Our Commentaries

Location

Outline

1.  General Location of the Property
 
2.  The Subject Property
 
     a.  Oceanfront property
 
     b.  The Oceansedge property and the enclave within the Hulls Cove neighborhood
 
             i.  Lookout Point
 
             ii.  Lookout Point Road
 
                       (1)     Historical development of Lookout Point Road and the enclave in Hulls Cove
                       (2)     Present

             iii.  Private location of Oceansedge on Lookout Point Road

                      (1)     Driveway
                      (2)     Nature Preserve
 
c.  Views from the subject property
 
d.  Things to do
 
             i.   Oceanfront activities
             ii.   Acadia National Park
             iii.  Nightlife
 
3. Hulls Cove
 
    a.  The cove
 
    b.  The Hulls Cove neighborhood: History
 
                 i.    origins in 1768, in the wake of the Indian Wars
 
                 ii.    late 1800s, during the Gilded Age: beginnings of the Lookout Point neighborhood
 
                 iii.   Lookout Point now
 
4.  The Town of Bar Harbor
 
         a.    Standing of Bar Harbor
 
         b.    Beginnings of Bar Harbor
 
         c.    Features of Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island
 
5.  Acadia National Park
 
         a.  General
 
         b.  Oceansedge and proximity to Acadia National Park’
 
         c.  Past and present
 
                  i.   Past
 
                  ii.    Present
 
                            (1)      Carriage Roads
                            (2)      Things to do
 
6. Mount Desert Island
 
       a.  General
 
       b.  History
 
            i.    Settlement
 
            ii.    The Gilded Age
 
            iii.    The Fire
 
            iv.    Changing of the Guard
 
7. The enduring Hulls Cove neighborhood within Bar Harbor

 

Location

1.      General Location of the Property
 
         The subject property is located on the ocean . . . in the Hulls Cove neighborhood . . . in the Town of Bar Harbor . . . within one mile of the official entrance to Acadia National Park . . . on Mount Desert Island . . . in “Downeast” Coastal Maine.
 
2.      The Subject Property

         a.        Oceanfront property

                     The subject property is located directly on the ocean at Hulls Cove in Bar Harbor. (Photo 1)
 
                   The property comprises approximately 2 acres and is part of a peninsula (Lookout Point) which reaches eastward into Frenchman’s Bay, a part of the much larger Penobscot Bay which is more than a hundred miles in width. (Photo 2)
 
b. The Oceansedge property and the enclave within the Hulls Cove neighborhood
 
    i.           Lookout Point
 
                (1)       The subject oceanfront property, Oceansedge, is located on Lookout Point – a peninsula on Frenchman’s Bay with the North Atlantic beyond.
 
                           Lookout Point is an extension of the historic neighborhood of Hulls Cove, within what is now the Town of Bar Harbor.
 
                (2)      Lookout Point is part of a 50-acre private enclave within that Hulls Cove neighborhood.
 
                           That enclave is considered the most prestigious residential neighborhood in Bar Harbor.
 
                (3)     Presently occupying the Lookout Point peninsula are perhaps ten fortunate oceanfront homes.
 
                           Two additional and new and extraordinary homes occupy the summit of the peninsula. (A little more than a century ago,  affluent, bold, and politically pathfinding women of national renown occupied homes on that summit and nearby, until the Great War instantly ended the Progressive Era and the Gilded Age). (Photo 3)
 
                          Winding through that peninsula is Lookout Point Road.
 
ii. Lookout Point Road
 
(1)  Historical development of Lookout Point Road and the enclave in Hulls Cove
 
In the last years of the 1800s, a Manhattan speculator and socialite capitalized, with money from Bangor’s bankers and from lucky speculators in 20,000,000 acres of Maine’s timberlands, the construction of Syndicate Road (now Lookout Point Road) through the south side of the peninsula. (Photo 4) (“Syndicate” meant a consortium of investors).
 
The road was the spine for the collection of new lots he offered for sale.
 
The undertaking was Bar Harbor’s largest single residential development. The Hulls Cove development surpassed the work of a bold Boston shoemaker who developed, on a shoreline that had served for eons as an Indian encampment, the similarly stunning oceanfront properties on West Street in Bar Harbor. (Photo 5
 
The Hamors, hardy men who were descendants of Bar Harbor’s first families, constructed with Hulls Cove’s beach sand the road still in use today. (The sand taken from the beach on Hulls Cove may have been pink, which would square with reports at the time saying the road was visually magnificent).
 
In 1887, the Hamors additionally constructed for the development project, with massive granite blocks as large as small cars, a pier which amazingly still functions as well as ever – testimony to the Hamors’ Yankee ingenuity. 
 
(Tenders from warships of the visiting Great White Fleet [the North Atlantic Squadron] later brought to that pier on Hulls Cove senior Naval and Marine officers. They came ashore in white uniforms with gold embellishments, and in midnight blue uniforms with scarlet piping, respectively. They came in order to attend dusk-to-dawn dinner dances catered by dozens of domestic servants, in magnificent homes festooned with palm fronds and with gas lights filtered in cheering colors of crimson and cobalt). (Photo 6)
 
Summerites from Northern Virginia (including some former Confederates), Baltimore, New Orleans, Washington, NYC, Chicago, and Philadelphia, readily acquired the lots in that enclave on Hulls Cove. 
 
The peninsula’s sunny glades, its ocean views, and especially the privacy and tranquility of the place, drew the buyers of the lots even though those new neighbors had been implacable enemies years earlier.

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(2) Present
 
Lookout Point Road, perhaps a little more than a mile in length, is now a private road open only to the fortunate homeowners and their guests – notably included among welcomed guests are the magnificent deer and other nearly tame wildlife for whom Lookout Point is still a safe haven, a quiet refuge, the rarest of sanctuaries among Bar Harbor’s several neighborhoods. (Photo 7)
 
During most of the past 12 decades, all the property owners on Lookout Point Road viewed their properties as second homes, enormous those summer cottages often happened to be. (Photo 8)
 
But the lights in some of the houses on Lookout Point Road are now still on in the evenings, months after the last of the Town’s summer visitors crossed over the bridge at the head of the Island and left the rest of us behind for the winter. (Photo 9)
 
Above all, Hulls Cove’s Lookout Point Road community is a quiet and distinguished neighborhood, and a darned good place for the road to end.
 
iii. Private location of Oceansedge on Lookout Point Road
 
The entrance to the Oceansedge property along the private Lookout Point Road consists of a wall of hefty pink granite stones native to coastal Maine. 
 
Midway along that already pretentious display are: lofty stone pillars surmounted by lanterns  which, in their earlier life, were the sort of gas lights that still charm Boston’s Beacon Hill and Back Bay; plus solid wrought iron black Victorian gates.
 
The gates are in the signature design of what was once the entrance to one of the now forsaken great mansions and architectural masterpieces on Mt. Desert Island during the Gilded Age. (Bar Harbor now has only the glorious master-made gates of the Kennedy/Dorrance estate). (Photo 10)
 
(1) Driveway
 
      Beyond the walled and gated entrance on that road, a driveway slopes down, for perhaps 1,000'.
 
      On the left:  a collection of fruit trees and dappled willows on one side, all of which bloom profusely in pink in the spring.
 
      On the right: three ponds where ducklings learn to swim and would practice flying but for wings still too short. (Photo 11)
 
      The driveway leads to the house itself. The house fronts on the ocean. (Photos 12, 13, and 14)

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(2) Nature preserve
 
      The added privacy and remoteness of the property make for a nature preserve of sorts whereas deer are frequent visitors to the pond, and to the lawn behind the house on some occasions. Rare birds are not so rare visitors for hairy woodpeckers and pileated woodpeckers and two bald eagles living in the trees on the peninsula. (Photos 15, 16
 
c. Views from the subject property
 
South-facing views from the house and from the broadlawn above the shoreline (Photo 17), include:
 
    --     the Cadillac Mountain range of Acadia National Park, green with spruce almost to their stony summits,
    --     the mansion-studded shoreline,
    --     the active Bar Harbor waterfront and the Town’s boat basin,
    --     the chain of Porcupine Islands, like stepping stones from Cadillac Mountain (Photo 18), 
    --     gorgeous sunrise and moonrise views over the North Atlantic horizon (Photos 18.5, 18.6, 18.7 ),
    --     working lobster boats, which are within hailing distance,
    --     the Bar Harbor Yacht Club and its fleet of sail boats coming and going. 
 
The best aspect of that south-facing home is invisible: the warmth of the summer sunlight mixed with bracing oncoming sea breezes. (Photos 19 and 20

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d. Things to do

i. Ocean front activities
 
Guests launch kayaks (rent-able in town) and rowing sculls from the shore in front of the house. (Photo 21)
 
On request, a mooring can be placed in the cove in front of the house, so that a sailboat of considerable size could be maintained there, although a mooring at the Bar Harbor Yacht Club might serve as well. (The Bar Harbor Yacht Club is located on the other side of Hulls Cove from our property, along with some of the Gilded Age’s vestigial cliffside mansions). (Photo 22)
 
ii. Acadia Nartional Park
 
The property is within one mile of Acadia National Park’s main entrance on the inland side of Route 3 in the Hulls Cove neighborhood. 
 
This means guests can bicycle in minutes from the house to the beginning of 100 miles of bicycling, hiking walking and mountain-climbing trails, without having to unload and load a bicycle or look for parking spaces. (Photo 23)
 
iii. Nightlife
 
     The property is also within minutes of the Island’s best hotels, almost all of which are perched above Frenchman’s Bay. 
 
     The hotels include the Island’s best restaurants, bars, swimming pools, tennis courts, and other recreational facilities. (The hotels’ proximity is sometimes an advantage to those of our guests who are part of a much larger party staying on the Island for a wedding or the like).
 
3. Hulls Cove
 
Hulls Cove is both a cove, as the name suggests, and a neighborhood within the Town of Bar Harbor. 
 
a. The cove
 
     Hulls Cove, which is a remarkably beautiful and serene inlet on the northeast shore of Mount Desert Island, has drawn admirers since 6,000 years ago when prehistoric Native Americans first came there and stayed for eons, as discussed below. (Photo 24)
 
     In the 1800s, Hulls Cove, the neighborhood, was the seat of the town when the town was called Eden. Ship-building was conducted on the shore of Hulls Cove (named after Samuel Hull, a ship builder from Connecticut ), because the cove was generally protected, the water being less violent than farther down the shoreline of the Mount Desert Island. 
 
b. The Hulls Cove neighborhood
 
i.               History
 
                 (1)      Origins in 1768, in the wake of the Indian Wars
 
                           (a) The Hulls Cove neighborhood (originally the Village of Eden) is arguably the Bar Harbor’s most historic neighborhood: 
 
                            (i)  the first settler on the east side of the Island arrived there in 1768 at the conclusion of a century of relentless and savage Indian Wars that took the life of his father and other members of his family (Photo 25); 
 
                            (ii) During the next 100 years before there was a “Bar Harbor”, Hulls Cove’s community endured a meager way of life but survived three American wars that always came close to home
 
                           (b) The Oceansedge property is located on a peninsula (Lookout Point), an extension of the historic neighborhood of Hulls Cove, within what is now the Town of Bar Harbor.
 
 
(2) Late 1800s, during the Gilded Age: beginnings of the Lookout Point neighborhood
 
In the late 1800s, during the Gilded Age, financially elite American families built shingle-style Victorian mansions along the shore and on the oceanfront promontory that is the northern side of Hulls Cove.
 
That promontory was, and is, Lookout Point
 

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(3) Lookout Point now
 
      That same neighborhood on the north side of the cove is still a peninsula accessible only via a private, posted road (Lookout Point Road). Only a dozen or more shorefront homes – including the subject property – now occupy that enclave on Lookout Point Road.
 
       Some of the homeowners in that historic neighborhood are well known, as was the case long ago with the original homeowners. 
 
        The subject property, possibly the first and longest continuously operated vacation rental property in Bar Harbor has been so operated as a seasonal rental for more than 25 years’ 
 
4. The Town of Bar Harbor
 
    a.       Standing of Bar Harbor
 
             Bar Harbor is the host community to Acadia National Park, as no other community on Mount Desert Island is to the same degree.
 
             Bar Harbor is the largest and most historic community on Mount Desert Island.
 
    b.      Beginnings of Bar Harbor
 
    Soon after the Civil War, a plucky third generation of the descendants of the few initial settlers at Hulls Cove would create the first significant commercial buildings in Bar Harbor. (Photo 26)
 
     Almost all of the buildings – some of them enormous firetrap hotels – were constructed in a hurried response to a landrush of affluent summer visitors. (Photo 27)
 
     The lumber for those buildings came from 7,000 acres  of Bar Harbor’s then virgin forest of ancestral pines stripped from the slopes of Cadillac Mountain and then marshaled in Eagle Lake, as horrifying as that may now sound. (Photo 28)
 
      Sawmills owned entirely by the men of Hulls Cove – all related by descent or by marriage – erected below the Eagle Lake watershed three primitive damsites which then reduced the driven logs to lumber. (Photo 29)
 
      For decades, those sawmills plus related shipbuilding and maritime commerce (lumber and salted fish for sugar and rum and silver) with the Caribbean slave colonies enriched beyond their wildest expectations erstwhile Hulls Cove’s farm boys and weary soldiers and pitiful sailor swabbies. (Photo 30)

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c. Features of Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island
 
    Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island offer all of the following:
 
     i. Dozens of superior shorefront and mountaintop restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. 
 
     Some of Bar Harbor’s best hotels plus several athletic facilities (e.g., the nationally renowned and stunningly beautiful golf course, Kebo) (Photo 31) are proximate to the subject property.
 
     ii. Salt and fresh water beaches that include the enchanting Echo Lake (Photo 32), and the broad pink-sand Sand Beach (Photo 33) which receives unending ocean rollers.
 
     iii. Convenient and abundant connections to commercial airports in Bangor (45 miles from subject property) and from Trenton (15 miles from subject property).
 
     iv. Ferry service to Canada, whale watching, deep sea fishing, sailing, shopping at nearby LL Bean (Ellsworth), etc.
 
      v. Sailing up and down Penobscot Bay, as lushly depicted in Walter Cronkite’s book North by Northeast. (The famed Hinckley Yachts are crafted on Mount Desert Island). (Photo 34)
 
     vi. Maine’s signature lobsters, night and day. (Photo 35 )

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5. Acadia National Park
 
     a.        General
 
                Acadia National Park comprises approximately 30,000 acres on Mount Desert Island.
 
                The Park offers with open arms 50 miles of: walking trails; bicycling paths; mountain climbing routes leading to lakes and ponds and mountain vistas; and both salt water and fresh water beaches for swimming and fishing.
 
                 Acadia National Park is one of the most-visited National Park, notwithstanding its distance from major population centers.  
 
                 Acadia’s appeal lies in Mount Desert Island’s mountain-meeting-the-sea landscape of visually majestic proportions, a scenic national treasure. (Photo 36)
 
                 Bar Harbor and Mt. Desert Island are considered among the most beautiful places in North America.
 
b. Oceansedge and proximity to Acadia National Park
 
    Importantly, the Oceansedge property is located within 1 mile of the Reception Area Acadia National Park. Getting to the Reception Area from the subject property by bicycle is an easy matter. (Photo 37)
 
c.  Past and Present
 
      i.         Past
 
                 The seminal event leading to the creation of Acadia National Park was the assemblage of land in the early 1900's  by affluent summer residents intending to thwart the logging of Mount Desert Island’s gorgeous and nearly virginal stands of spruce, fir, and pine. The Rockefellers later joined in the conservation effort in order to maintain a prohibition on, ironically enough, the use of gas powered automobiles on Mount Desert Island.
 
                 In 1919, President Wilson formalized the creation of the national park on Mount Desert Island, the first such national park east of the Mississippi. The park became “Acadia” National Park in 1929, thereby quaintly bringing full circle a French connotation to the same island which had earlier been vanquished by English colonists and then absorbed by American revolutionaries hundreds of years earlier.
 
ii.          Present
 
           (1)    “Carriage roads” 
 
                    The official entrance to Acadia National Park, which is just one mile from the subject property, is the gateway to almost 100 miles of meticulously maintained gravel “carriage roads” first constructed by the Rockefellers approximately 100 years ago. 
 
                    The Rockefellers built the carriage roads with little regard to the cost of vaulting Romanesque bridges built over mountain gorges, or as to the cost of millions of tons of perfectly-crafted pink granite stonework still in perfect condition today.
 
                    The carriage roads are still completely devoid of all motorized vehicles of any kind. (Photo 38)
 
(2)  “Things to do”
 
      The Park offers almost 100 square miles of gorgeous lakes and ponds, and spectacularly beautiful ocean shorelines.
 
      The Park also offers almost every outdoor activity contemplated by any LL Bean catalogue ever printed, barring hunting:
 
      (a)    Hiking dozens of trails over and around the Cadillac mountain range which includes the tallest mountain peak on the East Coast (Cadillac Mountain).
      (b)    Walking paths to remote lakes and ponds and waterfalls. 
      (c)    Mountain climbing.
      (d)    swimming and canoeing and kayaking and fishing at fresh water and salt water beaches. (Photo 39)
      (e) Bicycle-riding and dog-walking and jogging on the carriage roads in warm-weather months.
      (f) Cross country skiing through idyllic landscapes to ice-skating and ice-fishing destinations in winter months.

 

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6. Mount Desert Island
 
a.     General
 
        Mount Desert Island comprises approximately 40,000 acres. 
 
        Mount Desert Island is 2nd largest island on the East Coast of the US. Long Island in New York is just ahead of Mount Desert Island, and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts is behind Mount Desert Island, both of the other islands likewise being historically fashionable and prestigious summer resorts.
 
b.     History
 
         i.       Settlement
 
                  Mount Desert Island’s first settlers arrived 6,000 years ago. 
 
                   They were prehistoric Indians advancing toward the retreating Laurentide glacier, an ice mass which had stood, 25 millenia ago, a mile deep above what is now Mount Desert Island. The Indians occupied the beach at Hulls Cove, where their artifacts are still sometimes found.
 
                   In 1604, well before the Mayflower’s arrival at Plymouth, Massachusetts, Champlain claimed for Catholic France Mount Desert Island and its surroundings. (Champlain may have initially anchored in Hulls Cove and replenished his water casks at a brook there).
 
                   In 1613, an expedition from the Protestant Jamestown Colony devastated the French colony on Mount Desert Island. The purge, which included setting Jesuit priests adrift on a row boat in the Gulf of Maine and putting others to the sword, established on and near Mount Desert Island a dangerous fault line between New France and New England.
 
                   The same area, eventually expanded to include what is now Eastern Canada and New England, would be contested for over 150 years by the French and by the British and by their respective Native American allies and then by the Americans. Most of two centuries were given over to inestimable slaughter.
 
                    Following the American Revolution, and following the later creation of Maine as a state carved from Massachusetts in 1820, residents of Mount Desert Island were primarily farmers and fishermen. By the mid 1800's, the principal community on Mount Desert Island was located at what is now Hulls Cove and was then called Eden.
 
ii. The Gilded Age
 
    By the late 1800s, Eden would become Bar Harbor. And Bar Harbor, like Newport, RI, would be a cockpit for high society swells in the US. 
 
    The most financially legendary American families (the Astors, the Fords, the Morgans, the Vanderbilts, and others) would go on to erect, in Hulls Cove and on many other oceanfront hillsides of Bar Harbor, lavish Victorian residences. Every edifice was, of course, a monument to its owner and testimony to the extreme obscene disparity of personal wealth in America during the Gilded Age.
 
iii. The Fire
 
     As mentioned above, one of those heralded families, the Rockefellers, would be the financial catalyst for the assemblage of thousands of acres comprising Acadia National Park, and for an early experiment in conservation. (Photo 40) Perhaps fittingly, a sometimes summer visitor to Hulls Cove had been Teddy Roosevelt, the archetypal conservationist.
 
     The conservationists would later experience a horrific reversal when a wind-driven, forest fire burned flat 17,000 acres of Mount Desert Island in 1947. (Photo 41)
 
     The conflagration ended only when a 10-day cyclone of roaring flames, with nothing left to burn, diminished to a zephyr and died on the ocean cliffs above Frenchmans Bay. The fire had incinerated much of the east side of the island, the location of Bar Harbor itself and its numerous hilltop and oceanfront mansions. 
 
iv. Changing of the Guard
 
     The Fire of 1947, which began near Hulls Cove, ended a way of life in Bar Harbor and on Mount Desert Island. Many of the rich and famous simply did not return – they moved to Nantucket and to the Hamptons where their descendants now see the mountains meet the sea only in darkened rooms on wide-screen TVs.
 
     But the coniferous forest on Mount Desert Island eventually reasserted itself. And the island community recovered.
 
     Acadia is now one of the most-visited National Park in the US. 
 
     Quiet communities on Mount Desert Island have regained their erstwhile luster of wealth and privilege and panache and cultural progressiveness, which some would say The Fire never completely drove from Mount Desert Island.
 
     Mount Desert Island’s notable residents still include some of the old-name Rockefellers and Pultizers and Astors and Dorrances. But there are also newcomers like Martha Stewart who was the first self-made female American billionaire and who now owns the mountaintop estate mistakenly left behind by Edsel Ford.
 
v. The enduring Hulls Cove neighborhood within Bar Harbor
 
    250 years ago, in 1768, first-settler John Hamor, a fisherman and farmer and militiaman by trade, sailed around a pronounced turn in the shoreline of the eastern side of Mount Desert Island, at what is now Hulls Cove. 
 
     Hamor had been traveliing up the coast of Maine with his wife and 5 small children, the oldest being 11 years old. The Hamors had departed from Arundel (now Kennebunk). They came in a pitifully small sailboat, perhaps like the Chebacco sailboats of Cape Cod. (Less than a year later, John Hamor would be lost at sea in that boat, on his way alone to Arundel for winter supplies, leaving behind his family bereft at Hulls Cove).
 
     They sailed from Blue Hill Bay to  Mt. Desert Narrows at the northern shore of the Island. Today, a highway reaches from that northern shore over a bridge to the hardly noticeable Thompson Island; the highway then continues again by the same bridge to the mainland at Trenton.
 
     Low tides have always rendered the Passage impassable. The Hamors therefore paused at Thompson Island for a picnic, the first of countless families to do so as there is a picnic area there to this day, within walking distance of the always busy Trenton Lobster Pound restaurant.
 
     In coming to Mount Desert Island, John Hamor was claiming the spoils of long and cruel wars. Mt. Desert Island, although seemingly one of the loneliest places in the world at the time, may have been the greatest single prize.
 
     Mount Desert Island and Coastal Maine had been an unsafe place for any English-speaking White man to have come during the more than 100 years of the Indian Wars that ended at Quebec in 1759 with the remarkable victory of British infantry and colonial Rangers from New England, and with the French surrender in 1763  of New France including Maine.
 
      The Indian Wars had resulted in the death of John Hamor’s father at the battle for Louisbourg, the largest fortress held by the French in North America. Likewise, other members of his family had died in the wars; and Indian allies of the French ensconced in Quebec had repeatedly roamed south to pillage Arundel and to capture and slaughter inhabitants there and everywhere among the settled towns of Southern Maine.
 

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     Making their way down the shoreline from Thompson Island, John Hamor observed a desolate place. No settlers lived anywhere on that eastern stretch of the Island.
 
     However, at Hulls Cove, John Hamor could see from his boat the relatively calm water sheltered by a southerly and concave shoreline leading to the isthmus to Bar Island, plus the Porcupine Islands. He could see from Hulls Cove a beach and gentle shoreline for shipbuilding. A brook which happened to debouche from the valley of the pure Eagle Lake, and equally a brook which would be sufficient to turn mill wheels. A flatland for farming. And seeming endless stands of virgin timber with which to build ships and homes and mills and places of business for more than a century.
 
      To paraphrase Samuel Eliot Morison, John Hamor saw from his boat the essential elements needed by settlers to have a chance for survival.
 
      He also saw there a visually hypnotizing landscape. A magnificently beautiful cove. The same scene had drawn since time immemorial Indians who had encamped there in summer months, until the end of the Indian wars. Likewise, it was a landscape that would draw in the next century some of the greatest of American artists like Harrison Bird Brown. (Brown depicted the Hulls Cove shoreline in pink as might have been the color of the beach sand then, before the sand was expropriated for the building of Lookout Point Road).
 
     John Hamor had weighed his alternatives as to all of the Maine coast and the whole of Mt. Desert Island lying beyond his bowsprit.
 
     He chose Hulls Cove as the most beautiful and welcoming place to come ashore with his family.

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