Day 72 – 19th September (St John to Bar Harbor)

Very foggy when we woke up, and a biggish cruise ship was tied up at the quayside.

We checked out using the last of our Canadian dollar notes, which was a nice result.

Took me a while to find the car in the vast underground car park, but we were soon under way down Highway 1 with virtually no traffic.

There are signs that the trees are beginning to show their fall colours. As we are in New England for the next couple of weeks, we might get to see these develop before we leave for Blighty. We hope so, but I think we may be a bit too early.

The Big Event of the day was crossing over from Canada to the USA. After an hour and a quarter’s very relaxed driving, we reached the border post. Two queues – one for cars, the other for all other non-commercial traffic. I chose the first. Big mistake as it was much the slower of the two.

The cause of that became obvious when, after a forty minute wait, we finally made it to the booth. After presenting our passports, we got a proper, albeit friendly, grilling. It lasted a good 10 minutes with questions about our itinerary, both past, present and future, ending with a reminder that our ESTA expired on 7th October. That’s the day we actually board the Queen Mary 2 to sail back to Blighty. Talk about cutting it fine…… But we did actually know that.

Our answers convinced her that we were genuine tourists, so she let us go without further examination. We were finally in the USA.

The time zone here is one hour behind New Brunswick, so we got to the Hampton Inn at Bar Harbor, Maine, at around 2.30 local time. The room was ready, so we checked into a nice, airy, large room with a queen bed each.

View from the room window

We were provided with a wad of information on check-in, including local restaurants, as this hotel doesn’t have a restaurant of its own. We identified one called The Reading Room, as it was classified as upscale in the list, so I phoned and booked a table.

Time came to drive to the restaurant, and it was really chucking it down. This made trying to find a parking space in an extraordinarily busy Bar Harbor really trying, but Jean’s magic powers prevailed.

Next problem was how to pay for it, as I was on a meter. So there I was, stood in the pouring rain, trying to download an app. After a lot of typing and swearing, I was told that the app wasn’t available in my country (it’s a UK phone). Trying to read the screen on the meter was a near impossibility because of the rain, but I think I managed to pay for it using a card.

We set off on the short walk to the restaurant, and we were both struck by how attractive this town looks, even in the dark with driving rain. It certainly appears to be a major tourist hotspot. Cue further research tomorrow…..

The restaurant was actually in what appeared to be an upmarket hotel, with a pianist and everyfink.

Sat down to a very nice, and relatively inexpensive, meal, with good service and an excellent ambience.

Inside the restaurant
Rain-soaked view from the restaurant window

Made it back to the car with no evidence of having been booked, and drove back to the hotel, not without difficulty as there are innumerable hotels and motels in the area and the paths to them not always clear. Anyway, we made it.

Weather tomorrow is looking dreadful, unfortunately, so that will affect what we do. I trust you’ll come back and find out how we got on.

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