The weather did not improve overnight.
However, we still counted ourselves somewhat lucky, since the torrential downpours that we’d heard pounding on the tent overnight had ceased and we were back to drizzle and tree-rain. Nadia greeted me in the morning with this: “Mom, there’s a huge puddle of water in the corner…” Turns out they SPILLED A WATER BOTTLE INSIDE THE TENT. As if we didn’t have enough water problems.
The chill persisted and a hot breakfast and tea were called for. Bob made a delicious hash and the smell was sufficiently good to pull reluctant girls from their warm sleeping bags.
|The “summit” on Bar Island|
Outdoor activities didn’t seem too promising, so we headed for a touch tank activity being held at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. Unfortunately upon arriving we discovered that I’d incorrectly remembered the time and the Natural History Museum, where the touch tank was, was not yet open.
|Theoretically, a beautiful view of Bar Harbor|
So, despite half-hearted protests from Nadia and the fact that Lanie had left her raincoat in the tent (also, did I mention that both Zoe and Lanie left their sneakers outside the tent overnight?), we went into Bar Harbor and set off for Bar Island. At low tide, the island is connected to Bar Harbor by a sandbar, and you can walk across on the sand. The kids would have had a ball tide-pooling here if they weren’t so cold, but Lanie still managed to find a large number of shells to collect (which I believe are still sitting in my raincoat pocket). On Bar Island we took a little hike to the summit, and saw what I’m sure would have been a beautiful view across the harbor in less foggy conditions.
Back in Bar Harbor, the rain started in earnest. We had ducked into a tourist information center and were bleakly thumbing through a newspaper, looking for things to do in the rain, when I came across something exciting. The local microbrewery, which Bob and I had given longing glances as we passed, had an ad for beer AND SODA tastings. To me, that said – “Kids welcome!” So we walked through the pouring rain to the Atlantic Brewing Company, where Bob and I tried four kinds of beer and the kids tried homemade root beer and blueberry soda.
By this point the rain had become a deluge, and we realized we were unfortunately a fair way from the car. By the time we got back we were all drenched. The kids in their wet sandals were now all far better off than me in my sodden sneakers, which had felt so warm and dry that morning.
Rather than enjoying a scenic view, we ate our ragtag lunch in a parking lot, rain pounding on the car all the while. Luckily it was by now the correct time for the touch tank presentation, and we spent quite a while listening to the ranger and exploring the little museum. (As with the water bottle inside the tent, Lanie managed to compound our water issues by getting the sleeves of her sweatshirt entirely drenched in the touch tank.)
When the rain let up a bit, we set off down the park loop road and stopped at Sand Beach. The park had been regularly taunting us with pictures and postcards of this beach, drenched in sun, with happy bathing-suited people frolicking about in the water. The scene was rather different for us — in fact, we had the whole beautiful beach to ourselves. We didn’t stay too long.
Since it was not really raining at this point, we set off on a walking trail along the rocks of the coastline, toward Thunder Hole about a half mile away. It was a LONG half-mile, but the views were gorgeous and Thunder Hole was worth the trip — though it wasn’t actually thundering at that time, Zoe and Nadia loved climbing around on the rocks and splashing through the water. Lanie at this point (still having no raincoat) was too cold and tired to want to do anything but go back to the car.
|Yes, as a matter of fact we DID manage
to get Junior Ranger badges!
Bob and I had spent a fair amount of time debating plans during the day. We kept consulting different weather forecasts and trying to decide whether to hang on or throw in the towel. Eventually we’d seen that the little Bar Harbor pizza restaurant/movie theater was showing Monsters’ University at 5:30, so we decided to tough it out and head there at dinnertime. By the time we got back, we could just go to bed and hope for better things the next morning.
Unfortunately, when we went back to change into drive clothes before the movie, we discovered that some kind of calamity had befallen our tarp/tent setup and the tent was now half-full of water. Well, you don’t have to hit us over the head with a hammer — this was the last straw and we were out of there. Nadia and Lanie were very disappointed — Lanie cried and cried — while Zoe seemed happy enough to go home to a warm house. (This is the exact opposite of what I would have predicted, by the way.)
|At Thunder Hole|
Nadia and Zoe were great, though — they really rallied to help us break camp in record time. Within an hour of when we’d discovered the wet tent, we were on the road, heading toward home. (The car was an utter disaster, with wet clothes and towels and tent parts everywhere, but that couldn’t be helped.) I couldn’t help but pity the poor saps who were lined up to enter the campground (this being the Friday night before the 4th of July). And the huge platters of Chinese food that were put before us at the Noodle House in Brewer, Maine did much to raise everyone’s spirits.
Lest you worry that the kids were too scarred by this experience, they spent the next night at home — sleeping in the tent in the back yard.
We left Acadia with a lot more to see. Truly. We spent a lot of time telling the kids things like: “Right out there, where all the fog is, there a beautiful ocean.” Many sentences started: “On a clear day, you would see…” Sometimes we said: “If it wasn’t so wet…”
As a testament to how wet we were, check out the picture of the girls at Sand Beach. They stayed on the stairs and didn’t even go onto the sand. Normally, it would have taken the National Guard to keep them from getting knee deep in the water by the time the shutter on the camera closed. The kids were troopers, but the elements really kept us in check.
I could tell Jen’s optimism was flagging as the day dripped on, as was mine. The kids, to their great credit, were against leaving. They wanted to stick it out. So, when the tent collapsed and provided the final straw, there was some release for the adults and much disappointment from the kids. Lanie cried the whole time we took the tent down.
It didn’t take long for everyone to make peace with our fate. It didn’t hurt that our fate included a stop at Noodles and Company. It might not look like much, but for $50 we got totally filled up with good Chinese food for dinner, and then we got filled up again for lunch the next day.
We’re definitely swinging through Brewer, ME, on our next trip to Acadia.
And, we’re definitely going back to Acadia to see all the stuff we didn’t see this time…and maybe pick up a few more popovers in the process.