Prime Time Acadia

NE harbor panoramic blog

Steve has told you about the ‘Attack of the Tree Branch’ in his last Nuts and Bolts post.  This was our rough beginning in the Bar Harbor area. Then it rained or drizzled or was foggy or overcast for the next week. This reminded us of our trip to the north rim of the Grand Canyon when we expected to see the world’s best known abyss only to look six feet down and have the entire canyon socked in. We did see Acadia in a different way in the mist and fog.  The scenic drive along Sandy Beach, Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs was beautiful whatever the weather. (Chari) Having seen and heard so much about Acadia National Park I wondered if it would live up to my expectations. This was my first visit and I was not disappointed.  Steve had been here before but only had time to do the scenic drive. This was his first lengthy visit.

We registered at the park and obtained our entry pass and thanks to our Senior Interagency Pass it was free. The fog hung like a wet blanket along the coast. Sandy Beach was our first stop. Unlike most beaches in Maine that are covered in cobbles this is a coarse, sandy beach.  I headed off to take pictures of some plants while Steve went to the shore. Next stop was Thunder Hole. This area is known for the water forced through the rocks near high tide. Our timing was good but the fog was so thick we couldn’t see much. Then down along Otter Cliffs that tower over one hundred feet straight out of the ocean. We’d come back for a hike along the Cliff Trail later.

There is much more to Acadia than the scenic loop.  As the weather cleared and temperatures reached the high 80s we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain.  In North Carolina we’d call this a bald where the soil has eroded and rock outcroppings are the dominant feature. The end of June is bloom time for small wildflowers called sandworts. They cover the mountain. We enjoyed the view, took some panoramic shots and then stopped for lunch.  Our plan was to hike around the mountain but within half an hour the fog moved in and you couldn’t see anything more than ten feet away. We’d heard that this was a good place to come watch fireworks on the 4th so we’d be back, or so we thought.  We planned to join a Ranger for a walk along the carriage roads and learn about Mr. Rockefeller’s Bridges that connect the twenty-three miles of carriage roads in the park. We didn’t go … it rained and rained and rained. We did hike along a lake and take a short bike ride on a carriage road later on in the week. We wanted to go kayaking on one of the lakes but again the weather was not cooperative.  Acadia is a much more pet friendly park than many of the National Parks. Opal was allowed to accompany us on the carriage roads and ride in the car.

(Steve) One morning at our campsite in Lamoine SP I spotted several cedar waxwings in a tree nearby eating the berries. I knew Chari had never seen one so I quietly walked to the trailer to get her. We spent the next twenty minutes watching and photographing them. We even observed a pair courting by feeding berries to each other.

There is a third section to Acadia National Park called the Schoodic Peninsula Scenic Drive. It, like Isle Au Haut, is visited by fewer people than sights at Mount Desert Island. It’s a great place to explore the rocky terrain, the woodlands or ride a bike. There is a newly expanded Visitors Center there. We didn’t visit as the dedication ceremony was taking place that day. The Schoodic Scenic Drive is a National Scenic Byway route. Don’t miss it. We’ve put together a 7 minute video of some photos we hope you will enjoy. For best results allow the movie to load before playing.

Acadia is a beautiful park and we look forward to returning to see it in the autumn and maybe Spring too. Being the July 4th holiday it was a madhouse with lines at the Visitors Center just to buy the entry passes. If you plan to go try to avoid major holidays although nearby Bar Harbor does have a great fireworks display.  To celebrate the 4th we drove to Bar Harbor and parked about a half mile away. Then we walked about a mile to the Lobster Fest being given by the local Kiwanis Club. The YMCA (or was it YWCA?) was having lobster races to raise money. We got there for the last two “races”.  Races is in quotes as this falls somewhere between watching grass grow and watching paint dry. On our way back through town we stopped for some ice cream and started talking with a family from the New York City area.  They were fascinated with our RV lifestyle and said they’d be reading the blog. So if you’re reading this… Hello!

Since the weather had turned warm and sunny we thought going on the harbor sunset cruise and watching fireworks from the boat would be fun. Luckily even though it was a last minute decision we were able to get tickets. The cruise was about an hour long and went around the harbor islands then came back to the pier. The fireworks were being launched from nearby so we had a front row view. (Steve) I thought this was one of the best firework displays I’d seen from a small town. Here’s another short video of the display.


It’s very hard to describe this type of beauty so we put together a short video of our still photos.  We hope you enjoy this armchair visit and get to see the park for yourself one day.

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