ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
We had to take a quick detour home to Florida to register the trailer, otherwise we would not be able to enter Canada later in the month. As much as we tried to find ways around this, we ended up taking a cheap flight home, and enjoyed some summer sun while clearing up some paperwork.
Once back in Maine, we started driving along the coast north towards Acadia National Park. Along the way, we stopped in a few coastal towns for to search for the perfect lobster roll. I like to travel with relatively low expectations. Eric and I try to pick one or two goals that we want to do for a large chunk of time, and so if nothing else goes right, if those goals are met we are still content with the experience. One of my goals for Maine was to eat a whole lobster, but of course I had to ease into that with a Maine lobster roll first.
We stopped at Red's Eats and witnessed a line wrapping around the building. It is rare for us to take the time to wait for popular things, but this place was in the top three restaurants in the state for the famous rolls and we wouldn't be back here in the foreseeable future. I decided to wait for just over an hour and was rewarded with a golden buttery roll overflowing with sweet lobster claw meat. We were also right by the coast and ate outside in the sun, enveloped in the briny air, which made for a perfect Maine experience. I was very happy, and we hadn't even reached the park yet.
Acadia National Park is a popular north east summer destination, and we hit it right at the end of August. There were limited campsites, so we broke up the three main areas over 7 days. First we had two nights at Seawall campground and visited the highlights on that side of Mount Desert Island including Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Acadia Mountain, and Echo Lake Beach. This park had a wonderful mix of difficult hikes and lazy beach days. Without exploring much more, both Eric and I already felt like we had completed a perfect Acadia trip.
Then we headed to the main area of the park camping at Blackwoods campground. On this section of the island, we hit all the attractions along the driving tour including Jordan Pond, Sand Beach, Otter point, Thunder Hole, and various harbors along the way. We finished this grand tour with sunset on Cadillac Mountain along with about 150 other park visitors (though it was still incredible.) It is always fun to visit a new place and have it meet every hope you had biasedly created about what the area would look and feel like. The Maine coast met and exceeded all of those secretly held expectations of being a quaint fishing town, complete with rocky cliff-sides and lush forests. The scenery differed from the west coast coastline, creating an environment unique to itself.
A trip to the coast of Maine could not be complete without exploring the town of Bar Harbor. Lobster time had come again. We walked along the streets once again popping into a bunch of tourist knick-knack shops, but were treated to sunshine and gorgeous ocean views as well. Luckily, we found a restaurant where Eric could indulge in the local fair as well (mmm, lobster chowder), and I completed my mission to eat a whole lobster for the first time in Maine. It was rich, sweet, and honestly a little too much. But paired with one of the best beers I had in the north east (Geaghan Brothers Honey Blonde Ale), it was yet another perfect afternoon. I couldn't help also grabbing a cone of fresh blueberry ice cream and sitting in the grass soaking up the sun before we headed back to camp.
The last day at Blackwoods we hiked the most strenuous path in the park; The Precipice. It was unlike any other hike either of us had done. Complete with rock scrambles, rebar ladders, and expansive coastal views, we enjoyed the hell out of this hike. However, it was a good reminder to hike at your own personal level, because we saw a ton of people attempt this 2.5 mile loop thinking it would be short, only to drop out due to heat exhaustion or physical difficulties. The iron rungs allowed you to climb strait up over rock faces, but these were not for the faint of heart. We were happy that we were not shut down by physical limitations or weather.
Our last two days in Acadia were spent on the less frequented Schoodic peninsula. This small section is about a two hour drive away from Mount Desert Island, and offered a bit of quiet and solitude compared to the summer crowds everywhere else. This ended up being my favorite campsite on the east coast yet. Complete with electric and water hookups, we had a large site surrounded by trees and nothing else. I will remember the day spent on Schoodic for the rest of my life, as it was exactly the kind of day we dreamt about when planning this trip. We woke up for sunrise on the coast, and saw river otters playing amongst the rocks. When we returned to the trailer, we cooked a big breakfast in bed and had a bit of a nap before heading out again. The afternoon was spent hiking up to Schoodic Head and picking wild blackberries and huckleberries along the way. In the evening we harvested some periwinkles and cooked up a feast of fresh foods, ending with some music around the fire, local beer in hand. It was nice to get a break from bad weather and have a perfect camp day.
Driving from the coast inland, we left Acadia relaxed and truly content. Our next stop was our second big goal for the state, summiting Mount Katahdin.
10/10 would visit (with family) Acadia National Park again.