A Great Day in Maine

Yesterday we had a delightful day! The day started early as we needed to get Mary to shore for her flight back to SF. We had a really wonderful visit and we already miss her positive and fun-loving self.

Typical of boat living we had to fix something. This time it was repairing the watermaker. We’ve been having problems with it since the start and with the help of a very patient technical support professional at Spectra we thought we had the problem isolated to a faulty booster pump. The pump was now in hand and I figured it would be a quick fix…no such luck. It seems that the original factory setting on this new watermaker may have been the source of the problems. Job was semi-complete by 1300 hours.

We then rode our bikes on some of the myriad carriage trails that intersect throughout the interior of Mount Desert Island. Beginning in about 1890, MDI became a summer resort haven for a number of wealthy families, including the Rockefellers, Carnegies, and Vanderbilts. Despite their efforts to keep the island free of motor vehicles, Cars were authorized across the whole island by 1915. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who had a large summer house on the southeastern part of the island, in response embarked on a major effort to build a network of carriage roads on its eastern half, which would be isolated from the roads open to motor vehicles, and which would provide access to the scenic views of the area for walkers, horse carriages and the like. He personally selected the skilled craftsmen who built the roads, bridges, and gatehouses, and directly supervised a significant portion of the work, which took place between 1919 and 1931. The overall design was approved by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. The entire project resulted in the construction of more than 50 miles of roads, sixteen bridges, and two Tudor Revival gatehouses, located at the points where the system intersected the public roads.

As a kid growing up I had taken a few short hikes on the trails and as an adult I had done the same including a wonderful walk to Long Pond with Sally Alpert last year. The prospect of exploring many miles by bike was alluring. We entered the system at the NE Harbor gatehouse portal and rode for many miles. It is simply beautiful.  After a couple of hours we then decided to go to the Jordan Pond House for a break. On the way in there was a Park Service ranger who informed us that electric assist bikes are NOT allowed on the carriage roads. We were told that we had to immediately depart and make our way back via the busy public road. There’s absolutely no signage anywhere saying that electric bikes are disallowed but I’m guessing they consider them as motorized vehicles. Needless to say we were disappointed.

On the way back to the boat  we visited the Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor.  It was created by lifelong resident of the village, Charles Kenneth Savage, in 1956. Savage, who also owned the elegant Asticou Inn, across the road.

This compact garden and its pond features a selection of rhododendrons and azaleas. Styled after a Japanese stroll garden, the fine-gravel paths are raked regularly in a manner that suggests flowing water. There is also a sand garden, where this effect is repeated but with the addition of stones, which are meant to represent islands.

We then rode our bikes to town, did some food shopping, finished the watermaker repair and enjoyed a lovely dinner lit with the Shabbat candles.

 

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