Summer Travel Recommendations

Here is your chance to advise fellow Trailmixers on where to go if they are in a travelling mood.

Nash 2.5
Nash 2.5
My recommendation:  Maine’s Acadia National Park & the adjacent town of Bar Harbor.

Acadia Park:  One of the best scenic drives in the USA winds along a rugged coastline with more than a dozen places to stop and take extraordinary photos.  For the physically fit, there are many hiking trails with breathtaking ocean views.   If you are lazy but don’t mind getting up early, you can drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain (which is only 800 feet tall) and see the sunrise.  Although this is a hotly disputed issue, the top of Cadillac Mountain is believed by many to be the first spot in the USA that is hit by the rising sun at dawn.   Spectators often applaud when the sun comes up.  If you return at dusk and rotate 180 degrees, the view at sunset is even better; this is a popular place to go before having dinner in nearby Bar Harbor.acadia

Bar Harbor:  Pronounced “Bah Hahbah” by locals, this is a pleasant little combination of a working fishing village and classic tourist trap.  If you go down to the public pier at 5:00 AM you can watch lobster boats going out for the daily catch, gunning their engines as they pass a little too close to the luxury sailboats that their New York investment banker owners  anchored there last night.    Bar Harbor is chock full of motels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, bars (with live Jazz), and retailers of quality souvenirs:  porcelain lighthouses, sea captain’s hats, and a wide selection of plastic moose.    For the more culturally sophisticated, there is a small but really good Native American (Wabnaki) history museum, and one of the local churches has free classical music concerts in the evening.

In my opinion, this is the best place to visit in Maine, and one of the top ten places to visit in all of New England.   I recommend staying at a bed and breakfast near the center of Bar Harbor because parking can be a problem at dinner time and on Saturdays.  If you stay at a B&B you can walk to everything;  Bar Harbor isn’t very big.  The entire downtown is smaller than one Manhattan city block.

This video has a little too much “marketing” flavor for my taste, but it’s short and covers the key points.

Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor

— Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor

Published by

Nash 2.5

Retired professor of business & economics at a small college in Northern Maine.

71 thoughts on “Summer Travel Recommendations”

  1. Bar Harbor and Acadia are beautiful. Climbing down to the Atlantic Ocean is fun.

    Rocky Mt. National Park is a good place for Easterners to enjoy mountains in a civilized manner. Paved road and road signs. For adventure get off the road, always remembering that if you go off a 3000 ft cliff your remains might now be found for a while.

    Washington D.C. and surroundings are wonderful for history buffs. From the early days, 1500’s, 1600’s and on to this very day, there is more than can be visited in a decade. Most of the history is free, but paying a few dollars to see something you are interested in is worth it. And, you can see where our founding mothers and fathers “conversed” so America was well populated. Lots of history and medicinal weed.

    Half Moon Bay, California, is a nice stop over and a place to get away from the heat of the inland.

    And, my favorite, Maui Hawaii. ‘nuf said.

  2. jack, kinda skipped a coupla wars there… here’s a big song from wwii

  3. Give us Bah-hahbas.

    That driving off a cliff in the Rockies thing. I was tending bar in a little joint in Pine, Coloraydo and one of the regulars was Walt, who’d retired from Martin Marietta and lived in a little shack up there…….Walt had a peculiar way of speaking……he added “sie” to most every word he could. “Sirsie,” he’d say, “Another beersie?” He’d had a wife before I got there, and a car. There were two bars in Pine, one on the “highway”, and one up the mountain on a long, very iffy dirt road, The Buck Snort. He and his wife used to frequent both bars and fight all the time, throwing things at each other from one end of the bar to the other, and then one would get mad and take the car and roar off to the other bar leaving the other to cadge a ride to it and resume the fight, eventually taking back the car and cutting out for the other bar. Often one would take the car and disappear down into Denver for days or weeks. Well, the wife disappeared during one of the fracases and they all assumed she had gone into Denver on a hoot until after a few weeks someone glimpsed some chrome shining way down off the little dirt road to the Buck Snort. Yep, she was gone for good.

    Walt was a very lonely man. So I gave him one of my famous custom walking sticks.

  4. I’ve mentioned it before and at one time there was a Trailmix get together planned before Craig’s book tour to the area was cancelled. If you want to be near excitement while still feeling as if you a re in the middle of nowhere, head for Asilomar Campgrounds in Pacific Grove. Because it sits on State Park land, you can still get to see California as it used to be, but Monterey, Cannery Row, great restaurants and the aquarium are within walking distance.

    Activities range for Park Ranger guided tours to wine tastings or just take that run along the beach walk. Head into town for dinner at Fandangos where the locals go to get away from the tourists :)

  5. If you have HBO and missed The Normal Heart last night, please make the effort to see it. Keep the tissue handy, but there are lots of smiles and laughter as well.

    Well written, well acted, and about a period in the early days of the AIDs crisis that will still make you angry, grieving for the losses of then and furious about what is still not happening to help today.

    Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, and Julia Roberts are the major stars, but for those who only know Jim Parsons from Big Bang Theory be prepared for a supporting role that will tear at you.

    I’m sitting here typing this the morning after and starting to tear up again. See this film.

  6. Damn!… Nash…
    Rick and I have been to Acacia NP and Baa Haabaa many times… but not once have we come home with a plastic moose. Thanks for giving us another reason to go there.

  7. patd:
    lest we forget the forgotten war and a big song in ’51 was Old Soldiers Never Die Performed by Gene Autry

    Patd – Korea will never be forgotten in our household. The man who would have been my father-in-law lost his life at Chosin Reservoir. This day for us, belongs to Raymond Denchfield, Sr.

    Captain Denchfield was a member of the 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was Killed in Action while fighting the enemy in North Korea on November 30, 1950. Captain Denchfield was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

  8. I don’t think of my family as one with a military tradition yet my uncle died at Normandy, my father and his two brothers served during World II and my brother went to Viet Nam (as well as a cousin)

    It’s good to honor their service and so many others.

  9. Don’t come to California this year…high fire danger and drought and gas is up to 4.19

  10. rene:

    re: plastic moose

    Why not go for mother moose, daddy moose (with antlers), and a couple of baby mooses?

    If you get the whole set, you get a discount.

  11. Let me offer my Memorial Day salute to those who also “served,” in war MOVIES, especially those about the Vietnam War.

    Salute to: John Wayne, who spent WWII dodging the draft, while making war movies with himself cast as the hero. (My favorite John Wayne movie is “The Green Berets” where he somehow managed to win the Vietnam war. He played a Green Beret colonel, even though he was too fat and too old to do even one pushup.)

    Salute to: Sylvester “Rambo” Stallone, who dodged the Vietnam draft by fleeing the USA and teaching physical education at an elite private girl’s school in Switzerland. (Gee. Why didn’t I think of that?)

    Salute to: Fundamentalist Christian and right wing extremist Chick Norris who never set foot in Vietnam to rescue POW/MIAs, or for any other reason. OK, he did serve as an enlisted man in the Air Force in the early 1960s, but he was in Korea, where there hasn’t been any combat since 1953. While Vietnam War was being fought, he was winning karate tournaments and setting up a chain of karate schools in California that made him rich.

  12. Nash 2.5,

    Given the ages of our current Congress Critters, can’t help but wonder how many of them ever wore a uniform much less were ever put in danger.

    Military Service
    • At the beginning of the 113th Congress, there were 108 members (20% of the total membership) who had served or were serving in the military, 10 fewer than at the beginning of the 112th Congress (118 Members) and 12 fewer than in the 111th Congress (120 members).

    • According to CQ Roll Call, the House currently has 87 veterans (including 2 female members, as well as 2 Delegates); the Senate has 18.

    • 8 House members and 1 Senator are still serving in the Reserves, and 6 House Members and one Senator are still serving in the National Guard. Both of the female veterans are combat veterans.

  13. Nash

    You’ve left off so many others willing to cry crocodile tears but unable to serve or complete their service

    Prick Cheney

  14. KGC,

    That would be Dick (5 deferment, ” I had other priorities”) Cheney.

    I always thought that all the people who served and died in Viet Nam, had other priorities as well. Somehow their priorities were never taken into consideration.

  15. In five minutes I must go outside to raise to full staff the 48-star burial flag that I rescued from e-bay. We only fly it on Memorial Day and the 4th of July. It’s an honor to be its custodian.

  16. Okay, that responsibility is taken care of. Now I must keep an eye on the weather. We’ve had violent late afternoon storms the past couple of days–physical damage to the house and my grandson’s car, etc.

    If it appears that it’s going to become bad again, I’ll lower this extra-special flag replacing it with one of our 4×6 flags that we have for daily use. We have a really neat solar powered lighting system at the apex of the flagpole that keeps Old Glory properly illuminated.

    But, I’m skirting the issue. The front page of The State has photos of the 114 South Carolinians, all volunteers, who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since January, 2002.

  17. Just saw that Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mt. Nat. Park, is closed again. Happens all the time to all roads above tree line, any time of year.

    Buck Snort Saloon? Pine is one of those places that tends to stay local as no one else can find it. My favorite is Gold Hill.

    I am the last of my family lineage to serve. My sons did not make it through the Marine physical (minor things that would not prevent service in any other branch). USAF 1972-76. Our American service goes back to the Continental Army. Veterans day in November is important as is Memorial Day. Memorial Day is for my great-uncles lost in WWI and WWII.

  18. Jamie,

    I so wanted to go to Asilomar to meet more T’Mixers & see the Monarch butterflies. Alas, I can’t sit on a plane now (or maybe ever), so I’m glad for two get-togethers.

    My suggestion for anyone is NYC. Since my first trip at the age of 17, I’ve never been to a better place. A cabin in Colorado with a mountain view was beautiful, but Central Park had as much to offer. Something unpleasant happened on almost every trip, but it just didn’t matter. It is a surreally real place.

  19. Part of my family, my Mom’s side, had very strong ties to the Queens/Jamaica area having moved there from Connecticut in the middle 1700s. The family’s pioneer arrived in the early 1630s.

    I’m not sure when my father’s family arrived, but his mother’s gg?gfather served in Connecticut. His name was Heli Foote. Bless his heart, he was a sergeant, which makes me proud.

    I had one uncle serve in WW-2 and Korea. He’s a robust 97 right now; just bought a new Mercedes SUV last year.

  20. Just found a cousin I had lost touch with years ago. No wonder he had gone into hiding … He is (GASP!!) Liberal and lives in Tennessee working as a country music sound engineer. No wonder all the other cousins were no longer speaking to him. Where they are concerned witness protection might be in order.

  21. Wanted to check in as we wind down on Veterans Day. Rebellious, my Dad is also a Korean War veteran.
    So a couple of things on this thread:
    1st, I would be remiss if I did not put in a pitch for my adopted home city of Gloucester, MA as a vacation destination. Posting a picture of Good Harbor Beach taken the same day as my blue bird (not bluebird) pic :)
    Wchander, Thx for the heads up on the swallow. Husband Tom has been commenting that he has seen two different types of birds flying in and out of that house (it’s in a sunny wildflower field but we can see it from the livingroom). I know that there are real live actual bluebirds out there because I have seen their distinctive blue but the photo is definitely a tree swallow. We also have a hawk living in the yard, along with flickers, a type of woodpecker that thankfully have kept to the deadwood.
    Flatus, Pogo, Rebellious, Whsky, Patd- thanks for the info and fun comments – I enjoyed reading them while very much under the weather this week. Hence the late post.
    And Flatus, special thanks for the note on the A-10’s (also appropriate this week)- will fix at my next update.
    Anyone wants more info on Gloucester, just ask Craig, he’s been to all the cool places.

  22. Katherine Graham Cracker: I don’t think of my family as one with a military tradition yet my uncle died at Normandy, my father and his two brothers served during World II and my brother went to Viet Nam (as well as a cousin)

    Katherine, it looks to me as if your family has a tradition of honorable service. That’s a helluva lot more meaningful than a ‘military tradition’.

    Special thoughts to your uncle and his brothers at Normandy.

  23. Bond,

    Dale… so good to see you pop in here… sorry you haven’t been feeling well. Hopefully, David and Craig behaved themselves the past week… :)

    IMO, the Gloucester/Rockport area is one of Massachusetts best kept secrets. We have neighbors that moved here from Pennsylvania… and they have said to me “what’s the big deal about Cape Cod… Cape Ann is so much nicer!”

  24. Summer vacations, or for me any vacation. I tend to stay away from the crowds. So you will not see me vacationing at Branson but I may be out wandering the hills a few miles away. My mothers family is doing the annual family reunion at Estes Park Colorado. A lovely place but they are doing it on the weekend of the 4th Sooooooo, maybe not so much
    But it does have Rocky Mountain national park, what can I say An over dose on gorgeous views. We went in late June just as the wild flowers were blooming, forget the views look for the carpets of tiny wild flowers.
    Interesting thing about me is that I enjoyed the drive across Kansas as much as the drive through Rocky Mountain National park.
    Must be the farm boy in me.


  25. flatus

    Patsi went looking for him for me years ago and heard some rumors but he wasn’t active in Nashville at the time. He’s back there now and active in the business again with some fairly recent credits on albums. He’s in his late 60s now so semi retired other than as an advisor.

  26. The wife and I are rock and stick people. we went to Vegas a couple of years ago. We spend one bored night at the casinos and the rest of the time we were out in the desert. Some really fun state parks in the area.


  27. But Chicago can be fun too. I think the wife is going to drag me along with her to New York this summer. I haven’t been there since I was 17. A nephew is a fancy chef there and he loves to impress family when they show up at his restaurant. I look forward to the trip.


  28. RebelliousRenee, exactly what I’ve been saying since Bond (Dale) moved to Gloucester, who needs the annoying traffic and overwhelming crowds of Cape Cod when Cape Ann has all the good stuff without that. Here’s our video of one my favs, a sail on the Ardelle ..


  29. RebelliousRenee,

    It is so much better than crawling along Route 6. We have fascinating granite and forests, much more accessible shoreline… one can even get to the nicest North Shore beaches via train from Boston.

    And yes, they behaved admirably :)

    Reb, I’ll have to show you my ’15 calendar head shot. I’m wearing a special scarf.

  30. Craig, that was a really nice citation.It’s special when someone passes on the derivation of modernity.

    Here, we have a large lake outside of town. It is loved by lakeside residents, boaters, and live-a-boards on their house boats.

    Now the scourge has arrived in the form of cigarette boats that terrorize those who simply want peace. DNR, with their high-powered pursuit boats are left in their wake as if they’re standing still. And, if stopped, what law did they break?

  31. Bond,

    Rick and I LOVE visiting Cape Cod in the off-season… we’re going there this coming Sunday. But we would NEVER go there from mid-June through mid-Sept (or Memorial Day weekend).

    There’s a funny quote by Kurt Vonnegut who lived on Rt. 6 in West Barnstable for years about in summertime the town next door being a 4 hour drive away.

  32. Great recommendations, Nash. Love both of them. And when you’re taking the Acadia drive, stop in for tea at Jordan Pond. A wonderful way to kill an hour or more. I hear the lunch and dinner are very good, but have only indulged myself at tea.

    I’m a big fan of visiting Lake Winnepesaukee and the Mount Washington Inn in the summer. Lots to do, absolutely wonderful scenery, and about the only place (aside from actually getting into the ocean) that you can freeze your butt off in July in New England.

  33. I here Kabul is nice NO time of year.

    Our continued financial assistance of Afgstn? A fledgling Democracy? Jeez.

  34. pogo,

    If I’m not mistaken…. I think the little picture on the right in the middle of Nash’s article is a view of twin mountains called The Bubbles across from Jordon Pond. And yes, the lunch there is very good.

  35. kabul is just a big ugly town at the head (actually, it’s probably the tail) of the pass.

    Head north to Hunzukut. Some pals of mine were there and came back ecstatic about the scenery.

  36. Nash, the second pic in your article is obviously the North Shore of Lake Superior, somewhere between Duluth and Lutsen, MN.

  37. Renee,

    I wouldn’t disagree. I know that pair of hills is all over google images for Jordan Pond. I don’t remember the details – that was more than 25 years ago for me, and I CRS from yesterday.

  38. BTW, my dad served in the Pacific in the waning days of WWII. Never saw action, and given his job – gunner in a Navy plane – not sure which type, and he ain’t talkin’ any more – prolly a good thing. He did have the bomber jacket and the jumpsuit – got away somehow when my grandfather’s place got sold. I hate that.

  39. I’m going to give away one of the dark secrets of the coast of Maine: the natives really don’t have very strong accents; if you got there in the winter you’ll find that out.

    During the summer their accents get much stronger, especially when there are tourists around.

    “Gotta go ta Bangah, ta see tha dahkta.”

    Translation: “I intend to travel to the City of Bangor to see my physician.”

    People in northern Maine don’t talk like that.

    Up here, we all talk like Canadians, eh.


  40. Notice how easily this young woman moves from “normal” speech into the Maine accent.
    (She also does the “Nu Yourk” accent pretty well, too.)


  41. Thanks for that video, Nash. I saw Maine once from the New Brunswick border. It looked like more of the same, but with lower unemployment. Of course, that was in the days before babybush slew the economy and was declared to be saint george by his feithful dog karl rover.

  42. I shall now demonstrate my proficiency in Canadian, right ?

    “Ahem. GO HABS ! Eh?

    You’ll have noticed a slight Edmontonian accent aboot that third word there.

  43. a cool (and I mean cool) way to spend some vacation time is by ferry:
    a most beautiful ride is the 45 minute free ferry on kootenay lake in b.c.
    another one from a different perspective and by foot is the ferry from algiers to the nola french market
    and another carfree, carefree fun ferry thrill is the golden gate view from the ferry on the way to sausalito

  44. BBronc….never made it to gold hill but had some nice times in Kremmling and Fairplay…….love those little mountain towns……

  45. oops, forgot the other two links re fun ferries:

    ….some of the best views of the original city of New Orleans via a Canal Street Ferry ride across the Mississippi River, and learn why New Orleans is called the Crescent City as the ferry traverses the river’s natural crescent to historic Algiers Point on the West Bank.


    …. the Sausalito Ferry. In 2009 this ferry ride was named the #2 “Most Exciting Ferry Ride in the World” by the Society of American Travel Writers. On the ferry you will cross the San Francisco Bay, see Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, Berkeley Hills and the beautiful San Francisco Skyline.

  46. PatD:

    Ferries are cool and San Francisco Bay is very interesting. Good suggestion.

  47. I’m making notes on all these travel recommendations. At some point in the future I’m going to do an epic “across the USA and back” trip and I’ll try to see at least some of them.

  48. Nash 2.5,
    maybe go across country via ferry to ferry. here’s an old one on your way
    Anderson ferry

    The historic ferry in operation since 1817 between Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio

  49. That road up to the snort was one hairy ride……first time I got to pine I tried to go up in the old 72 Chevy caprice pulling an 18′ travel trailer……got to a place where it wouldn’t pull any more… such thing as backing up….road blocked, no up, no down….finally a big doolie comes down from the snort and after tying a rope to my radiator cap they towed us to the top. Very small parking lot, had to up and back about 20 times to get turned around to pointing back down the mountain….people were coming out of the joint with chairs to sit and watch the show. lol. Wrong joint….the joint I wanted was the one on the highway. Made many new friends that day……

  50. Maine’s attitude towards tourists is basically, “Come here, spend your money, and then go home.”

    The natives are still trying to get the “Bushes of Kennebunkport” to leave. Five generations is enough.

    They should go back to Connecticut, Texas, or wherever they think they are from.

  51. patd, nothing can beat being cargo on a troop ship sailing beneath the Golden Gate. Gives real meaning to:


  52. When we traveled by road, we took advantage of the hospitality afforded by military installations along our intended route. That saved us money and was interesting to me. As our travel was almost always business related, sightseeing wasn’t on the agenda.

    Flagstaff and points in AZ along the road west of it, were especially memorable.

  53. The caged bird is now free….
    R.I.P. Ms Angelou…. your body of work and influence will live on.

  54. I find Maya Angelou’s death shocking
    I’ve thought she was 50 for the last thirty years

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