on Mount Desert Island
Acadia National Park
Mount Desert Island is not merely an island; it is a way of life to which one becomes addicted; and if we are permitted in the hereafter to enter that abode where the just are made perfect, let us hope that it may have some resemblance to Champlain’s Isle des Monts Deserts.
The ParkAcadia National Park’s 30,000 acres include:
peerlessly beautiful ocean cliffs
Until 15,000 years ago, a mile-high gouging glacier formed the Island’s dramatic and cascading cliffs that plunge nearly straight down to a swirling ocean below.
Inland lakes and ponds
Some lakes, like Echo Lake, lie in a gorge between towering cliffs. They offer a sandy beach and warm water for swimming.
They also offer to the young at heart unforgettable moments on sunny summer afternoons or on moonlit nights, although the latter are always discouraged and are never mentioned twice.
fresh and saltwater beaches
The most beautiful and largest (290 yards) of the beaches is Sand Beach – a misnomer for the sand being shells crushed for eons into sand-size particles.
The beach, set in an inlet between two mountains (Great Head and the Beehive) is mostly pink.
Beginning in 1910, the Satterlee family owned the whole wondrously scenic expanse, and maintained a home there, all sequestered from the public. After the Fire of 1947, the Sand Beach property was donated to Acadia National Park.
(The Satterlees were related to JP Morgan, who was a frequent visitor to Bar Harbor aboard his steam yacht perfectly appropriately named the Corsair [a pirate]).
The Island (and now the Park) were once covered, up to but not including the mountain peaks, with a primordial evergreen forest of spruce and fir and pine trees.
The Great Fire of 1947 obliterated most of the Island. Swathes of mostly hardwoods followed.
It is the hardwoods which generate the spectacular Fall foliage peaking in October – all the fiery hues of crimson and gold. Vivid hillside streaks show the path of the Fire of almost a century ago.
the highest promontory on the East Coast (Cadillac Mountain).
Early-riser mountaintop observers on Cadillac Mountain are the first to see the sun rise in the continental US.
Hundreds of miles of walking and hiking and bicycling trails crisscross the Island, particularly including 50 miles of “carriage trails” discussed here.
The carriage roadsThe Park’s most important single feature are the 50 miles of “carriage roads”
In the early 1900s, John D Rockefeller, Jr., personally oversaw, and capitalized, the construction of roads traversing much of Mount Desert Island.
The roads may have been meant to content operators of horse drawn carriages whereas Mr. Rockefeller was vehemently opposed to automobiles ever being allowed over the bridge from the mainland. A hopeless objection.
The carriage roads were, and still are, a scenic wonder. Perhaps like the Olmstead parks of the same extravagant era.
The Park continues to maintain meticulously the crushed gravel roads within Acadia, each of them still as wide as would have been needed to allow two carriages to pass.
Vehicles are prohibited on the carriage roads, making the carriage roads ideal for bicycling and jogging.
The many carriage road routes lead past lakes and ponds and mountain vistas, and on to the several shoreline villages and towns on Mountain Desert Island.
A person leaving Oceansedge by bicycle in the morning and heading the 1 mile to the entrance to the carriage roads could still be traveling over new-found ground at nightfall.
Acadia is among the most-visited of the National Parks.
Acadia, along with Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island, are considered among the most beautiful places in North America.
For the same reason, Acadia is also one of the most richly photographed places in the world.
The Acadia National Park was encouraged by Teddy Roosevelt, who created the National Park system.
Acadia was organized by Harvard visionaries, largely capitalized by the Rockefellers.
Woodrow Wilson formally authorized Acadia National Park in 1916.
The summer colony elites were presumably pleased at the windfall that was a park twice the size of all of Manhattan.
But Wilson enacted at the same time the progressive income tax – the tax severely tarnished the Gilded Age, in the fervid opinion of Bar Harbor’s summer itinerants, although the effective rate was initially only 1% of personal income.
- Proximity to Reception Center for Acadia National Park
Importantly, the main Reception Center for Acadia National Park is located within just 1 mile of the Oceansedge property.
The property’s proximity to the Park’s entrance is a boon to the property’s guests: guests can bicycle from the Oceansedge property directly to the Park’s entrance.
- “Things to do”
Just a few of the “things to do” within Acadia National Park include:
swimming at salt and fresh water beaches, including at Sand Beach and Echo Lake mentioned above
walking the Carriage Roads for long distances, in order to make amends for Bar Harbor’s ubiquitously proffered blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins, blueberry pie, and blueberry beer
Additional opportunities for things to do in the Park’s host-community, Bar Harbor:
Visiting dozens of superior shorefront and mountaintop restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, including Hulls Cove’s Chartroom which might be Bar Harbor’s most popular restaurant, in business for the same number of years as Oceansedge.
Athletic facilities, including the stunning and historic Kebo Valley golf club
Persuading a lobster fisherman to take a few passengers with him on his rounds across a bay where the water is arctic even in the summer.
sailing up and down Penobscot Bay
Frequenting dozens of outstanding shops like Sherman’s Bookstore and the Rock Shop in Bar Harbor, and the Kimball Shop in Northeast Harbor, and LL Bean in Ellsworth.
Devouring Maine’s signature lobsters, day or night.