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Maine’s Acadia National Park History @100


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2016 marked the 100th birthday of Acadia National Park, and also the National Park System’s centennial.

Acadia’s official birthday is July 8, 1916 when Sieur de acadia-mic-me (5)Monts National Monument was established on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Three years later, the name changed to Lafayette National Park, and finally in 1929, Acadia National Park became the title, the first National Park in the eastern United States. Acadia is also the first park established entirely through private land donations thanks to founders George B. Dorr, landscape architect Charles W. Eliot and John D. Rockefeller.

seal1cAcadia National Park oceanviewToday, over 2.5 million people visit Acadia National Park annually. Acadia’s celebrated natural beauty reaches from Maine’s Blue Hill Bay to Somes Sound, up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain overlooking Frenchman Bay, to Isle au Haut and the Schoodic Peninsula, covering 49,000 acres of mountains, main land, islands, ocean, lakes and ponds, forests and cliffs of sparkling granite.

The idea to establish Acadia came from landscape architect Charles Eliot, his father Charles W. Eliot was president of Harvard. Collaborator George B. Dorr was considered the “father of Acadia National Park,” for his land donations and his work on state and federal status with President Woodrow Wilson to create the National Park Service. It’s also great thanks to the uber wealthy John D. Rockefeller, Jr. who designed Trail Ride Parking Signthe park with 50 miles of carriage roads, 17 granite bridges, and two gate lodges, using granite quarried from the site from 1915 -1933. To this day, the granite guard rails are known as “Rockefeller’s Teeth” and also referred to as “coping stones” as these stones help visitors cope with the steep drop offs.

southwest-harbor-view1Of Acadia’s 49,000 acres, 30,300 are on Mount Desert Island, 2,728 acres are on Isle au Haut and 2,366 acres are on the Schoodic Peninsula. The National Park Service acquired the land on Schoodic Peninsula in 2012, this former naval base is on the mainland just north east of MDI, with stunning views looking back toward Cadillac Mountain across Frenchman Bay. The Schoodic Loop Drive is a beautiful drive, with gorgeous pink granite boulder shores for picnic’ing with incredible views out to sea.

Bi Plane Tour Acadia

The crowning glory of Acadia is Cadillac Mountain, named after the French explorer Sieur de Cadillac, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, it stands over 1500’ above sea level, and it’s one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise. Acadia National Park is a gem, a haven for hikers and bikers, nature lovers. Its also a natural habitat for over 40 species of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, moose, beavers, porcupines, minks, muskrats, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and black bears, vast birds, bald eagles, and peregrine falcons, plus the many sea mammals, fish and crustacean that inhabit the oceans, lakes and ponds.

bass-harbor-light (24)Do yourself a favor and visit Maine’s Acadia National Park to help celebrate her 100th birthday. Stay in the bustling port town of Bar Harbor or quieter Southwest Harbor or Northeast harbor, the beautiful fishing village of Bass Harbor, or the nearby towns of Trenton, and Blue Hills. See our top things to do in Acadia National Park, and where to stay in Bar Harbor to help plan your trip to Mount Desert Island.

Copyright and Photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Celebrate Summer Solstice on Cadillac Mountain

You don’t have to be spiritual, religious, or have any hippy dippy ideals to observe Summer Solstice. In fact, celebrating the Summer Solstice is a rather romantic notion – a celebration to welcome the summer season with your sweet heart, close friends or family. The best place to rejoice for the Summer Solstice in Maine is undoubtedly atop Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island. If you’re thinking about doing something special for your partner, treating your loved on to a Summer Solstice getaway to Downeast Acadia is certainly a top romantic gesture.

Cadillac Mountain view

Ocean view from Cadillac Mountain summit

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Top Things to Do in Southwest Harbor


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Southwest Harbor is a beautiful yacht center and harbor – aplty named for its locale on the south west side of Mount Desert Island, between Northeast Harbor and Bass Harbor. Considered the quiet side compared to more bustling Bar Harbor, So’West is home to Maine’s best top builders – Hinckley, Ellis, Classic Boats, Wilbur, and Morris Yachts.

american-flag-big-blue-swThe harbor is beautiful with views out toward Little Cranberry Island. The “downtown” of Southwest Harbor is idyllic with just enough shops, restaurants, Beal’s Lobster Pound and nearby hikes. Southwest Harbor has several hotels and inns, Inn at Southwest, Harbour Cottage Inn, The Moorings, Kingsleigh Inn, Penury Hall, Clark Point Inn and the Claremont Hotel.

Top Things to Do in Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island
• Walk to “downtown” Southwest Harbor, 5 minutes from the waterfront, for Maine craft shops, cafes, gift shops like Moody Mermaid, and Sawyers Market – a classic Maine store on Main Street, and lcoal dining at Red Sky and Sips.
• Stroll out Clark’s Point Road to Beal’s Lobster Pier for a fresh seafood treat and to see the US Coast Guard Station.
kayakers• Canoe, Kayak or SUP around the incredibly scenic Southwest Harbor and Somes Sound.
• Have a slice of homemade pie (that sits in the window and wafts sweet smells to passersby) and ice cream at the Quiet Side Café and Ice Cream Shop in town.
• Go to the Claremont Hotel for sunset and cocktails and a great view towards Somes Sound, the North East’s only fjard (similar to a fjord) six with dramatic cliffs. A game of croquet on the beautiful seaside grass lawn is sublime.
sw-habor-me (8)• Dock your boat at Dysarts Great Bay MarineSouthwest Harbor’s full service marina with very scenic, protected docks for yachts up to 180’, a friendly staff, showers and wifi for boat guests. You’re in good company with Hinckley and Morris Yachts built right here in Southwest Harbor.
restaurant-sw-harbor3• Go to Grumpy’s for breakfast – better than it sounds, the Crab Benedict and the harbor view are awesome, the service – sorta surly.
• Browse local Acadian art galleries, Clark Point Gallery and Acadia Photo School among others to see local artists’ beautiful depictions of the sailboats, granite cliffs and rocky shores of Acadia.
• See the Butterfly Release at Charlotte Rhoades Garden and Butterfly Park every July at 191 Main Street
• Walk the 2 mile Beech Cliff Loop with views of Echo Lake and Somes Sound.

northeast-harbor-maine (7)• Visit Hinckley Boat Yard at 130 Shore Road, also boat makers – Classic Boat Shop, Ellis Boats, Wilbur Yachts and Ralph Stanley traditional lobster boats all made here in Southwest Harbor.
• Take a ferry to Islesboro on Little Cranberry Island for an island walk, and lunch or dinner at Isleford Dock restaurant – with great views back toward MDI.

merchants-row-sailing (6)See more on visiting Southwest Harbor, and Bass Harbor Lighthouse, along with nearby Northeast Harbor and Somes Sound, and our Top 10 Things to do in Acadia National Park during your visit to Maine.

By Heather Burke Copyright 2018  VisitMaine.net

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