Thursday, June 20, 2024

Anniversary in Acadia

Our recent road trip to Maine and Canada was a celebration that coincided with an anniversary — the 27th of our first date, which didn't occur in either of the places visited, but in our home state of New Jersey. When we lived there, and later in VA, we started taking road trips to celebrate special events, not that we needed a reason. 

Dogpatch Farm, Maine-made soap
A previous post detailed a stop at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, ME, an unexpected and interesting visit. Our next stop was in Brunswick, ME, home of Bowdoin College. Like many New England towns, this was a mill town thanks to its proximity to the Androscoggin River. Brunswick was the site of the Brunswick Cotton Manufactory Company, the first cotton mill in the state built in 1809 to make yarn and only the sixth in the U.S. at that time. Brunswick was a major lumber producer with some 25 sawmills, some went for shipbuilding. 

The Brunswick Farmers Market had recently opened on the mall in downtown. Held rain or shine, Tuesday and Thursday, May to November, it's one of Maine's oldest farmers markets. As it was early in the season, there wasn't much produce. I made a favorite travel purchase—homemade soap.
Our walk at Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust
The Brunswick stopover was a revisit with friends, Jack and Nancy. When we all lived on the VA Eastern Shore, Patrick and Jack volunteered as Master Naturalists. Our visit included a stop at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust where we walked part of the trails and saw fields of daffodils, forget-me-nots and dandelions in bloom. 
Our accommodations at Bar Harbor Manor
Our anniversary destination was the town of Bar Harbor, located on Mount Desert Island where we stayed at the Bar Harbor Manor within walking distance of downtown. The town shares borders with Acadia National Park, which holds claim to some of the most stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife on the Eastern Seaboard. Open year-round., Acadia is located on the coast of Maine. Most of the park’s 47,000 acres are spread across Mount Desert Island, though portions of the park are on the Schoodic Peninsula and Isle au Haut. Bar Harbor is a popular base for visiting the park.
Hulls Cove Visitor Center at Acadia National Park, ME 
We began our visit to the park by a stop at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center where admission is purchased. All visitors must have one of these entrance passes: Standard Pass ($20-35), annual pass ($70) or America the beautiful Pass (Free admission) whether walking, biking, skiing, riding the Island Explorer or driving through the park.. Patrick's veteran status gave us to free admission. You can't see the Visitor Center from the parking area entrance. It's located 52 steps up the hill. (For those with special access needs, there's an entrance available through a back entrance.) 

Acadia National Park is the only national park in the state of Maine. It was first established as Sieur de Monts National Monument in July 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson but then was changed to Lafayette National Park in February 1919 when it became the first national park east of the Mississippi. It was not until January 1929 that it officially was named Acadia National Park.

The Back Story of Acadia
George B. Dorr 
Acadia's history, dates more than 10,000 years ago with the Wabanaki people (
“People of the Dawnland”). The 17th century brought fur traders and other European explorers, while the 19th century saw an influx of summer visitors, then wealthy families. Many conservation-minded citizens, among them was an American preservationist George B. Dorr (the "Father of Acadia National Park"). 

Dorr, heir to a New England textile fortune, spent most of his adult life overseeing the park's formation and expansion and worked to establish this first U.S. national park east of the Mississippi River. Acadia was first named Sieur de Monts National Monument by proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (Sieur de Monts was a that George Dorr gave to Pierre Dugua, a French Explorer and nobleman who came to Mount Desert Island in 1604.). It was re-designated Lafayette National Park in 1919 and then renamed Acadia National Park in 1929. 

Acadia possibly stems from “Arcadia,” a part of Greece that explorer, Giovanni Verrazano was reminded of as he sailed by in 1524. Today, it includes about 49,052 acres in three main areas. The largest is located on Mount Desert Island. Next, is an approximate 2,366 acre tract of land to the Northeast on the mainland at Schoodic Peninsula. Third, to the Southwest (accessible only by boat) is Isle Au Haut. Baker Island (Southeast coast) and Bar Island (north side of Bar Harbor) also have national Park land.
While Acadia National Park can look small on a map, the park encompasses nearly 50,000 acres along the Atlantic Coastline of Maine — including Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Peninsula, Isle au Haut, and other outer islands, 60 miles of coastline, 33 miles of scenic motor roads, 45 miles of carriage roads, and more than 150 miles of hiking trails provide numerous ways to explore the park.

Cadillac Mountain
The 27-mile Park Loop Road leads to many scenic viewpoints along the coast, through forests and to the top of Cadillac Mountain. During peak season, visitors need to purchase one of a limited number of National Parks vehicle reservation passes to drive on Cadillac Mountain Road and see its impressive summit and panoramic views. 
View on Cadillac Mountain
Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. at 1,530 feet (466 meters) is located within Acadia. It features exposed granite domes, glacial erratics, U-shaped valleys, and cobble beaches. It's named after the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac
Panoramic view on Cadillac Mountain
For half the year, from October 7 through March 6, this mountain displays the first rays of daylight to touch the U.S., and the perfect place to catch the sunrise year-round. The sheer scale and beauty of the mountain attracts many visitors. Luckily, our visit was before May 25 as from then through Oct 22, vehicle reservations are required for Cadillac Summit Road between sunrise and sunset.
Cadillac Mountain is one of over 20 mountains on Mount Desert Island (MDI) that were pushed up by earth's tectonic and volcanic forces millions of years ago. If these once enormous glaciers hadn't sheared off their tops, it's been estimated they would be even higher than what remains today. 
Glacial remains on Cadillac Mountain
As glaciers moved across the landscape, sediment and rock of all sizes were trapped beneath the ice. This debris was pulled and dragged along the surfaces of the mountains. The smaller particles, such as sand, smoothed out the surfaces of the mountains and rock. The larger stones dug into the rock, leaving scratches that now line the sides and exteriors called striations. 
Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park
Jordan Pond is a tarn in Acadia National Park near the town of Bar Harbor, Maine. The pond covers 187 acres to a maximum depth of 150 feet with a shoreline of 3.6 miles. A tarn is a mountain lake, pond or pool, formed in a cirque (or corrie) excavated by a glacier. The word is derived from the Old Norse word tjörn, a small mountain lake without tributaries, meaning pond. 

The pond has clear water, with visibility normally 44 feet and sometimes recorded up to 61 feet, the deepest recordings in Maine. Jordan pond exhibits high levels of dissolved oxygen and low levels of plant nutrients and plant life. Some types of boating are permitted; however, people and pets are prohibited from entering the water as it is the water supply for the village of Seal Harbor.

Jordan Pond House
This restaurant and shop has a long tradition within Acadia National Park. It's on a hill overlooking a beautiful lawn along the Jordan Pond. The Jordan Pond House traces its history from 1847. The first settlers conducted a logging operation, establishing a small mill near the foot of the pond. The original farmhouse was built by the Jordan family of Seal Harbor, for whom the pond and house were named.
Jordan Pond House, Acadia National Park
Toward the end of the 19th century, the location became a popular recreational area for summer vacationers. The Jordan Pond House was turned into a small restaurant. The first popovers and tea were served here by the first proprietors, Thomas and Nellie McIntire around 1895. 

Jordan Pond Tea House, circa 1019
In 1928, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased the property and donated it to the National Park Service in 1940. The McIntires operated the restaurant 50 continuous seasons until their retirement in 1945. In 1946, Rockefeller began a company to run the Jordan Pond House restaurant. The original building burned in 1979; the current building was completed in 1982.
Our anniversary treat, popovers filled with blueberry ice cream
Afternoon tea with popovers remains a popular, not to be missed, tradition on a visit to Acadia National Park. Reservations are usually required in season, luckily, the restaurant had re-opened the week of our visit, wait time was under an hour. Of course, after lunch, we each savored our own Jordan Pond House popover filled with blueberry ice cream.
This anniversary road trip continued into Canada. Future posts will include highlights from our visit there.


Marie Smith said...

What a lovely anniversary trip! You both take great selfies. We don’t often do that. We must do more! Thanks for the nudge.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Bowdoin College has produced some serious naturalists and I see a fellow with impressive binoculars, so I am feeling warm all over!

Tom said...

...I visited Acadia as a boy, I'm do for a return trip. It's a beautiful rocky place. Thanks for taking me along to see the sights.

Bijoux said...

What a great trip to celebrate! I’ve never heard of filling a popover with ice cream, but it looks delightful. I hope I get to visit that NP some day.

Rita said...

Beautiful area!
I don't think I have ever had any kind of popover. Looks really good.
I also love handmade soap!
Happy anniversary to you both. :)

Barbara Rogers said...

Congrats on an anniversary, and for taking trips to such interesting places! Loved the popovers (well probably not as much as you did!)

Lois Evensen said...

Happy Anniversary! What a fun trip! Thank you for sharing. Not only is this a great post for us to enjoy your celebration with you, it'll be fun to revisit later.

Linda G. said...

You visited a National Park that we hope to visit one day. Those popovers look delicious. I have “pinned” this blog post for future reference.

MadSnapper said...

Cadillac mountain is stunning and some of it looks like landing on the moon would look. its a gorgeous place to visit and add in popover stuffed with ice cream and wow. what an anniversary.

Kathy G said...

It sounds like a lovely trip! Arcadia National Park is on my bucket list.

Debbie said...

this is a great post with a lot of detailed information, it must have taken a long time to put together and i appreciate that. i can't express enough my love for homemade soap, it is so nice and usually lasts forever. your accommodations are lovely and the 2 of you take great pics together. i have driven through maine many times and we have visited canada a lot!! what a wonderful trip for your anniversary...happy anniversary!!

Pamela M. Steiner said...

I enjoyed your post and learning more about Acadia, etc. In all the years we lived in NH and Maine, can you believe we never visited Acadia? I can't believe it myself! I've heard so much about it and now I wish we had taken the time to visit. We were busy working and living and didn't have a lot of extra time during those years for extra travel. I appreciate you sharing your journeys with us. They are always interesting and entertaining. Love the pictures.

Jeanie said...

this looks like such a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday! Arcadia looks beautiful and interesting history. And your room is terrific. I'm glad you got to see friends, too. That makes it extra special!

Anvilcloud said...

For a long time, I never associated the word, Acadian, beyond the French people from the Canadian Maritimes. I have also recently learned that there is an ancient Semitic language called Akkadian. In fact I just came across that info again yesterday.

"Named after the city of Akkad in northern Babylonia, Akkadian was the most important language spoken and written in the ancient Near East between the third and first millennia BCE. Akkadian belongs to the Semitic language family and is related to Arabic and Hebrew."

photowannabe said...

What a fantastic celebration trip you two took. I love your closing photo.
Oh my those popovers are making me drool. They look delicious.

Emma Springfield said...

All the scenery is breath-taking. So is the popover.

Latane Barton said...

I've always wanted to go to the Acadia area of Maine. Never got there. You two are just wandering gypsies. And, I love that picture of the two of you at the end of your post.

Sandra said...

Thank you for the interesting information on the history of the area. You have a Really nice anniversary trip. Now I must try ice cream in popovers.

Ginny Hartzler said...

What a great anniversary trip. Cadillac Mountain is amazing! And I love the reflection photo of Jordan Pond. And the FOOD!!!

Debby said...

That looks like a wonderful trip. I love the ocean. I haven't been there enough to get my fill of it. Your husband's wide eyes as his fork hovers over his popover. He seems a bit shocked!

Lee said...

A very interesting trip...thanks for taking me along with you! :)

Take care.

diane b said...

What a great way to celebrate your Anniversary. Happy Anniversary. The scenery is breathtaking and the geology of the mountain interesting. The Restaurant looks great so good to be there in off season. I have no idea what a popover is but it looks delicious.

nick said...

Looks like a great anniversary trip. Acadia has an interesting history - all 10,000 years of it! It's fascinating how places get their names. I see there are two islands off Isle Au Haut called Little Spoon Island and Great Spoon Island. How did those names come about, I wonder?

My name is Erika. said...

I just LOVE Acadia NP. I've been there many many times. But I didn't know about it's early names, nor have I been out to Isle Au Haut. Did you get out there? I would love to check it out. Schoodic is small but worth a stop. Thanks for this lesson about Acadia. And I love how you travel to celebrate important dates. And even better that you don't need a reason to go. :) Happy FRiday. Hope you've cooled off. hugs-Erika

Eggs In My Pocket said...

Just love reading about your travels and the history of everything! So wonderful that you had a great trip together!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

We've been to Acadia NP and enjoyed that trip so much. I don't think we needed a permit to drive up Cadillac back then. We did not do it at daybreak and ever since I've wished we had. The scenery around this area is the most lovely part of the Atlantic Coast (that we've seen anyway). Thank you for the tour and the good information and the memories.

baili said...

dear Dorothy many many heartfelt happy returns of the day to both of you !!!

big thanks for introducing this one of the most spectacular and biggest park i ever knew about i mean the 50.000 acers is vast but the diversity of in how many and various ways it can be explored sounds very interesting .my heart was filling with desire to see such wonderful park as you share its beauty .
awesomely here
eating favorite treat in pond house must be the exceptional experience :)

you guys look lovely and happy and my heart wishes you both so many more happy journeys like this in future my friend together :)))

loved the last photos so much !

thanks for making us park of your true joy and the beauty of moments you felt there i really enjoyed each step with you !!!
hugs and best wishes

Linda said...

Love the way yall travel! You both look GREAT!!