It has been a few weeks since our vacation to Vermont and Maine. I needed some time to just get back into things, plus taking a week off from work was super stressful in the return. When you don’t have a back up and come back to over 200 emails, which you can only make the number go down before and after work hours, plus month end so EVERYTHING had to be done somehow, it was a lot of stress and times I felt like I was going to cry. It’s probably a good thing I happened to be working from home when I returned. That meant no commuting time and just putting in the extra (unpaid) hours. It sometimes makes you question whether vacation time is worth it. I love taking week long vacations and since I only get the one a year, I want to soak it in. However, this vacation was not as relaxing as I would have liked it to be. We opted for mountains over the beach and I really missed a beach vacation this year. Due to covid numbers though, we felt this was the better route and I did want to go back to Bar Harbor Maine to explore more.
That said, getting to Bar Harbor was a bit rocky. We drove up to Brian’s mom’s after work on a Friday and spent the night. We had breakfast and took our time before getting on the road. We took the ferry from Essex, NY over to Vermont. My car’s first ferry ride. Everything was going well.
We spent the afternoon in Burlington, VT. We grabbed lunch by the water. It started to pour rain just as we arrived in Vermont. While we ate outside, we were under a covered area and the rain passed so it was nice to have the water view.
We then walked around Burlington. I found a chocolate shop of course and we came across some street performers that were fun to watch.
By then it was nearing 4pm and I felt like we should get on the road so we could arrive in Stowe, VT before dark. Stowe is only a bit over an hour from Burlington, so not a bad drive. I get on the highway and suddenly I notice lights go on my dash. Brian is chatting on his phone and I’m poking him to ask what these lights mean. The one was a battery symbol. Knowing my battery was 7 years old, I knew it was overdue for replacement. Brian finally gets off the phone, we take the first exit and stop at Advanced Auto Parts. We ultimately find out I need a new alternator. (side note: I had to look up how long alternators last and Google said 100-150K, while my car just hit 170K so again I felt fortunate to get so many miles)
I decide to ask about a battery anyway so we buy that. Turns out Advanced Auto didn’t have my alternator in stock and there was no way we were getting anywhere in my car’s current state. It was scary as I was driving because I could hardly even turn the steering wheel by the time we reached Advanced Auto. I have had flat tires, but never something breaking down on my car like this.
We get the new battery in place, but it doesn’t help. The guy tells us there is an Auto Zone not far down the road though. Brian makes a call over there and they have an alternator. Thank goodness. Brian drives the car taking some side streets over to Auto Zone and I purchase the alternator. I manage to keep it together despite being stressed. Brian gives me the job of handing him tools from the loaner tool kit we borrow from Auto Zone as he works to remove my alternator.
All things considered, we were lucky we were in a part of the trip near a town and near 2 auto part stores. I’m also lucky Brian knows the indicator lights and how to replace the parts. My car is a Toyota as well and the alternator is towards the top, apparently making it much easier to replace in a parking lot and not needing an auto mechanic.
A little over an hour later, the alternator is in and the car is working again. Although I was stressed about the money and delay, I also kept thinking how fortunate we were to not be in the dark, leaving Burlington when we did and being able to get back on the road without too much delay.
We arrived in Stowe just before dark to our Airbnb. I had booked a private master bedroom in a house. It was dinner time and we decided to check out Stowe for a place to eat. However, after 3 places with huge wait times, I was mainly tired and thirsty and felt ok skipping dinner given needing to get an early start on Sunday.
We ended up back at the Airbnb, chatting with some other guests. There were 3-4 rooms at the Airbnb, a second floor of a house and we had a big hallway area with a couch where guests could interact. It was a really nice place. The only downside was the water pressure was like a drizzle from the shower. A great place for a couple nights, but I don’t know if I would stay there a full week. It worked perfect for our 1 night stay before we were off for zip lining Sunday morning. I was super excited, although a bit nervous since I hadn’t done a zip line course since Costa Rica in 2010. I also know I really enjoyed that experience so it was fun to zip line over the trees again.
One thing we didn’t think through clearly was a breakfast spot early on Sunday. The only place open at 7am Sunday was Woodland Baking and Coffee, but it worked for our needs. Coffee, tea and some breakfast sandwiches. I actually tried their vegan sandwich. I don’t know what it was made from, but it was filling and delicious.
We then headed to the zip line tour at ArborTrek Canopy. I had to drive since we were on mountain roads and we needed to drive through the Smugglers’ Notch with twisty and curvy roads. Driving it wasn’t too bad as you HAVE to go slow with constant turns like that.
The zip lining was the full morning with 8 zip lines and 2 rappels. I was nervous for the rappels and definitely went super slow the first one, but by the second I felt I knew better what I was doing. It was fun and the group was 9 people. I would definitely do again.
After zip lining, we had lunch at Piecasso. It was recommended to us from another Airbnb guest and we couldn’t get in for dinner, but we waited about 20 minutes and got in for lunch Sunday which was so worth it. We shared Brussels, I got a Mocktail – Strawberry Basil Mule (highly recommend) and we split a pizza.
Then it was time to get on the road for a few hours, stopping in Gorham, NH for the night. For dinner, we happened upon a BBQ place, Road Hawg BBQ, and it hit the spot. I actually was studying their breakfast menu and we would have had breakfast there the next day, only to realize Mondays were the 1 day they were closed.
Monday we grabbed some breakfast and took a nice walk. I needed to get moving before spending more time in the car.
Then we were finally on our way to Bar Harbor, Maine which is about a 4 hour drive.