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Calendar >  Travels With TR – Atlantic & Arctic Awe – An East Coast Adventure – Log VI

Travels With TR – Atlantic & Arctic Awe – An East Coast Adventure – Log VI

By   /  August 25, 2022  /  No Comments

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Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, Maine

TR Robertson -Day 8 of our east coast adventure found us arriving at Bar Harbor, Maine, anchoring around 9:00 am in the harbor. We would be taking tenders into the pier to visit the town and to board buses for the various tours. Bar Harbor is located on Mount Desert Island and remains a premier get away location for many living in the big cities along the east coast. The town and surrounding area are filled with quaint hotels and bed and breakfast spots, inns, and restaurants and of course souvenir shops. There is also a prestigious genetics research center called Jackson Laboratory and the College of the Atlantic.

The first visitors, other than the Abnaki peoples living in and around the area, were Vikings arriving in 1007 AD. Numerous other tribes were around the area including the Wabanaki Confederacy people including the five Algonquian nations. The first Europeans to arrive were French explorers led by Samuel de Champlain, landing in 1604. As the French and the British vied for lands in the Americas, the Treaty of Utrecht would give control of the island to the British in 1713. Settlers would begin to arrive in the Bar Harbor area in the 1760’s, fishing, trapping, farming, shipbuilding and lumbering to make a living. The small village would be incorporated as the 107th town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1796 and was given the name of Eden. The name would change to Bar Harbor in 1918, named after the sand bar that connects the town to Bar Island at low tide.

Shortly after Maine became a state in the United States, in 1820, Bar Harbor was becoming a getaway location for people in large cities like Boston and New York, seeking to find peace and quiet from big city life. The island was also becoming a favorite spot for artists and by the 1880’s rich and famous families like the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Fords were building massive summer homes on the island. Nelson Rockefeller was born in Bar Harbor. For many summer seasons the Boston Symphony Orchestra played the entire summer on the Bar Harbor Village Green. The depression of the 1930’s and a horrible 17,000-acre fire on the island in 1947 burned down many of the mansions and devastated the town. As the town came back and rebuilt, the town remained a getaway location, but this time it also became a favorite spot for people of all ways and means. Today, over 150 cruise ships arrive during the cruising season, stopping in Bar Harbor as they work their way north. Without the tourists, Bar Harbor’s population is 5,089 citizens.

The bus tour we were on today would be taking us to many lookout spots along the coast, to the interior of the island and into the Acadia National Park, to Cadillac Mountain (the highest spot on the island), and to a special Lobster Bake luncheon. Our first stop was to Thunder Hole, an inlet along Mount Island’s coastline where waves crash at high tide sending ocean spray over 40 feet in the air. Unfortunately, the large crowds there did not see any large ocean sprays as we were there at low tide. As we began to drive further into the island’s interior, we began to see some of the 30 lakes located on the island. Along the way our guide told us about Acadia National Park.

Acadia National Park covers 49,075 acres, half of which is on Mount Desert Island the other half scattered on 16 islands surrounding Mount Desert Island. The National Park was established in 1916 and originally called Lafayette National Park. It was renamed as Acadia National Park in 1929. The National Park is the 3rd most visited National Park in the nation, behind only the Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain National Park. An average of 4.6 million people visit and in the COVID year of 2020 2.2 million people still managed to getaway and visit Acadia National Park. Acadia is made up of wetlands, forests, streams, lakes, meadows, and coastline. A portion of the park on Mount Desert Island includes part of the historic carriage road system, financed by John D. Rockefeller, built between 1919-1931. Rockefeller was opposed to any automobiles being on Mount Desert, so he had raised carriage roads built, for horse and buggies, which interconnected with many of the elaborate homes on the island, much of the carriage road system running through Acadia National Park. Rockefeller had several homes and cottages on the island, one of the cottages had 100+ rooms. We were able to see portions of the original carriage road, close to the Visitors Center and Gift Shop.

After a quick stop, we headed out of Acadia for our lunch stop at the Bar Harbor Lobster Bake in Hall’s Cove. Each of us on the tour received a 1 ½ lb. lobster complete with a potato, corn on the cob, bread, and the utensils we would need to help us break the lobster open and dig out the delicious lobster meat. Our place setting was an instruction sheet on how to eat a lobster. It also had fun facts like – lobsters can live to be 100 years old or older and during colonial days lobsters were plentiful and were the food for the poor. We were also served an amazing Blueberry Crumb Cake after lobster meal. The meal was delicious even though a little messy.

After lunch, we boarded the bus again and headed off once again into Acadia National Park. This time our destination was the highest point on Mount Desert Island, Cadillac Mountain, height 1,530. Arriving we were able to walk to the overlooks and look down on Bar Harbor and several of the islands off the coast called Porcupine Islands. We were told there are over 6,000 islands off the coast of Maine. Loading back on the bus, we headed back to the town of Bar Harbor. We were able to have a bit of time to stop in several of the shops for some souvenir hunting, Carolyn on the look-out for tourmaline jewelry.

Our boarding time was 5:00 pm, so we boarded the ships tender at the pier and headed back, ready for a 6:00 pm departure heading for Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 257 nautical miles away.

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  • Published: 2 years ago on August 25, 2022
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  • Last Modified: August 25, 2022 @ 11:48 pm
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