2010-09-29

Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 4:25 PM | 3 comments

Acadia National Park

The weekend of the September 24th, Kyle and I went camping in Acadia National Park in northern Maine. The drive along the coast was full of adorable little towns.
On our way we stopped in Rockland for lunch. The fog seemed like typical Maine and was exactly what Kyle was hoping for.
We arrived around 6pm to our campsite, at Blackwoods campground.
The map shows our hiking in blue, day 1 driving in green and day 2 driving in orange.
Despite the drizzle, we pitched our tent and made it to the park ranger presentation on geology. Kyle and I were volunteered by the ranger to participate in a little geological theater. Kyle was a sedimentary rock (as illustrated by his lying on the ground just like any respectable layered deposit would lie). I was a metamorphic rock, so I contorted my body into a folded position. Not our usual participation level for these types of events. After our acting endeavor, we headed into Bar Harbor, which was about 20 minutes from the campground, for a late dinner. We walked around town, which is full of cute shops and restaurants, before stopping at the Finback Alehouse. The food was great, and it was nice that it was open so late. I also discovered that I like pumpkin beer.

The next morning we decided to hike along the coast, starting at Sand Beach. I am guessing this is one of the most popular trails in the park, as it was crowded, even in the off-season.
We passed this painter twice at this spot and the second time there were about 6 others painting with him.
After the coast trail ended, we took another trail back through the mountains.
We had lunch on Sand Beach, where a determined sea gull guarded us carefully. He wasn’t successful at getting any food, but I loved how he continually shooed away larger gulls to protect his territory.
There were two groups at the beach that afternoon that were so much fun to watch. The first being this baby’s first trip to the beach:
The second was an Amish group. The girls would wade into the surf getting their dresses soaked, and never lifting up their dresses.
Kyle also walked into the icy cold water, showing a little more leg than the Amish did.
Following lunch, we walked around Jordan Pond, about a 3 mile trek.
Then we decided to chase down the sunset across the park. We drove ‘til we got to Pretty Marsh, where we watched the sun go down and discovered a huge number of shell fish lying about the shore, but (to our dismay) no otters to eat the shellfish.
Too bad I didn’t have a way of cooking mussels for that night. They were everywhere.
We then headed back to camp for the last ranger program of the season. This program discussed the various science projects happening around the park. Luckily, Kyle and I didn’t have to go up on the stage again.
On Sunday morning we tried to catch the sunrise. We made it in time, but the clouds obscured our view of the sun. However, the early morning drive gave us many things to enjoy like an empty Sand Beach, no one at Thunder Hole (where the waves hit a narrow passageway in the rocky shore, creating a thunder sound), some deer having breakfast, and Cadillac Mountain covered in fog.


After packing up our campsite, we drove back to Bar Harbor and walked around a painting and photography fair.
Then we drove to the west side of the park to hike a few more small trails. Kyle discovered a sea urchin and some crabs in a tide pool.
We also saw the painter giving lessons again. Then we drove home.
Acadia was a great park, and we highly recommend it. We hope to go back next spring and try a few different trails.
Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 9:06 AM | 1 comment

Obsessed with Cake

I have been sucked into Food Network. One of my favorite shows is Ace of Cakes. I love watching the elaborate cakes that they make. So, of course, I had to add cake-making to my list of never ending hobbies. After one failure at a fondant recipe, I tried a new recipe and made my first fondant cake. It isn’t the prettiest cake, but it was my first attempt.
I was going for an artistic look… I obviously still have a ton to learn. To help me along in my new hobby, Kyle got me my first standing mixer for my birthday! "How romantic" (said Kyle).
Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 9:03 AM | 1 comment

Coast to Coast

On September 10th, Kyle and I went to Portland, OR for a wedding. Yes, Oregon. It took a 6-hour non-stop flight to get there, but it was worth every minute. We met our friends Nathaniel and James and bummed around the city on Saturday. We took in the Portland Saturday Market, full of crafters of all kinds.
We walked along the river and bounced around town enjoying local beers along the way. We also stood in line to try out the infamous Voodoo Doughnuts. My verdict was that they were pretty similar to other doughnuts. I think Kyle was more impressed than I was. They did have some unique and crazy doughnuts like one topped with Captain Crunch cereal and one in the shape of a voodoo doll.
Perhaps the most exciting discovery for Kyle was the barcade. Yep, an arcade full of classic games and pinball machines that also served beer. It was extremely crowded that night, but we had to try it out.
Sunday morning we were lucky enough to be able to have breakfast with our college friends, Rebekah and Joey, and their adorable girls. It is always great to see them, even if it is just for a short visit.
Awesome t-shirt Rebekah has on!
That afternoon we arrived at our main event for the weekend: Chuck and Tammy’s wedding. The weather couldn’t have been better, and we were so happy to be there to see the beginning of their new life together.
The ceremony started with Tammy singing beautifully to Chuck. She has an amazing voice.
Of course there were vows, exchanging of rings, and then they where married!
As with all weddings, the ceremony was followed by lots of photography. I couldn’t help but join in on the picture snapping.
They had a pretty sweet ride to the reception, which was apparently a surprise for them.
I’ve never seen Chuck so happy.

Our behavior at the wedding was good enough that we were allowed to attend the intimate reception at Tammy’s mother’s house.
Kyle and I even got to eat with the bride and groom, at which point I took the opportunity to grill Tammy on what she liked to do. After all, I didn’t know much about her. My verdict is that she is perfect for our group of college friends. So, welcome Tammy!
Nate was awarded the garter. He didn’t even have to push other guys out of the way. Chuck literally handed it to him. No pressure, Nate.
That was it for our coast-to-coast adventure. Our group grew by 1, and one of our dearest friends seems happier than ever. You couldn’t ask for a better weekend.

2010-09-16

Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 9:48 PM | No comments

Portland, Maine - Awesome

One Sunday, the 28th, we got in the car again and headed to Maine. We had heard from many people that Portland was the place to visit. I wish someone would have told us not to go on the 28th. The traffic was horrible. Turned out there was an air show in NH, right along our route. What was supposed to be a 2 hour trip took over 3.75 hours. Thank goodness they have good NPR on the East coast. It entertained us the whole way, and I think prevented Kyle from going postal (He hates traffic). We finally arrived in Portland and instantly loved it. The drive into the downtown section brings you to this gorgeous church and some parks. I had read about a craft fair happening that day, hence why I wanted to go. Once we found parking, we took our picnic to the craft fair.
We sat on the grass next to the band stage. We missed most of the music, but enjoyed our picnic regardless. Then I perused the craft fair quickly (it was small). The rest of the day was spent wandering around town.
This place is adorable. Lots of shops, which I did not drag Kyle into this time. Then we made it down to the harbor and found a trail. We walked along it enjoying the day, passing a little scenic train station, the beach where people were playing with their pets and a group of older ladies playing scrabble by the shore.

We finished off our day at a restaurant on the water, with a view similar to this: