Geo: 44.3875, -68.2044
My first full day on Mount Desert Island and it's rainy and foggy. The waitress at breakfast said it would not clear up and there is not much to do when it is raining. Well, can't sit inside all day on vacation so I loaded my camera bag up, got in the car and headed for Acadia National Park. The park was the first national park east of the Mississippi and mostly all the land was donated by private citizens. L.L. Bean generously provides the Island Explorer buses which run several different routes around the island, helping to lower both congestion and pollution within the park. The buses are free for anyone to ride, but you do need to purchase a park pass if you are utilizing the park. The fee for Acadia is $20 for a car and $5 for walk/bike in and is good for 7 days.
The Hulls Cove Visitor Center is a great place to begin your time in Acadia. You can pay your entrance fee, pick-up maps and view a good introductory video with the background and features of the park. There also are a lot of staff members who can help you
plan your time based on what you like to do. I decided to drive the Park Loop Road, which goes along the coast of the island. There weren't a lot of great views due to the fog, but you could smell the ocean and occasionally see it. The Park Loop is one way for a good portion and is two lanes so slower vehicles can be passed if you are not of the pokey variety. I am when I'm traveling along a new scenic route so it was nice to be able to go at my own pace and not hold up others who could care less about taking a picture of the road. The brief glimpses I did get of the coast and the inland lakes and ponds makes me excited to drive the loop again on a sunny day. The best spot on today's drive was the Thunder Hole. It is a small cave carved out of the coastline where the surf crashes in and makes a very loud thundering sound. There is a nice walkway from the parking area to the coast and plenty of railings to keep the lunatics from getting too close.
lunch at the Jordan Pond House. Now this is apparently a must just for their popovers and the views. Today the outdoor seating was closed but the view from inside was nice when the clouds lifted. I enjoyed a salad, a popover (this comes with your order) and a crab cake. It was all delicious! The rain finally stopped and I was able to enjoy some of the trails that wind along Jordan Pond. This pond is a source of fresh water for the island and you (and your pets) are not allowed to swim in it. I'm sure the water is too cold anyway!
I did partake of the bus system to get into Bar Harbor for dinner. My hotel is next door to a campground which is a stop on bus route 1. This bus drops you off at the Village Green and you are then just steps away from all the shopping and food you could want. It's like Door County in the summer! Even with the rain there were people everywhere due to the giant cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2, at anchor in the harbor. This makes the bus system seem all the more necessary to avoid the hassle of trying to find a place to park and remembering where said spot is. All you have to remember is how to get back to the Village Green and what your route number is.
After today, I would say Acadia is not a bad place to visit on a rainy day. It shows a different side of itself and it's a side worth seeing.
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