Acadia National Park

The rugged coast of Maine is a major attraction not just for visitors but also as a place to live or have a second home. Big cites are not a feature of Maine, its largest city is Portland with a population of less than 70,000 people. However the Maine border is less than 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Boston in Massachusetts with its population of around 600,000 and only 430 kilometres (270 miles) from New York City. The need to preserve some of the coastal scenery was recognised way back in 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson created Sieur de Monts National Monument comprising of most of Mount Desert Island plus some other nearby islands and a small area on the mainland. It became a National park in 1919 and is now known as Acadia National Park. We visited Acadia in 1998 and tried to visit again in 2013. Unfortunately our second visit coincided with one of those US traditions that puzzles non-Americans, a government shut down. All National Parks were closed.

 

 

Schooner Head

From the 1880’s Mount Desert Island became a summer retreat for the rich and famous. The Rockefellers, Morgans, Fords, Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Astors built estates (or ‘cottages’ as they called them) on the island. The great depression saw the ‘cottages’ go into decline, and a disastrous fire in 1947 finally destroyed many of them. In this picture of Schooner Head one can imagine a ‘cottage’ standing on the head, although in reality the building is modern.

Eagle Lake from road to Cadillac Mountain

While the coast of Acadia is rich in bays and fiords, inland can be found many mountains and lakes. Cadillac Mountain is the highest on Mount Desert Island, all of 466 metres (1,530 feet) high. The mountain is named after French explorer Antoine de Lamothe-Cadillac, who in 1701 founded the town of Detriot in Michigan. Cadillac Mountain may seem puny compared to the majesty of the Rocky Mountains, but here right by the sea it affords great views of the island, the coast and the town of Bar Harbor. For those who find the prospect of climbing the highest mountain a little daunting, there is a road up Cadillac Mountain that is open to any make of vehicle.

Fall foliage & Jordan Pond

Maine is famed for its fall foliage, but the best is usually found further inland.  Nevertheless, we found this patch by Jordan Pond but we were unable to find the sunshine that would have really brought out the colours. Around the Jordan Pond area is and extensive network of carriage roads which were financed and  designed by wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Junior between 1915 and 1933. This network of gravel roads is over 80 kilometres (50 miles) long and has 17 bridges built of granite.

Sand Beach

Most of Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island, and this part of the park is easiest to visit as it is readily accessible via a road that connects the island to the mainland.  The coast of the island is indented with many bays and fiords. Sand Beach is a typical bay on the island. At nearby Thunder Hole, a narrow inlet can channel waves from the Atlantic Ocean into a cavern from which the energy of each wave is released through a vent creating a spout of aerated water accompanied by thunderous roar.  As can be seen in this picture the sea was relatively calm on the day that we visited. All that Thunder Hole could manage was the occasional splutter, so no picture of the water spout.

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 Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, ME, USA
 Eagle Lake from road to Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME, USA
 Fall foliage & Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, ME, USA
 Schooner Head, Acadia National Park, ME, USA
- An interesting rather than spectacular National Park, worth visiting if you are in the area but not worth a long detour.
- There is a lot of good coastal scenery in Maine against which Acadia struggles to stand out.
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