Traveling in the Time of COVID – Afternoon on the Quiet Side of MDI

After visiting Little Long Pond, I doubled back to photograph two old churches in Seal Harbor – one on Dodge Point Road (which I have been told is now a private residence) and St. Jude’s Episcopal Church. St. Judes’ holds one service on Sundays during the summer season. Built in 1887–89, this shingle-style church is the least-altered surviving example of ecclesiastical architecture in Maine designed by the noted exponent of the style, William Ralph Emerson.

I find something so lovely about the old style architecture of churches. Surrounding by colorful fall foliage, they are pure magic. I imagine having a wedding in either of these old country churches would be something to remember.

We continue on driving to Somes Sound and Sargent Drive which I have heard so much about. We drive past expensive homes. One has a curved roof, making it look like a fairy cottage, Lucky folks who can afford to live or summer in view of such beauty, The road is only two lanes and since I am driving, I fail to see any decent pull offs, especially in the section that runs alongside the sound. Even on a gray day, it is break-takingly beautiful. I have since learned seeing the sound by boat is the best method so you can be sure we will do that on our next trip.

It’s close to 1pm, so we start looking for a place to eat. Abel’s Lobster Pound is already closed for the season, so add that to the list for the next trip as they serve more than just lobster and it is a prime place for watching the sunset. My husband wants to go back to Bar Harbor to eat (no sense of adventure) but I have other ideas and head to Southwest Harbor to find Sips, which has been highly recommended to me. (Thanks Janet B.!) We park on the main road, but don’t see the restaurant at first. My husband walks a short distance and sees the restaurant down a side street (Clarks Point Road).

We arrive at 1:45pm, making it in before their 2pm closing for a break before reopening for dinner around 4pm. During the break the coffee bar at the entrance serves take-out, coffee drinks and pastries. Tables had been removed to allow wide spacing for those that remain, so almost all the tables are taken. Wearing required masks, we take the last available table. Sips is an unpretentious place, but don’t let that stop you from eating here. The food is the star here. All the food is made fresh in house.

I got excited when I see White Chicken Chili on the menu. I order a cup and it is the real deal – white beans, chunks of chicken in a thick mildly spicy broth. So delicious and perfect on a cool fall day.

The menu offers a variety of dishes. Of course, there are plenty of seafood choices. My husband selects a Haddock Sandwich, which differs from Haddock you might get anywhere else in Maine as it was not breaded. Instead it was coated lightly with bread crumbs and seasoning. The crepe offerings with interesting fillings caught my attention. I love a good crepe. Several choices made me wish I could eat them all. I settled for the Greek, ordering just one and I am glad I did. It contained tender braised lamb shank meat with spinach and a feta cheese sauce. The crepe was delicate yet strong enough to hold all the ingredients stuffed inside. It was luscious perfection! For dessert, I ordered a slice of the daily cake, which was Blackberry filled to eat later. If there is a cake or dessert of the day on the menu, order it!

We head to Bass Harbor Lighthouse figuring on a gray day there wouldn’t be much of a crowd. On our way, we spot deer in yards along the side of the road. The parking lot was almost full but we got a spot. We walked down the path to the left of the parking lot. I note the stairs have been rebuilt with poly boards to replace the old wood ones. I walked very slow down the stairs. Once down, I realize two things – that it is high tide or close to it, leaving very little rock area to go out on and that I am still sore after all these days and don’t feel steady enough to walk out on the remaining rock area.

As we approach Seawall, the waves are crashing like crazy so I have to stop to capture it on film. There is a couple getting married with the crashing waves as the backdrop. Stormy times – what a metaphor for starting a marriage. I take a few photos of them as well as the waves. I chat with the couple for a minute – they are up from New Jersey. Their original wedding was cancelled due to the pandemic and they decided to come up here on the spur of the moment to come up to Acadia and get married any way. They videoed the ceremony for their family and friends.

Returning to Bar Harbor, I stop at Katahdin Photo Gallery. If you visit any of the Bar Harbor or Acadia related Facebook pages you will see his spectacular photography. Visit his website at: Due to the pandemic (yes, that again!), small local businesses like his had really been struggling. I ordered some things online earlier in the year just in case something prevented us from making our trip. Business was finally picking up in August. His work captures the beauty of Acadia and MDI so accurately, that you will want to buy everything in sight. I purchased three more coasters made from his photographs to go with ones I already had. Check out his shop if you’re even in Bar Harbor.

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 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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