We enjoyed our week near Bar Harbor, Maine where we focused on seeing the Mount Desert Island section of Acadia National Park. The Island Explorer bus stopped at our campground so we had easy access to Bar Harbor and the National Park. There are many shops and eating places of all kinds around Bar Harbor. Mount Desert Island is full of history and the scenery is amazing. Again, our focus was on the national park. Sand Beach is beautiful and I loved seeing and hearing the waves crashing in the rocks. At Jordan Pond restaurant we dined on their famous popovers with butter and jam. After eating we walked down to the pond. The water is very clear and the view of Jordan Lake was great. The Bubble Rocks out across the Lake complete the beautiful scenery. We took one half day to drive up Cadillac Mountain to see the views that include the outer islands off in the distance. We wanted to get there early as this this a major attraction in the park and parking is limited. We arrived about nine am and not many people were there because of the fog and no view whatsoever. We looked around the gift shop and then walked on out to the ledge trail, found a comfortable spot and waited for the fog to lift. As the fog cleared the islands off in the distance and far below us came in to view. During the winter months Cadillac Mountain is the first United States real estate to see the sun rise. Later we drove a scenic route, exploring portions of Mount Desert that are outside of the national park. We found a beautiful spot along Somes Sound where we enjoyed some quiet time, soaking in the beauty. Not too far from our campground we visited a L.L. Bean Store and enjoyed looking around, even though it wasn’t the main store. We enjoyed our experience here and can see why it has been a vacation spot for all ages through the years. I’ll have more to write about Arcadia next week as we are going to spend the week on the Schoodic Peninsula, which some people call the “unvisited” part of Acadia National Park.
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We enjoyed our visit to Scotts Bluff National Monument. At the visitor’s center we looked at the displays and watched an informative video. This distinctive formation was in Indian Territory and a landmark well known to many tribes. The pioneers followed the North Platte River as they journeyed westward. They could see these formations for days as they traveled across the prairie. This route is known as the Oregon Trail and was also part of the Mormon Trail. The Pony Express also rode through the area. As many travelers before us, we could see the Bluff as arrived in the area, and as travelers have for generations, we camped near the base of Scotts Bluff. Unlike those early travelers, though, we drove a twisting road through tunnels and with increasing vistas to the top. The view is amazing. We walked to various overlooks, thoroughly enjoying the scenery spread out below. I’m glad we were able to visit a place we have heard of most of our lives.
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Mount Rushmore is spectacular and I would come again to see this monument honoring our country. The size and detail are amazing in the daytime and beautiful at night. After dark we saw a short movie about the monument, heard stories from a park ranger, and watched the lowering of the American flag by ex-servicemen from the audience. This monument is cared for by the National park Service and includes a visitors’ center, gift shops, and museum where we watched a movie telling the story of how it all came about. The artist, Gutzon Borglum, was a first generation American of Danish decent. He began the project in 1925 and it was completed by his son Lincoln shortly after his father’s death in 1941.
We also enjoyed going to the Crazy Horse Memorial. This is a family owned monument and the ongoing work of Korczak Ziolkowski and his family. There are American Indian artifacts and items on display as well as a gift shop and a restaurant. Ziolkowski and his wife have passed on but his children continue the sculpting. We were lucky enough to be there for not only one of the nightly lazar light shows but also one the two nighttime dynamite blasts that are done each year. Although it was extremely crowed we found indoor seating that allowed a great view of the light show and blasting. We’ve never seen anything like the blasting, as over 100 charges were set off in rapid succession, each one with a “boom” and fiery flash of light.
Both of these monuments are worth a visit and both should be visited in the early evening so they can be seen in both daylight and under lighting.
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