Glorious Maine – Mt. Desert Island, Bar Harbor, Lobster & Lighthouses!

Glorious Maine – Mt. Desert Island, Bar Harbor, Lobster & Lighthouses!

by Bridget Jackson

It’s amazing how looking at one picture can lead you to a destination vacation. That’s exactly what happened to me. Once I saw a picture of the cute fishing village of Bar Harbor, Maine I was hooked; literary because I immediately started planning my trip to the area. I eagerly waited for the summer to arrive and made my trek through Maine until I reached my desired destination. I had always heard that Maine was a beautiful state but I wasn’t expecting to have my breath taken away my entire trip with nature as its finest artist, painting Maine’s landscape.

Since I flew into Boston, my journey began on Hwy 95 North toward Bangor which was a little under a 4 hour drive. I chose to stay in Bangor because the hotels are more affordable and it’s just a little over an hour away from Bar Harbor.  The town of Bangor was built upon the lumber industries, and they even pay tribute to lumberjack Paul Bunyan with a 31 foot statue of him!  Taking a photo with Paul Bunyan is a must. Bangor is also where famous novelist Stephen King has a house. A drive by his house is easily accessible, since it’s not in a gated community and most local people will tell you how to get to his neighborhood.  (It’s on W. Broadway, between Union and Hammond Streets). The wrought iron fence with a big letter “K” on the gates and gothic statues guarantees you’ve found his house. While in Bangor I also drove through the historic district and took in the many different building styles whose architectural designs included Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire and Colonial Revival. Many of these structures are listed on the National Historic Registry. Broadway Park’s green lawn is the perfect place for a picnic at the center of the district and is modeled after Beacon Hill of Boston.

After my visit in Bangor I headed toward Mt. Desert Island, along Hwy 1A. With camera in hand I arrived at my picture perfect destination, Mt. Desert Island which happens to be the largest island off the coast of Maine. I was speechless; I could easily fill a list with adjectives to describe the island’s natural beauty of rocky coastlines and lush rolling green hills.

After stopping by the visitor center at Acadia National Park with maps in hand I planned out my route of the island. Acadia National Park has over 100 miles of hiking and biking trails, several lakes for kayaking or canoeing and dramatic coastlines. My first stop was to Cadillac Mountain . It’s worth the hike to the top of this pink granite mountain where you will be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of Frenchman Bay and Porcupine Islands, and the village of Bar Harbor. The gorgeous landscape and terrain of Cadillac Mountain is the product of thousands of years of climate changes and glaciers sculpting the land. The result is a landscape and scenic views that are beyond words. After absorbing the beauty of a Cadillac Mountain hike, I took a ride down Summit Road, it’s a 3.5 mile drive with several observation points to capture that perfect picture.  I also took advantage of a beautiful summer day and drove the entire island.  The 27 mile Park Loop Road, which has several parking areas and pullover stops, is a great way to enjoy the sights along the route. Points of interest that I liked while I traveled Park Loop Road were: Jordan Pond, Otter Cliff, Asticou Azalea Garden, Sand Beach, Seawall, Thunder Hole, Long Pond, Echo Pond, Cadillac Mountain and the Carriage Roads. It’s a drive I strongly encourage all visitors take. The 27 mile loop takes a little over 2 hours, but if you make frequent photo stops along the way it will take longer. There are several quaint harbors that are worth exploring too; Bar Harbor, Seal Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and Bass Harbor . Bass Harbor has an adorable lighthouse that is the only lighthouse on Mt. Desert Island. I can assure you the figure 8 drive on Mt. Desert Island will ensure picturesque scenes the entire journey.

Bar Harbor was my favorite fishing village that I visited. Many people don’t realize that Bar Harbor was originally called Eden. This charming town was once home to summer retreats for John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford and Cornelius Vanderbilt. Remnants of their homes that were destroyed by a fire in 1947 can still be seen. While in Bar Harbor, I enjoyed a leisurely walk down Main Street that is filled with enchanting little shops, souvenir shops, ice cream shops and plenty of restaurants that offer lobster. Lobster everywhere!!!! Bar Harbor also has several parks to relax and take in the ocean views; Barker Park, Grant Park, Harborview Park, Village Green and Agamont Park. I enjoyed a gorgeous walk along the Shore Path at sunset. The Shore Path was created in 1880 and is a 2 mile path that starts at Town Pier and Agamont Park. The walk takes less than an hour but is worth the stroll of viewing waterfront properties that were owned by many of the east coast elite. For a shorter walk you can always turn on Hancock Street or Wayman Lane. After a walk down the Shore Path I decided to quench my taste buds by eating at The Grill at Bar Harbor Inn. I was fortunate to dine in the grassy area during sunset with a magnificent view of Frenchman Bay. It was delicious meal with fresh lobster with hot butter, corn on the cob, new potatoes a glass of wine, and the sunset. What a phenomenal experience!!!  During my visit to Maine my meals consisted of lobster for lunch and dinner, but in my opinion the best tasting lobster I ate was at The Grill. With a full belly, I headed to Main Street in search of dessert. On a summer night the only correct choice is; ice-cream! Ben & Bills Chocolate Emporium was the answer! I got a tasty ice- cream and left with a bag of fudge for a mid night snack. Yummy!!  Fair warning; be prepared to stand in line because it appears that everyone enjoys eating ice-cream in Bar Harbor. Another dessert spot I liked was the Chocolate moose on Derby Lane.  It’s easy to find, just look for the statue of the Chocolate Moose. While in Bar Harbor I also visited St. Saviours Episcopal Church on Mt. Desert St. The church was built in 1878 and is the oldest building in Mt. Desert Island. St. Saviours is captivating with many of its original Tiffany stained glass windows.

When my adventure was over at Mt. Desert Island I headed south and drove along Hwy 1 toward York. Since Maine is famous for its lighthouses, I decided I would visit as many light houses I could see by foot on my journey south. Hwy 1 was scenic with rocky coastlines and enchanting towns. My first stop was Fort Point Light in Stockton Springs ; this lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places. The next lighthouse on the agenda was in Rockland. Rockland was a delightful little fishing village, and has two lighthouses in the area; Owls Head is located at Owls Head State Park; once you park it will require bit of a hike through trails before you arrive at the light house. Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse is also a little tricky to find by GPS. Look for Waldo Ave, and then take Samoset Road. The road ends and leads to a path to the lighthouse. For those who might want to visit Rockland Breakwater lighthouse it is nearly a mile walk from shore before you arrive at the lighthouse. If it is a nice day you can easily walk the granite break water and visit the light house.  The next light house on the list was the beautiful Portland Head Light, which is located on the shores of Fort Williams Park. As soon as you walk toward the entrance you are immediately in awe by this enchanting lighthouse cottage nestled on the rocky shores. The views are amazing around the lighthouse as the waves from the ocean crash on the rocks. Nearby lighthouses in the area that I also visited were Spring Point Ledge Light, Bug Light, and Two Lights at Cape Elizabeth.

As I continued my journey to York, a stop at Old Orchard Beach was a must. This town has one of the last remaining beachfront amusement parks left in the United States. Palace Play land is full of plenty of classic rides, such as an old fashion carousel, Ferris wheel and roller coaster, plus many more favorite rides and arcades for the whole family. At night the rides are all lit up and take you back to another era. A walk on the pier will ensure great views of the ocean, and many seafood restaurants. My final destination in Maine was the town of York , which is a charming fishing town that was settled in 1624. My final lighthouse to visit and my favorite lighthouse that I saw was the Nubble Lighthouse. It is a postcard picture of what you envision a lighthouse to be; I highly recommend visiting this lighthouse. I promise you won’t be disappointed but visit early to get the best view before the tour bus shows up.

I only skimmed the surface of Maine but it is now a place I would like to visit each summer, since I live in Florida, I look forward to a climate of mild days and cool nights. If you love nature and beautiful landscapes I strongly encourage you to vacation in Maine. I promise you will have photos that will be the envy on social media. I had a remarkable time and I am sure you will too!! If you have any questions about this trip feel free to ask Bridget. Safe Travels!

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Bridget Jackson
<p>Hi my name is Bridget, as you can tell I enjoy traveling. My love of traveling began when I was a small child as we vacationed to new destinations each year. When I visit a new place I always try to stay away from tourist traps and see the area as the locals do. In my blogs I try to provide travel tips to make your vacation enjoyable. Always follow your dreams, travel as much as possible and feed your mind by exploring the world!</p>

2 thoughts on “Glorious Maine – Mt. Desert Island, Bar Harbor, Lobster & Lighthouses!

  1. Great article! Can’t wait to vacation in Maine, reading your journey I felt like I was there!

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