Thursday, July 10, 2008

Adventures in Nature

Full Disclosure: I’m not an outdoor girl. My idea of camping is a hotel without room service. And yet, I’ve just returned from one of the best vacations I’ve ever had…and me and nature mixed it up.

The husband and I headed off to Bar Harbor a week ago. Let’s just say that the loooooong car ride did not bode well for an anniversary celebration. But a good night’s sleep and some pancakes with native wild blueberries, made me believe that the husband could live another day. Bar Harbor is a quaint village by a restless ocean. It’s got a library to die for…and Acadia National Park.

I’ve been to parks before – but they’ve always been little preserves of nature in the midst of concrete (think Central Park). But this was acres of lush foliage, filled with incredible contrasts from a sandy beach to a soaring peak. We hiked about five miles through the park, and while I won’t try to convince you that I scaled Mt. Everest in sandals, I’d like to think I held my own with Mother Nature. Frankly, I wanted a brass band to play when I used the outhouse provided for hikers, but I suspect that I don’t get to be called Nature Girl until I really get back to nature, if you catch my drift. All that hiking stirs up an appetite so we ended our trek at the Jordan Pond House - with scrumptious popovers and fish chowder.

Alas, our time in Bar Harbor was way too brief, but we’re already planning a return trip. We next headed to Prince Edward Island, across a nine-mile bridge. There we found clean air, rolling green farmland, and lighthouses that dot the rocky shores of the cool crisp waters. But though I’d never been to PEI before, I felt immediately at home, thanks to the delightful series by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables. Exactly one hundred years ago, we were first introduced to the fictional PEI town of Avonlea and the red-haired orphan Anne (with an “e,” as she insisted) Shirley stole into our hearts.

Of course, there is a commercial side to this native heroine. Tourism is as big a crop as the native potatoes and strawberries grown here. In Charlottetown Centre, there is an Anne Shirley shop, where a saleswoman dressed in a period costume, also sported a tongue stud. There are Anne Shirley chocolates, Anne Shirley soda (red, because Anne declares, “I love bright red drinks, don’t you? They taste twice as good as any other color.”), and Anne Shirley dolls, books, and DVDs.

I bought a new copy of the book from the tongue-studded Anne, and reveled once again in the never-out-of-date story of the little girl with the “vivid imagination,” who roamed the natural paradise of Prince Edward Island. I'm not quite ready for my Girl Scout nature badge, but my stay in nature sparked my own "vivid imagination." How about murder in a national park?? But the amateur sleuth stays in a quaint Bed and Breakfast with indoor plumbing??

Evelyn David


  1. Evelyn: That's why we love each other: I, too, am not a fan of the great outdoors and much prefer the solitude provided by my unpainted attic office. However, you sold me on this trip. (Not the outhouse part but the rest.) I'm glad you got away. It sounds like it was an amazing adventure and if ever I want to go outside, I will consider it. :-) Maggie

  2. I've never been up there, but am more of an outdoors person than either of you--though I don't do much of that anymore. Back in my younger years I took my Camp Fire Girls backpacking several times, went along with other Camp Fire Girls as another chaperone on their backpack trips into the wilderness. I was a great outdoor cook. And I've used many an outhouse. Still do at some of the craft show events where I have a booth for my books.