I created Off the Maine Road with a vision to instill a journey in my readers. This is a journey through the Pine Tree State. This is a journey where dreams come true, and here’s where the magic happens.
We’ve travelled very far since we started this journey in Kittery. We’ve left I-95 in Bangor, and are now traversing Route 1A into Ellsworth. Finally, we have taken State Highway 3 into Mount Desert Island. It is the 6th largest island in the contiguous United States, and 52nd largest in the entire United States. Mount Desert Island has an area of 108 square miles, most of which is occupied by Acadia National Park.
It can be said that Acadia National Park is Maine’s crown jewel…and it certainly does not disappoint the 2.5 million tourists who visit the park each year. The park is also host to a running camp based out of Bar Harbor in July. In this post, I’ll focus on Bass Harbor-a small fishing village in the southwest corner of the park. It also has a lighthouse, which was automated in 1974 but is still home to a Coast Guard and his family. Camping is a prominent activity in Acadia, so Bass Harbor Campground is the place to go. Just pack your L.L. Bean camping gear (more on that later) and head out to the harbor!
Bass Harbor Head Light. The Coast Guard’s residence is adjacent to the lighthouse.
L.L. Bean Adventure Dome Tent at Bass Harbor Campground.
Cadillac Mountain is located in the center of Mount Dessert Island, and is the highest point on the island. It has gained the title as the place to see the “nation’s first sunrise.” Well I’m here to prove to you that it’s not true. According to a detailed analysis in the 1972 issue of Yankee Magazine by Blanton C. Wiggin, Cadillac Mountain only sees the first sunrise from October 7 to March 6, when the sun rises south of due east. Most of the time the sun rises first in Mars Hill to the Northeast. In addition, the first sunrise in the U.S. is seen at West Quoddy Head in Lubec, (the easternmost town in the United States) for a few weeks around the equinoxes.
On the day when I went up the mountain to see the “first” sunrise, clouds and fogged infiltrated the area, which made for a desert-type look. The next day I ascended the mountain, only to find the same weather conditions. It is said on a clear day, one can see Mount Kathadin, Maine’s highest peak, but I did not have such luck. Maybe next time.
A disappointing sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain.
I’ll probably talk about this more in a future post, but Bar Harbor is a must-visit place. In addition to having one of 4 Cool as a Moose locations in Maine, Bar Harbor (or Baa Haa-baa as some call it) also features Ben & Bill’s, with their extensive chocolate selection and signature Lobster Ice Cream.
Cool as a Moose in Bar Harbor.
Acadia National Park is one of the many reason why Maine has a special place in my heart. (And it’s apparently also why GMC named an SUV after it). However, the places I described in this post are just the tip of the iceberg. Go to Visit Maine’s Acadia page and check out all of the other cool things you can do Downeast!
Check out the slideshow of pictures I took from Acadia below.