Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Acadia National Park, August 29-31

I was a little concerned about visiting this park during August, the peak season, especially as we got closer to Labor Day. I'd been following several blogs about how crowded the park was and was prepared to spend a minimal amount of time.  I really don't like crowds.

We  arrived in Ellsworth,( about 20 miles from the Acadia NP) early enough to unhook the car and drive to   the visitor center. We decided to drive the scenic Park Loop Drive which is a 27 miles scenic drive around the main part of the park.  At first we were going to use the Desert Island Bus, but the visitor parking lot was half empty so we decided to drive. Much to our delight there were very few cars on the road. Apparently Hurricane Irene has kept the crowds away, at least for a few days.

The east part of Mount Desert Island, is the most popular and most visited part of the park.  Our first stop on our drive  was the famous Cadillac Mountain, the highest point  of Desert Island.  The views are spectacular from the top.  The hurricane had blown much of the pollution out of the sky and we experienced crystal clear skies, the kind you can see forever. The pictures below were taken from Cadillac Mountain, which is also the highest mountain on the East coast. From Cadillac Mountain you can see the east and west part of Desert Island as well as the Schoodic Peninsula.

Bar Harbor, and other little villages can be seen from on top.
We stopped at Sand Beach, the only beach in the park.  There were "no swimming" signs posted every where, probably due to the rough seas left over from the hurricane.  I didn't think the surf was  all that bad and it was obvious folks were enjoying the beautiful day.
The beach has white sand, but not the kind I'm used to.  The sand is more like decomposed granite than the white sands I grew up with on the Pacific Coast, but it's pretty.
This is one of the many lakes in the park.  I think this is Eagle Lake which we drove by on the way up to Cadillac Mountain.
After our short drive, (we didn't do the whole loop) we drove through Bar Harbor, a very touristy town with lots of touristy stores and eateries.  We stopped at one restaurant to check it out and the first available reservation was from 9:00 that evening, but the waitress told us if we wanted a a "snack" vs dinner she could accommodate us as long as we didn't take to long to eat.  It was 5:00 and they were already booked so we moved on and ended up eating at the Atlantic Brew Pub, which made Joel happy.

Acadia park has over 45 miles of carriage trails that can be used for hiking, biking, and horse back riding. We got out our bikes the next day and explored over 20 miles of the carriage trails.   The carriage roads are examples of "broken stone" roads, a fancy name for hard packed gravel. John D Rockefeller  built the carriage trails with no real destinations in mind so they meander up and down (operative words) and around the park.  They are in excellent condition.  My only comment is the park service could do a much better job with the printed maps they hand out.  There was no description of the roads regarding steepness or points of interest. I was also disappointed that there were no picnic tables along the way.

I stopped and admired this beautiful water fall along one of the roads.
There were also lots of vistas of lakes along the carriage roads.
The next day we decided to explore the Schoodic Peninsula  which is part of Acadia NP, but separated by private land. On the way we saw this heron along the road.  He/she stood still for the longest time.  At first I thought it was a decoy, but he was real.
From the Schoonic Peninsula you can see across to Desert Island.  The tallest mountain on the horizon is Cadillac mountain which we had visited earlier.
The coast line along Schoonic Peninsula is breath taking.  Joel  got caught in some waves at Grinders Beach.

This is lobster country.  If you look closely you can see some of the boyes in the water.  The lobster man is pulling up the cages and sorting the lobsters.  It seemed like he was throwing more lobsters back than keeping.  We watched for a long time as he pulled up cage after cage.  The odd thing was he didn't reset any of the cages.  Maybe the catch wasn't all that great and  he was going to set them somewhere else.

More of the beautiful shoreline around Schoonic Point  looking towards Mark Island Lighthouse.
This was the actual Schoonic point where you can see out  to the Atlantic ocean for ever:
I'd been craving more lobster (Joel and I had been to a '"lobster pound"a few weeks earlier which was terrible and I wanted some really good lobster)  and we had seen a sign for fresh lobster right on the highway.  Normally, I would avoid such touristy places, but it looked like fun and who could not laugh at the name: Mary and Whimpy's .  So we stopped for the lobster special: a whole lobster and corn at $10.95. Ymmmm.  Most of the fresh lobster boils we had seen were priced at $14.00 or higher, so this was a bargain.

Mary and Whimpy's turned out to be a good choice.  We had excellent service and very good lobster.

So now it's time to mosey on down the road again.  Our short stay in Acadia, wasn't long enough but the Labor Day weekend is coming up and predictions are that it will be crowded so off we go to Portland, Maine.

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