Sunday, September 30, 2018

Western Atlantic - Part Three: In Search of Flower Pots

After a hearty breakfast at the St. Martins BnB, we sallied forth to conquer the Fundy Trail, a remarkable series of commanding bay vistas, waterfalls, and connecting trails, which however we knew were not going to quite have time to march along in a big way (which would be twelve miles roundtrip.) As the capstone was Walton Gorge, a Yosemite-like slot of drainage with a vertiginous view of its main falls, crazy rocks everywhere:

There are views along gravelly or sandy beaches for miles, and the gravel in particular is exposed in vast swathes as its famously low tide releases, revealing oddly sculpted sea floor stones, including woody sedimentary rock in views stretching across the bay to Nova Scotia:

And there is even a tenuous-looking suspension footbridge crossing to, well, nowhere in particular, but providing an interesting view along the stream where voluminous quantities of logs were extricated from their moorings, particularly early in the last century:

Then we proceeded to the village of Alma, bustling by comparison with St. Martins, but soon to be very sleepy as the season shuts up like a trap in a week or so. It allows access to the Fundy National Park, which however we gave pretty short shrift given miles to be covered. Alma is a town really all about lobster, not by far the only such around here, and I availed myself of my first lobster roll, really just a roll with lobster meat in it, often rated by simple commitment to poundage of lobster flesh, but memorable despite the spareness of this description. There's an impressively accurate model of a moose on the main drag which does not pass fifteen minutes without an embrace from a tourist seeking the perfect jocular photo, and a bakery with frighteningly rich fare.

After a night featuring a failed search for a thermostat, we proceeded to perhaps the most popular Fundy attraction, Hopewell Rocks, which features peculiarities of erosion dubbed "flower pots", which make for interesting framing of backgrounds, and certainly muddy boots:

- not to mention truly vast views in all directions:

It will be apparent that again we were favored with the shiniest possible weather:

And then on to Moncton, one of three New Brunswick urban realms, for more pub action including red plaid hipsters and plump and rowdy girls.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Western Atlantic - Part Two: The Way To Fundy

Continuing north, we arrive at the other vibrant and hip Portland, that of the Irish pubs, massive Whole Foods, waterfront walk, and this impressive park built around a Civil War era site:

And yet another crystalline day to make it seem more irresistable. But too soon, it's necessary to resume the highway to navigate to the trying-harder city of Bangor, and lest we promote bad pronunciation habits by even mentioning it:

And I must say, truly friendly and curious locals; we wandered into a bank downtown seeking Canadian currency, and were offered a plethora of both arcana and essential local info. And dialed in dinner at the fairly newly-minted Sea Dog brewpub.

Our lodging was comfortable and corporate, which seemed like it worked under the circumstances, and prepared us well for the next day's journey over the border at Calais, and you may also run afoul of pronunciation if you have another famous crossing in mind, that would be CAL-is, despite this being in the vicinity of a famous Francophone Zone. Fortunately we had been forewarned by the pronunciation offered by the estimable Bangor info center locals, so we didn't have to endure humiliation.

A soft rain held sway through most of our traversal to our next stop, a fairly informal picnic ground in New Brunswick:

A little after being beset by a dog from the house in the background, we discovered a much more substantial picnic area at a falls overlook a mere couple hundred yards down the road, oh well.

And then, what a treat, after blowing through the bustle of St. Johns, the sleepy Bay of Fundy gateway of St. Martin's, to be in a garret room overlooking the bay, with an adjacent snuggery:

And a truly memorable dinner at that same lodging. The fishing boats may have been mired in the low tide mud, but we were floating in satisfaction. And looking forward to the newly-minted Bay of Fundy trail tomorrow morning.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Western Atlantic - Part One

The first road travel day is a businesslike traversal, steadily northward, of four states - Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. The first three were an interstate whitewash, though in friendly weather, but some factors emerged in the northmost state pretty quickly. First was the reliability of the gold-lettered sign in Ogunquit, Maine, including most lodgings, restaurants, and even the library:

Santa Fe has adobe, Ogonquit has its gold letters.

Second, the Rachel Carson Wilderness, near Kennebunk, is remarkably serene, particularly in transitional weather:

- although the birds were not cooperative, with the exception of one startled but unexciting dove. But maybe it's us.

Third, it's best not to annoy the local color when it's time to eat. An old salt in the comfort food emporium we chose for dinner, one handy to some beachside rides, instructed us on their essential dish.. and so we dutifully consumed the Mariner's Stew after we arrived at our lodging at the boardwalk town of Old Orchard Beach, commanding view from our room included:

The stew in question was impressively rich, very like a bisque, complete with lobster, the Maine signature.

The room had a kind of Twilight Zone feature, a tendency for the acoustic ceiling tiles in the bathroom to rise an inch or so suddenly, then resettle with a sigh. The management maintained it was a trick of the wind, but I remain unconvinced, and suspect the ghost of e e cummings may have some agency in the phenomenon.