Travel Thoughts by Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together… to New England!
I started to write this just about Bar Harbor, Maine. But, I couldn’t stop my mind (and fingers) from wandering to the other New England states I visited. I checked “Visit the
New England States” off my bucket list in two trips – one was a cruise with my travel buddy in 2015 and the other was in a motor home with my brother and sister-in-law in 2017.
The reason this was initially meant to focus on Bar Harbor is because I absolutely LOVE Bar Harbor!!! When we took the New England / Canada cruise in 2015, I was most looking forward to that port. The shore excursion I booked was a lighthouse cruise and I was so excited. Sadly, though, it was too foggy the day we got to Bar Harbor and they wouldn’t let the tenders run, so we pulled up anchor and left without getting to go ashore. The second time I made it to Bar Harbor, I found I could do that same lighthouse cruise, so I bought a ticket only to discover it was too foggy for the boats to run that day, too. Unfortunately, I planned that on the last day we were there, so I missed giving it another try. So…I have returned “Bar Harbor” to my bucket list so I can go back and, hopefully, get to do that lighthouse cruise! But, the several days we spent camping in Bar Harbor were amazing…despite not getting to do the lighthouse cruise.
But, let’s back up a bit. The 2015 New England / Canada cruise was on Royal Caribbean and it was one of my favorite cruises (I know, I say that a lot, don’t I?). It started in Boston and sailed to Portland and Bar Harbor in Maine and Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, returning to Boston to end the cruise. We spent the day “on our own” in Portland. We took a Pedicab – a guy on a bicycle pulling a two seat cart – that took us all over the town and then we just wandered around taking pictures and eating lobster. It was a really fun day. Of course, I already told you we couldn’t get in to Bar Harbor because of the fog. In both St. John and Halifax, we chose to do The Big Pink Bus hop-on-hop-off tours and saw many amazing things – our favorite was a public park in Halifax designed to commemorate Queen Elizabeth that had a Dahlia exhibit with so many stunning varieties and colors of dahlias. When we returned to Boston, we took a bus tour of the city on the way to the airport. Our tour guide that day was not as good as most tour guides – we felt a little let down and like we missed some things. I took that same tour when I got back from my Bermuda cruise and that guide was amazing – a much better experience.
Then, in 2017, my brother, sister-in-law, their dog Ellie, and I took their motor home on a grand adventure covering 1570 miles and 7 states in 10 days. Our first stop was Niantic, CT where we camped at a KOA for three days and rented a car so we could venture out to explore Mystic, CT, Salem, MA, and Plymouth, MA. Mystic has a wonderful aquarium that we really enjoyed and we spent some time in Olde Mystic Village, which was cool. We also got pizza at Mystic Pizza, because, DUH – we had to!
Salem, MA was a bit of a disappointment – very commercialized, but they did have a really nice Farmers Market with some great shops and music. We enjoyed Plymouth, MA a LOT – we wished we had spent less time in Salem so that we could have spent more time in Plymouth – it is such a wonderful town with lots of history and peaceful places to sit and soak up the amazing views. I thought Plymouth Rock would be bigger or grander, but it was really cool to see it and I got a nearly impossible selfie! We walked all over the town and ate lobster rolls overlooking the water for dinner. I’d love to go back, someday.
When we left the KOA in Niantic to head towards Maine, we stopped at Gillette Stadium to peak at the field and go in the gift shop to do our Christmas shopping for my nephew and his family of die-hard Patriots fans. We also stopped in Gloucester, MA for lobster on the water front for dinner – another peaceful little fishing town that was just lovely. We stopped for the night at a really nice KOA in Saco, Maine, near Portland.
In Bar Harbor, we camped at the Bar Harbor Ocean Side KOA for three days and rented a car. WOW – that campground is awesome – I highly recommend it, if you’re going to be camping in Bar Harbor (I think they had cabins, too). It was right on the water and made for wonderful evening walks and time watching the sun set. There was also a guy there that cooked lobster dinners with lobsters caught fresh that morning by his cousin – every night – you got a whole lobster, a full ear of corn, cole slaw, and a drink for $20! Of course, we ate there every night.
While in Bar Harbor, we spent a lot of time wandering around the quaint waterfront village, we did all the loops
in Acadia National Park, including Thunder Hole, took a bus tour up Cadillac Mountain, and drove the entire perimeter of the island with a stop at the Bass Harbor Lighthouse at the tip of the island. I will make it back there, again…if only to finally get on that lighthouse cruise! Hehehe
We drove back home through New Hampshire and Vermont, spending the night at a KOA in New Hampshire and stopped in Arlington, VT where we met an old high school friend of mine for lunch. We really wish we had spent more time in both of these states, but we only allotted 10 days for the trip because we had to get back. But, the scenery as we drove through New Hampshire and Vermont was to die for! I also visited Vermont for the day when I was in the Adirondacks this past fall. I want to spend more time in Vermont, in particular, but also New Hampshire with the main goal of covered bridge hunting…definitely still on the bucket list.
Our last overnight stop was in Herkimer, NY at a really nice campground with lots of cool things to snap photos of. And, then we were back home. It was a fantastic trip full of amazing views, fun and interesting things to see and do, and LOTS of lobster….be sure to click on the link for the blog post dedicated to all the delicious lobster and silly photos I can’t resist taking whenever I have a whole lobster in my hands! I only mentioned 5 of the 7 states we visited – we counted New York as the sixth and we also were in and out of Rhode Island several times in our travels. New England is simply beautiful and has so much to offer….if you haven’t been, you really should.
Visit my blog for all the fun photos from my 2017 New England Adventure and my 2015 New England Cruise: