Friday, May 28, 2010

Bar Harbor to Home, Friday

Well, leaving Bar Harbor this morning was bittersweet. Leaving was sad because: 1. it's such an incredibly beautiful area; 2. it's very nice having a room with an ocean view; 3. the weather was about as nice as nice can get (sunny, clear blue sky, dry air, breeze coming off the ocean); 4. no more maids to clean our room and make our beds while we're out during the day; and 5. no more picking a different restaurant each day for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. But taking off for home was sweet because: 1. there are hubbies; 2. also kids; and 3. even kitties. The latter 3 definitely outweighed the former 5, so off we took heading south.

We did make a stop in Rockland to check out the current exhibit at the Farnsworth Art Museum's Wyeth Center. Bev and I are huge fans of all the Wyeths and are particularly enamored of Andrew Wyeth's watercolors. This was Bev's first visit to the museum and she seemed to enjoy it and was very well-behaved. I made her take the elevator to the second floor (the Wyeth Center is actually a beautiful old church that has been converted to an amazing art gallery) because Bob & I were so impressed by its size when we visited several years ago. The elevator is so large, it's like a room. It used to have a long bench along one wall so you could sit down while you traveled up and down (no bench today though).

Bev and I particularly wanted to study the composition and brush techniques of the watercolors done by Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. One of the new filter techniques that we have been using with some of our photos closely resembles watercolors and since our photo subjects are quite often similar to what the Wyeths painted, we think some of our photos resemble their work. Check out the photo of Marshall Point Light on our homepage at if you want to see why we think that. Coincidentally, Marshall Point Light is located in Point Clyde, ME where the Wyeth family owned a summer home.

We also had an opportunity to study and enjoy several of Robert Indiana's large steel sculptures from a previous Farnsworth exhibit. They were displayed outdoors in the gardens surrounding the museum, and there was a blue version of his famous LOVE sculpture located in a small park in downtown Rockland. Bev took several photos and if you're lucky, she'll decide to choose those photos to post with today's blog. Indiana's sculptures are always interesting, intriguing, beautiful, and thought-provoking.

After our museum stop, I took Bev to The Brown Bag (TBB) restaurant for lunch. Bob & I ate breakfast at TBB every single morning on our last trip to Rockland. All their bakery items, including the homemade bread used to make their sandwiches, are made right there on site. So you can only imagine what the smell of freshly baking bread does to one's appetite as you enter the front door.

Bob says my blog occasionally reads more like a foodie blog than a photography blog, but I know people love to know about good restaurants and the good things those restaurants serve. So here's the low-down on lunch. I had a turkey BLT with cucumber slices. TBB roasts its own turkey and they shred the turkey meat and then pile it up high on the bread. I love turkey sandwiches and this one was A+++. Bev had a Reuben - a favorite of both of us, and she also loved her sandwich. Sweet potato fries for Bev, potato fries for me, and I had a small green salad. On the way out, we stopped over in the bakery and I purchased the most gorgeous blueberry pie for Bob and me to enjoy this weekend (it even has small stars made out of pie crust on the top of the pie - a very nice nod to Memorial Day), 3 Hermit bars for Bob (he DOES love his Hermits), and a loaf of their gorgeous white bread which was still warm because it had come out of the oven less than an hour before. Oh, I know I could have bought healthy bread - oatmeal, or 7-grain, or bran, or one of those hippie fiber breads - but sometimes there's nothing like the perfect loaf of dense homemade white bread. So get over it. If you're ever in Rockland, please, please, please, for your own pleasure, go to TBB for breakfast or lunch. You will thank me after.

After we loaded up the car with our newly-purchased baked goods, we departed Rockland and headed straight for home. Except, well . . . we passed this little farm stand not far out of Rockland and they had a sign out announcing the sale of their own freshly-picked strawberries. Late May in Maine! Almost too good to be true - our local strawberries down here in Southeast MA don't even ripen until June. But we pulled a U-turn and drove straight back to the barn. And indeed, they did have real honest-to-goodness local RIPE strawberries for sale. Seems all those warm days they've been having even up in Maine (days with temps up in the 80s & 90s) pushed the strawberries to ripen much earlier than normal. I did just eat one when I brought them into the house when I got home. They are GOOD and SWEET.

Here's a small lesson on things that are Maine. One of the most beautiful and enjoyable sights Bev and I enjoyed all week were the fields and hills and gardens just overflowing with lupines in near full bloom - blue, lavender, pink, and white in color, they are so incredibly beautiful to see. Like the strawberries, we found out from a local Mainer that the lupines are also blooming much earlier than normal this year. Anyway, Bev and I were pronouncing the word as if it sound like lou-pines. A very nice lady at the Jordan Pond gift shop in ANP informed us that the locals call them lou-pins (as in safety-pins). So we have been corrected and are now pronouncing lupine just like the locals.

I do need to make a little confession here. I was pinning (not pining) for some lupines to take home to make a bouquet for my dining room table. I have never seen lupines growing wild in Massachusetts, so I figured having some in a vase to see each time I walked through my dining room would be a nice reminder of our trip to Bar Harbor and Maine. So yesterday, while en-route to the Atlantic Brewing Company, Bev and I scouted out a place where, the next morning as we left town for home, we could "borrow" some lupines to take with us. And we found the perfect spot - a little dirt road that went in off Rt. 3 to a small field where someone had piled up a bunch of rocks. All around the edge of the field of rocks, lupines were growing everywhere.

So after we left our hotel this morning, we got to where the little dirt road was located, backed in a ways off the highway, and we did some picking. We had a tall, narrow cooler that we'd brought with us from home and we added water near halfway to the top before we left the hotel. Bob had a small wooden case in the trunk that contained a jack-knife, and no local cops drove by while I was picking (Bev was out front between the front of the car and the edge of road taking some photos of the lupines out there - she was my decoy), and I was able to pick several dozen stems of those absolutely beautiful flowers. I was SO happy.

But, our little field had only a couple white lupines and no pink ones. So later on on our way home, we spotted a beautiful hillside of lupines with plenty of pinks and whites. We pulled over and I got out to pick some so I'd have a variety of colors for my flower arrangement. Well, there was a drainage ditch off the side of the road and at the bottom of what was really a very steep hill. When I went to jump over the ditch, I slipped on some moss on the other side and fell nearly flat on my face. The hill was so steep and the moss was so slippery, I couldn't get any traction to make my way up to where the lupines were. Someone driving by must have thought I looked pretty darn hilarious because they gave me a nice beep, beep, beep of their car horn. Bev got out and walked right up the hill to the pink ones and cut us enough for some added color and I sat on the side of the road and attempted to clean all the mud off my left-foot white sneaker. All turned out well - at least in that no cops drove by and we didn't end up in trouble.

I will say in our defense that we don't really think it's a big deal to be borrowing Maine lupines to bring home. We found out they're considered an invasive species in Maine and the National Park Service even has a program to try and eradicate all the lupines in Acadia National Park. We'd like to think we were helping the NPS with their eradication program.

And now, our spring road trip for 2010 has ended. Bev and I are now ensconced safely back in our homes. Bob and the kitties were very happy to see me. Bob was happy to see the variety-pack of Atlantic Brewing Company beers I brought him home. The kitties didn't get any presents, but then, they don't know the difference. I tried to explain to them about the two Bar Harbor stores that sell all dog stuff and how there wasn't a single store with cat stuff, but they didn't seem to much care. They were just glad I was home to scratch their ears and give them some good petting.

Now that we're back from Bar Harbor, we won't be writing our blog every day, or even every week. But we will occasionally be blogging about day road trips or upcoming Salmon Falls happenings. We do have a gallery show coming up at the end of June at the Hughes/Donahue Gallery in Taunton. It's a show devoted solely to photography. And although several other photographers will be exhibiting their work, the gallery owners are featuring Bev's and my work. So there will be news on our blog of the show as it comes together.

We hope you've enjoyed reading about our Bar Harbor trip and you'll check back for new posts to read about more of our adventures.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bar Harbor, Thursday

Today was the best day weatherwise of our stay so far. I do believe that the visibility out over the ocean and across the mountains was the best it could possibly be. The air was crystal clear. The weather changed here so dramatically late yesterday afternoon that the temperature dropped from near 90 to 55 in less than an hour. We went from a land breeze to an ocean breeze, there were whitecaps out on Frenchmen's Bay in front of our hotel, and it felt like we were suddenly in a totally different world.

This morning when we left the hotel to head out for ANP, the sky was clear, a cool breeze was blowing, the air was extremely dry, and it was only in the low 50s. The only thing that changed over the day was the temperature which went up to near 70 degrees by late afternoon. It was a perfect day to finish driving the Park Loop Road. And we started at Thunder Hole a little over two hours before high tide. We were the only people there for about half an hour, so we could take photos without any people getting in the way. Us photographers love times like that.

After we finished driving the PLR, we headed out for Seal Harbor. And like the good detectives that we are, we found the entrance to Skylands, one of Martha Stewart's summer homes, in no time flat. It was even easier than last spring when we went to the North & South Forks of Long Island and found Lily Pond, her other summer home in the Hamptons, and took pictures of the beautiful gate at the end of her driveway and the roof of her house. Are we obsessed with Martha Stewart? Bevie would say that I am, and that I need to go for therapy, but she is not. I'm not so sure I would agree with that assessment.

Martha has signs everywhere at the end of her Skylands driveway telling us ... warning us, that it's private property and we are not to enter and disturb her. Perhaps our reputations preceded us. Did her signs scare us? Yes indeedie they did. What does this have to do with Salmon Falls Photography? Absolutely nothing. But we consider it quite a challenge to find Martha's houses and figure it's good clean harmless fun.

We traveled from the park to Seal Harbor to Southwest Harbor to Northeast Harbor, and then back over to Bass Harbor so Bev could take some photos of Bass Head Light. Earlier in the week, when we entered the lighthouse grounds illegally before 9 am, we didn't know there was another path on the far side of the lighthouse that provided an access all the way down to the bottom of the rocks on the ocean side of the lighthouse. The access allows for photos to be taken looking up at the lighthouse from the water's edge. Bev really wanted that photo so we drove all the way across Mount Desert Island to THAT lighthouse to get THAT photo taken from THAT view. A little aside here. The "Desert" in MDI is pronounced like the word "dessert", not "desert" - at least over in Seal Harbor where Martha lives.

We wanted to get going early this morning, but slept much later than usual because we were both exhausted - still are for that matter. By the time we did get out this morning, the park had already opened and we'd missed a lot of the early morning light. We cut outselves some slack and kept reiterating how incredibly gorgeous the day was and how extraordinary the visibility was and we just simply enjoyed being in the moment in such a beautiful place.

Not much to report in the restaurant review department. We never did eat breakfast or lunch today. We just got busy with business and forgot to think about meals. Finally, we decided it was time to get off the photo op road and head for downtown Bar Harbor for supper. We drove up and down a few streets looking at restaurants and finally, on a fluke, picked Mama DiMatteo's, an Italian place. It was a lucky choice. The food was excellent. And I was a very happy camper - the soup of the day was gazpacho, one of my all time favorites. We shared an order of crab-stuffed mushrooms. Bev had Mediterranean past for her main course and I had mac & cheese made with gorgonzola cheese. Oh, and a side of sauteed spinach and pine nuts. No dessert. We walked down to the center of the shops, wandered around some stores (why does Bar Harbor have two stores devoted entirely to dogs, but not a single one for cats???), and then into a different ice cream store from last night's that we decided needed checking out. Tonight I had a waffle cone withat a scoop each of butter crunch and Almond Joy ice cream. Very, very good. But then again, what ice cream isn't!

After we get today's blog online, we plan to do some reading. As my family well knows, one of my favorite travel things to do is to read the local newspaper. This week's issue of the "Mount Desert Islander" came out just today and I have a copy right on the bed here beside me. You just know what I'll be reading when I climb into bed.

Tomorrow morning we will be packing up to leave Bar Harbor and our next stop is Rockland, ME. We hope to spend the morning visiting the Wyeth Center at the Farnsworth Art Museum We are both big fans of all three Wyeths and we rarely get a chance to visit the Wyeth Center to check out new exhibits. This will be a treat for both of us. After our museum stop, lunch at the Brown Bag in downtown Rockland (a wonderful breakfast & lunch bakery/cafe that Bob and I discovered on our trip to Rockland & Camden to celebrate my 60th birthday), we then head home to Massachusetts.

We will post one final Bar Harbor trip blog tomorrow night. There's bound to be some photo ops between Bar Harbor and the Rockland/Camden area and who knows what other unexpected adventure might come out way. So tomorrow night, look for one final posting from our Bar Harbor trip before we settle back into everyday life with our families - we do miss our hubbies and our kitties.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bar Harbor, Wednesday

We are posting today's blog early purely for selfish reasons. We want to go swimming tonight after dark in the beautiful hotel pool with the underwater lighting all while the stars are out and the moon is shining. With the blog written and a photo added from today's outing, we can stay in the pool (and the hot tub) until it closes at 11 pm - much too late to take care of business like that AFTER we climb out of the pool.

Today, with plans to travel the 27-mile Park Loop Road (PLR) in Acadia National Park (ANP), but unable to enter the park until it opened at 8 am, we started with breakfast at 7 at the Morning Glory Bakery in downtown Bar Harbor. I had an egg & bagel sandwich and they actually cooked the egg fresh while I waited. No pre-cooked eggs here like Dunkin' Donuts. Very good bagels - New York style with a nice chewy outside and a soft inside. They did not have fresh hand-squeezed orange juice. :( I had to settle for Nantucket Nectars apple juice. It was still a good breakfast. We watched all the worker bees come in in their Monday through Friday work clothes to get their coffee and pastries to go before they headed out for the office or wherever they work. The regulars . . . those ladies at the bakery counter knew exactly what they wanted before the morning regulars even walked in the front door.

Just before 8 am, we headed out for the park; but, we had decided to stop first at an old stone arch bridge that when you look out through the arch, you see a beautiful view of the ocean. Ugh! My camera battery was dead (we determined the battery was the problem after swapping out my battery for Bev's - thank heaven we have near identical cameras). Like all good professional photographers, I had charged the battery before I went to bed last night. Still don't know for sure what the problem is, but the battery is already in the charger and we'll see what another charge does for it. Bev offered to share her camera with me for the day. That's okay, but she's not quite as generous as I would have liked her to be. Plus, my prize-winning photos of the day are now on her camera memory card and I'm not so sure I will ever get my hands back on them again!

We got lost on the Park Loop Road. We took a right when we should have taken a left. Not really our fault. On our way back out of the park this afternoon, we checked the signage from the opposite direction and it's definitely misleading. You don't have to be Polish to have made the mistake we made. Anyway, by the time we realized we were on the wrong road, we ended up at a beautiful little beach in Seal Harbor where Martha Stewart owns one of her summer homes. The fog was rolling in heavy off the ocean. The small harbor had lots of lobster boats anchored, and there were several beautiful forested islands not far off the beach, and it was another one of those fortuituous happenings. We LOVE fog photographs! I will be very excited to see how those photos come out. I think there may will be a Lambert Award for Excellence in Photography winner for this year's Plymouth Art Guild show. (Bev won the Lambert Award last year, and I am DETERMINED to win it this year!!! Am I a competitive older sister. Maybe just a little.)

We then turned around, got back on the Park Loop Road and started back from the beginning of the one-way section. And the fog came rolling in all the way up to where we were (much further inland and amongst some pretty high mountain peaks). We did get to stop at Thunder Hole, but it was almost exactly high tide and the hole was quiet. When we return tomorrow, when we are sure the fog will have lifted, we plan on getting to Thunder Hole about 3-hours before high tide - the ideal time for the loudest thunder sounds as the waves come crashing into the split rock chasm that makes for all the noise.

Not long after we left Thunder Hole, it started raining (never trust Accuweather's forecast - today Bar Harbor was suppose to be sunny with highs in the mid-70s). So we drove straight over to the Jordan Pond House and settled in at a table by the window that afforded us a beautiful view of Jordan Pond and The Bubbles (with some fog). We both ordered soup and one of their world-famous popovers. Oh, those popovers! Served with soft whipped butter and blueberry jam. To die for! Then we had green salads with curried chicken salad on top. Bill, a college kid and our waiter, was fabulous. He comes from Easton, one of the town's that borders Raynham. Talk about a small world. Then we shopped at the gift store and I did some serious credit card damage. Presents for you family members - they're very, very nice.

Now we're back at the hotel, and I'm writing the blog and Bev is downloading today's photos and I just know she's stealing my photos of the fog rolling in over at Seal Harbor. Later we're going to make a trip to the downtown Bar Harbor area where all the neat stores are and visit the Atlantic Brewing Company to buy some locally-brewed suds for our hubbies. Supper is going to be ice cream at another local ice cream maker we saw last night wandering around downtown Bar Harbor. Then back to the hotel and out to the pool. YEAH!

Tomorrow - back to the Park Loop Road to check out the section we got rained out of today. Then off to Seal Harbor to have lunch with Martha. Just kidding! But we do want to ride around Seal Harbor to look for some more photo ops. If we're lucky, like so many other days, fortuituous photo ops will come our way when we least expect to find them. Although, quite honestly, if we came home with just the photos we already have, we'd more than happy with this road trip. You just have to trust that the photos will find you and not look too hard for them on purpose.

We will be back tomorrow with tales of another day's adventures. Bev wants to make sure I not get your hopes up with this posting - we will not be posting any photos of us swimming in the pool tonight.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bar Harbor, Tuesday

Today was both productive and rewarding. We were up at 5:15 am and left the hotel parking lot by 6 am (we love the early morning light for taking photos and are willing to sacrifice our morning sleep to catch the very early morning light - as long as we know there's an afternoon nap in our future). We decided to head out for Southwest Harbor.

We had a little incident in the parking lot of a beautiful Methodist Church that caught our eye because it had some very unique gingerbread trim. So we pulled in to check it out. But the church had vinyl siding (in our opinion, too many old New England churches are going the way of easy maintenance and we're losing the character of those beautiful old buildings). When we went to pull out of the church parking lot, I laid rubber, Bev broke into hysterical laughter and started making signs of the cross (don't ask how long it's been since she's been a real practicing Catholic!), and she nearly peed her pants she was laughing so hard. Poor Bob, especially if he reads this blog - he just put two brand new tires on his car before we took off for Bar Harbor . . . and I'm laying rubber with them in a church parking lot. By the way, if that was a Methodist Church, why was Bev making the Catholic sign of the cross???

I do have to tell you about breakfast. We got hungry around 8 am and started looking for some place to eat. Fortuituously, we found Sips in the little town of Bass Harbor. I had the best ever homemade granola with yogurt and fresh fruit for my breakfast and Bev had scrambled eggs with Nellie's organic-grown brown eggs. Maybe we were just very hungry, or just maybe the food was that good. Today's breakfast was as good as breakfast can ever get. Oh, I did I tell you? I had REAL hand-squeezed fresh oj.

As usual, we got off the beaten path and ended up finding our best photos of the day. That's the way it almost always is for us. A beautiful garden of lupines growing up a hill on someone's lawn on the side of the road, three old Adirondack chairs, one blue, one red, and one yellow, all lined up side-by-side on a big stretch of shaded grass lawn located in front of an old inn, the Bass Harbor Head Light beacon still on because we illegally walked into the lighthouse area before 8 am when it didn't officially open to the public until 9 am. Like that scared us off.

Late in the afternoon we found our way back to our hotel, took a long overdue shower (it was 90+ degrees and somewhat humid in Bar Harbor today - who says it's always cool at the ocean), didn't take a nap, but did go out and sit at the pool (in the shade) and watch the boats out on the ocean. Then off to supper at Lompoc's, this wonderful restaurant Bob and I discovered on a previous trip to Bar Harbor, where we had some wonderfully diversified ethnic foods to pick from. From there, we wandered over to Mount Desert Island ice cream where they make their own ice cream, and had dessert. I had a three-scooper: chocolate-orange, vanilla bean and white chocolate.

Then we drove over to Acadia National Park and up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain where we check out the 360-degree views including the easterly view across the Atlantic Ocean to England. I see London, I see France, I see Bevie's . . .
The sunset was beautiful, spectacular, spiritual, and breath-taking all at once. There was a very thin cloud cover as the sun was setting and it was like watching a giant orange beachball slowly sink below the horizon. Bev and I are pretty sure we now know without a doubt why observing sunsets are a part of many native Americans spiritual practices. If one of Bev's sunset photos turns out well, that's the photo we will post with our blog tonight. We will not be adding any extra photos to our Facebook pages today.

Tomorrow we're off to Acadia National Park proper and plan on driving the 27-mile Park Loop Road around the edge of the park and perhaps stopping at Jordan Pond to enjoy one of their famous popovers. See you tomorrow night.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bar Harbor, Monday

Well, we have arrived. We are in Bah Harbah! As I sit here at the table next to the window in our hotel room, I have a beautiful view of the ocean and the mountains beyond and I can also see the inground swimming pool and hot tub which have the lights turned on for the night. It's really quite beautiful and peaceful. Not a bad way to make a living running a business!
We had a safe trip up, rather uneventful (for us), and arrived here around 5:30 pm having made numerous stops along the way. Bev has some excellent photographs of the trip up and she will post one along with this blog. Unfortunately, I was unable to convince her to take a photo of the topless sunbather lying on the beach in Lincolnville. Rather, she took pictures of the ocean and some boats moored out in the water and some rather pretty lupine flowers in near full bloom.
We did make a quick U-turn to take some shots of some very cute baby sheep, but once we got turned around and pulled over to the side of the road, all the sheep took off up the hill to get as far away from us as they could. I stood by the fence and tried imitating a sheep, a cat, whistling to them, doing the smoochy lips thing that people do to get a cat's attention - all to no avail. They only wandered off further away from us. So our shots are not as close up as we would have liked.
We had a lovely supper at the Poor Boy's Gourmet restaurant in downtown Bar Harbor(if you're interested in the place or their menu, check out and had an excellent meal. Bev particularly liked her lemon drop martini and I had a delightful hand squeezed hard lemonade.
Now we're both very tired and after we post this blog, add a photo (we believe our blog only allows us to post just ONE photo per blog), and then add an album of the rest of our photos from today to my Facebook page, we need to decide about tomorrow. Bev's going to read to me about some scenic roads and sights in Bar Harbor as part of research for tomorrow's trip. And then it's lights out for the night. See you tomorrow. Judith

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Beginning

So many people have asked us about where we go on our road trips, what we do while we're out tripping around, and what inspires us to take the photographs we take, that we decided to blog and share our adventures and some of our photos with you. We'll see how it goes, what kind of feedback we get from all of you, and how this whole, wonderful, crazy experiment plays out. It may be a short term experiment or, it may turn into a novel that lasts well into my 90s (my primary care physician has actually promised me that I'm going to be very healthy and taking wonderful photographs when I'm that old).

We're going to start our blog with our trip to Bar Harbor, Maine at the end of May. We plan on being gone for 5 days. Since Bev is the administrator of our website at and I'm the one who loves to write and tell stories in detail (ask my family if you don't believe me - they frequently tell me I make their ears tired), I'm going to write the blog (that would be me, Judith).

We welcome questions and we'd love to hear your comments. Be forewarned, my answers to your questions or comments on your comments, may even tire your ears . . . or in this case, with a blog, tire your eyes.

And the experiment starts. Stay tuned and check in frequently. We depart Monday morning, May 24.