Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10 - Bar Harbor

After an okay night’s sleep on our way to Bar Harbor, we were awakened at 8:00 a.m. by a deafening metallic clattering sound.  Sandy shot straight up in bed, eyes wide as saucers, shouting,
            “What was THAT!”
Being a guy, of course, I knew what it was.  An announcement had been made the previous evening that our stop at Bar Harbor would not be at dockside but at anchor offshore.  Sandy had not processed the idea that dropping anchor, especially an anchor of a ship this size, would be a somewhat noisy event.  Coupled with the fact that our stateroom is not far from the bow of the ship, the noise of the huge rattling chains would, indeed, have awakened the dead.  The cacophony was all the more startling because the ship is otherwise remarkably quiet.  During arrivals and departures where the ship uses a dock, only a muffled rumbling sound is heard underneath the ship as the thrusters do their work maneuvering the huge vessel.  Otherwise, it simply glides along in complete silence, the noise of its massive diesel engines suppressed into nothingness. 

After breakfast, we hopped aboard one of several tender boats shuttling passengers from the Spirit to Dockside at Bar Harbor.  The shuttle boats operated continuously from the time we anchored in the bay until 4:30 p.m., certainly a passenger-friendly gesture by the cruise line, allowing people to come and go as they pleased.

It was easy to see why Bar Harbor is an attractive summer home for the luminaries who have built stately “cottages” there.  (These are hardly cottages, but million-dollar-plus Victorian wonders.)  The city is nestled among rocky forested hills on the shore of a very picturesque harbor strewn with little forested islands, whose trees were ablaze in yellow, orange and red colors.  Yes, this was what we had come to see.

The town is relatively small, perched along and atop a steep hill that ascends from water level.  During the winter, fewer than five thousand people reside there, but in the summer the number swells by tenfold.  We intended to take a trolley tour of the town, but were thwarted due to the demand from our ship and a Princess cruise ship that had also anchored prior to our arrival.  The combined four thousand passengers overwhelmed the trolleys and tour buses that stopped incessantly at the pier.

We thought walking was a healthy option, so we struck out on foot and found ourselves famished after two blocks of this punishing fitness craze.  We barely made it to the Westside Café, a smallish restaurant where there was a line of patrons waiting to get in the door.  Lobster was their signature menu item, and since we were in Maine after all, we felt obligated to partake.  After quite a wait, we were seated, and we ordered the day’s special—a boiled lobster, clam chowder, coleslaw, French fries and blueberry pie.  The chowder arrived quickly and was consumed just as quickly, our being in agreement that it was the best ever.  Then the waiter brought our lobsters, which he said were from the morning’s catch.  There’s no way of knowing if he was truthful, but these were so tasty and sweet that we believed him completely.  And the fresh blueberry pie?  It was homemade goodness that I ate for no other reason than to give me energy for the rest of the day.  

After this delightful repast, we felt recovered sufficiently to continue our trek.  We went downtown and looked around, Sandy looking for something for our grandson, an incessant activity of hers these days and much like a swarm of locusts in leaving no store untouched.

We decided Bar Harbor is a place to which we will definitely return and give a proper investigation; one day was certainly not enough for this charming spot.

Returning toward the ship, our ride aboard the tender was a bit harrowing, in that the wind had increased to about 35 mph and the tender was slamming into the whitecapped waves with terrific jolts, throwing sea spray up and over the boat and leaking into the closed cabin as a steady drip onto Sandy’s lap.  Before I could offer to swap seats with her, an oriental gentleman beat me to it, and I made no attempt to dissuade him, as I had already showered and needed no extra bathing today. 

The skipper of the tender soon slowed to a crawl to lessen the force of the swells, and we were soon alongside the mother ship and crawling aboard from the bouncing little craft.

Back on board the Spirit, we watched a movie before going for dinner in the main dining room, where we had a wonderful sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce, salad, asparagus and crème brulee.  The steak was perfectly cooked, and we both agreed that the food on Norwegian was significantly better than that we had on Royal Caribbean.

In the theater, we enjoyed the antics of a really good ventriloquist, who persuaded a number of people from the audience to go onstage and embarrass the daylights out of themselves.  I was glad I wasn’t one of them.

It was a good day, and we’re looking forward to Canada tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. What a cute town! It reminds me alot of Europe! Daddy-those pictures are absolutely fantastic! They look completely professional. And I have to say, those lobsters are the size of housecats! AH! Wonderfully written as usual! (Thanks MiMi for looking for Mason! You need to get something for YOU though!)...or me...since it's my birthday...HAHA! JK Love yall!

    Mason's Mom


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