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Beatrice Helman

A Brooklyn Girl’s Guide to Sunday: Exploring Acadia National Park

My family is not a family of campers. We did not spend weekends driving to national parks and settling in with sleeping bags and portable stoves. There was no tent tutorial and car rides generally didn’t exceed two hours. We were big on hiking, but not as large on sleeping on the ground. So, when I recently decided to go camping with my best friend and my boyfriend, I wasn’t fully prepared for the situation.

I knew there would be sleeping bags (fun!), food (fun!), waking up to the sunrise (fun!) and also falling asleep next to a campfire (really fun!)– It was all those things, and probably more. We drove the four hours to Boston from New York, and then the four and a half hours from Boston to Acadia, Maine (another first for me). Acadia, it turns out, is stunningly beautiful and full of moss and blueberry-covered mountains and lakes rippling with lily pads and tiny inlets with towering trees and beautiful wooden homes.

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Beatrice Helman

We got there on a Friday afternoon, immediately heading out on a hike that involved two peaks and probably five hundred blueberries. It ended with mushrooms cooked in tinfoil and parchment paper on the fire, a la Martha Stewart. We woke up Saturday to a veggie hash and boiled Japanese sweet potatoes, so purple they looked fake, and then did the hike up Mt. Desert, ending with a walk around Bar Harbor, an ice cream stop, and our feet in the ocean. Sunday morning we went out on the lake, canoeing and jumping in the water, and staring at the tide in awe. Basically, if you find yourself in Acadia, eat all the blueberries, swim, hike, eat, and don’t worry about doing it all because the point is to appreciate where you are and the way that the earth works. Spend some extra time finding as many mushrooms on the trail as you can, and marveling at the beaver houses and flowers growing straight up out of the water. In terms of camping, bring a pillow, bring snacks, cut your potatoes into fries and roast them in the fire, and spend a lot of time staring at the sky. It’s worth the drive.

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Beatrice Helman

For more information on hiking around Acadia National Park, visit the park’s website

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