mount desert island, acadia national park

Day 30 – Mount Desert Island Maine

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Day 30 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park

What a lovely sunny, 62 degree day! It couldn’t get any better for a visit to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. Not only was the weather perfect, the crowds were manageable.  I can’t imagine what this park would be like in the summer or during peak foliage season.

mount desert island, acadia national park

Ocean Path Trail

After another night at a “Supercenter” Walmart, this time in Ellsworth, we drove 15 miles to Mount Desert Island. I began the day with a three mile hike along Park Loop Road to Sand Beach. Some brave souls were taking a dip and sunbathing.  I wasn’t inclined to join them. Not to mention dogs aren’t allowed on the beach, so I had to use the parking area to access the Ocean Path Trail.

The Ocean Path Trail, fairly manicured, led tourists along the rocky ledges awash with tide pools, aside the road, and through a few patches of forest areas. Additionally, the trail provided spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding islands.  A few notable stops along the way included Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs.

tide pool on ocean path trail at acadia national park on Mount Desert Island

Thunder Hole

Thunder Hole is a small channel naturally carved out of granite rock from years of waves crashing on the shores.  Beneath the channel lays a small cavern of air, water, and rocks.  When a wave crashes on the surface, the air and water are forced out of the pocket creating a thunderous boom and sometimes 40 foot sprays depending on the condition of the seas.  I imagine if I were visiting last week during the hurricane-type weather, it would have been an active, noisy site.  Today, I admired calm seas and, in turn, a loud belch.

thunder hole at acadia national park at mount desert island

Otter Cliffs

Otter Cliffs is where I met Linda and Mike from Oregon, both dog lovers.  They were visiting New England to see the fall foliage for approximately ten days.  The couple rented a camper and were traveling wherever their hearts desired each day.  They had the same experience I did on Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire, most the leaves had blown away!

Linda and Mike in Acadia National Park

Echo Lake and Pretty Marsh

The Park Loop Road definitely catered to the tourist.  I continued on partial one way roads and roads closed to RV’s to more distant areas on the island,  including Echo Lake, Bass Harbor Lighthouse, and Pretty Marsh.  Echo Lake and Pretty Marsh were both forested tranquil places good for a picnic.

The Bass Harbor Lighthouse

Eventually I reached the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. It turned out to be a virtual cache, so I added another Maine cache to my list.  The lighthouse, built in 1858, stands on the southernmost tip of Mount Desert Island and guides vessels past several once populated nearby islands.   At the time, nearly one in five Maine residents was a mariner.  The lighthouse still operates today, though automated, and is currently occupied by a member of the U.S. Coast Guard.

bass harbor lighthouse on mount desert island

Bar Harbor

Before ending the day in the Walmart parking lot in Rockland again, I strolled through the town of Bar Harbor.  Quaint restaurants and shops lined Main Street while whale watching boats and cruise ships filled the harbor.  A lobster dinner for $17-$18 was offered as the early bird special between 4 and 6 at almost every restaurant on the block.

Carmen Verandah

Carmen Verandah’s chalk board special, a lobster roll for $9.99 and a potential drink special (order a drink, pull a tab, and get the drink for 50 cents, half price, or full price depending on luck) lured me into the bar.  My local draught beer was full price, but Randy got his for 50 cents.

carmen verandah in bar harbor

Randy, who didn’t want his picture taken, has a PhD in physiology and works at a lab on the island compiling genetic research data.  The not-for-profit lab receives information from different clinical trials, normalizes the information, and provides it to anyone for free so that unnecessary research, studies, and testing is not repeated.  Uniquely, one of the groups specialized in genetics testing pertaining to ear related matters, which I found interesting as my dad lost his inner-ear balance due to a gene mutation.

I met a variety of other folks throughout the day, including Bonnie, the greeter at Walmart.  She likes Texas and thought it might be a bit cold for me up here. At night, she’s right.  I’m getting ready to bundle up for bedtime! ETB

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

Other Articles About Maine You May Like


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

7 thoughts on “Day 30 – Mount Desert Island Maine

    1. So good to hear from you. I always think of the description of the Seychelles you wrote and wish you were writing my blog!

      Sent from my iPhone

  1. You are reminding me of my cruise last year. We went to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. It was wonderful. I won’t ever forget my first experience with a whole lobster. There was green stuff coming out of it when I broke it open. I almost threw up! I did not enjoy the experience, to say the least. I’ll take mine open and clean from now on. Your pictures are great.

    1. Oh, it’s nice to know what the place looks like now…I can imagine your cruise better. I supposed you wouldn’t like a whole crab either! Hope work is treating you well.

  2. The photo from Acadia National Park is breathtaking! Really gorgeous!!
    Thunder Hole looks cool — but a little scarey to me!

  3. Beth,
    I’m Bill Moore, who grew up in Dallas, attended St. Mark’s with Bart, roomed for 4 years with him at Yale, and now lives in New Haven, CT. Looking at your itinerary, my wife Julie and I are wondering if you couldn’t fit New Haven in between Watch Hill, RI, and the Litchfield Hills in CT. We could offer a warm bed, hot shower, backyard for the dogs, and — most importantly — give you a tour of Yale where Bart spent his formative years!
    Your trip is absolutely wonderful. You are living out a fantasy that lots of us have. Keep up the wonderful blog, and please come see us!

    1. Hi Bill –
      Thank you so much for the note and the place to stay. Let me get my map out…I’d love to fit it in. I know I’d get to hear some great stories about Yale! I will email you with my info and hopefully we can work it out.

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