Epic Beauty

I've long dreamt of going to New England in the fall. I can't even count the number of times autumn leaves have come up in a conversation, and I have wistfully said, "Someday I will go and see them with my own eyes."

I am beyond thrilled to say that the day finally arrived.

When my husband and I talked about a vacation earlier this year, we decided to go for it and combine pleasure with a little work. We would see family members and friends in D.C. and Boston, and then drive up the coast to Maine so that I could photograph the brilliant fall colors for future magazine features. But there was one problem: It's hard to predict when the foliage will peak. And of course to get affordable airfare you have to book it a month or more in advance. So I monitored the early predictions, booked our flights, and in a stroke of extreme good luck, we hit it just right. 

I must say, when we were there I constantly felt like I was squandering the beauty. There was SO MUCH of it, we couldn't possibly stop and linger at every visual feast. Still, every time we passed up a gorgeous setting I felt like I wanted to hit the pause button and bask in the vibrant colors.

The first photo below is of the "Harvard Yard" (or Haaa-vad, Yaaaad), which we came upon when we stopped to see a dear friend who's a Harvard Law student. 

The first full day we were in Maine we headed to Acadia National Park. It's a close race between Acadia and Camden, but I'd have to say that Acadia was my favorite place of all. Driving through the park is absolutely breathtaking, and there's nowhere to stop along some of the most beautiful stretches. I just held my camera out the window and snapped as we were driving (actually, I was in the passenger seat.) Yes, it really is this beautiful, even more than the photos convey. For the most part, these images are untouched. 

The first part of the day found us mostly driving around with our jaws on the ground. We got out of the car frequently and even hiked down a few trails, but we wanted to cover as much terrain as possible since rain was forecast for the following two days. We packed a picnic lunch and stopped at a lovely place to eat.

This is Sand Beach. We took a short jaunt down there before embarking on our hike up to The Bowl. Unfortunately the sun was hiding, but there was still plenty of beauty to take in.

The Bowl was a harder hike than I expected. It wasn't the increase in elevation, it was the terrain. Many stretches were easily traversed even though we were climbing. Others were a little more challenging.

After the Bowl, we took a short jaunt to Thunder Hole. It was high tide (another stroke of extreme good timing!) 

As the sun sank lower on the horizon, we decided to try and make it to the top of Mt. Cadillac. Though we stopped a few times along the way, we made it before sunset. 

I was actually taking a photo of someone else with their camera, but here's what I looked like for about half of our trip. It was good to end the day on such a stunning note. 

When darkness fell, we headed to Bar Harbor to eat and stroll around the square. It was charming, to be sure, but I put my camera away for the evening. Next up: Camden.