Northern Maine is stunning. Throughout my drive along the coast I had the constant problem of wanting to stop at every small town and photograph the surroundings, every bit as incredibly beautiful as the last. I had just returned from a trip to Ireland and I thought seeing all of the green, lush, rolling Irish hills would make me less impressed with what our northern states have to offer and I’m happy to report, I was so wrong. The vast rows of pine trees sneak up into the skyline and the view is infinite. On a sunny day of driving you feel like you are the only car on the road, the wilderness surrounds you and it’s freeing. On a rainy day however, you also feel like you are the only car on the road, and the quiet can be deafening. Thankfully, I have hours of National Public Radio and music to keep me entertained and more sunny days than cloudy ones.
Leaving the serene and hospitable Tinder Hearth Bakery’s farm in Brooksville, Maine, I spent the day on Desert Island getting to enjoy some time in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park before heading across the border into Canada.
Some who have been to Desert Island have returned claiming it is one of the most beautiful spots in the world. At first I thought that statement was a little over the top, until I got there and then realized what all the fuss was about. Desert Island is the largest island off the coast of Maine and is by far one of New England’s top destinations. With whale watching, kayaking, cycling, hiking and more, Bar Harbor offers something for everyone. I was impressed that even with all of the activities in town, residents and lovers of Bar Harbor are involved in sustainable tourism to ensure that the majestic surroundings are there for people to appreciate for years to come. Visit the Chamber of Commerce site to read a little more about the preservation projects in the area.
What’s a Lobster Pound??? On my drive through Maine I’ve notice “Lobster Pounds”, little local restaurants and shacks either ocean side or road side offering fresh catches and meals for reasonable prices. A “pound” brings to mind a bunch of puppies bouncing around behind cages, eagerly awaiting adoption. So a lobster pound is a bunch of crustaceans all swimming around waiting for new “homes”? Not too far off, a lobster pound isn’t about ordering by the pound but refers to the large tank inside the shack where the little guys patiently wait to be served.
Acadia National Park
Make sure you take a day to explore Acadia and all of the rugged New England scenery it has to offer. A $20 entrance fee for the week allows you access to the park by car, bike or foot. I recommend taking the 27 mile Park Loop Road by car first to get an idea of the park’s layout and with plenty of vehicle parking areas you can get out at several scenic spots to snap some photos, enjoy the views, go for a hike or take a swim. If nothing else make sure you drive up to catch the astounding view atop Mt. Cadillac. The 3.5 mile winding road is a guided drive to the heavens. This is the tallest shoreline mountain on the east coast and at some points during the year it’s the first place to see the sunrise in North America. During a clear day you can see Mt. Katahdin, Maine’s tallest peak, in the distance which is over 100 miles away.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day, the sun was warmly beating down on the rocks, lush green islands floated in the ocean in front of me. A peaceful escape, the connection to such a natural wonder is almost indescribable. I drove down the mountain as the sun set heading further north in search for more visual wonders, tasty dishes and phenomenal experiences. Onward to Canada!