Here’s my round-up for favorite things, hikes, and places that we experienced on our trip to Acadia:
• Cafe this Way: Incredible wild blueberry pancakes! (And they were a heck of a lot cheaper than Jordan’s Restaurant). My husband’s Greek omelette with kalamata olives, artichokes and feta was superb. Fun atmosphere with bookshelves full of good reads and an open porch. They’re open for dinner too.
• 2 Cats: Probably the best french toast I ever had! My husband’s eggs benedict with salmon was incredible. The service, food were all amazing. Sat outside on the wrap around front porch and enjoyed the breeze.
• Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream: Fresh, inventive flavors and always homemade in small batches. I stayed with more traditional flavors like blackberry and strawberry, but my husband went out on a limb and tried chocolate wasabi and chocolate red chili.
• Jordan Pond Loop: About 3.5 miles of varied trail conditions (boardwalk through a boggy area, rocky shore, a path carved out between huge boulders, dirt path alongside forest) around Jordan Pond which is crystal clear and beautiful. Unfortunately the pond is off limits to swimmers (it’s drinking water), which would’ve been a great way to end a long hike (*Check out Echo Lake or Sand Beach for swimming). Definitely save the tea & popovers for after your hike!
• Jessup Path: Part grassy field, part birch forest, part raised boardwalk. An easy hike for anyone, and especially beautiful amongst the birches.
• Wonderland: Perfect to do on a cloudy, misty day. Definitely go at low tide to see the tidepools.
• Thuya Garden: The garden itself isn’t much of a hike, but it’s so beautiful and peaceful. Plus, there are multiple hiking trails that lead from the garden; we took the Eliot Mountain hike and while it’s a short summit to climb, it was a very enjoyable one with beautiful moss and lichen in the forest. Definitely check out the Asticou Azalea Garden which is located right down the street, as well – both are free!
Most Memorable Moments
• Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain: Although I desperately wanted to stay in my sleeping bag at 3:45 am, the entire experience of driving up the mountain in the dark, to seeing the first colors of dawn, to seeing the entire sun come up were all incredible – everyone needs to do this at least once in their life! Everyone there was very quiet but there was an excitement that was really fun to be a part of. Who knew seeing the sun come up (something that happens every single day) would feel so special and momentous?
• Tea & Popovers at Jordan Pond House: Yes, it was crowded. Yes, there were tourists waiting 30 minutes to pay for overpriced tea and popovers, but the guidebooks were right – you have to do tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House. They’ve been serving them on the lawn overlooking Jordan Pond and the surrounding mountains since the late 1800′s. They have indoor and outdoor seating, and we waited a little extra to get the outdoor lawn seats and lucked out with a perfect view of the scenery.
• Driving on Park Loop Road: Miles and miles of absolutely gorgeous scenery; probably the nicest driving we’ve ever done. Definitely be prepared to stop every so often to check out scenic views, rocky coastline, and natural formations. There is a section of the road that costs to drive your vehicle through (without a National Park Pass, it’s $20 for a week’s pass) but you can always board the free Island Shuttle Bus that criss-crosses the entire park. Many of the must-see places in the park run along this road. We even drove down at night and saw a full moon over the Atlantic Ocean (which was also incredible).
All in all, we had an amazing trip and have already talked about what we’d like to do next time. We’ll definitely be renting bikes and riding along the Carriage Roads (we hiked a little bit of them and from seeing other people drive by, it looks like a great way to see the park) and will be walking more strenuous hiking trails. Other than that, we will be getting a bigger tent that we can stand up in!