Sunday, December 21, 2014

Road Trip: Acadia National Park

once a year keith and i like to plan a special two week holiday. the trip usually is planned for september as kind of an annual farewell to summer. bonus, all the kiddos are back in school so places are less crowded and the weather is still great. this year we had planned on taking full advantage of the fact that our little cub is under two and can fly free on our laps. we started planning a trip to the north west, but something was not clicking. i just wasn't feeling the trip, which is not like me at all. you say adventure and i say lets go. i love to explore new places. one night keith and i sat down and went over all the things we planned on doing while out west. we quickly realized we could have a very similar experience closer to home. not the same, but similar and much easier on our travel budget. keith suggested we look into acadia national park on mt desert island in maine and the excitement instantly hit me. yup! that is the place.

recently in our efforts to minimize we cancelled cable tv so we have been watching pbs at night. keith quickly became a huge fan of THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA'S BEST IDEA series. i could not agree with the title more. if you haven't seen it i highly recommend it. the history of the parks is fascinating. keith has never been to a national park and we have always talked about visiting them someday when we have children. i think they are perfect family vacations.

acadia has hiking, biking, beautiful coast line and abuts the cute little town of bar harbor. it is the only national park in new england making it the ideal destination for our holiday. we decided to split our two weeks up into: several nights camping on mt desert island, a few nights in a dog friendly inn located in bar harbor and our usual vacation rental to meet up with friends and family located only a few hours south of acadia. these images are from our initial leg of the trip.

since acadia is located about six hours from us we strategically planned our road trip day. we needed at least one pit stop to eat, let the dog and cub run free and keep time to set up camp before dark.  keith and i were up at the crack of dawn packing the car and on the road making sure to hit boston traffic just after the morning rush. sea dog brewing co. located about half way to acadia made for the perfect stop. their topsham location was not only in route, but the outdoor seating on a river with a view of a bridge and a little grassy area for running was a great spot for an active toddler to explore. and lets face it there is also good beer for mom and dad. with a cranky toddler in toe we raced to set up camp before dark. it was a little stressful there at the end, but by night our cub and pup were sleeping all snug in the tent and we were sipping cold beer by a warm fire.
our little one could not have been more happy to wake up outside. he literally was jumping up and down once he realized where we were. after laying down some strict ground rules with him about the campsite and the fire pit we enjoyed our first breakfast over the fire.  keith and i have since fallen in love with the use of cast iron pans and now use them at home exclusively. mt desert campground is so beautiful it made it hard to leave everyday to head into the park.
our first hike was ocean path. four miles round trip along the coast with varying terrain making it a fun little hike. right after we grabbed our blanket and headed down to sand beach, which shares the park area with the ocean path trail head. kingston was happy to run around in the sand and dip his toes in the water. even though he really wanted to go for a swim with the seal that kept poking his head up.  it rained that night so we headed back to the site to prep for the weather and made our way down the road to atlantic brewing co. and mainly meat bbq. the bbq and beer was excellent and super kid friendly with a playground in the courtyard. we will defiantly be back. 
the following day we headed into the heart of the park for a morning bike ride on the carriage roads and an afternoon walk around jordan pond. facing the lake with the jordan pond house to our backs we headed to the right which is the easier part of the trail and ended with the rocky part and planks. the trail is short, but so interesting and the scenery is gorgeous.  there are also several options to expand your route if you like. many of the trails in the area connect to the carriage roads and other trails in the park. we broke up our days with two different activities to keep the cub content.
another short, but fun trail is jesup path loop. it is said to possibly be the inspiration for part of edger allan poe's - dreamland  

where dwell the ghouls, -
by each spot the most unholy -
in each nook most melancholy, -
there the traveller meets, aghast,
sheeted memories of the past -
shrouded forms that start and sign
as they pass the wanders by -
white-robed forms of friends long given,
in agony, to the earth - and heaven. 

not sure if this is accurate, but i do know that it is quite a dreamy sight in the forest of white birch trees.
our last day in the park we biked around witch hole pond. the carriage roads are all networked with beautiful contracted stone bridges and most of the roads are wide and gravel making them great to bike as long as you don't mind the hills. my little one is used to biking in the city and being carried in the woods. this kept us to only two bike rides since every time we started to ride in the woods he wanted off the bike and to be carried. it's funny how kids associate things. he loves biking at home, but apparently not so much in the woods.
our first official national park stamp as a family and such a special date to celebrate our country. we can't wait to earn another. maybe next year. i wish we had another within driving distance. 

back seat blues for this little road tripper. there is only so much entertainment that can be had sitting down for long periods of time. with only about two hours to our next destination the sorrow was short lived. 

xo, beth-ann

planning references: / /

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Newport Folk Festival 2014

a few weeks back keith, kingston and i headed to coast for the newport folk festival. it is a much anticipated summer event around our house. keith and i look forward to this weekend all year. partly because its not just a weekend. the line up is announced over several months as they book different bands, so its fun to check them out together. we lay out a plan of attack for who we want to see perform. it's a great way to discover new music and adds to the excitement of seeing some favorites. also we get to share the music with our little cub, which makes the weekend really fun for him. he is always delighted to see the performance when he recognizes the music.

the weekend was amazing, even though we decide to forgo sunday. the weather wasn't looking so hot so we gave up our tickets to a very happy friend. however, friday and saturday did not disappoint, so many talented artists. our little man was excellent and the music like always could not be better. here are a few photos of the performances, our weekend and a ton of kingston.
fabulous sound of phox at the quad stage

this little dude clearly approves 

someone wouldn't keep his ear protection on so mama had to listen to reignwolf from the back of the fort. dad got to stay and enjoy the show, but we escaped the heat and discovered squarespace studios. the group offered fun artistic actives such as mural painting, chalk by number and if you wrote out a postcard they added postage and mailed it for you. plus they were giving out free goodies. how cool is that?. 

dad made us yummy picnic lunches and of course we splurged on a few yummy festival treats. cold brewed coffee and hand cut fries get me every time.

spirit family reunion at the kids tent. very thankful the festival has stayed so child friendly. we loved the music there this year, crafts and snacks. 

this kid and his excitement over seeing these artist was incredible. happy we made room for his guitar. he thought he was hot stuff jamming like the talent. the faces were killing me.

too cool for school

friday night favorite, band of horses. so good!

finally put the guitar down to run around with dad while listening to ryan adams.

until saturday

patiently waiting for j. roddy walston and the business through sound check. what a tease. and someone was getting very tired.

and then this happened. but it only lasted through a few songs. once heavy bells started he jumped up and was ready to rock. it was very funny.

if you don't know shaky graves, you should. he's incredible.  
dad had to hold his harmonica, because he insisted on trying to play it while playing his guitar. do they sell harmonic neck holders this small? i guess i will be finding out. 

local favorite deer tick. their white suits crack me up.  

inspired by mr. jack white on stage.

singing with dad
this kid is a trooper two very long days and he was a happy kid the whole time. 

lake street dive
the milk carton kids
pokey lafarge
john c reilly and friends

also check out our previous newport folk festival posts for more great music:

xo, beth-ann