Traveling in the time of COVID – A Rainy Day Driving to Acadia is Better Than a Sunny Day Almost Anywhere Else

Another day of rain should have been depressing, but today it was tolerable as we were on our way to Mount Desert Island and Acadia. We stopped in Ellsworth for an early lunch at Helen’s. Due to the pandemic, seating capacity was reduced and we had to wait for a table. A cup of Lobster Stew for me and Poutine and Seafood Chowder for my husband along with some of their fresh baked bread helped restore us from the chill and rain. Even better were slices of two of Helen’s always delicious homemade pie – Wild Maine Blueberry and Egg Custard.

There is no feeling better in the world to me than what is felt when one drives over the Trenton Bridge onto Mount Desert Island. I can feel it in my soul as we leave the world behind. We stopped at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center to buy our America The Beautiful Senior pass (yes, finally old enough!) only to find out that due to the pandemic, they had closed earlier at 2pm.

Fortunately a call to the Saltair Inn, our “home” for the week, netted us early check-in. Masked, we lugged our suitcases and other stuff up a grand staircase, then a set of tiny narrow former servants quarters stairs to safety of our 3rd floor Cadillac Suite. Even though there were now gale force winds whipping the waters in the harbor and bay and the sky is gray, the view from our room was spectacular. The Cadillac Suite is spacious with the the king bed looking out over the back lawn sloping down to the shore and a sitting room all painted in a deep ocean blue. The bathroom is spacious as well with both a clawfoot tub and separate tiled shower.

A few hours later, the rain departed, the sky cleared and the sun came out. We missed the spectacular rainbow over the harbor as we chose to visit the shops on Main Street. Stopping at Sherman’s Books is always a must. While my husband browsed, I went outside to enjoy the weather. We strolled up to stop in at Bark Harbor and Cool As A Moose. Mask wearing is required to enter all shops and while walking the crowded downtown area.

We were able to get seated earlier than our reservation time at the West Street Café. Thank goodness for reservations, very much needed during this time due to reduced capacity in keeping with the state’s and CDC recommended social distancing guidelines. This was the last day this restaurant would be open for the season; closing earlier than normal because of the pandemic which has made it hard to find enough staffing. This is my husband’s favorite restaurant in Bar Harbor. He always gets the Seaside Sandwich special – a cup of clam chowder, lobster roll, fries, cole slaw and a slice of Wild Maine Blueberry pie ala mode. I chose the Seafood Medley, but was told they were out of some of the ingredients. I settled for a Cesar Salad and calamari appetizer. I went to the restroom and was dismayed at how others had left the countertop all wet. I wiped the counter down and happened to run into the manager on my way back to the table. I joked with him about cleaning the Ladies Room. He seemed genuinely stunned that someone would take the time to do such a think. After chatting a bit about how the pandemic had affected the restaurant, he asked what I had ordered and I related about not being able to get the Seafood Medley but totally understood as it was their last night/end of a tough season. Imagine my surprise when the food arrived the Seafood Medley was included with a Baked Potato & Cesar Salad. Sometimes it just goes to show doing a nice deed can have its reward. The entrée was delicious especially the buttery Ritz cracker topping which I am a sucker for.

We walked back to the inn in the dark. The town was quiet and settling down for the night. I left the blinds open so I could look at the stars as I went to sleep.

About J. Matlock, Director of Fantasies

Jeanette's wanderlust started as an Air Force brat crisscrossing the US visiting almost every state. Writing has always been a part of her life. While earning a BA in Journalism from the University of Central Florida, Jeanette found photography was the perfect compliment to writing. She is always on the outlook for what she calls "Right Time, Right Place" photographs that capture a once-in-a- lifetime moment. Her adult travels have taken her to Scotland, England, France, Switzerland and all over the US and she continues to crave going to places to experience adventure, great food and lifestyles. She has written travel journals for the web site IGOUGO.com to share her experiences to guide and encourage other travelers. Her descriptive writing style makes one feel as if they are there sharing the experience. Her love of writing is based on this simple truth: "When I am writing, I know that I am doing the thing I was born to do." (Anne Sexton).
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