life Reading Travel

5 Things: A Lot of Forward Motion

February 15, 2024

1- I am officially returning the Peloton Bike. It was fun to try and served a great purpose while I was recovering from injury, but I will always choose running over biking when I can, and right now . . . I can. I would not hesitate to go back to biking if I needed to for an injury, but I just wouldn’t choose it voluntarily. I was worried calling to have it picked up would be an exercise in torture, but it was fairly easy. There were a few dropped calls (?) but eventually once I got customer service on the line they were reasonably efficient and not pushy at all. Good job, Peloton!!

2- For the first time in a while, I’m not sure what to read next! However, I will probably start The Covenant of Water because while I am intimidated by the length and actual SIZE of the physical book, I actually have it at home (purchased it because I was worried I’d need it much longer than a library hold period!).

Other contenders include Jodi Picoult’s Mad Honey and Angie Kim’s Happiness Falls.

list is serving me well so far! Suspect the Verghese will slow me down, but will be worthwhile nonetheless

3- Kae posted her digital time logs!!!! Check it out HERE!! She does an awesome job showcasing her unique method. In some ways, it’s a LV/SHU mashup with a dash of Cal Newport thrown in there but maybe I’m giving myself too much credit, haha.

4- Camp spreadsheet is ~90% full! I just need 1-2 more weeks filled in and then we are set. (Or, the kids may just have some empty weeks – that is probably okay, too.) I will say this gets harder and harder as kids get older — middle schoolers are going to be less excited to go to a general day camp. The big kids ARE going back to that Monday-Friday camp for 3 weeks, so that was easy. I also need to decide if/when to incorporate 1:1 days — I want to do it again but I’ve learned from past experiences that it’s best to space them out!!

5- NOOWWW that life feels relatively under control, I feel ready to dive into travel planning mode to figure out spring break (already booked but need things like restaurants) and summer. On that note, I very much want to nail down an airbnb or other rental property in Maine near Acadia — so RECS WELCOME!


  • Reply KGC February 15, 2024 at 2:18 pm

    My parents built a house in Bar Harbor ~20 years ago. They now use it only in the summer and we visit every year for 2 weeks. Happy to provide lots of recommendations for places to go and things to do!!! I can email if you want (or can just take up lots of space in a longer comment – ha!).

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 15, 2024 at 2:34 pm

      Either would be amazing!!! We are planning 4-5 days there in August (splitting week between NH and Bar Harbor area!)

    • Reply Katie February 15, 2024 at 9:15 pm

      Ooh, I’d love it if you shared your recommendations. My family is actually planning a very similar trip in August too, Sarah!

      • Reply KGC February 16, 2024 at 10:34 am

        I emailed this to Sarah but will also post here for anyone who wants it! For reference, my kids are almost 5 and almost 8.
        – Maine is VERY casual! Many people will go straight from the hiking trails to dinner so you’ll see lots of outdoorsy clothes and rarely will anyone dress up. Layers are key (especially since you will think everything is cold coming from FL!)
        – For food, there’s no bad meal. We love Rosalie’s for pizza (try to get a table upstairs!), Side Street Cafe for really anything, Jordan Pond House for tea and popovers, and alllll the ice cream shops – I’m partial to the one right across from the town green. The Thirsty Whale has a great lobster roll. Two Cats and Cafe This Way are also great for breakfast, as is Jordan’s (the restaurant in town, not the pond house). If you venture out from downtown the Sweet Pea cafe is delightful. 
        – If you like hiking, there are trails for every level. We (my husband and I sans children) are partial to the climbs like the Precipice (hopefully open if the falcons are not nesting!) but have also done many summit-to-summit hikes and hit 5-8 peaks like Door, Gilmore, Bald Peak, Gorham. You can hike or drive up Cadillac Mountain (check to see if you need a reservation – during peak season you do). More kid-friendly hikes include the Beehive (this is controversial – my parents would say you need to be 10 but my husband took my then-7-year-old last summer and he scrambled up in 45 mins), Great Head (right off of Sand Beach), Wonderland (a short walk but lots of rocks to climb on and explore at the end), the Ladder Trail, the Bubbles, the trail around Jordan Pond, and Jordan Cliffs.  We are often there at peak season and the trails can get crowded, so either plan to go quite early or do trails on the ‘quiet side’ of the island.
        – I also like poking around Northeast and Southwest Harbor because they are smaller and cute and the shops are nice. Good restaurants everywhere.
        – For non hiking stuff, I like going to the Little Notch bakery in SW Harbor to get stuff to go and taking it to the Charlotte Rhoda’s Butterfly Park down the road to look at the flowers and butterflies (small but cute). There are beautiful Thuya Gardens in NE Harbor.
        – You can walk around College of the Atlantic campus and go to their little museum. 
        – At low tide, from town, walk over to Bar Island or just stay on the sand bar looking for stuff in tide pools (a fave!).  Our kids will easily spend 2 hours just playing in the tide pools and looking for creatures on the sand bar.  DO NOT GET STRANDED (come back before the tide comes in and the sand bar is covered up).  No one likes rescuing tourists and there are lots of signs telling you how to plan accordingly (you get two hours on either side of low tide).
        – There are miles and miles and miles of carriage roads (crushed gravel) that are great for walking, running, or biking.  We love the Eagle Lake loop (6 miles) since it’s right by my parents’ place and has great views.  You can connect to lots of different places via the carriage roads and there are a few places in town to rent bikes if you want to be able to go further than on foot.
        – We’ve done kayaking a few times – either ocean kayaking (with a tour group) OR on Echo Lake or Long Pond (we own kayaks; you can also rent and then just toodle around yourself).  Both Echo Lake and Long Pond have swimming areas, too (water temp is hit or miss!).
        – From a ‘gear’ perspective, you don’t really need much that you don’t already have.  I hike in trail running shoes.  Just make sure everyone has sneakers with some degree of tread, since the trails in Acadia are quite rocky and you need something to help grip the rocks.  If you forget anything Cadillac Mountain Sports in town will be happy to take your money and outfit you with whatever you need!
        – Diver Ed’s Dive-In theatre.  Diver Ed is the former harbormaster and now does these dives where he goes down with a camera and brings stuff up for the kids to see/touch.  He’s very funny and DEFINITELY caters to the under-10 crowd (you will learn a lot about sea cucumber butts).  It’s very entertaining!

        Happy to add if I think of anything more!

        • Reply Katie February 16, 2024 at 7:54 pm

          Thank you so much!

  • Reply Miranda February 15, 2024 at 3:12 pm

    Mad Honey is so good! A quick read with a surprising twist.

  • Reply Nicole February 15, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    We are planning Acacia late august so would love shared recs if you get a bunch!! We camped back in the prekid days at Mount Desert Campground and it was lovely!!

    • Reply Grateful Kae February 15, 2024 at 3:59 pm

      Sarah, if you have Nicole’s email address from this comment and want to forward her any of the stuff I sent you about our August 2021 trip there, feel free! (Nicole, I had typed up a bunch of specifics about the hikes, itinerary etc we did and sent to Sarah! We spent 5 days in Acadia with our 2 boys (plus additional time in Vermont, NH and coast of Maine). I also have detailed blog posts about that whole trip on my blog in Travel section, though the word doc I sent Sarah may have even more specifics with detailed names, etc of things. Just if you’re interested! 🙂

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 15, 2024 at 4:48 pm

        I will forward it!!!

  • Reply Caitlin February 15, 2024 at 6:35 pm

    I live in NH so would be happy to provide any recs (depending on the area and how well I know it).

    Also, I apologize, but I’m a librarian and I can’t help myself—The Postcard is actually a novel (but I just heard someone say that it was amazing, if that helps!).

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 15, 2024 at 6:38 pm

      Thank you!! I would fix the list if it were digital but harder on paper 😂

  • Reply Caitlin February 15, 2024 at 7:01 pm

    Haha I totally understand! I meant it more for your own reading habits—I know you usually save nonfiction for morning reading!

  • Reply Marie February 15, 2024 at 8:41 pm

    I love Acadia! A few recommendations from our 5+ trips there:

    – I’ve never stayed there, but a few coworkers swear by the Claremont in Southwest Harbor – they have 2-bedroom cottages that might work well for you all (pricey, though).
    – Our favorite place for dinner is the quite-new Bar Harbor Lobster Pound. Great food and a really fun outdoor setting with lawn games, music, etc.
    – The Wonderland and Ship Harbor trails in Seawall are fun and very family-friendly… good for checking out tide pools! There’s a nice picnic area over in that part of the park as well.
    – Make a reservation early for Cadillac Mountain, especially if you want to go at sunrise. Some tickets are released ~90 days in advance. There’s a short loop trail at the top with great views.
    – The popovers at the Jordan Pond House are an experience! A great way to cap some walking/hiking near Jordan Pond… plenty of options from strolls to serious hikes. Parking is challenging… arrive early or take the park shuttle.

    We’ve got a few trips up there planned between now and August – will update with more recommendations as we have them!

  • Reply Lulu February 15, 2024 at 9:05 pm

    Definitely take a boat tour with Diver Ed’s Dive In theater. Great for kids – he wears a camera and brings all sorts of sea treasures for the kids to touch and hold. My two kids (4 and 8 at the time) loved it. The tour meets at a small museum at The College of the Atlantic. And my kids loved that too. Agree the wonderland recommendation and the tide pools. We were underwhelmed by the Jordan Poubd restaurant – we ate outside and there were so many bees. Love Acadia!

  • Reply Sara February 16, 2024 at 5:29 am

    Covenant of Water IS long but I felt like it was really readable and I got into it right away. A tip: the author has a list of short character descriptions on his web site and I consulted it a few times when the timeline jumped and I forgot who someone was. TBH, I wish every book with multiple timelines would have something like this available! (scroll down for the list)

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 16, 2024 at 6:36 am

      Okay great to know! I’m going to go for it!!

    • Reply Anne February 16, 2024 at 5:04 pm

      That resource is amazing! Makes me want to reread the book again as I didn’t know this existed. Thanks for the tip. Such an amazing book.

  • Reply Kerry Camp March 10, 2024 at 3:38 pm

    Very late to comment here (I get behind on blogs during busy seasons of life, but always catch up first on yours!). My family has been going to Acadia for the past 4 years and we stay at Terramor, which is Mythis awesome glamping place 5 minutes outside the park. Suuuuper fun for kids (my sister has an 8 and 5 year old, we have a 2 year old) and luxurious for adults too (think upscale beds, bedding, classy breakfast etc.). Would be a fun way to enjoy the full Maine experience for you guys!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 10, 2024 at 4:36 pm

      Oooh thank you!!!

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