But I think the main reason I like it is that it marks the end of the hard part of the year and the beginning of all the fun. Bar Harbor means we’ve made it. Made it through the doldrums of February and March and the tricks and flip flops of spring in Boston. It means summer is really here. It kicks off a long string of fun: planting the garden, end of school year festivities, Bear Lake, hot august beach and pool days, September crispness and Hazel’s birthday, then fall leaves and apple picking and Halloween and thanksgiving and Christmas. And then that string ends, we hunker down, stay inside while we wait for the snows to melt, the days to get longer and the time to come where we can pack up the bikes and kick it all into motion again. There’s something really great about that cycle. Something familiar. Something I thought my wondering soul would never like, but I love it. And the kids love it too. They love having the same trip year after year. Yes, of course there is something amazing about adventure and trying new things, exploring new places. But tradition feels so comfortable, so homey, so bonding so familiar. Like seeing a dear old friend. And that’s kind of what our family needs right now.
We headed out early Friday morning. I’m always amazed when all the bikes are on the back of the car and we’re all loaded up. It’s heavenly to sit there in the front seat with nothing more to pack or do….just to sit for 5 hours.
We stopped in Freeport Maine at the L.L Bean outlet. To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite place in the world, I just don’t like feeling like I’m shopping while I’m on vacation. I don’t really like shopping. But, they did have this awesome fish tank that the kids couldn’t get enough of.
Even though the kids were great on the 5 hour drive (which took about 8 including pit stops) we were all pretty psyched to make it to Acadia National Park and jump out at Sand Beach for our traditional picnic. It was pretty cold and foggy but oh so beautiful. The ocean always sooths me. Seeing all that beauty after the dreary Malden winter landscape just feels so good on my eyes. This was Peter’s first trip to the real beach. Not sure how psyched he was, but I had to get a picture. Friday night we had our traditional cook out with other families and friends who have also made the big trek up north from Boston. This wasn’t really my year for pictures….too much to juggle with a newborn. Just envision us up there cooking dogs over the fire.
This year Bar Harbor did have it’s challenges. Mostly, how in the world were we going to pull four kids on bike rides. Biking through Acadia National Park is my favorite part of this yearly trip. This is the first year that Hazel and Charlie could actually do some of their own bike riding (they both learned to ride without training wheels this spring). But, the combination of their gearless bikes, spindly legs and lack of much biking experience made them not quite proficient enough to really make it around some of the trails that we all love so much. So we racked our brains trying to figure out how we could pull them all behind us without keeling over in exhaustion. Here’s what Jeff came up with:You can’t really see here, we should have gotten a better picture, but for the long rides Jeff pulled one of the big kids behind him on the “tag along” and then behind that they pulled the trailer with the other big kid in the front and little peter nestled in the back of the trailer. Me and Emmeline followed at a safe distance behind with Emmeline in my little child bike seat. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing (especially the baby in the way back) but my dear friend kept reassuring me that babies probably crossed the planes in much more precarious cargo spaces. Every time we stopped to check on him this is what he looked like. Happy as could be all snuggled up in there. In addition to the long bike rides we also took some shorter ones with the kids on their own bikes. They were still pretty tough rides with some long hills and the kids were not happy at times, but they bucked up and made it around “Witches Hole” two whole times. There was a point on that route where we were stopped with both kids bawling their eyes out, begging to ditch their bikes and just walk. WE must have been quite a pathetic site as we tried to calm them down and get them to keep going because an older gentlemen and his wife rode by and called out to us, “Believe us, tuition is more painful!” I’m not sure if that could be, this was pretty painful.
It’s awesome though to see your kids do something so hard. Even with all the tears, they were pretty proud of themselves afterwards.
We ate lunch on Saturday at Jordan Pond house. I got to sit hear while we waited for our table and nurse Peter with this view. I think it was one of my favorite nursing memories ever.
We went on a great Sunday hike and had a nice little family church out in the woods. On Sunday afternoon we went to Seawall for a picnic with friends. One of our friends had bought a lobster to plant in one of the tide pools. Charlie “discovered” it and claimed the little guy as his own. We made him leave the lobster in the tide pool for other kids to look at and play with. After a little too much “playing” the lobster passed away. Charlie was so mad that his lobster was mistreated and devastated to the point of big crocodile tears. He has a tender little heart.
When we weren't outside exploring and biking and hiking we were at our awesomely ghetto motel jumping on the beds, off the swings and into the pool. Charlie and Hazel both made some great new friends. They had a lot of fun playing Legos and cards while we got to talk with their parents.
We ate at Rosalie’s Pizza, drove around the park taking in the breath taking views, threw rocks into the harbor, shopped for our Christmas Tree ornaments, ate an AWESOME breakfast at “Two Cats” and went to bed early to get a lot of sleep.
And of course, we took our family “pose” picture which we came up with last year on this same trip.
And now, on to that long string of fun.