Bar Harbor, Maine, is the first family’s latest vacation spot. Barack and Michelle and the kids arrived at the local airport earlier Friday and were whisked away in a motorcade to their waterfront hotel.
Hopefully, they’ll get away from Bar Harbor’s tourist-heavy waterfront for other activities on Mount Desert, the large and scenic island on which the resort town is located. When you’ve got a country to run (that would be Barack) and important issues to promote, such as the reduction of childhood obesity (Michelle), you don’t always have time to plan your getaways. So here are some suggestions:
Eat at 2 Cats. This local landmark is the best place for breakfast for miles around. Lots of atmosphere and felines, plus great coffee and waffles. It’s on Cottage Street, which is kind of a walk from the place where the Obamas are staying, but we’re betting that the Secret Service will make sure they find a parking place.
Visit the lobster museum. The Maine Lobster Museum is just outside town. It’s got a great cutaway lobster boat and a working lobster hatchery where kids can see the tasty crustaceans in all their life cycles. It’s fun and educational, and Barack and Michelle strike us as just the kind of parents who like to sneak a little educational fiber into the sundae of vacations.
Listen to Thunder Hole. The Obamas will probably climb Mt. Cadillac, the local landmark and highest point along that part of the US coast. It’s got a stupendous view and a great gift shop, but it’s a little ... quiet. Thunder Hole isn’t. It’s a rock formation on Mount Desert Island’s east coast, inside Acadia National Park, where when the tide is right, waves slam in with the sound of an oncoming storm. Very dramatic and great for pictures. Hold on to the handrails, please.
Buy pie at Sawyer’s Market. Sawyer’s, a plank-floored market in what passes for downtown Southwest Harbor, is on the other side of Mount Desert from Bar Harbor. But the blueberry pie is fabulous. Get sandwiches and a pie for dessert. It’s not the best pie on the island, actually, but it is the best that will be available this weekend. Unity Church in Somesville sells homemade pies that are legendary – but only on Wednesdays. The Obamas will be gone by then.
Go tidepooling. Tidepools – those islands of water left behind on rocky coast when the tide retreats – are endlessly fascinating. We’ll bet Sasha could count the different types of crabs found in one and make it into a dandy school science display. The Bar Harbor area offers lots of places to tidepool, including the coast walk in downtown Bar Harbor itself. But we recommend the outer tip of the island, where the granite cliffs, covered with pines, seem to be marching down into the crashing surf. Have you ever wondered where L.L. Bean gets the inspiration for its cover illustrations? This is where.