Bar Harbor is for ice cream | January 12, 2021

My nine-year-old was chatting with his buddy after hockey practice.

“My mom’s going to the grocery store,” Nine said.  “She loves grocery shopping.”

“Yeah, mine, too,” the other kid said.  “It’s, like, her favorite thing in the world.”

I feel confident in speaking for both of the aforementioned mothers that grocery shopping is not our favorite thing in the world.  I do, however, understand how my son came to this assumption.

Back in the olden days when I was a college student living in Boston, I was chatting with my own two buddies Rob and John* after class and someone mentioned that Bar Harbor, Maine had really good ice cream and so we decided to go and get some, right that minute.  Rob borrowed another friend’s car and tent and John printed out Mapquest directions and I probably did something too and in no time at all we were cruising up to the Pine Tree State.

If you are acquainted with New England geography, you know that Boston and Bar Harbor are close compared to, say, England and Los Angeles, but pretty far apart in terms of the distance that most east coasters will willingly travel by car.  We arrived in scenic Bar Harbor long after dinnertime – we stopped for lobster rolls at a roadside stand around the three-hour mark – and decided to take a look at some of the scenery before it got too dark.  Bar Harbor is home to Acadia National Park, which is absolutely glorious and I would highly recommend you see it.  Which we didn’t, because that evening the fog was as thick as drawn lobster butter.

We felt our way to the beach for a quick dip in the ocean, because what better time to swim the Atlantic than at dusk and in the fog.  As you may recall, nowhere in describing the things we did in anticipation of this trip did I mention packing bathing suits or toothbrushes or anything in a suitcase, because we didn’t.  But we were wearing underwear, so we went swimming in that.

Afterwards, we were ready for some of that ice cream someone had been bragging up; but oddly enough, Bar Harbor ice cream parlors weren’t open at 10:00 at night.  There was a crusty bar waaaaaaaaaaayyyy off of a side street with its lights on, though, and so we went in there and hobnobbed with the locals for a while.  They didn’t show it, but we could tell they were very impressed by our Boston University sweatshirts (Go Terriers!).

We decided to call it good just before midnight.  We had determined during our swim that the beach would be the perfect place to pitch the tent for the night. The boys got it set up while I pretended to do something else.  It was darker than we had anticipated, and so John offered to drive up the road to get a flashlight and some chips while Rob and I stayed behind and shared the beer that one of our new bar friends had given us.  We were talking about ice cream and roadside lobster rolls when we heard a shout and then a grunt that sounded a lot like John, followed by a series of aggressive footsteps.  We were suddenly surrounded by a whole bunch of flashlights (no chips).

It was the police.  It turns out it was illegal to pitch a tent on the beach at Acadia State Park.  The police must have liked our Boston University sweatshirts (BC Sucks!), because they let us go with a warning to not re-pitch said tent in any of the other public places in Acadia or Bar Harbor or the state of Maine.

We were already in Acadia, and so we made the natural decision to purchase a campsite in the park, which we should have done in the first place, how silly.  But it was 1:00 in the morning, and surprisingly there was no one at the gate.  Nevermind, we decided we would just find an empty campsite, bunk there, and then pay for the space in the morning.  Except that it was pitch black and it wasn’t like state parks have a little green-light/red-light system for identifying filled campsites, so we just picked the first empty-looking one, set up the tent, and went to sleep.

John and I awoke in the morning to the sounds of Rob chatting with the family whose campsite we had invaded.  They didn’t call the police and were very nice.

We ate breakfast by the water and got giant ice cream cones for dessert.  I accidentally dropped my ice cream on the boardwalk after only a couple of licks.  We were back in Boston in time for sushi.  I couldn’t be bothered to shower until the following day.

I do not want my children to drive a gazillion miles in an uninsured car, or eat salmonella-y street lobster, or swim in dangerous conditions in a bathing suit or otherwise, or drink at a bar where they are clearly not wanted, or pitch a tent in two arrestable/murder-y places.  And so, if my children ever ask me if I’ve been to Maine I will tell them yes, and I dropped my ice cream cone.

And they would believe it because the Amanda they know carries around Clorox wipes in her purse and falls asleep during movies and doesn’t let them do anything fun, like jump from the top bunk of the bed onto a rolling desk chair.  Which I guess is how a person gets the reputation for loving the grocery store.

I treated myself to a staycation and had Kyle take a picture of it.  It is above.

It’s always the right time for some nice news, and this week’s is about a red panda named Bo, a fundraiser named Danette, and a teacher named Jo.  Read on.

The Red River Zoo in Fargo has a new member of the family – a Red Panda named Bo. (Dickinson Press)

The kids at Dickinson’s Lincoln Elementary put together a video (and bags of candy) to give out to area police on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. (Dickinson Press)

Fargo’s Danette Nicoloff has raised over $1,000 and partnered with area businesses to buy every frontline worker in town a meal. (KVRR)

North Dakota artists: the James Memorial Art Center wants your masked-up art pieces (and the deadline is my birthday 😊 ). (Williston Herald)

Bismarck middle schoolers were welcomed back to full-time in-person instruction with a celebration. (KFYR TV)

I’d be so happy on a normal day to see a successful lifesaving mission, but I happen to know this little boy, and so I’m doubly-happy that Grand Forks teacher Jo Miller jumped into action when one of her fourth-graders started choking on a piece of candy. (Grand Forks Herald)

When Minot’s Hiedi Spang realized that some kids weren’t getting enough water during the day due to COVID restrictions, she donated boxes of free cups to the schools. (KFYR TV)

The Dickinson Area Public Library has gone fine-free. (Dickinson Press)

A little girl named Addilynn in Mandan has a brand-new playroom thanks to Make-A-Wish. (KX Net)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out last week’s tale of Samantha or this story about my family’s clothing store, Silverman’s.)

* I changed their names because both of my friends now have beautiful families of their own who probably also think they love grocery shopping and wouldn’t appreciate being associated with this dumb-dumb story.

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