Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New England Vacation 4: Acadia Biking

One of the cool features of Acadia are the carriage roads. Throughout the park there are over 50 miles of roads that were used back in the day for carriages. They were financed and designed by John D Rockefeller with the help of a landscape architect. Rockefeller was insistent that the roads not obstruct the views thus they were designed to fit in very well with the environs. The roads today are used for hiking and biking only, no cars, which is great!

The carriage roads traverse many gorges and other natural features and the bridges constructed to cross these areas were really neat. You can see one in the background behind Adam in the picture above.

We did a bike ride called "Around the Mountain" because it, well, goes around some mountains! The route was hilly but breathtakingly beautiful and we couldn't have asked for better weather- about 50 degrees and sunny. The carriage roads took us along mountain edges, past waterfalls, next to ponds. This was by far my favorite part of the trip. When I go back to run the Mount Desert Island Marathon, I would like to spend more time biking on the carriage roads.

After our bike ride we had a light lunch of lunchables and Cheeto Puffs at the Sand Beach. After the rich, delicious 3-course breakfasts at the Bass Inn and our completely over-the-top decadent dinners, we needed something basic. Doesn't get more basic than lunchables, right? (As a side note, lunchables now contain drink boxes and dessert. Times sure have changed!)

Here I am contemplating the absolute perfection of my cheesy-puff. I love these and for that reason only have them on vacation (otherwise I would weigh 300 lbs and my cholesterol would be out of control!).

After the bike ride and lunch, we headed back to Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is the main town near Acadia. It is quite small- about 5 streets, but there is a lot packed into those 5 streets! A brewery, a wine store, gift shops galore and many excellent restaurants.

The best restaurant we visited in Bar Harbor was Havana. Havana is a Cuban restaurant and had excellent food mostly locally sourced and organic. The food was good by city standards, so I was impressed to find such a place in a small tourist town! Adam started w/ the Autumn Vegetable Soup which was excellent. He then had the Paella, which was good and I had the swordfish special that was EXCELLENT. Very, very tasty. We had a very interesting dessert. It was Indian Pudding ice cream. Traditional Indian Pudding is a dessert made of cornmeal, milk and molasses. It's pretty thick- kind of a porridge type dish- usually served w/ ice cream or whipped cream. It's called "Indian Pudding" because the colonists at Plymouth, MA made the dish to re-create 'hasty pudding' they had back in Britain. Hasty pudding is usually made with wheat flour or oatmeal but the colonists only had access to cornmeal, which they had thanks to the local Native Americans, so they named it after them.

Anyway, the dessert was ice cream, not porridge, but it had the flavor of Indian pudding. Very creative and very tasty.

Havana is so good that the Obamas visited when they were in Maine. The waitstaff said they were lovely, kind, and treated everyone with respect. No matter how frustrated I get w/ some of Obama's policies, I know (from personal experience and many stories) that he really is a good guy.

Watching the other diners was pretty entertaining. There were a lot of suburban types there who seemed like they walked into the wrong place. For example, the couple next to us. When the woman ordered the paella she looked very concerned and grilled the waitress- "Now, it's not spicy, is it? I can't handle spice, make sure it's not spicy". The waitress assured her that, no it's not spicy, but she'll tell the cook to make extra sure. When the paella arrived (which Adam had so we ate it and can say it is NOT AT ALL spicy), the woman took one bite and was like "My goodness, too hot!" The waitress talked with the couple and re-emphasized the lack of spice and finally said "Well, maybe it's the Bell peppers". The BELL PEPPERS? If you can't handle the "spice" of bell peppers, for the love of god, don't go to a Cuban restaurant. Hilarious!

I'd highly recommend Havana. I plan to go there again next time I'm in Bar Harbor.

1 comment:

  1. bell peppers spicy? lol. that's funny.

    the pics are cute