July 2010 Archives

07/03/2010

High Summer and Beyond

Perfect temperatures, stunning aqua-vistas and sweet birdsongs make Acadia the destination of dreams for America. We’re a little far away from major cities. Come here and we’ll make you forget the effort. There are still places to stay and things to do that won’t require lottery winners.  You’ve all heard about the attractions of “the Island” , Mount Desert Island, aka Acadia National Park. Do you know that lodgings on the island are about 30 percent more expensive than places about 20 miles away? Do the math and seek out the bargains. This website was created to feature our property but many more in the area can be seen through homeaway.com and vrbo.com. These places are rented by others like us who have excess capacity. Right now we are booked up for the summer except for July 10-14 and August 1-7.

Consider the autumn for a less harried visit. You may not need to escape the heat where you are but there will be lots to see and do and the weather will be fine. Our bookings calendar is wide open for much of September and beyond. Late summer starts with Hawkwatch on Cadillac Mountain with the Bar Harbor Jazz Festival running the third week in August. The 2010 Bar Harbor Fine Arts Festival starts August 20. Rounding out August is the wildly successful and free American Folk Festival in Bangor, August 27-29.

The Acadia Night Sky Festival is a celebration of the unique darkness of our night sky and runs from September 9-12. Bucksport’s 8th Annual Medieval Tournament is scheduled for September 11 at Fort Knox. Read about last year’s event here. The quirky MDI Garlic Festival happens this year on September 18 at the Smuggler’s Den campground in Southwest Harbor.  Though it’s a bit of a drive, the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine is an organic mega-event on September 24-26. Art in the Park will take place rain or shine on the Village Green in Bar Harbor September 25-26, 2010.  My favorite fall event is Acadia’s Oktoberfest & Food Festival, also located at Smuggler’s Den campground in Southwest Harbor, October 10, 2010. Last year’s fest was covered here.

Even if you attend no special events, fall in Acadia is a great time. Crisp air, thinning traffic, turning leaves and the annual cranberry crop are worth a visit.

Northeast Harbor's Asticou Gardens

Filed under Bar Harbor, Gardens, Lodging, Things To Do by on . Comment.

07/06/2010

Maine 3 Day Kayak Adventure: Explore Wild Islands

Need to get away from the daily grind.   Would you like to communicate better with your teen?   How about a three day journey with sun, tides, water and wind.   Whether you bring your spouse, your child (over 4’8 inches) or a good friend, I can’t imagine a better adventure for this summer.   This article is about two ideas, taking a 3 day trip with a registered Maine guide or creating your own 3 day trip for those who own their own kayak and envision a personal excursion among the ocean islands of Maine.   There is no better way to get out, way out on those small islands that line Maine’s shore than with a personal small boat.   It’s only a day’s drive from New York and a half day’s drive from Boston.

The kayak is just perfect for traveling, it carries your gear and yourself in an efficient way.    As I have said in previous articles, a kayak is very different from other boats.   You are seated right at the water-line, so your body is much more stable.   You feel more like part of the water instead of on top of it.   It is difficult to tip a kayak in calm waters of Frenchman Bay.    However, with large waves or a lot of reaching, it is possible to turn a kayak over.   On the ocean we favor long skinny kayaks for their ability to go straight and to also handle waves.

You get out on the water for 3 days on a guided kayak tour in Maine, no experience necessary.   If you are taking your teen along with you,  the tandem kayak is one of the keys to the success as you have to work together to get somewhere.   Sharing a small island helps too, a tent, other people around, but not too many.    I’m describing one of the adventures that you can find here in Maine.   If you stay with us, we will be glad to help you store your stuff before or after your stay here at Sea Cat’s rest.

Those of you who are already experienced kayakers can create your own trip, but three days is an ideal start to a lifetime journey featuring water excursions.   We have an incredible resource here called the  Maine Island Trail Association.   This 40 year old organization has been working to create and preserve the many island that line the coast of Maine for everyone to enjoy.   If you love kayaking enough to own a boat, and you are coming to Maine consider joining this association.    By joining you get a map of the many islands that are open to those who wander among the islands of Maine.   Their website:   Maine Island Trail Association

Don’t forget these ideas when you paddle:

  • Dress for the water, not the air, temperature.
  • Wear a lifejacket at all times.
  • Make sure somebody knows where you are and when you’ll return.
  • Air Temp + Water Temp  < 110 = stay out of the water.
  • Air Temp + Water Temp > 110 but < 140 = Wear a wetsuit!
  • Paddle with a buddy.
  • Check weather and tide conditions, and plan accordingly.    We have excellent climate here in the summer because of the cold water – but that does present some danger for those that get immersed in the water not expecting it.

For those visitors with little experience, a good place to start is with an experienced guided tour.  Here is a link to the non-profit association of Sea Kayak Guides.   They  offer various organized Kayak trips in and around Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park and other areas of Maine.    Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and instructors.    Most of them offer the three day kayak I explained above as well as half day (4 hour) guided tours.   A few also arrange private excursions.    All of them include the cost of kayak rental in the package.

Filed under Acadia, Day trips, Nature, Things To Do by on . Comment.

07/09/2010

Maine Windjammer Fleet – Gathering Together a Gam of 12

The largest gathering of large schooners in the United States, Maine’s windjammer fleet is impressive. You might want to consider including this as part of your vacation in Maine. Most are based in Rockland,  or Camden, Maine.    They gather a few times a year.     Operating a windjammer is a lifestyle job, the boats gather and work together for parades and festivals.   If you feel like you missed out on something being born into the wrong century, here is your chance to experience what it was like to be out at sea.   You won’t get the rough waters or problems with storms and such, as they sail in protected waters during bad weather.

Worried about your first time on a big sailing boat?  You can take one of the introductory adventures.   One  windjammer operates out of Bar Harbor,  the Margaret Todd.   She’s the ship on our banner picture.   The Margaret Todd and Schooner Olad out of Camden Harbor are the only ships going out on 2 hour  adventures.   If you have small kids, you might consider a friendship sailing sloop rental or other small boat for your own custom adventure or the Rachel B. Jackson, all out of Southwest Harbor on MDI’s quiet side.

The other large vessels require you to invest more of your vacation time, but spending a night on a schooner is what it’s all about anyway.   At their page you can spend hours investigating the various accommodations and differences between the ships. Here’s a link to some video’s about the experience

Imagine spending from 2 to 7 days at sea; but this is a gentle sea, with islands and calm harbors for sleeping, and the best food, all cooked for you.   Yes, there is a bit of work involved, if you want it.

You can pick a themed sail.   With various trips focused on topics like: lighthouses, nature or animal photography, visit a music festival, join a race or a parade of windjammers.    Other trips feature: birding, knitting, astronomy & geology or a pirate adventure.  Or maybe it’s your dream to have a family reunion aboard one of the vessels like this group.

Here is the windjammer fleet website

I couldn’t help but be drawn to one of the last gathering of the season in one of the most beautiful places along our coast….The Windjammer Fleet Rendezvous on   September 13-18th, where all the windjammers gather in Eggemoggin reach with photography workshops.   Imagine all those beautiful boats in a beautiful place and in the most beautiful month of the year..oh all the pictures you could take.

While you’re out around Rockland way, make a stop at a new museum.   It’s called the

Sail Power and Steam Museum.

Filed under Day trips, Nature, off island, on island, Out on the water, Things To Do by on . Comment.

07/12/2010

Maine’s Big Tide; Tide Cycles and Temperature

Tides around here are big.   I mean really big at ten to eleven feet.      We have cold cold water, and it turns out that combination of clarity of water, temperature and movement of tides make a productive sea life zone.    This piece will explore the big reasons to look at tides and a future piece will discuss the plants & animals that live between the tides.

The tides pull large amounts of water in and off the shore.   This cycle helps create great places for small creatures to grow.    It also stirs up the sediments, and oxygen, making a pretty productive food supply for small  animals to feed upon.   We also have lots of marshy, muddy areas along the coast, which is also good for production of plants, animals and babies.   Here at SeaCats’ Rest our shore gets about 250 feet larger at low tide.   Because we have a gradual shoreline, the sea moves quite a bit.   Our clam flats (found in muddy zones) are exposed at low tide.   We have part rocks, part mud on our shore, so it’s not easy to dig clams, but they are there.

In addition to the tide cycle, some tides get lower and higher than normal.    They are called spring tides, and have nothing to do with the season.   They cause the flooding of coastal marshes beyond the normal boundaries: extreme high tide as well as extreme low tide.   Extreme low tide is a great time for observing sea animals you normally don’t see.

Tides are created by the moon, sun and gravity.  The semidiurnal range (twice daily cycle) varies in a two-week cycle.   Around the new and full moon when the Sun, Moon and Earth form a line, the tidal force from the Sun reinforces that of the moon and you get a maximum tide pull.   This is what causes the spring tide (not after the season, but just the word “springs” as in jump, burst forth, rise forward).     About every year and one-half there is a special tide called a Proxigean Spring tide.   It occurs when the moon is both unusually close to the earth and in the New Moon Phase.
Proxigean tide
The eccentricity of the orbit of the moon in this illustration is greatly exaggerated.

Neap tides are extremely weak tides, where the gravitational forces are at their weakest point.

Geography also plays a role in how large the tides are.     Just 2 hours up the coast they are the largest in the world in the bay of Fundy – 55 feet.   This is caused by the shape of the bay.   Here is an interesting map of larger tidal areas around the world that I found at wikipedia.

I was very surprised to find that the large tides were not unique to Maine or to northern areas.   I had assumed in my experience of going to the tropics where I saw little tides, that the tides just got bigger the further north you went.   While that is true in North America, if you look at Central America you will see an entirely different story.   Tides range and the extremes are sure mysterious and depend a lot on the particular shape of the shore/water interface.

The weather of places is tied with their geography as well as ocean currents and ocean temperature.   Places like England and Ireland, which are more northern than Maine have a different winter climate because of the warmer water that surrounds them.    We here in Maine have a unique climate too because our ocean water is cooler than most areas of the east coast.    That’s why we don’t get hurricanes up here – it’s too cold.   The cold water slows them down and they cannot spin as fast, and they die out.  On the map above purple is coldest, yellow the hottest zones.

In future articles I’ll discuss the animals and plants that live in this intertidal zone.   Stay tuned for more.

Filed under Acadia National Park, Nature, Sand Beach by on . 1 Comment.

07/15/2010

Acadia Park for Kids Seven and Younger

Maine is a special place for all visitors, but it can become wonderland for kids seven and younger.   A forest just is so much more wonderful when seen from small eyes.   Every tree, plant and creature becomes magical and special.  Bringing kids seven and younger on vacation can require some advance planning, but with an effort, it can become an unforgettable vacation for your family.

The woods.   Start with what’s around you: a forest of pine and oaks, maple and beech trees.   Maine’s woods present an exciting environment to explore.   We have a very good naturalist book for you to use when you explore the woods around us.   You don’t have to come with prior knowledge, just a willingness to learn and observe.

The shore: Watch the tides come and go, the waves that crash, the animals in the tidal zone.   Explored with a good book.   Searockets ,  sea pickle, sea heather and seaweed, are all interesting to identify and collect.    Eat a few seaweed products for the complete experience.     We have 11 foot tides here, so it is a wonderful thing to watch.   A lot of folks cannot believe it.

The water and the animals that live here:  Andre the Seal, the  movie, is a wonderful introduction to aquatic mammals of the area.   Just the other day when hiking on Great Head we saw two dolphins swimming about in the bay off Sand Beach.    If you know where to look, you will also see seals in our bay.   Of course, the more time you spend on the water, the more chance of seeing something.

The sky:  Study the stars at night.   A Park Ranger program is available.   Study the moon and planets, invest in a telescope, or use ours here at Seacat’s Rest.   It’s really dark around here with a big ocean without artificial lights.   In addition there is a “see like the animals” program at the park where you get to use night vision to walk through the woods.   It’s a very different place in the dark (your eyes see differently).

The birds. All around Acadia birds make a show.   Eagles, crows, gulls and cormorants, ducks and crows, thrushes and song birds.    All of these creatures are easy to find and listen to.   Loons, ducks, sea gulls and other water birds live all around the island.   They dive under the water to find food.    Others fly up overhead like  osprey, hawks and eagles.   Wading and water  birds like egrets, herons and  kingfishers prefer calm fresh or brackish waters.

The flowers and small plants.   Plants native to Maine are easy to find and can reinforce observing skills in your young ones.   Show them what a blueberry plant looks like, then try and find a whole field of blueberry plants.   In different seasons the blueberry fields in Maine have different colors.    In Spring there are the white flowers, later in July and August, the blueberries, and in the fall, the plants turn rosy red as the leaves shimmer in the sunshine.    Other places and plants to find include wintergreen– you can identify it by the smell, and don’t forget aromatic ferns, like the cinnimon fern with it’s stalk or the ostrich fern, where fiddleheads that you find in the supermarket here in Maine come from.    Seasonal flowers like lupine in late june, or wild raspberries or strawberry flowers.    Lilacs and poppies.    For very young folks, focus on just the colors in the plants.   How many red or pink flowers can we find today….how about blue ones,   white ones.

FDR's birch bark canoe

A History Tour, The Mystery Tour.   The carriage trails, history of the Native Americans and others who lived here in past times.      If we didn’t have a car, how would we get around.   Water is easy to move on, but we could also walk, or ride a horse around.   It took a long time to get from one place to another, explore just like you were here 100 or 200 years ago.   How far would you get in one day.    Would it take you two days to get from one side of the island to another?

Filed under Acadia, Nature, Sand Beach, Things To Do by on . Comment.

07/16/2010

President Obama Visits Acadia!

Not since William Howard Taft visited the island nearly 100 years ago has a sitting president visited our island. Word has it that they cannot land a Boeing 747 at the Bar Harbor airport, so the president and his family will either come by chopper or smaller jet from Bangor. We are on the approach pattern for the airport, so there’s a good chance the flying limo will be a few hundred feet right over SeaCat’s Rest sometime around noon. For some reason we were not contacted to provide lodgings for the first family, but neither are they staying at a wealthy estate. They will be at The Bar Harbor Regency, a local hotel; at least according to rumor.

The visit will shut down some routes on the island temporarily as the family moves about during their visit. Airspace will be restricted, but our reserved business community is not going gaga over this event; we are quite accustomed to the famous among us. The late Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Martha Stewart, David Rockefeller, Pulitzers, Vanderbilts and Morgans are no big deal. I think that’s why they’re here; their privacy is respected. Hopefully the president will feel the same.

We can speculate on the presidential choice for his weekend vacation. Any weather map will show how the Acadia area is one of the coolest places in the country, with temperatures topping out in the 80s this weekend while the rest of the country struggles to stay out of triple digits. The views are dramatic, the security is manageable and President Obama will be able to play golf at Kebo Valley, the same course Taft navigated his ample frame around one hundred years ago.

We welcome our president and his family. We wish he could stay longer. Three days doesn’t begin to offer a glimpse at what’s here. Wouldn’t it be cool if they came here to buy a summer retreat? The place next door is for sale….

UPDATE: at 12:05 PM Air Force One (a shrunken version) touched down safely at Bar Harbor Airport. And yes, it did fly right over SeaCat’s Rest.

Obamas Arrive at Bar Harbor 7/16/2010

The motorcade route was lined with excited camps of spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of the first family on their way to the Regency. Security was present, but relaxed. How much will the visit inconvenience other tourists? That remains to be seen. In the long run it can’t help but be a boost for Acadia’s popularity as people around the world share their short vacation on the nightly news.

Filed under Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Famous visitors by on . Comment.

07/18/2010

Lobster Value–An Update

Roadkill is one source of cheap lobster

Keep checking back here for money saving hints for your Acadia vacation. I wrote in an earlier blog about my attempt to find the best deal when buying lobsters. At that time (mid April ’10) I bought three different sized lobsters and weighed the meat I got out of them and compared it to the price per pound of the live crustacean. The results were much different than what I expected. The best value seemed to come from the smallest lobster, in the 1 to 1-1/4 pound category. I calculated the actual price per pound of the meat to be a whopping $50.55. This was based on a whole lobster price of $7.79 per pound. Right now the prices are lower, around $6.80 last I checked; and new shell lobsters are in the $4 range. When I’m flush with cash I will answer the hard shell VS. soft shell issue, but for now I’m going to talk about another approach.

On our first trip to Maine we go for the whole lobster. What would a trip to the Pine Tree State be without the plastic bib, the cracking of the shell and that first taste of butter drenched claw meat? By the second trip, or perhaps the second meal, we want to explore other possible ways to fix lobster. A lobster roll, a bisque, spring rolls, ravioli or simply mixed into scrambled eggs (like George did in that Seinfeld episode). How about a shortcut? Think of all that boiling, cracking and pulling. Wouldn’t it be easier to let someone else do the “picking” as it’s called in Maine? Surely this would be even more expensive! Wrong!!

I decided to take this shortcut a few days ago when we had our daily adventure and we didn’t want to spend another hour boiling lobsters. I assumed the price per pound of picked lobster meat would be in the $50 area. I was way off! The price was $15 for 1/2 pound! A quick check of area markets found prices at $30, $35 and $45 per pound. The meat I bought was from Young’s Shellfish in Belfast.  My local place (Downeast Lobster Co.) only sells picked meat ($35/lb on 7/10/2010) if you call in advance–but that means fresh!

The meat I got from Young’s was fresh, sweet and in every way as good as doing it myself. How do they do it? Why does the meat end up costing less than doing the work yourself? I have no idea! Maybe they are extracting the meat from “culls”- one armed lobsters, or “chicks”, really small ones which people would probably not want to buy. The meat we got had several tails and claws indicating several smaller lobsters. We used this meat for spring rolls the first night and ravioli the next. Two meals for three people out of 1/2 pound!

Preparing complex dishes out of picked meat means having a kitchen, like you would have if you stayed with us, but there are dishes you can prepare at a picnic spot. You could add the meat to a supermarket salad or mix up some filling for lobster rolls (just add some diced cucumber, scallions and mayo). Don’t forget the  rolls. You may know them as hot dog buns. Here they’re a little different, but the same idea.

A ravioli cutter, found at Marden's in Ellsworth, ME

Lobster Ravioli from SeaCat’s Rest

Semolina or durum flour

Tomato sauce

Olive oil and butter

2 eggs

Salt, pepper, parsley or basil, garlic, shallots

1/4 lb lobster meat

Bread crumbs or crushed crackers

Grated Parmesan cheese

The ravioli we made turned out so well I thought I’d share the recipe. Making the pasta was the hardest part because it required a resting time of at least an hour. Start with durum or semolina flour. Measure out 1-1/3 cups and add 1 teaspoon salt. Dump this mixture onto the counter and add two eggs to a well in the center. Work the flour with your hands (a great job for little kids with clean hands) until fully mixed. Add two tablespoons of water and two teaspoons of olive oil to form a fairly stick-free dough and continue kneading for 15 minutes. Place the dough into a covered bowl and leave for an hour or more. Meanwhile, make the filling. We winged it here, and you can too. Fry a few cloves of garlic and shallots in butter until done and throw in 1/4 cup of  lobster. Heat for a minute and transfer into a bowl. Add a little cream, bread crumbs or crushed crackers, spices of choice (salt, paprika, parsley, basil) and some grated parmesan. The filling should be fairly dry so as to not turn the pasta soggy. Put a pan of your favorite tomato pasta sauce on the heat.

Roll out the pasta into one big circle. When you see the pattern of your counter through the pasta it’s thin enough. Cut into 3 inch wide strips and use a melon ball maker to place a measured amount of filling onto the strip at 3″ intervals. Take a second strip and lay it over the first. Press and pinch the two layers together around the filling and cut out with a knife or ravioli cutter. Keep it up until the dough and filling is used up. Drop the finished pasta into boiling salted water in batches and test it after 7 minutes. Lift out the finished ravioli and serve with tomato sauce. You will not end up with one of those wimpy tasteless specks of filling you usually get with prepared ravioli but a whole new experience. Enjoy!

Filed under Good Food by on . Comment.

07/21/2010

At Last! Maine Wine from Maine Grapes!

174 Barrett Hill Rd., Union, ME

Savage Oakes Winery in Union, Maine has become the only (to my knowledge) Maine winery to produce estate-grown grape wines. True, there are several wineries which make wines from other fruit and several more which import their grapes from afar, but Savage Oakes has taken a leap beyond them to produce the real thing from Maine grapes. Bar Harbor Cellars, Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville, Oyster River Winery in Warren and brand new Breakwater Winery in Owl’s Head all have grapevines planted and we look forward to tasting their estate wines in the near future.

So how did Savage Oakes owners/farmers/vintners Elmer and Holly Savage do it? First of all, they come at the process as farmers, not winery developers. Their 95 acre farm produces beef, pork and blueberries as well as the four acres of 9 varieties of hybrid grapes.  When I visited the winery on July 7 I didn’t get a chance to speak with Elmer or Holly, they were too busy working the fields. This is a good clue as to why their grape crop is a success. I asked the tasting hostess if the crop was damaged by the now infamous Mother’s Day frost we had this year. She replied that Elmer was in the fields all night, managing fires and fans to keep those young grape shoots above 32°F. I think that it takes this type of heroic effort to make Maine-made wine happen.

The varieties are carefully selected for cold hardiness. Red varieties are Foch, Millot, Frontenac, St. Croix, Corot Noir and the new and exciting Marquette. Whites are Cayuga St. Pepin, LaCrosse and Frontenac Gris. Seyval is being replaced because it’s just too tender.

The wines on offer are Seyval Blanc, not estate grown (but not for lack of trying!); Barn Red an oaked dry made from Savage Oakes grown Millot grapes (say, “Me-Yo”);  Georges River, an off dry white from their own Cayuga grapes;  Come Spring, a light red dry made from their Foch (“Foesh”); White Rose, a Rosé made from imported Steuben grapes; Daybreak Blush, a less dry white made from their  Cayuga and a touch of Foch; Concord, a surprisingly dry “grape jelly” red made from Concord grapes grown elsewhere;  and Maréchal Foch Rosé, made

Wine trail buddy and Darwin impersonator, Dr. James F. Battey

from, you guessed it, their Foch. I have to mention one other because I think we bought the last bottles, Blue Moon. Blue Moon is a blueberry wine but don’t think for a minute about a sweet desert wine; this is more like a dry zinfandel. In fact, we plan to serve this and not tell people what it’s made from and ask them what they think. Hopefully there will be more next year.

Savage Oakes Winery is too far off the beaten path to come across casually, you have to work to find them.   The website gives driving directions and more details. The winery is a bit of a drive from Bar Harbor, but is close to the visit-worthy towns of Camden and Belfast, and you get to drive over the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge to get there. Figure on 2 hours from Bar Harbor, 1-1/2 from Lamoine or Ellsworth.

Filed under Day trips, off island, Things To Do by on . 1 Comment.

07/25/2010

Take the Presidential Tour of Acadia

Now that the Obama family has ended their brief visit to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, a good question is, “What did they do and where did they go?”  Flying for the first family is not nearly as exhausting as it is for the rest of us, so they hit the ground running as soon as their plane touched down at noon on Friday, July 16. They started with a bike ride on the Witch Hole Pond carriage trail in the park. Next, the obligatory trip to the top of Cadillac Mountain by motorcade. They got out and circled the top on foot like most visitors. The weather cooperated. Next stop was  to  Mount Desert Island Ice Cream in Bar Harbor, reputed to have the best.

After checking his family into their rooms at the Bar Harbor Regency Hotel, the president used his federal connections to secure a private boat tour of Frenchman Bay aboard a Park Service boat. The tour ended at the private dock of the Stewman’s Lobster Pound, where they had dinner (lobster, no doubt!). The pound is conveniently adjoining the Regency.

Bass Harbor Light in the fog

On Saturday the Obamas began their day at the nearby Bar Harbor Club for a swim or fitness session. Here they also walked the sand bar towards Bar Island. Low tide was at 9:52.  Next, they decided to visit the “quiet side” of the island. Their third  known appearance of the day was at the Claremont Hotel  in Southwest Harbor for lunch. From there they drove through the Seawall area towards Bass Harbor and the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. Here they were given a tour of the lighthouse and later took a walk on the rocky shore on the Ship Harbor Trail.

After arriving back at the hotel around 7 Barak and Michelle went out for a kid-free dinner at the Havana. Michelle had lobster thermidor and the president had saffron paella.

Now the big question is,  did the president follow our advice for the Top Ten Things to do in Acadia? Let’s review the list. We’ll put the presidential seal on the ones he did:

Filed under Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Carriage trails, Things To Do by on . Comment.

07/29/2010

A Walk Among the Wealthy: Northeast Harbor, Maine

Not all worthy walkabouts are contained within the bounds of Acadia National Park. If you like to take a drive and then a walk among the “cottages” of the old moneyed elite of the East Coast then have I got a route for you.  This route is in the town of  Seal Harbor, on the east side of Somes Sound. It is a short 8 mile drive from Bar Harbor; just head south down Main Street and it will turn into Rt 3/Otter Creek Rd. You will pass famed genetics research lab Jackson Lab. When you reach the ocean again it will be Seal Harbor. Instead of following Rt. 3 at the sharp right, go straight and the road becomes Steamboat Wharf  Road. At the end is Steamboat Wharf, a nice little harbor where steamships docked in days gone by. The Rockefellers would arrived here to spend their summers at the Eyrie, their nearby cottage or later at the Anchorage, built after the Eyrie was torn down.

From Steamboat Wharf turn back for a stone’s throw and take the first right up the hill. Take the first right and that’s Cooksey Drive. Also known as The Sea Cliff Drive:

This is where you start to see the sprawling estates with separate driveways and parking for staff.  Martha Stewart lives nearby. The cool thing is that the Maine Coast Heritage Trust has carved out a bit of this area for the use of the rest of us. The Cooksey Drive Overlook is a great place to park the car and get out for a walk.  Just keep driving on Cooksey Drive for about 8/10 of a mile and on the right will be the parking lot. You can begin your walk by following the path to the shore. You will be rewarded by a dramatic clifftop view with crashing surf below. Now you know what the residents see out their windows. Beware the poison ivy underfoot! We went on a foggy day and the effect was pure Maine! Back to the parking lot and you can choose to continue on foot or by car.  Now, I’m not going to tell you to gawk at the mansions or invite yourself to tea with the Vanderbilts, but if you WERE to get invited I hope you take photos and send them to me.

Filed under Acadia National Park, Things To Do by on . 1 Comment.

7ads6x98y