Sunday, June 24, 2012

Last Weekend

One would think on my final weekend in New Hampshire I would have big plans. Hiking. The beach. Walking around Boston.

To be honest, the weekend was filled with mundane tasks like laundry, cleaning, and packing.

I did manage to sneak in a little time with one of my co-workers who I haven't had a chance to spend time with outside of work. She invited me to her house to see some of the pictures she bought from me and framed for her wall. Unfortunately, Saturday morning part of her roof collapsed and she was left with a gaping hole in her ceiling. Something I know a little bit about! But, after she had a chance to clean up, I made my way over to her house. We spent some time in her expansive back yard, sitting in lawn chairs and chatting about life.

We got the impulse to drive to Newburyport, MA and take in some of the downtown shops. Soon after we arrived, the rain clouds began rolling in, spoiling our outdoor plans. We were both hungry, so she suggested we take a quick trip over to Amesbury, MA. I was charmed by the quaint town. After a delicious pizza at Flatbreads, we headed back for home. It was a lazy Saturday afternoon spent with good company and topped off with some awesome food. Not a bad way to spend my last Saturday.




Today was the final push to deep clean as much of the rental house as I could. As I typically do on Sundays, I did a bit of baking in an attempt to use of some of the ingredients I have left on hand to avoid having to pack them for the journey back. My landlord, who has his chiropractic clinic right on the same property as the house, loves Monday mornings because there is usually a box of baked goods on his doorstep. Mondays are hard. Cookies and brownies are necessary.



A week from now, Mom and I will be arriving in Niagara Falls. One step closer to being home!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lobstah

I developed a "bucket list" of sorts after about my first week of this assignment. Read a book on the beach. Check. Climb a mountain. Check. While I still have some things left on the list, last night I checked off two more.


I've had lobster before and even had lobster in Maine before. But, I couldn't go my entire assignment living on the coast of New England and NOT eat a lobster while I was here, could I? My co-workers told me I had to try fried clams as well. So, two of my friends took me to Wells, Maine to check these two items off my list.

One of the girls is a native of Wells and took us to a great roadside "dive" seafood place. The kind of place that if you saw it, you'd probably keep driving. Small and unassuming, the Fisherman's Catch is a local favorite. Packed to the brim with people, fresh lobster tanks in the waiting area, and paper towel rolls dangling above each table (for the inevitable mess that comes with eating fresh lobster).  Outside you could smell and almost taste the salty sea air. Picnic tables were scattered about for those wanting to brave outdoors for their meal. A huge wooden ship also adorned the outside seating area, equipped with bar stools for extra seating. This is classic Maine.














We stuffed our faces with seafood. The fried clams were good, but I came for the lobster. I ate my lobster. I enjoyed every...single...bite. Delish!





After we were stuffed, we decided to grab ice cream (because we hadn't indulged enough apparently) and head to the beach for an evening walk. I was rather entertained at the name of the ice cream shoppe, "Big Daddy's." Nice. As always, it is great to spend time with my new found friends and bittersweet as we thought of my departure next week.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cruisin'

I had been looking forward to this weekend for two months. It was time for the harbor cruise with the girls from work. And did we have a good time.












Portsmouth, New Hampshire is an awesome town. It is a quaint seaside community filled with great local seafood restaurants, cute shoppes, all while having the feel of a funky college town. Portsmouth has it all. This was where our cruise set sail.




After stopping for some wood-fired pizza (not usually a wise choice before boarding a ship set for rough ocean waves, just FYI), we headed for the dock. This cruise was aimed at the 21 and older crowd, it was equipped with a DJ and bars on all three levels of the ship. The girls wanted me to experience the ocean from a boat while unwinding and blowing off some steam from the work week.

We got a little more than we bargained for.

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(Shelley showing off her best gangsta move)

I knew right away just from sitting in the parking lot waiting to board the ship that the night would provide ample people-watching opportunities. Girls in high heels, big earings, and mini skirts (mind you it was set to be about 55 degrees by the time the cruise ended). Guys with greased hair, muscle shirts, and giant sunglasses.

I felt like I was on an episode of Jersey Shore.

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(Jen's signature dance move)


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(Me trying to learn Jen's signature dance move, without being thrown off the boat)

Aside from the bumpin' and grindin' going on in other parts of the ship, the girls and I staked out the upper deck to take in the best views of the harbor. We had fun chatting, getting to know each other outside of work, and making complete fools of ourselves busting out some serious white girl moves. Definitely made me realize my time here is running short and I'm going to miss the people I've come to know here.


Today I started packing. 12 days.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Getting closer

16 days. Only 16 days left on this adventure before I start the 1300 mile journey back home.

This weekend I got a bit homesick. And although my accent has started to become more Bostonian (according to my mom on our last phone conversation), my coping mechanisms show that I'm a midwesterner through and through.


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Monday, June 11, 2012

Bar Harbor, Maine: Part Three

I saved the best part of my trip for last (at least I think so!).

On my last night in Bar Harbor, I made my way to a place called Thunder Hole (insert snickers from some of my friends here). Just a small inlet carved out of the rocky shore by waves, it puzzles some and amazes others, all depending on when you are there. On a calm day, there isn't much to be seen. But when the waves get big, they crash into this inlet, forcing air out of the hole with the sound of a clap of thunder and sending water spraying almost 40 feet high at times. After a suggestion from my co-worker, I did my research on this spot and read that the best time to see this natural wonder is at 3/4 tide when the waves are especially rough. I found myself mesmerized by the ebb and flow of the waves. Although the waves weren't 40 foot high, it was still an interesting sight to see.

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Yes, that is me chuckling with an older lady about her husband who was leaning way over the railing to get a picture, he almost got very wet.

 
Soon, the above scenario wasn't so funny as I got soaked by a rogue wave!
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I got soaked just as I was turning back toward the hole. This is the shot I took just before getting hit with water.

With the storm clouds rolling in, the sea was churning and it was quite a sight to see. Much like other parts of Mother Nature, the power of this place demands respect. The water changes quickly and has tragically swept people out to sea at this location in the past.

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The rocky cliffs overlooking Thunder Hole also offered panoramic views of Otter Bay. With the sun sheltered by the impending storm clouds, there was just enough lighting to get a few great shots of the sea.








Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bar Harbor, Maine: Part Two

Before I left for Bar Harbor, the weather forecast predicted 70% chance of heavy rain on Saturday. But, much like Wisconsin weather, if you don't like the weather in New England, give it five minutes it will change! I was blessed to dodge the rain all day on Saturday so I was able to see a good portion of the island.

Acadia National Park covers a large portion of the island itself, so I spent a fair amount of time exploring the park. Opened in 1916, it was the first National Park east of the Mississippi River and the first in the nation to have its land donated entirely by private citizens. Covering 49,000 acres, with 120 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of "carriage" roads, there was plenty to see and do.


The carriage roads, meant for non-motorized traffic, were funded and directed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Built between 1913 and 1940, the roads were meant for walking, bikers, horseback riding, and of course, carriages. They were made of granite mined directly from the island. Cobblestone bridges are scattered throughout the park as well.




My first stop was the wild gardens. Here, there were several of the 165 native plant species found in the park on display. The Sieur de Monts Spring house is also located near the gardens. Click here to learn more about the spring and its history.


 After I finished up at the gardens, I made my way to Sand Beach. Creative name, I know. Beautifully bookended by craggy rocks and forest, it was a great place to take a quick break and watch the waves hit the shore.


Once I finished up at the beach, it was on to Bass Harbor to see the lighthouse. Still used as an active lighthouse, the grounds included a house for the current lighthouse keeper and their family. I found out after the fact there was a stairwell that led down to the shore below where better pictures could have been had. Oh well, next time!


 
My next stop was Jordan Pond. A huge body of water that sits right in the middle of the park, nestled below the large mountains. I walked the trail that looped all the way around the pond, watched some of the wildlife, and took my surroundings. It was then that wind began to whip and clouds rolled in overhead. I was sure rain was soon to follow, so I headed for the car.




I have one more post of videos and pictures yet to come on my adventure in Bar Harbor. I apologize for the delay in this post, I was without power for a bit which = no internet! I also had videos to post, but the blogger website had other plans, so if it works in the future, I'll add the videos in!



Monday, June 4, 2012

Bar Harbor, Maine: Part One

I got my brakes checked this week on my car. Why is this important? You'll see in a bit!

This weekend was a big one for me, I headed about 4 hours North to Bar Harbor, Maine. This area has been on my list of places to see for a long time and I was super pumped to finally check it off my list. I left early from work on Friday and made the drive up. With the forecast predicting rain, I was prepared for a bust of a weekend.

I reached my hotel at about 6 pm and headed straight for Acadia Park, a national park that encompasses much of the island that Bar Harbor is located on. The potential for rain on Saturday was high so I wanted to see as much as I could with sunny skies. My goal was to get to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Standing at over 1500 feet, this mountain boasts beautiful 360 degree views of the harbors, towns, and ocean below. The drive up was definitely nerve-wracking for someone afraid of heights. The road skirted close to the end of the mountainside and there wasn't a lot of room for error. The views at the top were well worth the drive.

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Soon, I found out the drive up isn't the hard part, its the drive down! (this is where the sturdy brakes come in handy)
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There were so many trails that criss-crossed over the mountainside and into the park, if I had the time for a hike, I would have been hard pressed to pick one! But, alas, I had limited daylight left and was tired from work and my drive. So I settled on just taking in the beauty at the mountain top and heading back down to earth as daylight started to dwindle. The park had so many great things to see, I started to make a list in hopes I could hit as many spots as possible on Saturday, despite the rain.







More pictures and video's from my trip to Bar Harbor (or as my New England co-workers call it, Bah Habba) are coming in my next post! That's all for tonight, folks!