By Bridget Jackson
I never thought looking at one picture could lead me to a destination vacation, but 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 journey to Mt. Desert Island. Mt. Desert Island is the largest island off the coast of Maine. When I arrived 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 nature as its finest artistry that created landscapes 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, 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. Asticou Azalea Garden, located in Northeast Harbor was a favorite spot of mine. The terrain is based on a traditional Japanese garden infused with Maine foliage, visible in a reflection pond and the mountainous landscape as a backdrop. 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.
Mt. Desert Island is an area that I could easily visit each summer, since I live in Florida, I would enjoy a climate of mild days and cool nights. If you love nature and beautiful landscapes I strongly encourage you to vacation in Mt. Desert Island. 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!