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The "Slower" Side of Mt. Desert Island

Now on our third and fourth day in the park area, we have been learning more and more about this amazing national park. From our location at the Bar Harbor Campground we can take a free shuttle bus service almost anywhere on Mount Desert Island.

Acadia was first established as Sieur de Monts National Monument in July 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson but then was changed to Lafayette National Park in February 1919 when it became the first national park east of the Mississippi. It was not until January 1929 that it officially was named Acadia National Park. The word “Acadia” likely stems from “Arcadia,” a part of Greece that this area reminded the explorer, Giovanni Verrazano of as he sailed by in 1524. Today, the park encompasses approximately 49,052 acres in three main areas. The largest is located on Mount Desert Island. Next is an approximate 2,366 acre tract of land to the Northeast on the mainland at Schoodic Peninsula. Thirdly, to the Southwest (accessible only by boat) is Isle Au Haut. Baker Island (Southeast coast) and Bar Island (north side of Bar Harbor) are also National Park land.

Saturday, July 15 we decided to drive the truck and explore the western half of Mount Desert Island. Hwy 102 goes to Southwest Harbor, Ship Harbor and around to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. We continued up the west side past Blue Hill Bay to Seal Cove, then Seal Cove Pond to Somesville at the north end of Somes Sound.

When we got to Ship Harbor we took a hike out to lands end. Located off Maine 102A down the road from Seawall Campground and Wonderland Trail, Ship Harbor Trail is a figure-8 trail covering 1.3 miles. It is a great trail for families and birders. The tide was out, so the water in the small bay that makes up Ship Harbor was draining out the narrow opening to the ocean. The view from lands end was stunning. The sense of grandeur and expanse of the ocean was palpable.

We continued on to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. The road was narrow with much traffic but we made it to the small parking lot. Unfortunately there were just too many people so we took a couple of photographs and bugged out of there as soon as we could get out.

After spending our afternoon visiting the "slower side" of the island, we returned back to the trailer for an early dinner. We had purchased some flatbread pizzas at Walmart that cooked up; they were remarkably good. Later we walked down the hill to Udder Heaven Ice Cream Retreat of Maine. They claim to make ice cream " Not Wicked, Just Good". We can testify that their ice cream was indeed "Heavenly".


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