Thursday, August 06, 2009

Blueberry-Almond Granola and Memories of Acadia National Park

There are no wild blueberries on Long Island, but on Mount Desert Island in Maine they grow in abundance at Acadia National Park. Summertime inspires memories of family camping trips to Acadia, way back when. We would pile in the station wagon and make the drive in two days. How else could my parents manage four boys in the back seat of a car? (The portable DVD player had not yet been invented.)

Acadia National Park is one of the most unique regions in the United States. There, the mountains meet the crystalline blue sea. You can hike the glacial terrain of Cadillac Mountain, or walk barefoot on Sand Beach. The ocean water is chillingly cold, but bursting with marine life. For me, it was an exotic location with fascinating and mysterious places like the Beehive, the South Bubble, Thunder Hole, the Precipice and Anemone Cave. A network of hiking trails and carriage roads fan out across the island, offering endless opportunities for excursions. The more challenging hikes even have stone steps and ladder rungs embedded in the rock, which my brothers and I thought was the coolest thing ever.

The Barritt’s at Acadia National Park

And, everywhere we hiked, there were wild blueberries. The bushes were scrubby and low to the ground, sometimes nestled between two rocks. The intensely sweet, purple fruit was smaller than anything I’d seen at home. We would collect the berries on the trail by the handful and bring them back to the campground to eat on our cereal at breakfast the next morning. It was probably not the most appropriate behavior for a national park, but to a youngster, it felt like part of the grand adventure of living outdoors.

I’ve returned to Acadia several times as an adult and revisited favorite spots. It’s actually more challenging to hike the South Bubble when your father isn’t carrying you. While I won’t make the trip this summer, this simple and wholesome Blueberry-Almond Granola from "Everyday Food" reminds me of Acadia’s wild terrain and those wonderful hiking adventures that live in my memories.

©2009 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Maine is beautiful in the summer and you were very fortunate to have spent time there as a boy. What great memories. Picking any berry in the wild is exciting, especially as a kid.

I've only been to Maine once (as an adult). My husband took me through Vermont and New Hampshire to see the changing of the leaves and made sure we ended up in Booth Bay Harbor for lobster. Gorgeous trip.

Thanks for sharing your childhood memories. It's my breakfast time and your granola sounds perfect.

Christo Gonzales said...

what a great memory -

veron said...

It's interesting how certain foods evoke memories of childhood. And thanks for telling us about Acadia National Park, I've never heard of it but now I know that it's a gorgeous place and a great excuse to visit Maine besides just lobsters.

Kathy said...

Looks like a beautiful place--perhaps someday I will make it all the way to Maine. Guess my parents weren't the camping type as we never camped when I was a kid. I'm going to try the recipe now that you've tested it. :-) I just recently started using granola as an ice cream topping--how did I miss that all these years?

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

We camped there when I was living in New Brunswick and it is such a beautiful place. I would love to go back someday.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

We've done our share of hiking around Acadia, and I can imagine how much fun it was for four boys -- so much room to roam. The park is large enough that it never seems to feel crowded, no matter how many visitors are there. And the ocean gives you a sense of being at the edge of the world. Thanks for bringing back those memories, for all of us.

Lori Lynn said...

Great post! We grew up in Chicago, but our blueberry memories come from a few summers spent with our Auntie Paulie in Canada. Thanks for the reminder.

Foodiewife said...

One day, I will see Maine. It's high on my lists of places I want to visit. The only fresh blueberries I get to see, in California, are at my grocery store. Still, on granola...yummy!

Karine said...

I have been many times to Maine when I was a kid because I have a relative who lives there. I have never, unfortunately, been to the Acadia National Park, but I heard it is beautiful there!