Traveling in the Time of COVID – Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula

After days of on and off rain, today dawns sunny and beautiful. We go down to breakfast and are earlier enough to get a table near the windows. I watch people crossing back across the sand bar from Bar Island as the tide is coming back in; parts of which are already covered with water. At 8:56am, the tide will be high. This show never gets old to watch.

The first course is “cairns” made of pineapple and strawberries, garnished with raspberries and topped with a banana slice that is has a broiled brown sugar top.

The main course is a delicious quiche with caramelized onions and is served with broiled tomatoes with a parmesan topping and Canadian Bacon. Everything is scratch made in the sunny kitchen by innkeepers/owners Kristi and Matt.

Our first stop is the Hulls Cove Visitors Center to buy our Senior Lifetime America The Beautiful National Park pass. As we drive towards Schoodic, I stop to take photographs of Little Island Cove. I first saw this island back in 2013 and have never forgotten it. The foliage and water were really good in this area that day.

Little Island
Sea Smoke on Frenchman Bay

Arriving at Schoodic, it was nice to drive in unlike in 2013 when it was closed along with most of Acadia due to the government shutdown. This is a one-way route so one must be aware to look for the pull offs to see various spots along the way. If you miss something, you will have to drive all the way through, exit and return using Route 186. This route is very popular with cyclists, so drivers must share the road with them and use due care. At the first pull-off, you can experience a small area of the rocky coast line. There were some spirited college kids horsing around and taking selfies. I used the time to photograph the Winter Harbor Lighthouse on Marks Island across the water. The lighthouse is easily visible, but even better with a telephoto lens or binoculars. I also spied a little water cascade to my left that was probably a result of the past days rain.

Continuing on, we drove past Big Moose Island which is accessible at low tide to walk to. Since it was high tide and I couldn’t figure out where to pull off the road enough, we went on to Schoodic Point where there is an expanse of rocky shore line to walk out on. Watch your step and be cautious about getting too close to the edge. As I was scouting out where to set up for some wave photography, I observed a young father drop off the main cliff edge to a lower ledge only to be followed by his young son, who looked to be no more than six. It was a scary few moments as I watched them, with my heart in my throat, willing them not to fall in the water. People have fallen in and drowned at these cliffs. (Note to self: Next time I see something like this I really must hit the record button as still shoots would not have told the story as well.)

Sunny Day at Schoodic Point cliffs

It was a gorgeous day with the sun shimmering on the water and I could have stayed there for hours. While I was photographing incoming waves people would come up behind me getting a little too close for my comfort to see what I was looking at. When I would turn around, they would have shocked looks on their faces upon seeing I was not wearing a mask! Masks were not required when outdoors at this time as long as social distancing was practiced. I was trying to stay away from people, but others were not reciprocating. I am open to answering people’s questions, but keeping an adequate safe distance at this time would have been nice. Since this is such a large area of rocky cliffs, there is room for a good amount of people without being on top of each other. Since the waves pretty tame that day and weren’t the high crashing kind I was looking to photograph, we drove on. Wished I’d have been able to come over during the past days when it was raining and wind was high.

Due to COVID restrictions, the bathrooms were closed at Schoodic Point so we had to drive back to the Schoodic Institute to use the only one open. This required exiting the loop road. On the way out I spotted a tiny shack which made me laugh. This sign on the shack read “Schoodic Sushi!”

Schoodic Institute is an amazing facility. The institute partners with the national park to providing a site to work on “the development of new techniques to involve the public in science and conservation, scientific research of importance to the Park, provide professional development for teachers, and help train a new generation of stewards who will help conserve the park’s natural and cultural treasures.”

The campus has several buildings such as Rockefeller Hall used for meetings and classes, a dining hall and apartments and cabins for groups and scientists and researchers to stay in while at the institute. For more information on the Schoodic Institute visit their web site – https://schoodicinstitute.org/

I had planned to eat lunch at The Pickled Wrinkle, but due to the pandemic they had shorter hours and did not open up until 2pm. Kinda of late for lunch, but no other choices except at small store across the street. When I got out of the car to read the sign, I could hear the kitchen workers prepping for lunch inside.

I used the time waiting for the restaurant to open by driving down the road a short distance to photograph the Prospect Harbor Lighthouse. This lighthouse belongs to the U.S. Navy and is only open to military personal (active and retired) who can book stays in the keeper’s house. No one else was in this little hidden fishing village located on the southeastern part of the Gouldsboro Peninsula. As I stood as close as was safe on the dock, a working lobster boat made a quick stop. The only other “visitors” we saw were a couple of cyclists along the road back to the restaurant.

We were among the first to get in line and order. The dining room was closed (due to the pandemic) so orders were taken at a window and then eaten at picnic tables outside. The gross thing was the bathroom was a very filthy porta-potty with nowhere to wash hands. Good thing I packed sanitizing hand wipes.

Fortunately the quality of the food made up for it. I enjoyed a fresh handpicked crab roll with sweet potato fries. I love crab but hate the work to get the meat so it was nice to have someone else do the hard work for a change. I listened in on a conversation of 2 local men, one who worked at the restaurant. The restaurant had been very busy in spite of the pandemic and state mandate limiting out of state visitors. This place is a favorite with the locals as well and he mentioned that folks had been staying late many evenings. Glad to see a local business doing well. Mainers know how to survive despite tough times.

Fueled up, we were ready for our next hike. Continue to Part 2 – Hiking A Rail Trail.

About J. Matlock

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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