Sand Beach… a pretty little beach located in the Newport Cove. The proximity of steep rocky cliffs to perfect white sand, makes this beach so picturesque. And the water… I’ve seen such blue waters only in the Caribbean.
The Park Loop Road runs parallel to the shoreline. As you climb along the rocky pathway going up from Sand Beach, you get an awesome view with cliffs rising right off the churning ocean waters. Lots of comfortable rocks to sit on and enjoy the view.
Further along the coast, off the park Loops Road, is Thunder Hole. It is an extremely narrow cove between high cliffs which makes a sound like thunder when a wave rolls into it. The noise is produced because of a cavern below the surface of the water in the cove. The way the water bursts up in high sprays as tall as 40 feet is striking.
Even as you approach it from far, you will see trekkers on Cadillac Mountain. There are many hiking trails going up the mountain, of differing lengths and difficulties. And some of our group wanted to climb up one of the trails, but the rest wanted to drive up. Of course, the lazy majority won and we drove up. 🙂
Cadillac Mountain is named after French explorer and adventurer, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac. Mount Desert Island, the territory where Cadillac Mountain is located, was part of New France, the area colonized by France in North America, between 1534 and 1763. De Cadillac received the land grant for Mount Desert Island from the Governor of New France in 1688.
Before being renamed in 1918, the mountain was called Green Mountain. Topping at 1,530 feet, Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the United States.
The views from the summit of Cadillac Mountain is awesome to say the least. You see far off mountains and islands shrouded in mist, giving them a aura of mystery. Really worth spending some time at the top.
During the fall and winter, many tourists go to the mountain summit to see the nation’s first sunrise.
There used to be a cog railway running up the mountain, from 1883 until 1893. Guess where it was moved in 1895? To Mount Washington in New Hampshire, which we had visited the previous day!
We had decided to spend Independence Day in Bar Harbor. In addition to being a tourist center, in the late 19th century Bar Harbor was home to the rich and famous, who maintained luxurious estates with landscaped gardens. Among the town’s claim to fame is the fact that it is the birthplace of vice-president Nelson Rockefeller on July 8, 1908.
The view on a walk along the Shore Path gives meaning to the native American name to the area, Pemetic – ‘range of mountains’ or ‘mountains seen at a distance’. The current name of the town comes from the sand and gravel bar, visible at low tide, at the rear of the harbour. The numerous ships – from large sailing ships to tiny boats – seemingly floating in the mist of the harbour render the view an ethereal quality.
The coastline of Maine in this area is extremely rocky. You will see very many interesting rock formations around here.
We had dinner at a lovely place in downtown Bar Harbor. Though the waterside walk was crowded with people out to watch the fireworks, the weather was great and the walk very pleasant.
Another encounter with the lobsters for a July 4th dinner… watching fireworks over the bay. A perfect end to a perfect trip!
04 Jul 2014
June 29, 2014. Never expected the day to turn into such a big party. It was an experience of a lifetime. A celebration of life, love, and liberty as I have never seen before. Yes, I am talking of the final pride march, the concluding event at the ten-day Worldpride festival that took place in the last week of June in Toronto. As an ally and supporter, standing by the railings, cheering on, I felt truly proud. It was a spectacle of openness, doing what you like, and not caring a damn. Strong emphasis on the last point.
This was the event I have been waiting for since I heard of its popularity from my friends who had attended the pride parade the previous years. But the parade this year exceeded even their expectations. Way grander and bigger with a huge audience. And not just the marchers but the spectators were also an interesting crowd. I was walking around in open-mouthed wonder most of the time.
It was sheer excitement to see people, most exotically dressed in all imaginable costumes, performing for us. The drag queens looked drop-dead gorgeous. There was representation from human rights groups, affiliated with the Worldpride ideologies, as well as major Canadian for-profit organizations. I must admit though, the corporates do not make good entertainment material. It was slightly boring to watch them. Not so much the other groups who put in some thought into their costumes and exhibits in order to provide the most appealing display of their group’s mission and values.
The LGBT communities from different universities and sports clubs also put up a great show. It was interesting to note the firm statement put forth by communities originating in restrictive cultures like the (gaysi) The Gayi Desi and the Ismaili Queers. It was the spirit of solidarity that bound us all. Our cultural backgrounds, faiths, opinions, and orientation mattered no more. What mattered was that we were all there personifying unity in diversity and most importantly, having fun.
The authorities including the politicians and the police were there in tow providing their support. An estimated 12,000 people marched in the parade while more than a million supporters (I think!) grooved to the music played on the vans and vehicles carrying the floats and the people. The parade spanned across downtown Toronto, culminating at Yonge-Dundas Square, the most popular entertainment spot, for a musical evening of some great rock and pop music. This has been the best event I have attended in Toronto till date.
01 Jul 2014
It is not that common for the July 4th holiday to fall on a Monday or Friday, presenting us a long weekend, like it does this year. The last time this happened, in 2011, we decided to do a road trip to New England, despite the threat of heavy traffic on the roads. And boy, what a fabulous trip it was!
Plymouth and Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, Sebago Lake State Park, Bailey’s Island, Acadia National Park, Sand Beach, Cadillac Mountain, and Bar Harbor in Maine… that was our travel plan. We were four of us on the trip, all walking enthusiasts, of course some more so than others.
Plymouth town is named after Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, the first New England settlement by the immigrants from England who sailed on the ship Mayflower. Several prominent citizens of the 18th and 19th centuries are associated with this town.
At 6,288 ft Mount Washington is the highest peak in the north eastern United States. Can you believe, Giovanni da Verrazzano – of the Verrazzano Narrows fame – noticed the mountain from the Atlantic Ocean in 1524 and wrote about it?
Intending travellers are warned of the tricky climb up the mountain at the beginning of the road.
The views from the car windows are awesome to say the least. As the road goes up, layer upon layer of mountain ranges unfold beneath. And the vegetation grows scantier, ending in miniature plants and evergreens. As you reach the top, the only vegetation to be seen are the lichen clinging to the rocks.
For 76 years till 2010, Mt. Washington held the record for the highest wind gust directly measured at the Earth’s surface, at 231 miles per hour, recorded by the weather observatory at the top, on April 12, 1934.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway, the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway, is still in operation, though we did not have the time to ride on it! 🙁
Also, several hiking trails go up the mountain. These trails provide spectacular views of the surrounding ravines and mountains. Plans for another day!
The Lakes Region of Maine consists of more than 50 lakes, of which Sebago Lake is the largest. The lake has several beaches suitable for activities like boating and camping. Also, the Sebago Lake State Park has hiking and biking facilities as well.
As our plan was focused more on sightseeing than activities on this trip, we continued on to Bailey Island, which is located at the end of one of those finger like protrusions into the Casco Bay to the south of Maine.
The drive to Bailey Island, along the Harpswell Island Road, is one of the most beautiful ones I have ever been on… the two-lane road passes over beautiful bridges and presents a view of the water at all times, sometimes on both sides of the road.
The shores are rocky, with spreading green meadows and lawns going up the shore line. And houses like picture post cards!
No trip to Maine is complete without at least one encounter with the lobster! And the lobster did not disappoint… I do believe there is something really special about eating a lobster in Maine!
We drove till the end of Bailey Island, which spot offers a wide view of the waters and some of the surrounding islands.
To be continued…
27 Jun 2014