Monday, April 24, 2017

Smugglers Notch

Not all travel adventures are far from home. Nearby Smugglers Notch is beautiful any time of year. The road through the Notch is closed in winter, but that makes it a nice place to walk or ski or snowshoe, depending on conditions. Most of the road is clear of snow now, as can be seen in the video of the waterfall at the end of this post, but at the height of land on the road (photo above) there was still plenty of snow today.

The photo below shows the sign at the beginning of the Sterling Pond Trail. While the trail is open in winter, summer and fall, it is closed in the spring until the snow melts and the ground dries out.

King Rock is next to the road a short ways down the Stowe side:

A bronze plaque on the rock, to the right of and above Nancy, says:

King Rock

6000 tons
Fell From the Side of
Mt Mansfield Spring of 1910

Tablet Placed By
Mrs. C.F. Eddy
And Womens Club of Stowe

One of the notable rock formations in Smugglers Notch is the Hunter and His Dog, visible in the photo below:

A prominent feature in the Notch is Elephant's Head:

To my knowledge the best reference on the history of Smugglers Notch is Mansfield: The Story of Vermont's Loftiest Mountain, by Robert L. Hagerman (Essex Publishing Company, 1971):

Chapter 7 is about Smugglers Notch. (There was a second edition of this book, which I don't have, published in 1975.)

The snow was melting everywhere on our walk today, as in this waterfall beside the road on the Cambridge side:

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Schoodic Peninsula

Schoodic Peninsula is part of Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine. The main part of Acadia National Park is on Mount Desert Island, accessible by a short bridge from Trenton. The tourist town of Bar Harbor is also on Mount Desert Island. Schoodic Peninsula is only five miles from Bar Harbor as the crow flies, but 42 miles by road. Although it is the only part of Acadia National Park on the mainland, it is a more remote and less visited section of the park.

We visited Schoodic Peninsula today. It was a beautiful, sunny day with few other visitors. The photo below is at Frazer Point:

This photo is at Schoodic Point, indicated by the "You Are Here" arrow on the map below:

Schoodic Peninsula has been part of Acadia National Park since 1929 but it has been significantly upgraded in recent years.

In 2011-15 an anonymous person(s) purchased 3,200 acres adjacent to the then existing park, constructed hiking and biking trails and a campground, and donated it to the park. Click here for a news release about the grand opening of the Schoodic Woods Campground in 2015.

A former Naval station was added to the park in 2002 and renovated into the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC), operated jointly by the Schoodic Institute and the National Park Service:

The photo below shows Rockefeller Hall, just one of many buildings at SERC:

In 2000 the 29-mile long Schoodic National Scenic Byway was established. The rest area at the Taunton Bay entrance to the Scenic Byway in Hancock is new:

We had a delightful lunch at the Pickled Wrinkle in Birch Harbor, just outside the park. What is a Pickled Wrinkle?
Pickled Wrinkles are an old Downeast Maine Delicacy. They are large carnivorous sea snails, or whelks, which are pickled and marketed locally as Pickled Wrinkles. Unlike herbivorous periwinkles, which inhabit tidal zones, wrinkles are larger and inhabit areas below the tide line. Lobster fishermen find wrinkles in traps they haul from the ocean floor. In tough times, wrinkles were relied on to help feed Maine families, and pickling was a great way to preserve the protein packed morsels. At the Pickled Wrinkle, we strive to provide guests with local seafood and produce whenever possible. We have a diverse menu that includes local Pickled Wrinkles when available. Try one if you are brave enough!

Alas they did not have any Pickled Wrinkles available for us to try today, but the crab rolls, seafood stew, and craft beers were excellent.