#32 Acadia National Park, ME
It was a chilly sunny afternoon when I arrived in Acadia National Park. After setting up camp I took a little hike and went to Bar Harbor for more walking and dinner. Bar Harbor (say Bah Hah-bah) is technically not part of the park but is completely surrounded by the park. It's a darling little harbor town! No, I didn't get fresh lobster as I was there too early in the season. Sad day! But I did see gorgeous flowers and have fun looking around. Here are some of the sights of Bar Harbor.
The next day it was even colder and raining steadily all day. I decided to start the day off with Cadillac Mountain, the highest point in the park, at 1600 feet. True to my reputation, of bringing cold to a National Park, it was sleeting on top of Cadillac Mountain, and quite miserable.
Acadia is a gorgeous park (don't say AR-cadia, the locals hate it) and it would be easy to spend a week there, but you can see it quite well in a day or two.
After sprinting around Cadillac Mountain (1600') I decided it was time to decrease altitude and go to the beach and go for a run along the coast. At least it was pouring rain and not sleet, right?
Evidently, I was a soaking wet mess, because people in the tour buses would point and stare at the crazy lady running in the pouring rain. After getting 8 miles in, I heard about a little restaurant in the park that was famous for their popovers and tea. It was heavenly as I sat in front of the fireplace and consumed 2 big popovers and 2 pots of hot tea and watched my clothes and hair steam. Ahhh...perfect!
I ended up sleeping in my rental car that night as my little tent was soaked with rain when I returned back to camp that night.
A little history on Acadia...
Of course, Native Americans had lived there as far back as 5,000 years. In the winters, they lived back from the stormy coastline and in summers, they lived near the coast.
Fast forward to September 5th 1603, when a Frenchman by the name of Samuel Champlain documents his landing and calls the area "New France". In 1613 French Jesuits, are warmly welcomed by the natives and the first French mission is established in the "New World". Shortly after, the English started coming to these fair shores and creating settlements to the south in an attempt to gain more footholds to the north. Mt. Desert was no longer fawned over as a place to settle because it was being contested between the two countries. Too shaky to put down roots there...
1759, ended the limbo of the area. British troops defeated the French in Quebec and the area was then in British hands. But not for long! Most of you remember the Revolutionary War and how the "New Americans" kicked Britian to the seaside curb as it were. Then the area became property of the newly formed United States of America. I'm sure the Native Americans were bewildered by all the changes happening to "their" lands, I certainly would have wondered. I can picture this new edict of the USA reaching their camps and the old women gossiping around the fires, "It will never last!" they probably all agreed.
Fast forward again to the mid 1800's. Mount Desert has been discovered by artists and journalists, mostly the painters of the Hudson River School and their glorified paintings of the area bring the affluent Rockefellers, Morgans, Fords, Vanderbilts, Carnegies & Astors to the area. They start building "cottages", which in reality are country mansions. Yes, they gentrified the area, and it would be easy to villify that, but they also did something that preserved this area forever. After 40 years of "refined recreation" on the island a huge fire broke out and consumed nearly all the estates. But these people had loved their island and didn't want industry to come there. They created the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations and it's only purpose was preserving the land for public recreation. In 1916 President Wilson created the Sieur de Monts National Monument and by 1919 it became Lafayette National Park. The name was changed to Acadia in 1929.
And the rest is history, as they say. Acadia with it's rugged coastline, flowers and trees, is just lovely. I would highly recommend a visit; even in sleet and rain.