June 9-13, 2018 – Acadia National Park, Maine
Our second week at Acadia brought us more beautiful weather, so we made sure to take advantage of it. Quite honestly, we had no idea what to expect for early June when we booked our reservations earlier this year. We were pleasantly surprised, to say the least!
On June 9, we headed to Gorham Mountain. This trail is the first in a series of trails leading to the peaks in the southeastern part of the park.
We didn’t have to climb very far for the views to open up. This view looks south towards Otter Point.
Diana spotted this beautiful buck as he crossed the trail ahead of us.
And here is the summit!
Back in the 1990’s, we continued on to the next peak (Champlain Mountain) from this point with our golden retrievers, Kate and Dakota. In between, we dropped down to a small mountain lake called The Bowl where they enjoyed swimming. Then we retraced our steps back to the car. That was a full day! While this day wasn’t near as long, it was still a challenging climb. On our way back down, we met an ornithologist who works in the park. We were able to interview him right on the trail to fulfill our junior ranger requirements! His favorite thing in Acadia? Birds. 🙂
On June 10, we thought we would give ourselves a little break, so we went to the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. This is actually a second location for them, with the first being within Acadia National Park boundaries. Founded in 1926 by Dr. Robert Abbe, a prominent New York physician, this affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute showcases the Native American people of the region.
The area is unique in that several tribes banded together in order to better deal with the incoming European settlers. They called themselves Wabanaki. It is interesting that their tribal boundaries don’t coincide with the international boundaries, so that presents a whole host of challenges even to this day.
One of the things we found fascinating was their collection of root clubs. These were carved from the lower portion of small trees.
And while they are intricate and quite beautiful, one has to think how much it would hurt to get a clunk on the head from one of these!
From Abbe Museum, we went to Thuya Gardens in Northeast Harbor. To get there, we had to climb Asticou Terraces, a 200 foot high path sculpted into the side of Juniper Hill.
From the top, a commanding view of Northeast Harbor can be seen. It is considered a pleasure harbor, even though there are a number of lobster boats here.
Set back from the terraces is Thuya Lodge, the summer home of Joseph H. Curtis. He was a Boston-based landscape architect. He designed the terraces after finishing the home in 1916. The interior is much the way it was when he died in 1928, including the furnishings. The gardens that now sit behind the home were actually an apple orchard he had planted. His friend Charles Savage completed the gardens at a later date.
This is the lone surviving apple tree from the Curtis orchard.
Not a lot was currently in bloom, but the space was peaceful and green.
Definitely a nice place to spend a little time.
Next, we visited one of Savage’s other creations, Asticou Gardens.
It sits down at road level, not far from the Asticou Terraces.
There was a lot more in bloom down there!
June 11 started out rainy, so after taking care of paperwork at home, we went down to the Bar Harbor waterfront and ate dinner at Geddy’s. We noticed that they had some gluten free offerings on their sign out front, so that was what attracted us. Imagine my surprise when the waiter told us that all their fryers and breading were gluten-free (made with rice and other flours instead of wheat, barley and rye), as it was just easier for them to do that than to have to be careful about cross contamination.
That is the first deep fried fish I’ve had since 2011…and it was outstanding! Washed down with an Omission GF lager, of course! Note: We came back later in the week to try their pizza. Pat’s…another pizza joint in town… is better and FAR cheaper.
June 12 brought us another new Acadia experience. All the years we’ve been coming here, we had no idea that the park has a bona fide waterfall. We set out on John D. Rockefeller’s carriage roads to find it.
This is the bridge that spans the creek below the falls.
Climbing down into the creekbed, you are able to see how Rockefeller had the arch built off-perpendicular to the roadway.
His reasoning was so that the arch itself framed the cascade. While it wasn’t flowing much, it still was beautiful.
Instead of retracing our steps down the carriage road, we opted to take the trail that runs along the creek bed.
Plenty of tree roots, rocks, ferns, pine needles and the forest scent that we love so much. We did not see another soul on this trail. 🙂
When we returned to the car, we drove to the Abbe Museum location that is in the park. Our admission for both locations was covered by our North American Reciprocal Museum membership.
This is one of only two independent trail-side museums in the national parks. The other is at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. This location opened in 1928.
On June 13, we decided to go see Thunder Hole, the chasm that rumbles and sprays seawater everywhere when conditions are right. We knew there was a strong southerly wind, so there was a chance we would be in luck. For reference, Thunder Hole is on the southeast shore of Mount Desert Island.
This is so typical of what most tourists think of Acadia. Buses pull up bringing throngs of people off of the cruise ships to see a few attractions. Conditions weren’t right, so Thunder Hole was quiet…yet these folks all were waiting for something to happen. I could see off in the distance across the bay that waves were breaking on Schoodic Peninsula’s southwest shore. So off we went for Otter Point, just to the south of Thunder Hole.
As we’ve so often found, a short distance can bring solitude at Acadia. Those buses are about a quarter mile back around to the left. 🙂
The farther west we walked, the bigger the surf was.
This trail is called Ocean Path, and it has quite a few elevation changes.
And there is what we came for! We love to see that water splashing up off the Maine coast. 🙂
That wraps up our time heading up the Eastern Seaboard. Next up, we head inland towards New Hampshire. That turns into more of an adventure than we bargained for, so be sure to stop by for our next installment to see what happened. Until then, safe and happy travels!