Acadia National Park, Maine
We decided to take a trip to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor (Pronounced Baa Habar for those of you who don’t speak Mainer) for a few days. This was our first introduction to the National Park Service and it splendor did not disappoint. Blackwoods Campground is a simple parking spot in a wooded area. No power, no sewer, and no water at the site. At first I was worried about this, as we had not boondocked for this amount of time (4 nights) yet. I thought for sure that we would fill up the tanks after 2 days and have to run over to the dumping station. A task that sounds easy sure, but requires you to break everything down, empty the tanks, go back to your site, reset everything back up (easily a 1-1.5 hour ordeal).
It was a packed campground too with every available spot taken. It can accommodate all different sizes of rigs from tent sites all the way up to 35 ft. There was a bathhouse a couple hundred yards up with flush toilets (spoiled we were!) and a dish cleaning station for “gray” water (no shower though, sorry folks). In our area, there were two trails that we could hike directly to a lower beach area inside the park or connect through a series of trails to the carriage roads that lead all through the National Park (more on that later).
We decided to drive the “loop” and see what there was to be had at this National Park. We were greeted with a picturesque panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean shortly after getting on the road. It was the kind of view that you wanted to sit down and draw (if you’ve got skills like that) or take pictures to attempt to capture it for the world to see (yeah that was us…). When we came up to the gate house, the Ranger helped guide us and explained our park pass a little more indepth as we had never used it (I highly recommend a park pass if you’re visiting several National parks and Veterans you REALLY should get yours if you have completed your VA Claim). Did you know if you have a 4th grader you can get a National Park pass for free?!
Next came Thunder Hole and a very busy area of tourists gathering to see this phenomenon. When low tide is at the peak, there is a void in the rocks that is exposed. When the waves hit it, it makes a very loud thundering sound. Sadly, we didn’t get to experience this that day, but we did manage to get some great pictures! SCORE! There is a parking lot and a gift/information shop at this stop. The personnel there have the information on tides and about the phenomenon. Even if you can’t get in for the show of it, the walking around the rocks is extremely cool and fun. This was Abby’s first experience of climbing around rocks and it hooked her immediately. It was getting her off of there that was the trick of the trip.
Next came the beach area, we passed it for the day as it was starting to get late and we didn’t feel the need to get down to that level just yet (I’ll cover that in a different post). We pushed on and came to this cove that was covered in broken seashells dropped from the birds and washed up with the tieds. It was a sight to see surely and the pictures do not do it justice. We marked it as a place to definitely come back to the next day and really explore, especially the tide pools that would be exposed.
The loop continues to the Wildwood Stables. Now this place has a double cool feature. If you’re an equestrian type, you can bring your own horses AND board them there. Now I have no idea about that life but I thought is was a nice touch. They also do carriage rides and tours of the Carriage Roads. You may think that this is a bit gimmicky but I promise it is worth doing the tours (That needs a post all of its own, which will come later). There are two entrances to the stables so if you’re planning on going there, I highly recommend looking at the map and getting your bearings early. We didn’t and just did the touristy smile and wave move that was a bit shocking with the turns and twists. There is also a Carnegie link here, which is an impressive history to learn about in itself.
We pushed on and came up to Jordan Pond and the Jordan Pond house. This place is a natural beauty on its own. The house has a restaurant and gift shop together so shopping is going to be a breeze for you. The food at the restaurant is slightly marked up but is definitely tasty. We enjoyed that on our last day and were glad we did do it. The view alone was worth the meal and we didn’t even get to sit outside on the patio seating.
As you continue on the road, you will come to a right hand available turn to go up Cadillac Mountain. We didn’t that day but made sure to add it to our list. The drive up is not bad at all and the speeds are slow thankfully. No needs to rush up this hill. Highly recommend an evening drive to see the harbor from the view point and also to check out the stars. The light pollution is minimal up there so you can get a good view of several constellations and planets. We downloaded an APP for that part of the adventure just in case we got clouded out and to make sure we knew what we were actually look at. I knew I should have taken astronomy more seriously.
This is where we ended our loop tour and headed back to Rex for the night. It was a great start to the adventure and a super preview of things we wanted to see more of. We did not do a ton of research before going here unfortunately (we know better now). Had we planned more, we would have known that we needed a few more days up there and explored more places. Good thing is that we are going back up there in the summer of 2020. Its going to be even better this time! Stay glorious people!