A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Silver Lake Sand Dunes Panorama

Tag: Down East Maine

Wordless Wednesday: Cairn Shadow

Wordless Wednesday: Cobblestone Bridge

Mainely Acadia: Carriage Tour

While planning this trip, the number one thing we wanted to do was a carriage tour of the carriage roads. On our first day in Acadia (Sunday), while we were driving the Park Loop Road, we made a stop at Wildwood Stables to book a carriage tour. The first available tour they had was the following Saturday. We were planning on driving back to New Hampshire that day, but we were able to squeeze in a morning carriage tour before heading south. All week, we called checking for cancellations, but we weren’t able to get in any earlier than Saturday morning.

We chose the Mr. Rockefeller’s bridge tour, a two-hour tour that highlights the picturesque bridges that were planned by John D. Rockefeller Jr. One of the highlights of the tour is Cobblestone (above). Built in 1917, Cobblestone is the oldest bridge on the Carriage Roads and the only one built entirely out of cobblestones. The tour takes a short break so you can get out and explore the bridge. I wish I had more time to photograph here!

Jordan Pond Gatelodge

The tour was a great way to see the carriage roads and it was much less strenuous than biking. The price ($40 for adults for the 2-hour tours and $24 for the hour-long tours) is reasonable and totally worth it, in my opinion. The biggest downside is how quick tours book up. I wanted to wait until we knew what the weather was going to be like before booking and by doing so, all the tours early in the week were booked up. We were very lucky we stayed so long or we probably wouldn’t have gotten in. The moral of the story, if a tour of the carriage roads is on your must-do list for Acadia, book it as soon as possible to have your choice of tours and hope the weather cooperates.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, visit the Mainely Acadia Trip Report page. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! 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.

Bass Harbor Head Light

You’ve seen the iconic photos of this lighthouse, right? Gorgeous sunset over the water and the lighthouse atop the rocks? They’re really something. I desperately wanted to get one of those pictures this trip!

As you can see from the above picture, I didn’t get the beautiful sunset I was dreaming of. First, I wasn’t prepared for how early the sun sets in eastern Maine. In Michigan, we’re lucky in that the sun stays up until 9:00 in the summer. In Maine, the sun sets more than an hour earlier. We were getting ready to make dinner and the sun was going down. It was like the opposite of camping at McLain State Park in the Keewenaw, where the sun didn’t set until almost 10. The other thing that made it difficult was the fog. Every evening we spent at Acadia was foggy or rainy. This is not a complaint, just a statement of fact. I was actually OK with it because it took the pressure off getting the perfect sunset photo.

Set the weather aside for a second. Because of the iconic nature of this lighthouse, everyone wants a photo of it. Photographers were lined up all over the rocks near the lighthouse. Here’s the kicker, they weren’t just taking a photo and heading on their merry way. Nope, they had their tripods set up and they were not budging until the sun was past the horizon. Chris is more daring than I and he weaved in between them to get this shot. It was not worth it to me. Honestly, I was disgusted with my fellow photographers over this. I could not believe the photographers looking out at the sea of other photographers, shrugging their shoulders and saying “well, I got here first”. Craziness. Especially because it wasn’t even that great of a sky that day.

So, you are going to be at Acadia and you want to try to get this shot. Here’s my advice for you.  Avoid summer. If you want to visit Acadia at all, avoid the busy season. The crowds are ridiculous. Late spring and early fall are supposed to be much better. And in fall you get the colors. I will have to make it to Acadia sometime in the fall. If you want the place to yourself, go in the winter. It never hurts to be the person staking out a spot. Try to get to the lighthouse early, just don’t be rude about it.

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.

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Wordless Wednesday: Jordan Pond

Wordless Wednesday: Acadia Coastline

Acadia National Park: Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain Panorama

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.

Oceana Insignia in Bar Harbor, as seen from Cadillac 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.

Wordless Wednesday: Cadillac Mountain Vista

Acadia National Park: Park Loop Road

Thunder Hole at Acadia National Park

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.

Schooner Head Overlook at Acadia National Park

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.

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