Day 21 – The Acadian and the Criterion

We wake up in the pre-dawn to the sound of rain on our tent and go back to sleep to wait it out. We climb out after it stops about 8 a.m., congratulating ourselves for having decided last night to forego hiking today – not because of the weather forecast, which was for clear skies, but because the showers are closed on Sundays and we don’t want to have to find someplace to eat post-hike without being able to shower first.

We head to the little town of Southwest Harbor for breakfast, also hitting a book sale at the public library and logging onto its wi-fi. We’re so used to having Internet and cell reception, not to mention electricity, that it’s been a bit of a culture shock at the campground. No hot water for showers, no electricity. The western side of the Mount Desert Island, where our campground is located, doesn’t have great cell reception either.

The library is small-town cozy with Mission-style reading tables, a vaulted ceiling, and leather chairs arranged in front of a fireplace. I’m thinking I maybe could tolerate the Maine fog and cold winters if I could hang out here all day. I wonder if they’d let me bring in coffee?

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Southwest Harbor Library.

We take care of business and head off to catch a two-our nature cruise on the Acadian, which docks in Bar Harbor. On shore, the temperatures are in the high 70s and it’s sunny but once we get on the boat, not only is there wind – we’re sitting on the open top deck, of course – but we keep hitting fog banks, which make the temperatures much cooler. The boat people are well-prepared for this and hand out thick wool blankets, so I’m cuddled in my jacket and a blanket. Walt’s content in his rain jacket.

Our guide is more wise-cracking than nature-loving but he’s entertaining and knows a lot about islands, the lobster industry, and the people who built their 30-room-plus “summer cottages” back when the island was pretty much just lobster fisherman and wealthy summer residents.

We do see eagles and seals but no porpoises.

After shedding our layers, we wander the town, stopping for a frozen custard – no we haven’t burned enough calories to have earned our treat but it’s hot and there’s an ice cream shop about every 50 feet; too hard to resist them all.

Again, we’re not really in a place to buy anything in the shops but it’s still fun to look. After a very nice dinner at the Side Street Café – lobster cobb salad for Walt and lobster mixed greens salad for me – we buy tickets for the new Spiderman movie. It’s being shown at the Criterion – a restored Art Deco movie theater (the pictures below do not do it justice) with velvet seats, decorated ceiling, and a balcony.

We head back to camp and our little tent in the woods, content with our day.

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