Recently, we discovered that our good friend was planning to run in his fourth marathon, but this time, he would be running in a marathon fairly close to our home: the Mount Desert Island Marathon that goes from Bar Harbor to Southwest Harbor, Maine. This was a good chance for us to take a short road trip to Mount Desert Island, as we had not been for a visit in about seven years. The day we set out was a perfectly crisp, Maine autumn day; not only that, that fall foliage had been at peak status for the past several days, so color was still very abundant. We drove along what is normally a fairly boring highway, tree-lined on both sides; but on this day, we were awestruck time and time again by the reds, scarlets, golds, maroons, peaches, oranges, and many shades of brown. Even if we had never made it to Mount Desert Island, the day was so beautiful, the drive was enough.
Yet, when we turned south at Bangor, and drove through Ellsworth, the trees opened up and we could see even more trees on the rolling farmland in the distance. We passed small ponds, larger lakes, and crossed several rivers as we went. Finally, we found ourselves at the entrance to Mount Desert Island. We encountered the familiar road sign that directed us to either go left on Route 3 to Bar Harbor, or straight ahead on Routes 102 and 198 to Southwest Harbor. The Mount Desert Island Marathon began in Bar Harbor at 8:00 that morning and the route was to skirt the southern edge of the island and Acadia National Park. It then looped back up Route 198 to Route 102, and turned south again to end the grueling but beautiful 26.2 mile run in lovely Southwest Harbor. It was a little after noon, so we headed straight ahead on Route 102. Before long, we began seeing marathon participants running, jogging, walking, and trudging along the left side of the road. All participants were wearing the familiar numbers on the fronts of their shirts and jackets, and we began looking for our friend as we drove slowly along. There were mile markers that told runners their progress, and we saw many drink stands and resting stations. We did not really expect to see our friend running; spread out as they were, there were many people running the marathon.
Suddenly, there he was at mile 22, jogging along at a steady pace, so my husband jumped out of the car and jogged with him for about half a mile. We got a good laugh as my husband was dressed in blue jeans and hiking boots, but he claims that now he can say he ran in the Mount Desert Island Marathon! We drove on to the town of Southwest Harbor and parked so we could catch our friend at the finish line. We parked and enjoyed a lovely walk down the main road, along with the marathoners as they headed to the finish. The sky was a crystal blue and the leaves were simply breath-taking. After finding our friend’s wife and setting up our cameras, it was not long before we saw our friend heading to the finish. We congratulated him warmly, spoke for a few minutes, and then gave him leave to rest, recover, and recuperate.
After our jaunt at the marathon finish line, we decided to spend the rest of our day driving around Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. The other times we had been to the island were in the spring and summertime, so enjoying a Maine autumn at this beautiful area was a special treat. We drove past the rocky coastline, up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, and back down into the quaint town of Bar Harbor. We had lunch at a delightful little seafood restaurant and then walked around the town, browsing in the shops. Finally we walked to the harbor to enjoy the view of the boats on the blue water, and then we wrapped up the day with ice cream at the Jordon Pond Creamery. I would highly recommend a visit to Bar Harbor. The people are friendly, the town lovely, and the scenery is unlike anywhere else on the planet.