Category Archives: Travel

Saturday in Bar Harbor

We checked in to The Colony in Hulls Cove, just outside Bar Harbor Friday night. The woman who owns the establishment is Scottish and used to be in a cycling club when she was younger in Scotland. We fit right in – the McEwans checking in for a bike weekend!

Saturday morning we woke up to a fabulous morning and looked forward spending the day together. The sun started working to warm the morning up quickly and we headed into town for breakfast at 2 Cats.

We followed breakfast with a delightful carriage ride on the carriage trails out of Wildwood Stables. We were fortunate enough to have a front row seat for the hour-long ride.

Right after we started off we wondered if we would see our friends who had gone out on the carriage trails with their kids for a bike ride. Just as the words left our mouths we saw them!

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I took lots of video of the ride but this one was by far the best of Pete (left) and Rock (right):

On the way back to the cabin we detoured up Cadillac Mountain for a little reconnaissance of the road, just to see what I was in for the following day. Don’s getting the hang of taking photos of us:

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We arrived back at the cabin early enough to embark on a short 20-mile ride on the bikes. Even though it was cloudy and somewhat cool at 53-degrees, it was actually comfortable on the bike, especially after we rode further away from the seaside. The hills we rode also helped to keep us warm. (Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor are very hilly areas.) Below is a picture of my husband that really doesn’t give you the sense of length of the climb behind him.

Back at the cabins we, and many of the travelers passing by on Route 3, we serenaded by a terrific bagpiper on the ledge. He plays on a regular basis for Mrs. Quayle, who owns The Colony, and we all benefited from it! What a wonderful treat!

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It was time for others to start arriving and get the grill going for the club BBQ. The Colony was kind enough to supply us with their grill and picnic tables for the affair. It was a cold evening but we had fun just hanging out.

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Thankfully the party wrapped up early so we could get some sleep before the big ride the next day.

More on that later!

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Guana State Park

What’s your definition of the perfect beach? I’m sure there are a huge range of items that people would come up with, many of which would be the total opposite of our requirements.

I was introduced to my husband’s favorite beach, Guana State Park, about three years ago on our last visit to Jacksonville. It was in November (Thanksgiving weekend) and there was hardly a sole on the beach when we visited several days during our stay. Today wasn’t much different. Granted we arrived at 10am, a bit early for many beach goers. But even as we were leaving there weren’t the normal hords of people on the beach.

This beach is also known as a shell beach, which is to say that the beach area, for the most part, consists of broken or pulverized shells from the ocean. As a result I recommend shoes for this beach, the exception is when you get near the waterline where there is much more hard packed sand.

I can’t remember the last time I walked along the beach, barefoot, in the waves rolling in. It was a truly wonderful experience, not to mention the cooling effect in the humidity. I’m not much of a beach person so I never go there at home. But since we are in Jax, we make a point of going to Guana Beach when we are here. You can just walk for miles and miles and only see a handful of people. It’s just you and all the birds and little critters that wash up in the surf.

I was disappointed, however, that we only saw one group of pelicans fly by us and we missed the shot. They are amazing birds and it’s magical to watch a large group of them fly over the water, hovering just inches above. Perhaps we’ll see more tomorrow on our next excursion.

From Rosemary Beach to Jacksonville

A nice dinner with Jeanine at Shades Thursday night, then a tour of the units she manages. She is a property manager of some great rental units in Rosemary Beach called the Soleil. I highly recommend staying there. This was our unit:

The town is so quaint and relaxing. We are definitely going back for an extended stay.

Then it was up at the crack of dawn Friday to pack, a quick walk around for one last look and grab some coffee with her before hitting the road back to Jacksonville.

Along the route back we planned a stop to visit with my husband’s uncle in Live Oak, who I have never met.

As we drove to Rosemary Beach Thursday we came across this interesting bike path route marker. Both my husband and I laughed when we saw it. I had to get a picture of it on the way back. As it turned out we saw a couple of them.

It was a long day on the road Friday, especially with little sleep the previous two nights. When we arrived in Jacksonville around 6pm we thankfully had enough time to take a brief battery-charging nap before meeting up with some of Don’s classmates at the Twisted Martini. It was a lot of fun despite the loud music and cigarette smoke (though not too much of the latter). I’m definitely old because loud noisy bars are not my scene at all.

More later today, time permitting on a nice sight as we drove to/from the beach.

Greetings from Rosemary Beach!

Today my husband I awoke early at 3am to go to the airport for a 5:30 flight to Jacksonville, Florida. This weekend is my husband’s 20-year class reunion so we flew down for it.

The festivities start Friday so we decided to fly down a day early to drive to the west coast, to Rosemary Beach, to visit a classmate of mine, Jeanine. After 5 hours of travel we hopped in the rental car for another 5 hour drive across the state, where I saw my first ever armadillo. (Too bad he was road kill.)

The last time I saw Jeanine was in October when she came to New England to visit her brother. She made a point of driving to Maine to see me (and a few other surprise guests I had invited). We had so much fun reconnecting after so many years that I wanted to make a point to see her when we were “in the area”.

The 5 hour drive was long and boring…. but so worth it! This place is stunningly beautiful. Here are a few pictures to prove my point. (Views from the bedroom balcony. Has a certain European charm, don’t you think?)

Now it’s off to explore this quaint area a bit before meeting up with Jeanine for drinks and dinner. More pictures to come later!!

Bicycling as a Result of High Gas Prices

It’s not a new topic. We all hear stories of people choosing to commute more by bike these days because of high gas prices. So here are a few links on the subject:

An article on CNN

Gas prices causing bike shortages in New York

A cartoon on the high prices of gas

I wonder how many of the bikes purchased in the NY area have come from the economic stimulus package rebates. Is this what the President had in mind? Probably not but I’m sure that anyone who has purchased a bike with it is happier for it, with more money in their pocket because of it.

My husband said that more and more of his coworkers are turning to bike commuting, even just a couple days a week. Many of them live within a short distance from his office so it certainly makes sense.

Personally, I’m glad to see so many people turning to cycling. The more people riding on bikes the better, in my humble opinion. The only ones that would be annoyed with it are drivers who perceive cyclists as just people who get in their way. Still, it gives me great satisfaction when I’m flying by on my bike in the bike lane next to a lot of traffic that has piled up waiting for lights to turn so they can move again, which only adds to the poor gas mileage. That’s really a great feeling.

I hope you consider commuting by bike one day, even if it’s just for one day. You might find how truly easy it is!

Atlanta Arrival

Whew! I finally have a moment to blog what a day! I’m exhausted!

Our day started at 3am, when I woke just before the alarm was set to go off. 5 ½ hours of sleep would have to be adequate to get me through the day.

The transportation van arrived at the house 10 minutes early, at 4:20am so we departed soon after it arrived. We were in the air a bit before 7am and we arrived in Atlanta earlier than expected after a connection through Baltimore.

The only snafu we encountered was when the airline could not locate the lobster we checked as baggage to bring to our hosts for dinner. Eventually they found it but it meant we had to turn around after leaving the airport to go back for it. But that’s better than the alternative – no lobster and figuring out what we were going to do for dinner.

Lobster Dinner

Lunch consisted of some southern BBQ food in this great little hole-in-the-wall in Atlanta called Harold’s. It’s a local favorite and the food was inexpensive and delicious. I had beef, coleslaw and Brunswick stew. The stew was excellent! I’ve heard they make that best and I’d never had it before. Now that I have had the best it’s going to be tough if I ever order it again. Luckily this one was not made with ocra, as some are.

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We stopped off at Trader Joe’s for some staples and then landed at Joel’s a bit before 3pm, 12 hours after we woke. Needless to say it’s been a long day.

The weather here is spectacular. They are about 2 months ahead of us in the blooming of flowers and the temperatures. Even though the weather is starting to turn nice in Maine it’s nothing like this. It’s really lovely to feel the warmth of 80-degrees and see fully-leafed out trees, with azaleas and wisteria ablaze with color. I even walked on grass with bare feet – what a treat!! I’m not sure I’m going to want to return to the bare trees and cooler temps in Maine on Tuesday.

Tomorrow will be a very busy day. The Road Atlanta Team Time Trial stage starts at 1pm and we’ll be there late morning. Then it’s off to a Braves’ Game in the evening. The Braves was the team my husband grew up watching and he hasn’t been to a game in forever. His friend got us great tickets for essentially behind home plate. We surprised him by telling him tonight and he couldn’t believe it. It will be an excellent, albeit long and tiresome day.

I hope to have time to blog tomorrow but it might be a stretch. I’ll do my best! For now, it’s time for some much needed sleep.