Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Bangor to Bar Harbor (Maine)

on April 7, 2013

So, once upon a time, we started this roadtrip, which I call “Adventures in a Disposable Car“.  As mentioned, the plan was to drive one way, from Calgary to Halifax, Nova Scotia, through the United States, and then fly home.   BUT the car only made it to Omaha, Nebraska.

PortsmouthWe rented a car at the Omaha airport, but since we had no intention of returning it to the pick-up location, we weren’t allowed to drop-off the car in Canada. So, we immediately came up with a Plan B (or C or D), which was: we’ll drive the car to Bangor, Maine, and then catch the Greyhound Bus, from Bangor to Bar Harbor, and then, from Bar Harbor, we’d take the ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where friends would pick us up, drive us to Halifax, where we’d rent a car…

So, we drove to Bangor (through Portsmouth, New Hampshire, so we get to cross New Hampshire off the list… although, on our next New England trip, I have a few actual things I want to do while IN New Hampshire, so we are going back there anyway…)

We dropped our rental car off at the Bangor airport, and caught a cab (which, by the way, was a powder blue station wagon, which must’ve been from the 1980’s…does that make sense?) back to the Greyhound Bus Depot.

We planned to take donate most of our camping gear to the Good Will, or something similar, in Bangor; send some of our personal larger items, by Greyhound, back to Montana to my Dad’s house; and the rest (suitcase items – clothing and shoes) we’d take with us.

At the Greyhound depot, the ticket agent was a man who looked EXACTLY like my Grampa.  Since you may not have known him: He wore overalls, had the bushiest eyebrows and a roly-poly belly.

We walked up to the booth (there was no one else there, not even any other employees), and said, “We’d like to go to Bar Harbor, please.”  (Bar Harbor is 47 miles southeast.)

He said, “Whey-uh?”

“Ummm. Bar Harbor.”

“You want to go whey-uh?”

“Bar Harbor… Maine…?”

“….. ohhhhhhhh…. you mean Bah -Hab-uh! Why dincha say so?”

So, I said, “OH. Yes. Sorry. We’d like to go to uh Bah-Hab-uh, please.”

Next, I explained that we had some crates going to Montana.  No problem, he said, just put our address on the crates.

I said, “oh, ok! Do you have a marker I can use?”

He said “A what?”Bar Harbor2

I said, “A marker.”

“A what?”

“A marker.”

Peter says, “A pen! Do you have a pen?”

“OHHHHH – a Mack-uh! Why dincha say so???”

Eventually, we got our tickets to Bah-Hab-uh, and our crates were set to go to Montana.

We got on the bus, and told the Bus driver our plan: “We’d like to go to this cottage, which is right beside the Cat Ferry Port.  Can you please drop us off there, on the way to Bar Harbor…errrr Bah – Hab-uh?”

(We’d (OK, I’d) found a cottage that was SO CUTE, that said they were walking distance to the CAT Ferry. Perfect!)

Bar HarborThe Bus Driver said, No. There’s no way he was leaving us at those cottages – it wasn’t within walking distance. What he proposed is: when we drive by the cottages, he’s point them out – but not drop us off. When we pass the Ferry, he’ll point that out. If we still want to stay at the Cottages, we could hitch a ride with him, on his way back.

Yeah – that was a GREAT option because it was at LEAST 5 miles from the Cottage to the Ferry! Seriously!! (a problem with the Internet…you never know for sure what you might get…)

So, there we were, “stranded” in Bar Harbor.  THAT is not an option, at all – the most hospitable, generous, easy-going town.  The bus driver knew the motel owner (I’m 99% certain it was the Bar Harbor Villager Hotel) and explained that we had to 1) rent a room, and 2) get to the Ferry the next day.

They hammered out the deal (with Peter observing), in that: as soon as the motel owner heard what we needed, she volunteered to drive us to the Ferry landing herself!

We settled in to Bar Harbor for the evening, exploring up and down the main street, going in and out of stores, restaurants, pubs…

We asked one store clerk what time they closed shop.  She said, “When people stop coming in…could be 8pm, could be midnight.”  So, I said, “Ok! When do you open in the morning?” She said, “Depends when we close the night before.”

This is the kind of town for me.

We went for dinner down by the wharf – and had lobster, of course. You must have lobster if you are in Maine! They had bucketsQuarterdeck Restaurant (barrels?) of lobster from which you can pick, but I prefer to pretend that my lobster (and crab) isn’t a creature, and that it’s just yummy food in fancy packaging.  (This is how my cognitive dissonance works.)  So, we went to a restaurant, where I could just order a tail.

We stayed there until the sun went down, and then meandered back up the main street towards the hotel.

We stopped at a little (and I mean “LITTLE”) pub along the way for an after-dinner drink.  It was SO small – kind of like a hallway, with a bar and some stools, no tables.  The Bartender was from … I don’t remember where he was from… I think Ireland, Peter thinks Australia…he’s just there in the summer, but comes back every summer, to just “be” in Bar Harbor, and, of course, to bar tend

.   AND, he was a GREAT bartender!!  For a “tall” drink, he included AT LEAST an ounce of mix.

CAT ferryThe next morning, as promised, a the crack of dawn (or, well, a few minutes before 8:00 am, actually), the hotel lady kicked everyone out of her Continental Breakfast area, locked up the hotel office, loaded up all of our luggage  (well, what’s left of it) in her van, and drove us to the Ferry.    We insisted on “giving her something for her troubles…or at least, gas money”, but she absolutely refused… until finally, it seemed offensive to insist.

We loved the place! We are going back.   Sometimes, a whirl-wind road trip is like a Sample Platter. You get a bunch of bite size appetizers, and then choose which you like, so you can re-order that next time. Bar Harbor is a “re-order” item.

CatThe CAT Ferry is/was one of the fastest ferries, from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, took about 3 hours.  Here’s my …misunderstanding… I assumed that since it was “only” 3 hours, and it was “in” the Bay of Fundy, I wouldn’t have to worry about sea-sicknessness…. (I’d never been sea sick before – just cautious and aware.)

Yeah.  About 1/2 hour in – SICK!  SICK!!  the route was on the outer edge of the Bay of Fundy, so really – the Atlantic Ocean.  I don’t know if the sea was calm or …wavy… but after 1/2 hour, I had to take medicine and spent the entire rest of the trip… asleep.  I’m certain that despite the blue sky and sunshine, it must’ve been tumultuous seas!!!!

After apparently missing whale sightings, we ported in Yarmouth, I guess 3 hours later… and yay! friends picked us up!

(By the way, the CAT Ferry no longer runs from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth… it was retired April, 2010, after a decade of use.  I guess it was too expensive to run, and the governments on both sides couldn’t keep up with subsidizing it… They are, apparently, looking a new/different ferry line to connect the two places – just not as speedy as 3 hours… could you imagine if that was your commute!!???)

Next Sunday – something about Nova Scotia…

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One response to “Bangor to Bar Harbor (Maine)

  1. Karen says:

    I’m sorry that the CAT isn’t running anymore…it was a fast way to get to Nova Scotia.

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