Maine- Acadia National Park

Back to the sisters’ New England adventure in Maine.

We may have only seen a small part of Acadia National Park the day we visited, but what we saw was beautiful. The leaves have just started changing into the glorious fall colors.  I hope to return when I have at least a few days to spend exploring this amazing place.

Acadia National Park
Otter Cliff portrait

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My favorite place was Jordon PondThere is a wonderful trail that goes around the pond, weaving in and out of the forest. Every step brought a new discovery.

Exploring Jordon Pond
Exploring Jordon Pond

Jordon Pond

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View of Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mountain.

We had dinner at The Whale’s Tooth in Lincolnville. Disappointing.

Whale's Tooth Pub

When we arrived back at our apartment, Skip and Judi met us and invited us up to their place just in time to view the foxes and raccoons out their back window. I could have sat there all night. They are such wonderful hosts.

Final Thoughts for the Day:

Acadia National Park:  I loved the park. As a photographer, I usually try to be places early in the day or later in the afternoon. It just wasn’t possible during this trip. Which means, I need to go back. I’d love to plan sunrise at Cadillac Mountain. There were also so many places we missed that I want to visit. Still, it was incredible. Sisters’ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

The Whale’s Tooth Pub: We were looking forward to dinner after a busy day so we stopped at the Whale’s Tooth Pub in Lincolnville. It was a disappointment. The service was terrible and the food wasn’t much better. My fried clams had too much breading and little flavor. Even a hot fudge sundae wouldn’t have changed my mind. After speaking with the manager, she comped the whole meal. At least we didn’t have to pay for our disappointing meal. Sisters’ Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

Waking Up in Maine

We interrupt the Namibia and South Africa programming to share sister related news: This morning we woke to the beauty of Maine.

Breakfast with Travis and the girls.
Breakfast with Travis and the girls in Denver.

Last spring, readers selected the New England area of the country for this year’s sisters’ trip. And…here we are. It is beautiful!

Cast of Characters:

Mary is the oldest sister currently residing in Flagstaff, Arizona. She can be bossy, but like most younger sisters, we’ve learned to ignore her. Mary’s steaming hot most of the time, but we attribute that to aging somewhat gracefully. (I think it’s a genetic hotness, because Wendy and I seem to be suffering from the same malady.)

Jennifer is the middle sister. (That’s me!) I like being in charge, so my sisters usually pretend that I am and then do what they want to anyway. They occasionally need to rescue me from approaching cars when I am singularly focused on getting that million dollar shot.

Wendy is the baby, and was always Mom’s favorite. (Don’t tell her, but she is our favorite, too.) She is frustrated by our total lack of organization, sometimes calling daily, or even multiple times a day until we’ve made our travel arrangements. This usually starts six months in advance of each trip. Her laughter stops the crowds and gives us the giggles as we walk away pretending not to know her.

Wendy working on the travel journal.
Wendy working on the travel journal.

Victoria has joined us as our adopted sister on this trip. She hasn’t traveled much, so she has entrusted us with this adventure. (I’m not sure Wendy warned her about us, so she may never travel again.) Victoria was the assigned navigator and kept arguing with Siri who was providing the directions. By the end of the night, she even started talking like Siri…kind of scary really.

Accommodations:

We are staying with Skip and Judi Moore at their over the garage apartment in Northport, Maine.  We found this home base on Homeaway.com.

SCORE!!

It’s a hidden gem in a forest just outside of Camden, Maine. Best of all, the four of us are staying here for four nights for just a little over $100 per night. That’s about $25 each for a beautiful place that includes a full kitchen and the amazing knowledge and blueberry muffins provided by our distinguished hosts.

It’s a perfect backdrop for our sisters’ get-together. Plenty of room to relax and catch up. Check it out:

Day 1 Script 

We flew in to Boston yesterday afternoon and after renting our car, pulled out onto the road. We stopped in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for dinner. It’s always funny trying to figure out how to pronounce the names of new places. Is it Ports Mouth, like you eat with your mouth? No. Our waiter, Jeff, let us know it’s actually pronounced like Port Smith.

When we first arrived in Portsmouth, we headed to the waterfront and meandered around looking for a restaurant. After about twenty minutes of exploring, I finally asked a couple local guys who suggested Jumping Jays. It’s always a good sign if people leaving a restaurant are talking about the amazing food. They were right. While the menu options are somewhat limited, the food was fabulous!

Jumping Jays in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Jumping Jays in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Then it was back on the road for a few more hours. Unfortunately, we were driving through some really quaint small towns after dark. We plan to revisit them during daylight hours. The drive was long and it was so nice to pull into the long driveway and to see all the lights on at our vacation rental. Skip and Judi met us as we pulled in and helped us carry our luggage up the stairs.

A Few Highlights:

We flew on Southwest Airlines and had a flight attendant with a wonderful sense of humor. As she was making final announcements after arrival in Boston, she wished “the sisters a wonderful trip”. Wow! We are famous!!

It was Ryan’s birthday. He was assisting people with getting on the bus to the rental car area. We sang happy birthday to him on the curbside. Other people in the crowd joined in. The smile on his face was huge.

After a good night’s sleep, we are off on today’s adventure. Wish us luck!!

Sisters’ Trip Update – Planning our Trip to New England

Camden, Maine
Planning for our trip to New England is moving along at a fast pace. 
Once you helped us select the amazing destination two weeks ago, Wendy and I began our research. Our excitement level is high and we’ve discovered that there is simply too much to see in such a short time. It’s been difficult to narrow our choices. I anticipate this is the first of many trips to the area. All of you have great taste!!

The budget for our five day trip is $500 each, not including airfare. I’ve run the numbers for either three or four travelers since we may have one additional family friend (adopted sister) traveling with us. The travel dates have been modified to better fit our collective schedules, so we will be traveling in late September, a perfect time for the area.

Airfare:

We are flying from Denver to Boston on Southwest Airlines at $314 each roundtrip, including the early check-in fee.

Car Rental:

The rental car (full size) from Advantage is $275, including taxes.

Lodging:

After spending an hour or two on HomeAway, we were delighted to find a mother-in-law style apartment near Camden, Maine. It sleeps four people and is a real bargain at $425 for four nights. The ratings are exceptional and the owners are very friendly. We debated staying in two different places during our travel, but after reviewing the options, decided to find one location more central to all the places we are planning to visit. We’ve never used Homeaway before or stayed in a home style rental, so this will be a new experience.

Attractions:

So far, it looks like we will be seeing parts of Acadia National Park, the White Mountains in New Hampshire and the coastline between Bar Harbor, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time for the Ben and Jerry’s tour in Vermont, so I’ll just be buying a pint or three of Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream and eating along the way.

Preparing our own breakfast and packing lunches and other snacks will help us stay within budget. However, dinner will be out on the town at fabulous restaurants. We plan to take advantage of all the amazing seafood options. I’m not sure how we are going to decide where to eat. Any suggestions?

At this point, it looks like we’re on track and have a little extra money to spare for park entrance fees and unexpected costs.  It has really helped to split the expenses between more than two people. Here is our budget so far.

DRAFT BUDGET

  Three Travelers Four Travelers
Airfare $942 $1,256
Budget $1,500 $2,000
Rental Car $275 $275
Lodging $425 $425
Gas $150 $150
Meals Out $300 $400
Meals In $150 $200
Balance $200 $550

It’s amazing that we can visit so many states in five days. I love planning a trip, don’t you?

Sisters’ Trip Update – New England It Is

New England  Lighthouse
The results are in!

Thank you for all of your input and votes. My sisters and I are headed to the New England area for our sisters’ trip. Now we just need to decide on our itinerary and what areas we will be traveling.

The initial plan is to fly into Boston or Bangor, rent a car and then drive through a number of states. Each one of us is going to pick two places we want to see and then we’ll set up the schedule. From lighthouses, to specific towns, covered bridges and a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory Tour, we’ve already received some great suggestions from those who recommended New England.

Being landlocked in Colorado, the a visit to the Atlantic Ocean is a definite. The rest will develop as we select our must sees. We are still intending to try to keep to our budget of $500 each, not including airfare. I’m finding that renting a car at one airport and dropping it off at another adds to the expense, so we’ll see what discounts are available.

Travel Budget Plan

  1. Do our research on places to stay and book in advance
  2. Select B&B’s, motels or hotels that serve breakfast and are not in the costly city centers
  3. Buy a cheap cooler when we arrive and fill it with snacks so we can limit our eating out
  4. Select and budget in the key places we want to see and then fill in with low cost or free places to visit
  5. Rent a small car that gets better gas mileage, but is still comfortable enough for three people and luggage
  6. Utilize discounts that may be available to us: senior discounts, AAA, online booking

If there is anyone who can spot a discount, it’s Wendy. I know she is already on the hunt. Do you have any tips that you use to stay on a travel budget?

In Other Travel News:

I’m headed to White Sands National Monument  in New Mexico this weekend with a small group of my photographer friends. When they say “white sands” they mean it. What a beautiful place. I can’t wait to share the pictures.

With my trip to Namibia less than two months away, I visited the Global Travel Clinic and recieved one shot in each arm yesterday afternoon. One to prevent Typhoid and the other Hepatitis A. Ouch! I have a couple prescriptions to fill, including anti-malaria pills, Cipro and motion sickness prevention patches. Planning continues…

Sisters’ Trip Update – Submit Your Vote

Travel Destination copyHere’s your chance to vote on the destination for our sisters’ trip!

First, all the suggestions were submitted.

Help Two Sisters Looking for Adventure
Get Your Travel Agent Hat On – Sisters’ Vacation Update

Then, we narrowed the choices to three destinations.

Sisters’ Trip Update – The Destination Finalists

And now, we’re eagerly awaiting your vote.

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The poll is only open for one week, so vote early.