Thursday, May 26, 2005

survivor of the stormy Atlantic chill

It was probably the suckiest vacation in my life. Well, in terms of weather, that is.

New England was under a thick cover of clouds for the last five days of our trip. In fact, the clouds were something of a winter storm that brought us gusting wind and incessant rain. On top of the Cadillac Mountain in the Acadia National Park, the wind was so strong that for a split second it lifted our car from the ground. (We were very relieved to see that our car was still where we parked it when we came back from the restroom.) In Boston, we ended up spending some five hours of quality time in the airport before we finally set off to the slightly bumpy flight to Chicago late last night. The last two days, with the highs barely above 45, even set the record of the coldest May 24th and 25th in the history of Boston. The gray, windy, bone-chilling sogginess of the last five days were more than enough to make me temporarily forget the first half of the trip--during which we managed to enjoy the early spring air streaming over our head as we drove our convertible. (We were lucky to be assigned a convertible for the price of a compact car at the rental car place. They must have been seriously out of cars.)

But anyway, I'm back in Chicago, readier than ever to enjoy the warm, dry, and sunny weather...

Below are some places of note from our trip.

>Polly's Pancake Parlor
Nestled in the rolling hills that eventually lead to the rugged terrain of the White Mountains National Forest, this log-cabin pancake house is a wonderful place to start the day of serious hiking. The three-inch pancakes are small enough to try more than one flour-and-addition combination, such as whole wheat blueberry (FILLED with plump blueberries) and cornmeal chocolate chip. Be daring and add some sides--especially the bacons, home-smoked at the location, are the best I've ever had. The rich smokiness, comparable to the smokiest of the smoked salmons, perfectly counters the intense flavor of the pork. It is on your way to the mountains, if you stay in Franconia, Littleton, or other nearby towns.

>Hearthside Bed & Breakfast
Located in the center of Bar Harbor, the largest town on the Mt. Desert Island, this B&B is an excellent place to stay. It has everything you would expect from a B&B, from cutely decorated rooms with lots of quaint character to fun conversation with other guests over a satisfyingly hearty breakfast. They even treat you with home-baked brownies and hot drinks at 4-5 every day. But what makes this B&B the place to stay is the owners Susan and Barry. Though extremely friendly (almost like a family), they are professionals. Our room was miraculously cleaned while we were downstairs at the breakfast table. The cleaning cart full of mops and cleansers, an unfortunate norm of most hotels, was nowhere to be seen. I would avoid the "crazy" season of late July to mid August (when almost everyone on the island is unhappy, may he be a tourist or an innkeeper), but other than that, I would definitely go back to Hearthside B&B.

(list of places to be continued)


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