Thursday, September 27, 2012
Acadia National Park

Yesterday's clouds have disappeared, and it's a gorgeous day! Sunny and mid 60s, with great visibility. Tom slept in while I drank coffee, then around 10:30 we drove the ten minutes over to Acadia.

Acadia National Park is the second most visited national park in the country, which I find hard to believe, because it sure doesn't seem to be on the way to anything. Well, luckily, all those people aren't here today. I guess late September is a good time to visit! By the way, the most visited national park is the Great Smoky Mountains, near our home in East Tennessee.

We spent most of the day along the 27-mile Park Loop Road on 54-square-mile Mount Desert Island, the largest and most visited section of Acadia, stopping at many scenic overlooks and waypoints and taking a couple of nice hikes along the way.

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Jana at Acadia National Park

Sand Beach is one of the few sand beaches along Maine's rocky coast and the only ocean beach in Acadia. There we hiked the Great Head Trail, a 1.5-mile, steep trail that climbs the cliffs of the Great Head Peninsula and offers spectacular views of Frenchman Bay, Sand Beach, and a cute little hill called the Beehive.

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Sand Beach

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Frenchman Bay from the Great Head Trail

We stopped for lunch at Jordan Pond House, where we bought sandwiches and a blueberry soda in the gift shop and went out on the deck to eat, overlooking the beautiful, glacier-carved Jordan Pond and two rounded hills called The Bubbles. Then we drove a mile north to The Bubbles trailhead, where we hiked about a mile to the top of the South Bubble.

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Jordan Pond and The Bubbles

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Jordan Pond from South Bubble

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Bubble Rock

Cadillac Mountain, elevation 1,530 feet, is the highest point on the Atlantic coast north of Brazil. You can drive to the top on a 3.5-mile road off the Park Loop Road. At the summit there is a half-mile trail with panoramic views of Bar Harbor, the islands of Frenchman Bay, most of Acadia National Park, and beyond. The views are unbeatable!

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Frenchman Bay from Cadillac Mountain

Away from Park Loop Road, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is located at the southernmost tip of Mount Desert Island, west of Somes Sound, the only fjord in the eastern United States. We visited late in the afternoon, not the ideal time for photos, as the lighthouse was backlit. I wasn't going to get the iconic photo anyway, since it turned out the lighthouse was surrounded by scaffolding. You can see a great picture, though, on Tom's brother Steve's website.

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Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

We went back to the hotel for a bit, then headed to Ellsworth for dinner at a place called The Mex. My crab enchiladas were okay, but Tom's sausage fajitas weren't quite right. Even though we were grading on a curve since, after all, we were pretty far from Mexico, it was still pretty mediocre, and definitely way overpriced. Oh, well, we should have known better.

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Live free or die!

Continue to September 28, 2012

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