Sea Glass Heaven at Inverness Beach on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Lacking knowledge or significant input from others, part of our route planning into Canada was determined by where the internet suggested we might find some nice sea glass.  This may seem a frivolous way to pick destinations, but we figured it would certainly put is on the shore, which we like, probably on beaches, which we like, and possibly in interesting towns and terrain.  What’s not to like?

While we found little actual sea glass in New River Beach and not much more near Tatamagouche, our overall experience in both of those places was fantastic.  Buoyed by these two highly enjoyable selections using our soon to be copyrighted “where is the sea glass” route planning method, we made the somewhat painful drive to Inverness, on the island of Cape Breton, which makes up a significant portion of Nova Scoria’s territory in the northeast.  Canadians we talked to in Tatamagouche assured us that the place was fantastic regardless of any beach treasure.

I’m not gonna lie: by the time we got situated at Inverness Beach Village Campground, I was in a foul mood and regretting the choice.  First, the drive was ugly: For the last 90 minutes it was a twisty, uneven, pot hole ridden, poorly maintained, single lane in each direction road with frequently limited shoulders.  The cat got sick more than once, the cars piled up behind us with no easy pull offs to let them pass, and the concentration required by the drive eliminated any chance of enjoying the views.

Our site: a plane grass field, rather unlevel, but what a view.

Second: the campground seemed disorganized and half hazardly set up.  The check in process was slow, the front desk staff seemed to lack basic RV knowledge, they provided no information that was not specifically asked, and their facilities map is a crude, hand- drawn and deceptive affair.  It led me down a road that, per said child’s drawing, suggested it would loop back around to our site.  It did not, and I was forced into a multi-point turn around maneuver at a dead end.

Upon finally backing into our site I was reminded that this campground is limited to a 15 amp circuit!  Forgetting this fact between when I did my research and when we arrived is my fault.  But upon pulling out our 15 amp adapter, I found that the plug covers nearly prevented me from getting it inserted and required me to damage my adapter a bit.  Really now.  I get that the place is focused on their cabin revenue, but the RV park should not be just an afterthought.

This is from directly in front of our site.  Unobstructed sunset over the water.

Fortunately, things improved.  A beer helped.  And contrary to our usual arrival day pattern of setting up and relaxing, we decided to hit the beach.  Wow, what an eye opener, what an introduction to Inverness.  Upon scrambling down the resort’s packed dirt trail from the sandstone cliffs to the base, we found a beautiful beach extending for a couple of miles in either direction.  Choosing the road less traveled, we turned right, roughly northeast, and immediately spotted a plethora of white and green beach glass, with a piece easily found nearly every square meter.

First day’s haul.  Mostly green and white (brown is surprisingly rare) and some nice pottery/ceramic as well.

Our planned short visit to the beach before retiring for the evening turned into a multi hour march down the full length of the rightward section.  We slowly realized that we need not grab every piece in our path because the sheer volume of sea glass allowed us to become pickier the longer we explored.  By the time we ended that first day’s exploration, we were turning our nose up at anything white or green and smaller than a nickel.  We would get even more selective as the days wore on.

It was Jellyfish holocaust on the beach in places.  People were still swimming though, and one women suggested she didn’t think this type has long tentacles.

The rightward section of the beach passes in front of two (apparently famous) golf courses running along the low cliffs backing the beach.  This of course means that in addition to sea glass, golf balls are easily found.   And not the cheap ones, either.  These guys aren’t paying a couple a hundred a day in greens fees and a professional caddy to hit scuffed up, yellowed crap balls.  It’s brand new, top end, all the way.  I can’t imagine how many I would lose trying to navigate the fairways running directly alongside the cliffs, particularly since there are few options for getting to the beach from the links.

In between our daily, or in the case of Rosemarie, twice daily, beach excursions, we explored the town of Inverness and nearby regions.  It’s a cute, quaint town with handful of restaurants and shops.  Before arriving in Canada, I had researched and made a list of Canadian specific food and chain restaurants we should try, and Inverness provided us the opportunity to taste our first donair, sort of a Turkish/Greek shaved beef pita sandwich

The donair was forgettable, so here is our grilled cheese with mac and cheese, shallots, and garlic pickle slice.  

It was… disappointing.  Though the sweet onions were great, the meat was dry, and the whole thing was rather forgettable.  Honestly, my expectations were too high, the food is particularly craved by the post night out drinking crowd rather than as early bird dinner people, and I think we chose the wrong venue.  I didn’t see any sign of the traditional beef spit from which the meat is supposed to be shaved.  It was like they just substituted dry “Steak-umms.”  Ah well, another time.

We also hit the local whiskey distillery, Glenora, which produces a distinctly Scottish style.  This should be expected given the enormous Scottish influence in Nova Scotia (i.e, “New Scotland”) based upon their European settler history.  It was good, but I felt the price for a 1/2 ounce taste was extreme, and we left having tried but one option. 

But the beach glass!  Did I mention it?  It was amazing.  Honestly, I think this place has more than Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California, but spread out along several miles of beaches rather than concentrated in a limited set of coves.  Day two we turned left from our beach access point, partly for diversity, partly from the recommendation of a regular to the area we had met on our first evening.

We didn’t find as much, but we did meet Charlie, whom I shall refer to as a local “character.”  He showed us the amazing pieces he had found “that day” (I think they were his best from perhaps the week or month but he carried them to show them off, and they were spectacular) who walked a mile with us, regaling us with stories of his life, his glass beach finds, and local gossip and politics.  He gave us a bit of an education on what we were seeing and what we needed to keep an eye out for.  So thanks, Charlie, you’re a gem.

Day three it was back to the beach, and back to the right, with distrust in the air, skeptical of woman who had sent us to the left, perhaps just trying to keep us from the good spots.  We let that thought go though, because we can’t go on together, with suspicious minds.  Boy did we load up.  A huge pocket full for me, a good sized plastic baggy for Rosemarie, and my other pocket filled with golf balls.  We ended the day with a dip in the Broad Cove River, which empties right at Inverness Beach.

The evening before our departure we noted that the next day’s weather forecast involved rain most of the day.  Awakening the next morning, with Rosemarie loathe to leave the place, and me not feeling like driving in the drizzle, we extended a day, making a foray during reasonable weather down to the beach, but otherwise hunckered down in th RV watching movies and whatnot.  Rose made one more early evening run for beach glass.  After nearly two hours and with the rain picking up, I drove down to the beach access and collected her soaked to the bone self right as she was making her way up the cliff path. 

We needed that extra day.  It put us in the right state of mind for our two part journey to Prince Edward Island starting the next morning.  This far into our Canadian journey, Tatamagouche has stood out as a great little town we would enjoy visiting again, and Inverness Beach as a fantastic coastal location to pursue Rose’s beach glass jewelry hobby and business.  In an ideal world, we would combine those two, merging Tata’s growing culture with Inverness’ location, but if that were to happen I’m sure all you mere tourists would ruin the place. 😉

Continuing our Canadian Lessons Learned:

  • I think we have broken the code with regard to the Eastern Provinces’ Harmonized Sales Tax:  The 15% HST is included in the advertised price at all provincially controlled liquor stores and at provincial parks, but rarely any place else.
  • Holy crap, Scotch is cheaper than Canadian whiskey!  At least, sometimes.  The tax, tariffs, production issues, and minimum charge structure here is a mystery to me, but the end result is a sort of absolute minimum on the price of any kind of standard 80 proof liquor.  This pushes local, bottom shelf Canadian whiskey up to a price equal to, and in some cases more expensive than, acceptable imports.  I fond Famous Grouse in the 1.14 liter option for two bucks less than the cheapest Canadian option.

Tatamagouche! Into Nova Scotia and another seaside campground.

When we decided to include Canada in our 2018 route planning, we left if very vague as to what areas of the country we would like to visit.  As the months went by and decisions needed to be made, we developed two serious options:

    1. The Short Route: cut into Canada from Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont and head west towards Sault Ste Marie to enter Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  This would allow us to visit Quebec and Ontario, possibly New Brunswick, and save us some US mileage since we would not have to dip below the Great Lakes to get to the U.P.
    2. The Long Route: enter Canada in Maine and turn east, crossing through New Brunswick into Nova Scotia, and include either Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland & Labrador before making the now much longer run back west through Quebec and Ontario to the U.P.

Rose and PKM in their usual travel position, though the cat seems even needier than usual.

We chose option 2.  Though it could be in 2020, we don’t really know when we will be back in New England again with the time, weather, and opportunity to hit some of Canada’s eastern provinces, so we are taking advantage of our current position.  Besides, unless you are willing to go all the way up to The Hudson Bay at the top of Quebec and Ontario, it is NB, NS, PEI, and N&L that have access to the awesome coastal areas along The Bay of Fundy, Gulf of Lawrence, and Northern Atlantic Ocean.

We left New River Beach headed east into Nova Scotia.  Our standard research led us to Sunset Watch Campground in the semi touristy but still quaint town of Tatamagouche.  Based on exactly one person saying it for me, the syllabal emphasis is the same as “baba ganoush” and the “gouche is pronounced “gush.”  Apparently most locals just call it “Tata.” 

Sunset Watch is a 10 to 15 minute ride from downtown positioned directly on the bay.  It is a private place, which is fine since we like to keep our campground types varied, shifting between state, county, federal, private, and military options.  After discussing site availability with the staff, we were assigned a full hook up site on the front row for two days, followed by a move back a few rows to a power and water only site.  This was our choice: if the ocean front was not important to us, we could have taken the back row site for all four days and saved ourselves a move. 

Our first site at Sunset Watch.  Can’t imagine how they named the place.

While the sites themselves were nothing special, the view and location was fantastic.  The price was quite reasonable as well, after conversion we paid $32 USD for the first two days and $29 for the last two.  Compared to US ocean side resorts, this is a deal. 

And the second site, a couple of rows back from the front.  

I can’t say enough about Tatagamouche and the nearby areas.  The people, food, bars, shops, shoreline, and drives were just excellent in every respect.  More than one local took the time to proudly explain that Tata was one of the few Nova Scotia rural towns that is experiencing growth rather than population decline.  I didn’t investigate enough to see how much of this was luck and happenstance vice planning and coordination, but either way it has resulted in a place we would be glad to visit again. 

The local economy and moderate tourist action ensures a reasonable variety of experiences for all tastes.  In addition to a nice selection of art and gift shops, they boast a moderate sized farmers market on Saturday with a heavy emphasis on prepared foods and local art and crafts.

Any medium to large farmers market is bound to have a jam and jelly guy, and most have a pickle guy.  Sometimes they are the same guy.  We bought garlic pickles.  

They have a solid local craft brewery, a nearby wine vinyard, and more than a couple of excellent restaurant options.  The gourmet sandwich and burger food truck, Route 6, was top notch with a memorable burger, topped with smoked cheddar, bacon, spinach, tomato jam and dijon mayo, served with sweet potato fries. 

Route 6 Food Truck parked in front of Tatamagouche Brewery.  We thought the very young people working the truck were hired hands, turns out they are the enterprising owners.  Locals making their town even better.  

The Chowder House provided us with the best fish and chips we can recall having ever experienced.  It was our first taste of the delicate white meat of haddock, and Chowder House ensured it was perfectly battered.  The fish was matched by their truly superb fries.  We only wish we had the time to try the lobster and mussels from the small fish market just outside of town, but open as it is for only part of Friday and Saturday, it just wasn’t doable this trip.

We took multiple day trips in both directions along Route 6.  To the northwest we hit the Jost vineyard for a tasting.  I went with the white, Rose the reds.  It was far better than we expected given our West Coast and European bias and the taste poisoning experience of southeastern Muscat based wines. 

Though our sommelier suggested we could just park at the end of the road and take the fresh mowed path to the nearby shore, the heavily faded no trespassing sign encouraged us to push on down the road.  We found Blue Sea Provincial Park in Malagash for a bit of sea glass hunting.  The expansive beach provided a handful of pieces and a pleasant walk. 

To the east we visited Brule Point for a different sort of sea glass hunting.  Located next to a marina at the very end of the point road, the small beach is completely covered in stones and pebbles, and looking for the glass entails digging through that rather than walking with head bowed.  We would never have known that had it not been for a friendly and helpful older couple and their talkative granddaughter that showed us the way.  We found a good share of tiny to small pieces to add to the collection. 

I don’t think many of us from The States associate Canada with beautiful beaches, but man, we are two for two in stops that had them.  Near Tata you had to go looking, and obviously the weather is critical, but the beach at Malagash was stunning. 

We continued another 20 minutes east to Seafoam Lavender Farm near River John.  It was tiny compared to the farms we saw in Sequim, Washington during our trip to the Lavender Fest, but the property was beautiful and staff informative and helpful.  They were a lot less restrictive about allowing us to explore the actual lavender field as well.

Back at the home base we observed the campground’s dramatic shift from a relatively quite weekday resort to a kid filled and party oriented campground on the weekend.  We were forewarned by reviews to expect this, so we were in the right state of mind to tolerate the increased noise level and alcohol induced parties all around.  As Key West veterans, we are in no position to complain. 

Most everyone was quite friendly, and we got in our quota of socializing with the locals, during which we learned one more thing we wished we had known about in advance and made time to experience:  gathering oysters and mussels directly from the campground’s rocky shore at low tide for steaming.  Once again: next trip!

Repurposed washing machine tubs as fire pits on every site at Sunset Watch 

On our last evening, and continuing into the morning of our departure we handed out a good number of Florida Fighting Conch shells to the local kids.  They would stop by in pairs once word got out that interesting and free stuff was available at site 2-19.  Leave it to the obliviousness of children to completely ignore your busy pre-departure activity level and practically demand, as one red headed, possibly 7 year old did, that you stop doing such nonsense and help him inflate his bike tire.  Which I did, bemused, particularly after I finished and he informed me that he had the same type of foot pedal air pump back at his RV.  What can you do but appreciate the absence of helicopter parenting in favor of free range kids given permission to roam the safe confines of a seasonal neighborhood.

Just taking the cat for a walk on the ocean shore, like most of us do.  

Ending this post, like the last one, with “RVing in Canada” lessons we learned during our latest stop:

  • Harmonized Sales Tax:  A fancy term for the combined federal and provincial 15% sales tax levied on practically everything in the five eastern provinces.  Obviously this needs to be taken into account when price shopping.
  • Making things a bit more complicated: the advertised price in some places often already includes that HST, whereas many other establishments advertise the pre-tax price.  We are still working to break the code, but so far the three campgrounds at which we have made reservations included HST in the advertised price.  Sweet!
  • We were told that the price of alcohol is outrageous in Canada.  We have not found it so.  At least, not for liquor, spirits, or wine.  First, at least in Nova Scotia, all take home liquor is sold at provincially controlled stores, resulting in amazingly consistent prices from town to town.  Second, the prices are not that bad.  As an example, I bought a 1.14 liter bottle of Canadian Club whiskey for $41 Canadian (tax included in advertised price!) which works out to $31 USD.  Scale that down to a standard fifth and you are talking $20.40.  You can find better in The States, but that price is not terrible.
  • Beer,  however, is a different story.  I am not sure what structural factors are in play, but every beer, import or domestic, craft or mass produced, exists in a surprisingly narrow price band.  We beer snobs are used to paying $10 or more for a six pack of craft, but we are also used to seeing cases of Bud Light go for $19.99.  This is not what we are seeing in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, where the cheap stuff is not much less than the high end, small batch options.  I’m talking $27 Canadian ($20.50 USD) for a 12 pack of Coors.
  • Canadian RV terminology:  We generally refer to camp sites as “Full Hook Up” when power, water, and sewage are included, “power and water only” for the obvious connection options, and “dry camping” when no services are offered.  In Canada the preferred and advertised terminology is 3 way, 2 way, and unserviced.  So far we are noticing 30 amp is far more common than 50 amp compared to the US.

Canada! Into New Brunswick and our first stop at New River Beach Provincial Park

Upon departing Bar Harbor we headed north to the US-Canada border, reaching it in under an hour.  Though we had not done a lot of research on our planned Canadian venture, we did look deep into the rules of entry, particularly what and how much we could bring across.  We knew the alcohol limits, poultry restrictions, fruit and vegetable requirements, and the list of things verboten.   Nonetheless, we were a bit apprehensive as we queued up at the crossing, having heard or read a good number of horror stories about agents spending hours going through an RV’s every nook and cranny.

Departing Bar Harbor, passing by Jack’s distinctive house and lawn art.

We cruised through with no drama, though the two motorhomes in front of us were pulled over for additional scrutiny, and from our vantage point it appeared that border agents pulled a wagon load of alcohol from each.  I can’t say with any certainty what led our man at the booth to waive us through after a couple of minutes of questioning, but two things stand out that might be the reasons.

When he asked various questions about what we were carrying, I replied with exact information that implied a knowledge of what was permitted and what was not.  For example: “We have 1.14 liters of alcohol each.”  Second, under questioning we asserted that not only do we not have a fire arm with us, but that we do not carry one even when RVing in the US.  Anyway, he could have just thought I was really honest looking. 😉

When in Canada, drink Canadian.  Local craft beer, Canadian Whiskey, out of circulation old Canadian dollars gifted to us by Gloria (they have entirely replaced one dollar bills with coins) and in the little jar, our first Canadian beach glass.

From there it was another two hours to our first Canadian campground: New River Beach Provincial Park.  I had used our usual resources (AllStays, Passport-America, RV Park Reviews) to select an affordable, beautiful, and appropriately positioned place for our first stop.  We nailed it.  We have a strong preference for state parks, and were happy to see that Canada’s Provincial Parks are, at least in this case, as strong analogue.  New River Beach is positioned directly on the coast along the Bay of Fundy.  The campground is across the road from the actual beach, attractively situated in the woods.

We have had extraordinary weather luck this trip, repeatedly arriving in a local just as weeks of miserable rain or cold clear up, but you have to accept a bit of drizzle every now and then.  New River Beach, near low tide, under fog.

Our site was electric only (30 amp) though a number of others had both power and water.  I had futzed the length of our RV in order to make the reservation: technically our site was for RV’s 30′ and under, but I have yet to encounter a park that has not heavily padded their length restrictions.  This place was no exception; though the back in maneuver was mildly challenging, we had no real trouble fitting Serenity in the site with Loki parked in front. 

Our site: plenty of trees like we prefer.  Not quite as private as some US state parks, you can see more than one neighbor from our spot, but still very nice.

And the beach!  Perhaps half a mile (sorry, about one kilometer) of beautiful sandy beach surrounded by rocky breakers and coves.  We were quite surprised at how deep, i.e., the distance from the low tide to high tide mark it was.  A huge, beautiful beach that was heavily attended during the weekend and nearly ours alone a day later.  We visited daily, experiencing it both in gorgeous, blue sky weather and semi foggy wetness.   We also found our first Canadian beach glass, perhaps half a dozen meager pieces, but beggars can’t be choosy.

New River Beach at high tide.  

There is, er, not a lot to do in the very small nearby town of Lepreau.  No worries for us; we weren’t there for city entertainment.  There are, apparently, nearby lighthouses, which we did not explore, but we did find a beautiful set of waterfalls within a 15 minute drive east of the campground.  Lepreau Falls are quite nice, with what I estimate is a 15 meter drop from a moderate sized river.  Had we more time, we definitely would have made the scramble from one of the viewing areas down to the natural pond at the base of the falls for a dip.  Next time!

I want to keep a running list of the “RVing in Canada” lessons we have learned along the way.  To start with:

  • For the border crossing: do your research and comply.  Why risk hours of delay and possible unfortunate scrutiny just so you can save a few bucks on liquor, meat, or veggies?  Honestly, it was a piece of cake for us, but as written above, we did see two motorhomes getting a much more thorough checking.
  • As an addendum: It’s harder to comply with the rules when you are full time simply because you have so much more stuff in your rig than a vacationer.  You are likely to have a lot more food, some of it restricted.  Maybe you have live plants, which could be a real problem.  If you are full time, you need to be that much more careful in checking the rules.
  • The strength of the US vs Canadian Dollar is really helping things for US tourists this decade.  The USD started a major rise in 2013, and since 2015 it has been fluctuating around a 1.3:1 USD to CD ratio.  If you are in Canada, and it costs “a dollar” that really means around 76 cents in US currency.  Awesome.
  • And therefor: Provincial Park Campgrounds look to be cheaper than equivalent US State Parks.  We are staying in this beautiful park across from the beach and ocean for $26 US dollars a night.  Granted, it is electric only, but for a three day stay that’s a great rate given the location.
  • Check your credit cards for a Foreign Transaction Fee, and only use those that don’t have one.  Why pay an extra 3% to the bank just to spend money in our neighbor’s country?  We physically removed all those cards with an FTF from our wallets and purses for the duration of our Canada stay.

Last week in Bar Harbor: Living large at the Moose

As we have said before: When we first came to the Bar Harbor area in 2016 we were astounded at the welcome we received from the local denizens at the Ellsworth Moose Lodge.  It’s not like we were new to the scene: we had been to more than a score lodges around the country, but Ellsworth went above and beyond, and it greatly effected or appreciation for the area.  Fast forward to our 2018 route planning, and we sought to recreate that experiences to the maximum extent possible.

Don’t get me wrong: we love Maine regardless of the Moose welcome.  We loved the Lewiston-Auburn region during our stay at Poland Spring.   We love the central coast area around Freeport, Phippsburg, and Boothbay Harbor.  We love Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.  We look forward, in future years, to exploring more regions, particularly along the coast, that we have yet to experience.  But so far, it is this Central Coastal peninsula that has captured us.

But one example of the many welded creations in Jack’s yard.

And so for our last week of five in Maine, we went all in on Moose love, starting with the monthly “meat raffle” on the First of July.  I am sure other organizations do this, but until June of 2016 we had never seen it before.  Once a month the Moose coordinates with local suppliers to provide a variety of meats: chicken quarters, pork chops, red hot dogs, bacon, beef tips, clams, and lobster.  You can purchase a set number for all 25 drawings, and additional numbers for individual drawings.  In 2016 we won five pounds of pork and chicken.  This year we weren’t quite so lucky, but still walked away with a bunch of chicken thighs and a great set of memories.

We continued the festivities at Jack’s (not me, one of the Moose regulars and a former Lodge Governor) annual Fourth of July extravaganza, a truly fantastic event.  Jack brings in more than a hundred pounds of lobster from Captain Chuckie’s boat, along with untold pounds of steamer and cherry stone clams.  For those preferring their meat land raised, there is a constant stream of kabobs, chicken wings, beef ribs, burgers, and hot dogs coming off the grill, not to mention untold number of side dishes.

Captain Chuckie, provider of the lobster’s for Jack’s 4th of July party

It’s an insane stuffing of Maine oriented food, lasting all day and into the night, finished off with nearly an hour of semi-professional fire works (and by semi-professional I mean amateur pyrotechnic guys equipped with semi-permanent mortar platforms giving it their best shot after numerous beers.)  The event is open to any Moose member, their families, and other invited guests.  It was an especially great day for us since July 4th is also Rose and my anniversary.

We even had a French Canadian refugee from the Fort Myers Moose swing in, having dropped by the Ellsworth Lodge only to be told everyone was at Jack’s.  After we helped her get her big pick up truck out of the ditch (having misjudged the turn into the driveway) she availed herself to lobster and clams.  Hoozah!

We continued our Acadia National Park day trips with one last stop at Sandy Beach for a picnic meal.  And on our last full day we made one last trip to the Moose for a drink or two with our Ellsworth gang and to say our goodbyes.  We have had a great five weeks in Maine, but it’s time to head north.

Next up: Canada!

Rose sampling one of the Maine traditions: Allen’s Coffee Brandy and milk.  Seems to be working for her.  Happy Anniversary, baby!

42 Months Fulltiming: June 2018 Report

The Distance:  A conservative 142 miles as we moved twice along coastal Maine towards our one month stop in Bar Harbor.  This respite from long drives helped defer some of the otherwise steep costs we entailed while in Maine.  Our 2018 travel distance is up to 3,684 miles.  July will see a big increase in the mileage as we explore Canada, though there it will be totally different since we will be travelling in kilometers vice miles.

The Places:   Just three places this month: Blueberry Pond (one of our most relaxing stops in 2016) then less than an hour coastward to Meadowbrook Camping Area for a week (another one from 2016 that was even better this trip,) and finally our stopping point for the rest of June at Mt Desert Narrows Resort, outside Bar Harbor. 

The Budget:  Ah well, as we noted last post, we started June way over budget, struggled for more than two weeks to get back on track, only to give ourselves a break and enjoy the last week of the month enjoying Maine as we had intended.  The end result: 3.6% over budget, almost the exact amount we were under in May.  This result came despite the lack of any gas purchases for Serenity and one moderately successful market. 

Too windy to light Rosemarie’s birthday Reeces Cup on Sand Beach, Arcadia National Park

Bottom line: we went hog wild the very first day of the month, continued to splurge during the rest of that week, and experienced one of our highest nightly campground fees in Bar Harbor.  Yes, even short of the peak season rates, and including the moderate monthly discount (which also eliminated the $4 per day resort fee) our full hook up site with partial bay view came out to just under $47 a day, all in.  Though we really like Mt Desert Narrows, we have resolved that during our next trip to Maine, whenever that may occur (2020, cough cough) we will spread things out a bit, taking advantage of Passport America rates and alternative camping in the region.

The Drama and the Improvements:   Back in February I pulled out the bedroom sofa and built a work bench for Rosemarie out of reclaimed hurricane damaged boat decks and hulls.  The problem is that the desk is in a slide out section of the RV which has a 2″ elevated floor, and her work chair barely fits on the platform.

Rose made this giant flower on her Cricut machine, which rests on her work bench, which I built, so basically: I made this flower.

This month I finally got around to putting in a floor extension with a big section of plywood.  It’s rough and crude looking, but serves the purpose until we get around to installing some sort of floor covering.  We also repaired and improved most of the jewelry display racks in preparation for our Moose Lodge market event.  This was promptly followed by hours of restowage of our internal and external storage compartments since, for the next six weeks, we would have no markets at all.

Kitty and I resting after an arduous hour or two restowing compartments. 
Our monthly reports so far this year:


January Monthly Report

February Monthly Report

March Monthly Report

April Monthly Report

May Monthly Report

And here are our 20172016, and 2015 annual summaries which include monthly report links.

Ending our Bar Harbor austerity program: Time to party during the last week of June

One of the things you may have noticed when comparing our first week or so in Maine (Southern Coast) with the following two weeks (Bar Harbor) is how much more financially restrictive we became.  Between Blue Berry Pond, Freeport, Meadowbrook Campground, and Boothbay Harbor I had lobster five times!  In Bar Harbor: not once!  During our first week we went hog wild at L.L. Bean’s factory outlet, we dined fancy at a downtown Freeport cafe, we stocked up on supplies, and did I mention the lobster?  Upon arrival in Bar Harbor we restricted ourselves to picnic day trips to Acadia National Park and a couple of nearby villages, and affordable visits to the Moose Lodge

The problem was, of course, money: we were seriously behind on the monthly budget  after that first week of splurging, aggravated by the daily camping rate at Mt Desert Narrows in Bar Harbor (even with the monthly discount during not quite peak season rates, it was nearly $47, the second highest rate we will pay all year.)   So we didn’t exactly live poor during the middle of the month, but we reeled it in big time, fighting an uphill battle to end the month in the black.  After 16 days of this, even with our successful quasi-market at the Moose Lodge, we realized that though it was feasible to scratch our way back during the last week of the month, we were just missing out on too many things that we had specifically come to Maine to enjoy.

Former Lodge Governor Larry, Lobsterboat Captain Chuckie, another Former Lodge Governor Jack, and Jack.

So we accepted the near inevitable, loosened the purse strings, and enjoyed the heck out of the last seven days of June in Maine.  We were freer with our Moose Lodge visits, we patronized local farmers markets for overpriced mushrooms, and we hit downtown Bar Harbor for a return visit to Atlantic Brewery, the local craft brew pub we had enjoyed in 2016.

Oh yes, and after researching prices and reviews, we returned to Travelling Lobster, another place we had thoroughly enjoyed during our first visit to the region two years ago.  Their price per pound was right, their cooking fee was negligible, and they had an amazing (though pricey!) IPA from Boothbay Brewery.

Rosemarie was not left out in the cold for this meal: Travelling Lobster’s seafood chowder combined with locally produced Old Soaker Blueberry Soda hit the spot.  Even Pad Kee Meow enjoyed the outdoor dining experience. 

Now, sure, our moderate outings pushed us a touch over the budget for the month, but we are still well under for the year, and have no regrets about a handful of reasonably priced but highly enjoyable experiences to close out the month of June.