Down East Road Trip – Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor

3 Days of Wonder and Nostalgia in New England’s Only National Park

Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor - Bass Harbor Light Spectacular Sunset

New England, and certainly Acadia National Park, has always held a special place in my heart. I grew up in coastal New Hampshire and some of my fondest childhood memories center around family trips to the park. It was here, my brother and I took our first flight, soaring silently above the rounded mountains of Mt. Desert Island in a glider, and to this day, a clock hangs in my parents house with a photo of my brother, myself and our cousins atop Cadillac Mountain from a trip in the early 90’s. It was here too, that I took Bryn for her first trip to New England, before we were even dating, now 20 years ago, and here we returned two years later as part of our honeymoon. And so, after a far-too-long time away, we returned again this summer to Acadia to introduce our own children to a park that holds so many of our treasured memories.

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Down East Road Trip – Niagara Falls

Exploring the Canadian and American Sides of Niagara Falls from Land, Air and Water.

One of the big name destinations on our Down East Road Trip was our two-day, one-night trip to Niagara Falls. We had never been to Niagara – so everything proved a surprise to us – and while much of our stay was truly epic, truth be told, not all of the surprises were pleasant. The experienced proved a timely example of the good and bad things that come when a natural treasure such as Niagara Falls is not protected from commercialization.

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Down East Road Trip – Cuyahoga Valley National Park

A Park Frozen in Time, Nestled in the Heart of Urban Ohio

Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Brandywine Falls

As we have come to discover as we’ve embarked on a few of these National Park survey trip over the years, there never seems to be quite enough time. Of course, this is a product of how we plan our road trips – with a desire to sample as many parks as possible – and more often than not it leaves us with hopes of revisiting these parks on an extended or dedicated trip in the future. Such was certainly the case with Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

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Down East Road Trip – Shenandoah National Park

A Flyby Visit along the Ridges and Ravines of Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park - Rabbit at Breakfast

Because of our tight schedule, we had only a few hours to explore Shenandoah National Park. We certainly didn’t give the park the time it deserved, but despite our whirlwind adventure, we saw more wildlife, big and small, in Shenandoah, than we had seen in any other park.

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Down East Road Trip – The Blue Ridge Parkway

469 Miles of Grandeur Without a Single Stop Sign

Exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway

Over the years, we’ve logged many miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway – from rainy spring afternoons to brisk autumn mornings – though we’ve never come close to driving the full 469 miles of the parkway. But on this trip, we decided to rectify that problem. So, we set aside two full days to wind our way from the end of the Parkway near Cherokee, NC to its nexus in Rockfish Gap, VA. We may have had some hiccups along the way…

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