On our first trip to Acadia, our biggest disappointment was that we didn’t get a chance to explore the miles of Acadia’s carriage roads. Everything you read about Acadia tells you that you don’t really see the park until you see the carriage roads. So, on a day when we didn’t have anything planned, we rented some bikes and we set out to see the interior of the park.
Since we were staying in Southwest Harbor, we decided to rent bikes from Southwest Cycle. The staff there were very friendly and helpful. They helped us pick the right bikes and get the bike rack on our rental car. If you are staying on the quietside, I highly recommend renting from Southwest Cycle.
After getting our bikes, we headed to the Carriage Roads. Honestly, I was not prepared for the beauty of the carriage roads. There were WAY less people than on the park loop road. It was cool to be able to look down on the Park Loop Road and the Jordan Pond Trail too! After our first trip, if you would have asked me if there were waterfalls in Acadia, I would’ve told you no. But, we saw several on our bike ride through the carriage roads.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the difficulty of the carriage roads. They were all designed to be driven by carriages, so they weren’t mounting biking difficult, but there were some steep hills we had to climb. I am not an avid biker by any means, so I had to take a few breaks during our bike ride. I did enjoy coasting down the big hills, though! Some of the roads are easier than others, so I recommend if you’re a novice bikers like me that you plan a route that you can handle.
The quiet beauty of the carriage roads is something that you have to experience for yourself. Definitely take a day to explore them! If you aren’t a biker, you could pick some of the shorter ones and walk them or you can take a carriage tour, which I will talk about in a later post! You won’t regret getting away from the crowds and seeing the interior of the park!
Thanks for stopping by! 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.
The Asticou Azalea Garden is located in Northeast Harbor and is a great spot near Acadia to take a quiet walk and appreciate the flowers in a beautifully manicured garden. The garden has been a local staple since 1957. Martha Stewart even wrote in her blog that she enjoys bringing her grandchildren to the gardens. Since we were traveling with two avid gardeners, I knew we needed to stop at this beautiful place!
While strolling this Japanese-inspired garden, you will see flowering cherry trees, rhododendrons, water lilies, Japanese irises and of course, azaleas. One of the oldest plants in the garden is a weeping hemlock near the main bridge that was moved from its original location in 1957 with financial assistance than none other than John D. Rockefeller Jr.
I may have a black thumb, but I always enjoy photographing in botanical gardens. It is a great time to play with focus and depth of field. Middle of the day is not typically a great time for photography, but with this kind of photography, the lighting can lend itself to interesting bokeh! A totally overcast day would be another great time to visit a botanical garden because overcast skies in landscape photos are boring!
A suggested donation of $5 is requested for entrance. The gardens are open daily from sunrise to sunset from May until October. If you have the time during your visit to Mt. Desert Island, I recommend a stop at the Asticou Azalea Gardens! For more information visit gardenpreserve.org/asticou-azalea-garden..
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by next week when I share about our rainy day in Maine! Until then, you can check out the Mainely Acadia Trip Report to read about the rest of our trip! 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.
On our first trip to Acadia, we didn’t have time to explore one whole section of the park. The Schoodic Peninsula is the only part of Acadia National Park located on mainland Maine. Schoodic is not as developed as Mount Desert Island, but there are some hiking trails and it also has a drive-able loop road. It is not nearly as crowded at Mount Desert Island. If you are looking to get away from the tourists during your time at Acadia, head over to Schoodic.
The Schoodic Peninsula is about an hour drive from the Hull’s Cove Visitor’s Center and is an easy day trip from Mt. Desert Island. To save on gas, you can catch a ferry from Bar Harbor to Winter Harbor on the Schoodic Peninsula and the Island Explorer bus can take you around the Schoodic side as well. We decided to take the drive on a rainy day and that resulted in an even more deserted experience than I was expecting, but made for some interesting photos!
At the end of the Schoodic Loop Road is Schoodic Point (above). Schoodic Point is a great place to watch the surf pound the rocks, but be careful not to get too close to the edge! Big waves can come up seemingly unexpectedly!
If you have the time on your trip to Acadia, I recommend a jaunt to the quietest part of the park. You can really get a feel for natural Maine at Schoodic and get away from the crowds. The Schoodic Woods campground is the newest campground in Acadia and can be easier to get into than the other campgrounds on Mount Desert Island.
Thanks for stopping by! Read more about this trip, visit the Mainely Acadia Trip Report! 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.
After climbing to the top of South Bubble Mountain, we walked around Bar Harbor and did some shopping. We also explored the shore path, which is a nice little hiking trail right in Bar Harbor that winds the shoreline. We had a wonderful waterfront dinner at The Terrace Grille. Mostly, we killed time until our sunset cruise.
One of our favorite experiences on our first Acadia trip, was the sunset nature cruise. So, when planning this trip, I knew that we had to take my family out on the water. We considered trying another company that sailed out of another spot on the island, but in the end, we went with the same company as last time, Acadian Nature Cruises.
Our cruise last year was shortened due to weather. A thunderstorm was rolling in and we didn’t get much of a sunset. I didn’t realize how much of our tour we lost because of that weather. After some time watching the seals and seagulls at Egg Rock (above, left), we went over to the Schoodic Peninsula and we watched a Bald Eagle on its perch. Then, the boat parked for a little bit and watched the sun go down over the water (top).
The weather was much different on this trip than last year. Being that we traveled much earlier in the year (end of June vs. unseasonably hot beginning of August) this cruise was much cooler than last year. When it was 95 degrees at the peak of the day, it was still pretty warm out on the water, even at sunset. This last trip, we got highs in the 70s, if we were lucky. Out on the water, it was breezy and when the sun went down it was very cold. If you plan a sunset cruise, bring a warm sweatshirt or even a jacket.
We saw a lot more animals last year than we did this year, although we did see a Bald Eagle this year. Unfortunately we didn’t see any harbor porpoises or puffins. Those sightings last year were the reason I didn’t realize how much the weather had shortened our trip.
Besides great wildlife sightings and a beautiful sunset view, this tour is also a great way to see some of the Bar Harbor “Cottages” (they are way too big to be called a cottage, in my opinion) and learn about the history of the area. I highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Acadia. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see some local wildlife. If not, you still get stunning views that you just can’t get on land!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week to hear about the Asticou Azalea Gardens. To read more posts in this trip report, check out the 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.
On our last trip to Acadia, we left without doing everything we wanted to do. One of the biggest things was hiking to the top of South Bubble Mountain. The hike is rated as an easy family hike, but I was skeptical. How could climbing a mountain be easy? Chris kept reassuring me that the parking lot is about half way up the mountain, we weren’t climbing it from its base where it looms 400 feet above Jordan Pond.
Perched at the top of South Bubble Mountain is Bubble Rock. Bubble Rock is a glacial erratic, meaning if you look at it, Bubble Rock looks different than the rock on South Bubble Mountain. It was deposited there as the glaciers receded during the last ice age. Over the years, many people have tried to push it off, but no one has been successful. The ease of the hike and the curiosity of Bubble Rock make this one of the most popular hikes in the park.
After successfully climbing South Bubble, I can tell you that it is not a bad hike. Its estimated that it can be done in about an hour, but I don’t think it took us that long. To get good light, we left early, but we were back in Southwest Harbor in time for breakfast. If you’ve been to Sleeping Bear Dunes, it was an easier hike than the Empire Bluff Trail, which is my favorite hike at Sleeping Bear Dunes. It is a slight incline the whole way up, but it does have steps built in, so you don’t have to find your own way up like some of the other trails in Acadia. Because we left for our hike so early, we only saw a handful of other hikers on the trail. This was a great way to escape the crowds in Acadia and get to truly appreciate the scenery.
If you are looking for a short, easy hike in Acadia, I recommend you climb South Bubble Mountain. The views were definitely better than the Jordan Pond hike that we did last year. If you get there early in the morning, like us, its not hard to find a parking spot, but if you wait until later in the day, you may want to park at the visitor’s center and take the Island Explorer Bus. There are only a handful of spots in the South Bubble Parking Area. If you are looking for a more challenging hike, you can continue from the South Bubble Trail to the Jordan Pond Trail or continue onto North Bubble Mountain. Check out Joe’s Guide to Acadia National Park, for more information on hiking in Acadia.
Thank you for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week to read about our sunset tour of Acadia! To read more of our Mainly Acadia trip, click here. If you’re enjoying this trip report, you can read about some of our previous trips. 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.