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Trip 7: Acadia National Park

There is more than one way to travel to a national park...for Acadia National Park, we took a cruise ship! With the cruise, we had only a single day in Acadia...enough for an overview to give us a sense of the park, although not enough to fully explore or hike as much as we usually do. For this trip, we took a cruise out of Baltimore and had stops in Boston, Portland, Bar Harbor (Acadia), and Halifax, Nova Scotia. We have always enjoyed cruising...we love unpacking once and waking up every morning to a new location...and this was our first cruise since the beginning of COVID. We had forgotten how much we enjoy it and encountered no difficulties...we already have two more cruises booked! This itinerary was also great for exploring brew pubs in the different cities!

Acadia is one of the most visited national parks. It has a rugged beauty and includes spectacular views of the coast. The park itself is relatively small and we were able to complete the 27-mile park loop road in about an hour. The highlight of our drive was a stop at the peak of Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest point of land on the East Coast. Driving to the top of the mountain requires an advance reservation in season (mid-May to mid-October); the reservations are sold online in advance and are not available for purchase at the park. It is also possible to hike to the top of the mountain via the Cadillac North Ridge Trail (4.4 miles roundtrip). There is a free shuttle in Bar Harbor called the Island Explorer that provides transportation to and around the park (from late June to Columbus Day), although it does not go to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. One other interesting feature of the park is the 45-mile network of stone paved roads that were built by John D. Rockefeller Jr, used for hiking, biking and horse-drawn carriage rides. (No motorized vehicles of any kind are permitted on the roads.)

For the pub part of Acadia, Bar Harbor boasts several brew pubs and restaurants serving regional craft beers. Our first stop was at Geddy's Seafood Restaurant for a craft beer and a lobster roll. The Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale was served with a handful of wild Maine blueberries and was delicious! Mike enjoyed an Orono Brewing Tubular IPA...a little stronger at 7.2% ABV. We then stopped at Atlantic Brewing Company for a Coal Porter (nice tones of chocolate) and a Mountain Hopper IPA. Our final brew pub for the day was Fogtown Brewing Company where we had a Night Nurse Stout (on the bitter side) and a Maine Coast IPA.

Bar Harbor itself is a very quaint town and you can expect lots of tourists there in season. There is a lovely shore path along the coast that makes for a nice hike (left and center pictures above). If the tide is right, you can also hike across part of Frenchman Bay to Bar Island. For 1 1/2 hours before and after low tide, a gravel bar is exposed connecting Bar Island to Bar Harbor, making for an interesting hike. Unfortunately for us, low tide occurred before we arrived and after we left, so we were only able to see part of the gravel sand bar become exposed leading toward the island (right picture above). It is definitely worth spending several days in the area to fully explore the park and the town and I suspect we will be returning in the near future to do so.

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Oct 04, 2022

enjoyed the narrative. A cruise is how we first discovered Acadia and it convinced us to go back 5 years later and stay in the park for 5 days. Road our mountain bikes on the carriage roads and road bikes on the park road. Agree with all you said about the park.

Oct 05, 2022
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Hi, Kathy! Glad you enjoyed the post and great to hear from you! We’ll likely be following your example and head back for a few more days.

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