After exploring the Park Loop Road we decided we wanted to see Acadia from the water. After looking online, I found Acadian Boat Tours and decided to take the sunset cruise. Luckily, tickets were still available. I was concerned about it getting cold out on the water after the sun set, but after the unseasonably hot day, it actually felt pretty good.
After leaving Bar Harbor, the boat hugged the shoreline and we got the view of some beautiful “cottages” near the park. In the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century, Bar Harbor was the vacation destination of America’s 1%. These cottages were owned by Rockefellers, Pulitzers, and Vanderbilts. Unfortunately, the great fire of 1947 destroyed 237 homes on Mount Desert Island, burning over 18,000 acres (Bar Harbor Historical Society). With the economy of the 1940s, most families didn’t have the money that they had when the cottages were built so they were unable to rebuild and many chose to donate their land to Acadia National Park.
Being a lighthouse fan, I really enjoyed getting up close to Egg Rock Lighthouse (top). Of course, the highlight of the tour for me was all the wildlife we saw. Harbor porpoises jumped near the boat. Harbor seals and puffins were relaxing near the lighthouse. I had no idea that seals and puffins lived on the east coast so that was a pleasant surprise.
Unfortunately a storm rolled in so we didn’t get a sunset on our sunset cruise, but everything else we saw was definitely worth it. This boat ride was a highlight of our trip. The guide was very informative about the area and very interesting. If you are in Bar Harbor and you want to get out on the water, definitely check out Acadian Tours!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week as I share about our experience hiking Jordan Pond! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the east coast and is the first part of the country to see the sunrise each morning. At 1,530 feet tall, you can see most of Mount Desert Island from the top. As you can see from the photos on this page, fog is a common occurrence in the summer.
Cadillac Mountain is named for the French explorer, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac who was given 100,00 acres of wilderness (including Mount Desert Island) in present day Maine from the French government in 1668. Of course, this is the same Cadillac who founded what is now the city of Detroit and is the namesake of Cadillac Motors. I love that little Acadia to Michigan connection. Before the name was changed to Cadillac in 1918, the peak was known as Green Mountain.
In recent years, Bar Habor has become a popular destination for cruise ships. I know a Canada/New England cruise is on my bucket list. A lot of people who cruise to Bar Harbor want to explore Acadia and of course, make a stop at Cadillac Mountain. The day we were exploring Cadillac Mountain, we could see a small ship off in the distance. The cruise nerd in me wanted to know which one it was, so I went onto CruiseTT, and discovered it was Oceana Insignia. It was funny walking around at the top of the mountain and seeing people who were dressed way too nicely to be exploring a National Park. I’m sure those were the cruisers.
If you visit Acadia, definitely make the drive up Cadillac Mountain. If you’re an early riser (and lets face it, I’m not) head up there at sunrise. The photos I’ve seen are breathtaking!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop back here next week when I will share about exploring Acadia by water! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
After we left Salem, we headed North to Maine. Upon first entering the state, I fell in love. There is something breathtaking and different about Coastal Maine. It looks like a mountain range, but smells like the beach. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. We arrived at Acadia and set up camp at Seawall Campground, which is located on the “quiet side” of the island. I didn’t really understand why they call it that until the next day.
Our first full day at Acadia was dedicated to driving the Park Loop Road. The Park Loop Road is the 27 mile road John D. Rockefeller Jr. built around Mount Desert Island so visitors can explore the park by automobile (instead of driving cars on the miles of the park’s carriage roads). We began our tour at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. While at the visitor center, we picked up an audio tour of the park look road to listen to on our drive. I really enjoyed it because we learned some history of the park as well as some information about natural side of Acadia. Also at the visitor center, we got our first taste of Acadia’s summer crowds. Holy Cow. Before this trip, I read Moon’s Acadia National Park Travel Guide and it mentioned that July and August are the busiest times to visit Acadia. I went into it picturing the Sleeping Bear Dunes on Labor Day but it was more like Disney World around Christmas. Parking lots were packed. As you can see in the Thunder Hole picture above, people were just everywhere. Truly, trying to get a clear picture was like trying to get a picture of Cinderella’s Castle without the people in it. It just wasn’t going to happen. Between the crowds and the heat, I really struggled with photographic inspiration in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
The Moon book really pushed for visitors to use the free Island Explorer Buses (sponsored by L.L. Bean). They reduce emissions and help with the crowded parking lots. We decided for our first day in the park we would drive the Park Loop Road to give us the flexibility to stop and see anything we wanted to see. One of our first stops was the Schooner Head Overlook (left). Compared to the rest of the park and other sections of the Park Loop road, this was a very quiet spot. We only saw a few people on the trail, one of which was setting up an easel to paint. This would be a great place to watch a beautiful Acadia sunrise and to catch the first rays of sun in the United States.
Of course, we had to stop at Thunder Hole (above). It was very cool to hear the waves thundering into the natural rock inlet. It really does sound like thunder. We wanted to stop at Sand Beach and see the only sandy beach in the park, but we couldn’t find a parking spot, so we kept driving. If you are looking to visit Sand Beach, I highly recommend taking the Island Explorer because we visited around 9 the next morning and the parking lot was already full.
Crowds aside, I do recommend driving the Park Loop Road at least once because the Island Explorer bus doesn’t stop at every place you may want to see. In particular, the bus does not go to the top of Cadillac Mountain, so if you want to see the highest peak on the east coast (and if you’re in Acadia, you should) you can only get there by car or by climbing it. Personally, I don’t hike something if I can drive it and I definitely don’t hike up the side of a mountain, so we drove and that is the topic for next week! Be sure to come back to hear all about it!
If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, also known as The House of Seven Gables, is located in Salem, Massachusetts. It was built in 1668 by Captain John Turner and is the oldest timber frame house on its original foundation in the United States. What is the significance of this old, New England home? It was the setting of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel, The House of Seven Gables.
Unlike The Wayside, Hawthorne never lived in this home, but he often visited his cousin, Susanna Ingersoll who regaled him with stories of the home. At the time that Hawthorne visited, four of the gables had been removed to match current architectural trends, but Ingersoll showed her cousin the beams and mortises in the attic illustrating where the additional gables used to be. If you’ve ever read the story, you know that the house is practically described as an additional living character.
In the early 1900s, the home was purchased by Caroline O. Emmerton who worked with an architect to make the house reflect the one in Hawthorne’s story. Restorations included adding back the missing gables, creating a secret passageway in a chimney and adding a cent shop like the one run by Hepzibah Pyncheon in The House of Seven Gables.
Other historic Salem buildings have been moved to the grounds at the House of Seven Gables and can be toured with museum admission. Most noteably of these is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace.
If you are in Salem, I definitely recommend a stop at The House of Seven Gables. Unfortunately, due to the oppressive heat (it was 90 degrees at 10 AM), we didn’t get to see much more in Salem. After we left the museum, we headed north towards Acadia. Check back next week for our first look at Acadia National Park!
Thanks for stopping by! For more information about the House of Seven Gables visit 7gables.org. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
When planning our day in Boston, the one thing I knew I wanted to see was the Freedom Trail. Boston’s Freedom Trail is a two and a half mile route throughout the city marked with a red line that leads to 16 sites from the American Revolution. The trail begins at Faneuil Hall where we caught a free walking tour led by the National Park Service. Throughout the years, Faneuil Hall has had many purposes. The lower level is a marketplace. The second floor served as Boston’s Town Meeting Hall (above) and the third floor held the town’s armory (NPS).
Boston Common (bottom right), Old North Church, Old South Meeting House, Paul Revere’s House, the Site of the Boston Massacre, and the U.S.S. Constitute (left) are just a few of the sites along the Freedom Trail. The trail ends at the Bunker Hill Monument which commemorates one of the first battles of the American Revolution. Unfortunately it was closed during our visit due to extreme heat.
We were able to tour the U.S.S. Constitution. The U.S.S. Constitution is the oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat and was named by George Washington. Interestingly, “Old Ironsides” is made entirely of wood. She was given the name during the War of 1812 when British cannonballs seemed to bounce right off of her. The ship’s copper fastenings were made by Paul Revere (Freedom Trail).
If you are planning on visiting Boston, I highly recommend the National Park Service Tours. For one it doesn’t cost anything and the tour guides are highly knowledgeable. Our guide wrote her Doctoral Dissertation on Paul Revere. I’m sure those other tours don’t have guides with that kind of expertise!
There is so much to see and do and Boston and one day is really not enough time to explore it all. Boston is definitely on my list of places to return with more time!
Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.