Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A walk in the woods, and a discovery

After watching the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain last week, my husband and I headed down to the town of Bar Harbor which is lovely to visit in the quiet of the early morning. We drove down West Street and at the end, turned right onto Main, which is also Rte. 3, taking this road to the edge of town. We were looking for a small trail my husband had seen that he wanted to take. Just before you get to Old Farm Road on the left, there's a small parking area that has a gate over a trail that’s marked as a fire road.

We parked the car and headed down the fire road. I had no idea where we were going and had never visited this part of the island. I only knew that we were headed toward water.

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We came to the Schooner Head Path, but continued on toward Compass Harbor. There is a lovely meandering trail down here through the woods that’s very flat, very easy. The day had just dawned and the forest was still quite dark.

I heard something, and thought I could make out the shape of an owl on a low branch.  I quietly slipped on my long lens, and crept forward ever so slowly, stopping occasionally to shoot toward the shape.

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It was a little Northern Spotted Owl - and although I took several photos, they were all quite blurry because of the low light. The little owl took off, then landed higher up in a nearby tree. I saw that it had settled next to another small owl. The image below was one I had posted earlier this week.

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I thought that was the best of what was to come, but I was wrong.

: : :

While shooting the owls, I had ended up way behind my husband, who had come back to look for me, leaving in a bit of a huff when he saw what I was doing. When I finally left the owls to follow him, he had disappeared. I came to the ruins of an old house but it was still dark and I was so intent in finding my husband that I kept going down the path of steps that seemed to go with the old place. They led down to the water.

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Gnarly old roots threatened to trip me up, but I kept on . . .

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Until I came to a little cove that I believe may be a part of Compass Point Harbor. It was beautiful!

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A series of small paths ran down below the ruins of the house on the hill, and taking a path to my left, I came across what looks like the ruins of something but I was still looking for my husband and the dog.

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I finally found them on a rocky outcropping overlooking the Porcupine Islands and Frenchman’s Bay. I later found out that this was Dorr Point.

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Oh, this place is beautiful, isn’t it?

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George seemed happy that I caught up to them.
We stayed down here for awhile, just enjoying the beautiful morning.
And then we made our way back up the hill.

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Up the stone steps that would lead us to the ruin.

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There are so many of them – massive slabs of granite.

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By the time we got to the ruin, it was much lighter in the woods and we could see that it was not just a house, but a mansion. A once-grand estate that I thought was maybe destroyed in the Great Fire of 1947 but it was just so odd how there was no house, just the flooring. And it seems to have been preserved somewhat.

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I thought about the ruins off and on during the rest of my trip, and it wasn’t until I came home that I found out that this is what is left of George B. Door’s family home – Oldfarm, a once great house that was built in 1876.

George B. Door is considered the father of Acadia National Park. He spent his life obtaining land (through donations), offering the areas to the federal government for use as a national park to preserve the beauty of the island. It was mainly through the efforts of George Dorr that the park exists today. John D. Rockefeller gifted much of the park’s land but it was Dorr who dealt with the government, using his many connections.

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The remnants of this Queen Anne / Colonial Revival mansion are paved with brick in a herringbone pattern and are enclosed by brick and stone coping.

Oldfarm was built in 1876 for George Dorr’s parents as a summer ‘cottage’ by the architect Henry Richards and was updated in 1919 by architect Fred Savage. George lived here until his death in 1944 and donated the house and the acreage to his beloved park. The house survived the 1947 fire but was demolished in 1951 by the park service.


Oldfarm as it appeared in approximately 1909.

Courtesy NPS.

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The steps, as seen today, that led to the east piazza.


George B. Dorr

He swam in Frenchman Bay almost daily, even having to break ice along the edges to do so. He had a heart attack in 1934 while enjoying his morning swim and was told he had six months to live (he lived ten more years). Eventually he lost his sight. All these things hardly slowed him down. While intensely protective of the land, his own health and personal welfare were never a concern to him.
George Bucknam Dorr fell at Old Farm on August 5, 1944, and the heart that was supposed to have given out ten years ago finally stopped. There is a simple plaque at Sieur de Monts honoring his memory and dedication.
The preservation of these lands meant everything to Dorr. ~Courtesy NPS

The square-shaped ruin on the shoreline that I mentioned above may have been the remains of the saltwater pool that Dorr had built into the harbor. The steps lead right down to it. The woods have nearly overtaken the old place but thanks to friends of the park who were granted permission, the ruins were cleaned up last December making it safer for interested parties wanting to visit the former home of George Dorr. The park service also has tours that lead to the ruin.

So wonderful to have stumbled upon this place. And now that I know what it was, I can’t wait to go back and look around some more ~
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Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain

One thing that my husband has always wanted to do while visiting Maine and Acadia National Park was to see the sun rise from the top of Cadillac Mountain. He’s talked about it every time we’ve gone up there and each and every time, I’ve always said, “sure, just wake me – I’ll go.” But he knows me well. He knows that I really don’t want to wake up at 3 AM and drive an hour to the park and up the mountain.

However, this year was different. This year we were staying right on Mount Desert Island, and only about a 15 minute drive from the summit of the mountain that is purported to be the first spot in the United States to see the sunrise.

Mount Cadillac only sees the first sunrise in the fall and winter, when the sun rises south of due east. During most of the spring and summer, the sun rises first at Mars Hill. For a couple of weeks around the time of equinox the sun rises first at West Quoddy Head in Lubec, which is the easternmost town in the United States. ~WikiAnswers

Regardless of where it rises first in the summertime, we were there to see the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain.


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I think my husband was shocked that I woke right up, bounded out of bed and was in the car within moments for the drive. He’d already made some coffee which came in handy because wow – was it cold up there on the top of the mountain. I brought my winter coat just in case, and had to use it.

The wind was whipping too ~


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I don’t know why my husband was so surprised to see SO MANY PEOPLE. Observing the sunrise on Cadillac is one of the main tourist things to do while visiting the national park.



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He dropped me off to find a spot and that was the last I saw of him until it was time to go home. The sky slowly turned wonderful colors which was a joy to behold.

I was really surprised to see how some people had dressed. Those wearing shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops were complaining of the cold while wrapping themselves up in blankets. Many people only had fleece hoodies on, but I had on my winter coat with the hood up because I knew from experience that it can get really cold at 1,528 feet.

And I was quite comfortable as I shot the scenes unfolding in front of me.



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I think the sunrise occurred at about 5:10 a.m. on July 25, 2012.



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I turned around after it rose to view the scene behind me.



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And this is only a small portion of the crowd.



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I took a couple of silhouette shots as I headed down to the parking lot.



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I think this one is fun.



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People from all walks of life come to enjoy this view.



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Looking out over the Cranberry Islands.

: : :

After we left the mountain, we headed down into Bar Harbor and took the walk that included the capture of the owls (see post down below).

And that concludes our trip to see the sunrise before anyone else in the country (unless you’re in Mars Hill, Maine – but it’s debatable).

Hope you enjoyed ~

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

One misty moisty morning

While in Maine one morning last week, we awoke to thick fog. I captured these shots at the Frazer Point Picnic Area at the Schoodic Peninsula section of Acadia National Park.

When we arrived, I saw several birds sitting on the dock.

I have never seen a cormorant out of the water before.

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One misty, moisty morning,
When cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather.
He began to compliment, and I began to grin,
How do you do, and how do you do?
And how do you do again?

~ Old English Nursery Rhyme

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The fog seemed to blanket the area in quiet.

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And as I slowly made my way down the dock, one of the birds took flight.

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And he was followed by a seagull.

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Low tide coming.

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“Let us go in; the fog is rising.”

~ Emily Dickinson

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Digging for clams, I suppose.

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Ode to the Element

If I could write poetry,
I would write something here.
But alas, I cannot.
I don’t even dare.

: : :

Thanks for stopping by today ~

hope you enjoyed the photos.

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ps - thank you to L, for letting me know that the two birds were cormorants and not loons,
as I had originally thought.

Summerwood Cottage, Maine

Our vacation came to an end yesterday but I still have lots of photographs to share with you and hope you’re not crying uncle at this point.

For those of you who asked where we stayed in Maine this year, I’ve put together some photographs and a quick review of Summerwood Cottage which is located on Mount Desert Island. We usually stay off-island but this year wanted to try something different.

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Although it’s billed as being located in Bar Harbor, it’s actually in the village of Otter Creek which is much quieter and about 4 miles outside of town. Although Bar Harbor is a fun place to visit, it’s often terribly crowded and noisy, and Otter Creek on the other hand, is the polar opposite.

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The cottage is located at 14 Walls Street and is the perfect size for a couple. It’s billed as a romantic getaway and from reading the guest comments, I could see that many honeymooners have stayed here. But for us, it was a quiet little place to return to after a day spent enjoying the outdoors.

Summerwood Cottage – Bar Harbor, Maine

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On the porch, a tiny bouquet of fresh lavender and mint was left to greet us.

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The kitchen, living room, and dining area are all connected with skylights helping to add light. In the summer, this is a shady street and the cottage gets the afternoon sun.

Please excuse these photographs – I took them on the last day of our vacation and had been waiting for another sunny afternoon but the weather wasn’t cooperating.

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A nice-sized bathroom with tile floors is off to the side.

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The living room with a sleep-sofa and seating enough for guests.

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I loved all the decorating touches, like the shutters at the windows, and the driftwood holding up a lace swag.

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Perfect-sized kitchen, although you’ll have to bring your own lobster pot, as there was none. With so many restaurants around, and lobster meals at the end of the road, there’s really no need for one.

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More sweet touches.

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Loved the open feel of the place, the hardwood floors, the braided rugs, the whole decorating scheme which had a bit of shabby chic going on. Look closer at the dining table there for a moment.

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It’s actually a weathered picnic table with placemats and a covering of glass on the top. Very unique idea.

Please note fan in background. This place had ample fans although we didn’t have to use them once as the weather this week was perfect.

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The bedroom was lovely with wood walls and ceilings as well as a sky light that opened allowing the cool breezes to flow from above. (This was good because the window you see there next to the bed had no screen – my only complaint about this wonderful cottage).

The bed is a platform one with space at the foot for storage baskets, eliminating the need for a bureau. My husband and I both thought the bed was a little bit high to climb into, but it was a comfortable one, with good linens to boot.

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Absolutely loved the tin tiles as a headboard.

And the reading lights are also a nice touch.

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There are many sweet embellishments.

This is a little box that hols extra batteries.

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The porch is where we spent many hours relaxing. We usually don’t stay in places this populated but this street is very quiet with a mix of locals and vacation cottages. An added bonus is a little trail at the end of the lane that leads down to the Park Loop Road and nearby Otter Creek Causeway beach, less than a mile from the cottage.

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I highly recommend staying here. It’s perfect for a couple or very small family, and is reasonably priced. The cottage doesn’t usually allow pets, but the owner permitted us to bring George. We were lucky to get it the week we wanted, as it books fully for the entire summer and into the fall, with many people returning year after year. We were able to rent it due to a cancellation for the week we wanted.

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George thought the little teddy bear on the porch swing was for him.

He left it alone, though, after we told him no.

Sweet place ~ excellent week.

Hope you enjoyed!

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