Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Drive Around Maine's Mount Desert Island

Thursday July 16th was our last full day on Mount Desert Island and we wanted to do some exploring of the perimeter on the Island, outside of the Acadia National Park loop. Mount Desert Island is one of the largest islands on the Eastern Seaboard. At 108 square miles it is second only to Long Island.
It contains Acadia National Park.
The Island's year round population of 10,000 people swells during fine weather months as over 2 million tourists visit each year.

Our journey began along Route 102 through the lovely villages of Somesville and Tremont admiring the Victorian architecture, lush gardens and spectacular water views.

The towns are small and unique.
The Somesville Library has an outdoor reading area with comfortable looking wood benches that overlook Somes Sound, the only fjord in the continental United States.
The US Coastguard Station at Bass Harbor Head  Lighthouse is a short drive from Rte 102 and the turnoff is well marked.

The lighthouse, established in 1858, is an active aide to navigation. It is 32 feet high and the towers location on a 24 foot cliff makes the sightline 56 feet.  Bass Harbor Light is equipped with a forth order Fresnel lens and an automated fog horn.   It's oscillating red light can be seen for 13 nautical miles.
Bass Harbor Head Light from the Lighthouse Trail.

The lighthouse itself is not open to the public but the grounds are. The keepers house is occupied by coastguard personnel. That Coastie and their family have a great place to live and marvelous views out their front windows. Still it must be difficult to have dozens of people traipsing about your yard on a daily basis.
 Lighthouse trail is a short walk that winds along the coastal cliff and allows access (by stairs) to the dangerous and lovely pink granite rocks that made this lighthouse necessary along the shore of Mount Desert Island.
Warning beacon shrouded in fog.
The irregular clanging bell of a warning beacon was an eerie, musical accompaniment to our progress along the cliff.
Back on the road we continued along Route 102 past the Seawalls and Manset to Southwest Harbor.
Southwest Harbor is a fishing village that is home to some magnificent sailing ships.
Our drive continued past Echo Lake and Somesville where we picked up Rte 3 to explore the Northern portion of MDI.

We came upon a familiar looking beach in Seal Harbor, and realized that it was a favorite play area for our girls when we visited 32 years ago on a FamiLee Vacation.   Fred and I reminisced about parking the car in a sand turnoff and being horrified that the girls took off running across the street to the water while we were still getting the blanket and towels and various beach supplies out of the car. The tide was out then as it was today and had left wonderful tide pools that we perfect for small childrn to play in, and much warmer than the ocean water.

The beach is more developed now with a playground and an actual parking lot but the atmosphere was the same.  We spent an hour walking the sand and looking at all the rocks and other detritus left behind by the falling tide.
The drive along route 3 took us back through Bar Harbor before returning to the campground.  It was an enjoyable day spent near the water.

1 comment:

  1. We love the 'quiet side' of Mt. Desert, Bonnie. I can hear the sound of that bell right now. :)