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 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.
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.
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.by