Acadia National Park – Part 1

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Bass Harbor Lighthouse on the “quiet side” of Mount Desert Island

Bass Harbor Lighthouse on the “quiet side” of Mount Desert Island

We arrive at Acadia – Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Acadia National Park sits on Mount Desert Island (MDI) just off the coast of Maine. It’s a small park by National Park standards and because it’s on the east coast, it’s one of the most visited National Parks in the country. We’ve been coming here since the mid-80’s and have stayed in every type of lodging imaginable from a waterfront B&B once a cottage for America’s wealthy to a mom-and-pop motel on the outskirts of Bar Harbor. This will be our 15th visit and first time camping.

Most lodging, including camping, is expensive on MDI. Commercial campgrounds offering water views can go for more than $100/night. We have reservations at the 2 National Park campgrounds which run a more reasonable $20 but have no hookups. For our first week, we’re staying at the Blackwoods Campground which is on the southeastern side of MDI. The quickest way to get there is to drive through the town of Bar Harbor on Route 3. Bar Harbor is full of restaurants, shops and tourists. The streets are narrow and Route 3 takes a sharp right turn in the center of town, not something I want to attempt pulling a 30 foot trailer. As we drive onto MDI, we stop in the Park’s visitor’s center to ask about an alternative route.

The town of Bar Harbor as seen from the top of Cadillac Mountain. Cruise ships stop in frequently to unload hoards of visiting tourists.

The town of Bar Harbor as seen from the top of Cadillac Mountain. Cruise ships stop in frequently to unload hoards of visiting tourists.

The Park Ranger pulls out a park map and quickly points out a route that takes us through Seal Harbor with left turns all the way. Perfect. I think she’s been asked this question before. While we’re here, we spring for a National Park Pass that will get us into any national park over the next 12 months for no additional cost.

Margaret Todd Windjammer returning to Bar Harbor after a sunset cruise.

Margaret Todd Windjammer returning to Bar Harbor after a sunset cruise.

When making a reservation at Blackwoods, you don’t get to pick a site. You specify your rig type and length and the ranger assigns you to a site when you arrive. We’re given a pull through site close to one of the many bathhouses scattered about the large campground. It’s heavily wooded as its name implies and it’s right next to the Ocean Path, a trail that leads to cliffs overlooking the Atlantic a few hundred yards away.

The one-way Loop Road along the shore of Acadia National Park. The Ocean Path trail leads from the Blackwoods CG to this overlook.

The one-way Loop Road along the shore of Acadia National Park. The Ocean Path trail leads from the Blackwoods CG to this overlook.

Trixie likes climbing on the waterside cliffs in Acadia NP. “Don’t fall off!”

Trixie likes climbing on the waterside cliffs in Acadia NP. “Don’t fall off!”

Since we’ve visited Acadia so many times before, we already have an agenda in mind for the coming week: 1) eat lobster stew and popovers at the Jordan Pond House, a tradition dating back to the 1800’s, 2) eat breakfast at the 2 Cats Inn in Bar Harbor, a John & Cindy tradition dating back to the 1990’s and 3) eat lobster at the Thurston’s Lobster Pound in Bernard ME, a new tradition we’re starting this year. Bernard is on the western or quiet side of MDI, far removed from the tourists that invade Bar Harbor on the eastern side. We also plan to throw in some hikes along the way to counteract all the eating out.

Rising full moon as seen from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.

Rising full moon as seen from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.

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6 thoughts on “Acadia National Park – Part 1

  1. Acadia on My Mind

    Sounds like a great trip to Acadia! No matter how many times you go to Acadia, and no matter how many traditions you may have, there’s always something new to discover in Acadia. Don’t know if park rangers mentioned the new Quarry and Otter Cove Trails that now allow campers at Blackwoods to connect to the Gorham Mountain Trail or not. They just opened this year. See our blog post about those trails, and a couple of village connector trails from Otter Creek that the park is having a hearing on this week: http://acadiaonmymind.com/2014/09/acadia-national-park-hearing-otter-creek-trails/

    Reply
    1. John Post author

      Thanks for the suggestions. We’re over at Seawall Campground right now. We never spent much time on this side of the island before but we’re thoroughly enjoying it. Nice to be away from the crowds for a change.

      Reply

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