Pahked Ouh Cah in Bah Hahbah

Monday, May 24, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

EAST COAST ROAD TRIP, CHAPTER 24:
IN WHICH WE GO BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
  
Day 24:  Bar Harbor, ME & Acadia National Park.  Like so many before us, we were drawn to the natural beauty of Acadia National Park, on Mount Desert Island off the Maine coast.  Ranked the second most popular U.S. national park in annual visitors (behind Great Smoky Mountains NP), Acadia was the first national park east of the Mississippi River and remains the only national park in the Northeast.
  
Hearing so often about Acadia's rocky shores and granite mountains, we have long looked forward to a visit.  The park did not disappoint.  Driving around Park Loop Road brings one to one scenic vista after another. 
  
Acadia National Park
This loop road was built and financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., when he and other wealthy Easterners bought land on the island and built lavish summer "cottages."  Rockefeller also financed, designed, and directed the construction of a network of carriage roads throughout the park. 
   
A viaduct on the carriage roads
The network encompassed more than 50 miles of crushed granite roads, which were painstakingly located to present a series of scenic vistas displaying the island at its best.  Seventeen granite bridges and two gate lodges were included in the system, most of which is still maintained today.  Today visitors can traverse these scenic routes by foot, bicycle, snowshoe, or cross-country skis.
  
Letterboxing atop Cadillac Mountain
Not all of Mount Desert Island is in the park and not all of the park is on the island.  We had some opportunities to letterbox on the island, and Cadillac Mountain had to be one of the most scenic places where we've stamped in.  It certainly had one of the best views.
  
Can we interest you in a souvenir?
No trip to Mount Desert Island would be complete without a visit to Bah Hahbah.  Once an exclusive resort for wealthy industrialists, Bar Harbor now welcomes all tourists.  At first glance, the village bears an uncanny resemblance to Gatlinburg or any other town which has focused its economy around tourist trade.
  
Get your claws on some souvenirs here. 
The streets are lined with souvenir and novelty shops selling t-shirts, tote bags, hats, jewelry, toys, and other authentic Maine items made in China or Vietnam.  Unlike Gatlinburg (and like Jackson Hole), the trinket troves are interspersed with small art galleries and trendy boutiques.  Since we're not easily amused by shopping, we happily bypassed it all.

DAILY STATS
  • Miles driven:  98
  • Letterboxes:  9
  • Scenic vistas:  64
  • Rocks:  1, 452, 890
  • Lighthouses:  1
  • Souvenir shops:  382
  • High temp:  80° F
MONDAY, 24 MAY 2010

Bass Harbor Lighthouse