Ramble On

Monday, June 20, 2016

Arriving at Mount Desert Island

One of many streams we encountered on
Mount Desert Island.
Our destination for the vacation was Acadia National Park in Maine.  We'd heard a lot about the park, famous for its glacial landscape and natural setting along the cold northeastern coast.  As soon as we arrived, before we actually crossed the last bridge to the island, we could see the mountains as they began to rise in the distance, and we knew we were visiting a special place.

We later learned about the French explorer Samuel Champlain, who came to the island to explore it in 1604.  According to Wikipedia, the journal entry he wrote about his observations include giving it a name:

"Le sommet de la plus part d’icelles est desgarny d’arbres parceque ce ne sont que roches. Je l’ay nommée l’Isle des Monts-déserts."  In Engish, "The mountain summits are all bare and rocky. I name it Isles des Monts Desert."

In our part of the country, we call these features "balds" - the bare granite at the top of the mountains won't hold topsoil or allow anything but the hardiest of plants to gain purchase.

The Jordan Pond House in Acadia National
Park is famous for "Popovers(!)"
Of course there is a long pre-colonial history to the place.  There is evidence of human activity dating back at least 6,000 years, and like Yosemite, the geology of the place was shaped by glaciers during the Ice Age.  The Wikipedia article says the glaciers retreated about 25,000 years ago, leaving moraines and other rocky deposits behind - we encountered these on some of the trails we explored.

Our room at the Asticou Inn was not ready for us when we arrived, so we went over to Acadia National Park to get our bearings for some of the touring we planned.  Our destination was Jordan Pond, based on a couple of recommendations from co-workers and others familiar with the park.

To our surprise and delight, the restaurant there at the pond was open for lunch and could seat us right away.  We sat outside, and while the actual season hadn't started, the place was bustling, and there were already interpretive activities going on there - a basket weaving demonstration and a nature walk, among others.

The incredible view from our room at the Asticou Inn.
We were offered "Popovers(!)" to start the meal, and to our surprise, there was already fresh local produce available for the salads and sides.  We chose a light lunch including lobster stew (this would be the only lobster I had during the trip - I'm not a fan, and prefer fish) and salads.

After lunch, Mary and I decided to hike around Jordan Pond - that will be the topic of my next post.  When we finished that, we headed back to the Asticou to check in - and we were welcomed to our room with an incredible view of Northeast Harbor.

Over the next few days, that mesmerizing view would entertain us with views of boats coming and going, and the tidal changes.  The Inn and the little town were a great choice for basing our trip - it could be a place we come back to over and over again, as is the John Dougherty House in Mendocino, Ca.

No comments: