the short stop, going through several shops and grabbing a coffee and some pastries, we headed back to the road toward Acadia.
Our next stop was couple miles before Penobscot Narrows Bridge where we had a good view of the bridge and the surrounding area.
After passing the Penobscot narrows bridge, our next destination was the lovely Acadia national park. So, we decided to drive straight there so we can observe sunset from the Cadillac mountain.
Our Accomodation Story
Now it comes to one of my favorite stories during this trip. We had no reservation for the night at Acadia, because most of the cabins there have minimum 7 nights stay limit. Trying to find a cabin or house for rental took enough time from us that we didn’t have a chance to reserve the hotel before departure, so we had to reserve the location on the go. When we were close to Acadia, we started both looking into the hotels we were passing by and/or calling the ones from known chains. On our way toward Acadia, we found a little tiny clean hotel close to the town of Ellsworth and we made sure they have enough vacancy for the night, in case we did not find any other place to stay. The reason we didn’t book the location right away was its distance to Acadia (it was about 45 minutes away). Getting above the Cadillac mountain, we managed ta talk to Holliday Inn at Bar harbor (within Acadia) and found out they have a room available. We received their price for the night and before we finalize the booking the call dropped. Once we regained good network (couple minutes later) we called back and another agent answered. We described what happened just few minutes ago and they gave us a room rate about 1.5 times more expensive!! During the entire conversation we were driving toward the Holiday Inn location, and during the last couple minutes of it we parked right in front of their front door looking at the agent talking to us on the phone. We were actually hoping they understand how unprofessional their behavior is (as they realized it is 9 PM and we had not a place to stay, they increased the room price). So, it didn’t end as we expected and they actually lost a customer for that night (the chain actually lost our trust entirely as we never stayed at their premises since then). We decided to head back to the hotel we found in Ellsworth. After a couple of miles while driving through the darkness my wife noticed a sign for The Colony Cottages. As lucky as we were, there was a really wonderful lady at the front desk which gave us a key to one of their larger cottages so we can check it out. She literarily said get the key, drive through the community and find the cottage, check it out, if you liked it, come back here whenever you’re comfortable so I can record your info and process the payment. She even gave us a discount as we were checking in late at night!! (Do you see the difference?!). Long story short, we were more than happy to stay there. The location was clean and comfy (definitely not as fancy as a 4 star hotel but very good to our standards — we would stay there again if we want to stay for couple nights). You can explore their cottages on their website: http://www.colonyathullscove.com
So this was obviously the end of our 3rd day but we had big plans for the next day.
Day 4: Exploring Acadia National Park, Leaving toward New Hampshire
When you research about the Acadia National Park, one of the most interesting things you would find out is the fact that you have the chance to be among one of the very first people throughout the entire United States to observe the sunrise. The map below shows the geographical location of the Cadillac Mountain in the United States and given the 1,530 feet elevation of it, it is one of the very first locations that you receive the sunshine.
Many people who stay at Acadia, hike up the Cadillac mountain during the night so they can be on top of the mount to observe sunrise. Given our short stay at Acadia, we chose to drive up the mountain so we can keep our energy for the entire day. We woke up at 3:30 AM and headed toward the peak. The weather was so nice, fresh and chilly (that definitely wakes you up!) BUT it was so cloudy. The sky was packed with clouds and that prevented us from observing the sun coming out of the ocean.
Despite the bummer, the view was breath taking, cloud/fog was traveling through the mountain above and below us, creating beautiful views. We spent a good couple hours enjoying the weather and views above the mountain. After around 5 AM, the clouds started to clear a little bit (at least we could see parts of the ocean and the sky). Around 6 AM we headed back down the path to grab breakfast. We drove directly toward Barharbor. Most of the stores were close (obviously it was 7 AM) only couple of cafes and restaurants were open. We managed chose beautiful cafe/restaurant through yelp and ate a delicious brunch.
We had several points at Acadia to visit in our short one day exploration
1- Sand Beach
2- Thunder Hole
3- Otter Point
4- Jordan Pond
Obviously given we started from Barharbor, our first stop was at the Sand Beach. At the time, it was already 10:15 AM and rain clouds were all over the place. It started raining when we arrived at the Sand beach but it didn’t stop us from getting into the beach and snap our photos.
1 — Sand Beach
Sand beach offers what its name suggest! a sand covered beach. But it is unique because you find mostly rocky beaches throughout the park.
When you go down the stairs you first step on the beautiful soft sands further on your right side, you find rocks covered with algae where in case of the rain, water is flowing through them and slowly washing sand toward the ocean. That was were we found our new friend Mr. Crabby. The little crab was trying to walk through the rocks and sand without interrupting the human visitors.
2- Thunder Hole
Our next destination was the Thunder Hole. It is basically a small cave under the rocks where waves hit in and create a thunder like sounds. It is pretty fun to stand there, watch and listen to the sound. Although the observation point is usually pretty slippery, so be ware when you walk there.
3- Otter Point
The next stop was Otter point. A nice observation point over the rocks. If you are pretty much in hiking and rock climbing you’ll find it entertaining to go down on the rocks close to the ocean, otherwise, if you’re not that adventurous you gonna stay close to the trail and observe the view. From Otter point, you can see Sand Beach (it is visible in my picture).
4- Jordan Pond
There are several lake/ponds in Acadia national park, each of which with their own beauties (eagle lake, bubble pond, Jordan pond). As we did not have enough time to visit all of them we chose Jordan pond as our next destination. The pond is farther from previous three stop points and took a short while for us to drive there. Another reason for choosing Jordan pond was Jordan Pond House which is a Cafe/Restaurant/Rest Area close to the pond. We decided to spend an hour or so taking pictures and hiking around the pond and then get back to Jordan Pond House to have a light meal before we hit the road again. Jordan pond has a beautiful trail all around it. The trail is not that difficult and full of beautiful views of the pond and mountains around. We took a whole lot of pictures there, including the typical view of the twin peaks, pond and rocks.
After an hour of exploring Jordan pond clock was showing around 3–3:30 and we decided to have lunch at Jordan Pond House. It took a while till we get seated but we enjoyed view of the pond from second floor balcony make sure you checkout the balcony for beautiful view.
Here we come to the end of Part 1. I’ll tell the rest of the story in part 2 soon. Please leave your opinion about the post down in the comments section and please share the story with your friends who want to visit the area.