This is our big family vacation in the summer of 2008.
Julie is nearing the delivery of our fourth child and she’ll spend a week sleeping in a tent. As for destinations, our two primary stops will be Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and Acadia National Park in Maine. Overall, we had a great time as a family, but rainy nights definitely characterized much of this vacation as you will see when you observe the scattered photographs below that highlight our tent.
When we arrived at our first campground, the owner was kind enough to shuttle us to our first campsite via his golf cart (above). The site we reserved, a real nice one on a lake was a virtual swamp when we arrived. With another nasty storm on the way, I begged him to let us pitch our tent under the canopy as seen in the pictures below. This area is reserved for group parties so he was a bit reluctant, but after some gentle persuasion he obliged.
Mystic Seaport, CT
Established in 1929, the Mystic Seaport located on the coast of Connecticut is the largest maritime museum in the world. It is noted for its collection of tall sailing ships, other boats and the re-creation the entire 19th-century seafaring village.There are also than 60 original historic buildings. The highlight of the museum (and pictured below) is the Charles W. Morgan, the only surviving wooden sailing whaler.
We spent a day at this site and enjoyed exploring, climbing and learning about the rich history of America’s maritime past.
Some fun in the gift shop and dinner!
Stopping off for a bite to eat.
Hanging out at the campsite in the evening.
“Put the sticks down and just enjoy the fire, girls!”
With another day in the area we visited the Cadalic Mountain.
As pictured below, the girls we able to touch a stingray, see a rare white whale, observe various indoor aquariums, explore the inside of a deep sea research vessel and much more! All kinds of fun, except one occasion when Hailey wasn’t having a really fun time. You can see it in her face in one of the pictures in the slideshow below. Look for yourself, it’s not hard to spot!
Back to the campsite for some dinner.
Sandwiched in tarps from top to bottom. I’m ready for the monsoon!
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is the same location where Julie and I celebrated our honeymoon 12 years ago. This was our first time returning and a blessing to relive the sights now with our children that we enjoyed over a decade ago .
The park is location on an Island called Mount Desert off the coast of Maine. Established in 1919, it is the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi. Acadia is classic Maine imagery, the place where many picturesque rocky coastline shots of Maine are often photographed. In addition to the coast, there are ample woodlands, mountains and lakes.
We spend a few nights at the Bass Harbor Campground, very close to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse as you will see in the some pictures further in this post. Again, you can notice how I prepared our tent for the worst of storms. Instead of tarps on the top and bottom, this time I completely wrapped our tent in them. Sure, the ventilation was limited, but at least we stayed dry!
On one night I was able to go to the clubhouse and watch with a few others, swimmer Michael Phelps win one of his record-setting gold metals in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The enjoy the same bridge I was photographed on 12 years ago.
In 1996, Julie and I drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain 25 miles from the Atlantic Oceans in the US, to see the nation’s first sunrise. A novel experience, but I believe to too exasperating for our children at this point in their vacation. Still, we traveled to the mountain later in the day to enjoy the gorgeous views of Mount Desert that may be seen in every direction. This one of several “must stops” for anyone who chooses to visit Acadia.
From the mountain to the beach – Acadia offers it all!
Both of the pictures below were taken from the same location, looking in opposite directions. To the left you can see the only sand beach found in Acadia. The assigned name reveals great thought and creativity – “Sand Beach.” You can swim in the water, but be prepared for really, really cold temperatures. Below to the right is the more classic rocky shoreline of Maine.
Though I didn’t do a great job capturing the action on film, “Thunder Hole” is the place where the waves roll into a naturally formed inlet. When the wave pulls back just before lunging forward, it dips the water just below the ceiling of the cavern allowing air to enter. When the wave arrives full force, it collides with the air, forcing it out, resulting in a sound like distant thunder. Water may splash into the air as high as 40 feet with a roar!
Enjoying Thurstons again. Our favorite restaurant back in 1996!
A short hike with dad (armed with map in hand) attempting to provide some leadership.
This was another great hike we did down to the base of Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.
Yet another hike.
Picking wild blueberries!
One of the things that was neat about this particular vacation was God’s providential doing that the Drakes, our good friends from church, would happen to be vacationing in Maine at the same time and even in the same campground as us! What’s the odds of that happening without any coordinated planning? Thankfully we knew about this beforehand and were able to join them for a couple activities in Acadia. These are some of our girl’s best friends so they were especially thrilled to hang out with some well-known people their own age. On one particular day when we thought they left for NJ, they returned to our surprise late in the evening. The kids were so excited and played board games in their pop-up until the wee hours of the morning.
Despite the frequent rain storms, we stayed relatively dry and were able to see experience many of Acadia’s great activities!