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October 14, 2021     The Perkins Journal
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Destinations & TraVel Acadia National Park is a gem on the Maine coast Publisher’s is the of two stories on my to Maine. By David Sasser Journal Publisher Mount Desert Island (MDI) is the largest island off the coast of Maine and the second largest behind Long Island, New York off the eastern seaboard of the United States. Widely known as the home of Acadia National Park and the town of Bar Harbor, it draws millions of visitors each year but only has a year-round population of about 10,615. Acadia National Park (nps.g0v/acad) protects the natural beauty of the highest rocky headlands along the Atlantic coastline of the United States, has an abundance of habitats, and a rich cultural heri- tage. At 3.5 million visits a year, it’s one of the top 10 most-Visited national parks in the United States. Visitors enjoy 27 miles of historic roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads. Acadia was first estab— lished 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 27-mile Park Loop Road leads to many scenic viewpoints along the coast, through forests and to the top of Cadillac Moun— tain. The road traverses the eastern side of Mount Desert Island in a one-way, clockwise direction from Bar Harbor to Seal Harbor connecting the park’s lakes, mountains, forests and rocky shores for easy exploration. Sand Beach is a gorgeous little beach, about 300 yards long, nestled between mountains and rocky shores on the east side of Mount Desert Island. The beach is largely comprised of unique sand of shell fragments cre- ated by the pounding surf. The waterline can vary quite a bit because of the difference between high and low tide. The ocean temperature rarely exceeds 55 degrees in the summer. Although this is a family beach, no pets are allowed from May 15 to September 15. Changing rooms and restrooms are located next to the parking area. The Island Explorer Shuttle Bus stops there about every half hour during normal sea— sonal daytime hours. The beautiful Ocean Path is a 1.5 mile long (about 3 miles round-trip) ocean side walking trail that begins at the Sand Beach parking lot and fol- lows the eastern coastline of Mount Desert Island in a southerly direction past Thunder Hole and then continues until it reaches Otter Cliff to the south. If you would like a leisurely stroll in a spectacular rocky Maine coast setting, it does not get any better than this. The Park Loop Road fol- lows in this same direction but it is one—way. Thunder Hole is the place to experience the thunder of the sea against the rocky shores of Maine. Thunder Hole is a small inlet, naturally carved out of the rocks, where the waves roll into. At the end of this inlet, down low, is a small cavern where, when the rush of the wave arrives, air and water is forced . out like a clap of distant thunder. Water may spout as high as 40 feet with a thunderous roar. At 1,530 feet, Cadil- lac Mountain is the tall- est mountain along the eastern coastline of the United States. It was named after the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadil— lac. He went on to help found Detroit, where the Cadillac was named after him. The lichen-covered, pink granite summit of Cadillac is the first place in the United States where one may watch the sunrise from October 7 through March 6, due to its eastern location and height. From May 26 through Oct 19, vehicle reservations are required for Cadillac Summit Road Pemaquid Point Lighthouse was commissioned by Presi- dent John Quincy Adams in 1827. Emerson, Karlie and Kolby taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding seascape from the Pemaquid Point Light. «V I This is one of only six Fresnel lenses still in service in Maine. (recreation.gov/timed-en- try/400000). It is one of 26 significant mountains on Mount Desert Island that were pushed up by earth’s tectonic and volcanic forces millions of years ago. Were it not for the once enormous glaciers that sheared off their tops, they would be even higher than what we see today. From 1915 to 1940, wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. financed, designed, and directed the construction of about 57 miles of Carriage Roads on Mount Desert Island. A “hands on” type of project manager, Rocke- feller paid close attention to the smallest of details in the road’s construction as well as the landscaping. Granite from Hall Quarry on Mount Desert Island was quarried and transported by the construction crews for road material and bridge facing. Native vegetation such as fern and wild blue- berries was tastefully used throughout to landscape the roadside. , Lunch at the Jordan Pond House (thejordanpond- housecom) shouldn’t be missed, with views across the park’s Jordan Pond to the Bubble Mountains. Popovers are a specialty. You cannot rent bikes or canoes within the park, but in Bar Harbor, Acadia Bike, 48 Cottage Street (acadiabike.com) rents bikes for $33 a day, helmet included. g Bass Harbor Head Light is situated atop a cliff on the southernmost tip of the west side of the island. Baker Island Light and Bear Island Light are the other two lightiouses man- aged by Acadia. Located on the west bank of the Penobscot River in Prospect, Maine, Fort Knox (fortknoxmaine .com) is one of the best-preserved military fortifications on the New England seacoast. The fort has many unique architectural features, as well as a rich history behind its walls. During the country’s infancy, Maine was repeat- edly involved in northeast border disputes with British Canada. In fact, the area between Castine and the rich lumber city of Bangor was invaded and occupied by the British during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Fort Knox was established in 1844 to protect the Penobscot River Valley against a possible future British naval incur— sion. The‘fort was named for Major General Henry Knox, America’s first Sec- retary of War, who was born in Boston but retired to Thomastoh, Maine in 1796. The fort garrisoned its first troops from 1863 to 1866. These troops were mostly volunteers under- going training before being sent to their active posts, and included members of the celebrated 20th Maine. Troops were also briefly stationed at the fort during the Spanish-American war in 1898, but never saw mil- itary action. Fort Knox is open May 1 to October 31, from 9 am. to sunset, and the grounds are open year round. The adjacent Penob- scot Narrows Bridge and Observatory (maine. gov/mdot/pnbo) spans the Penobscot River, linking the town' of Prospect with Verona. The crowning achievement of this struc— ture is, of course, the obser- vatory. THE JOURNAL, Thursday, October 14, 2021 A7 Kolby, David and Emerson at the top of Cadillac Mountain. Bar Harbor is in the background. Located 420 feet in the air at the top of the west- ern pylon, it is the tallest of only four bridge obser- vatories in the world, the. other three being in China, Thailand and Slovakia. It creates an experience that gives visitors an extraordi- nary 360—degree panoramic View of the river, the bay and the surrounding Maine countryside. The design of the Penob- scot Narrows Bridge incor- porates a granite theme to honor the significance that granite has in the local economy. The Washington Monument was partially built with granite from nearby Mt. Waldo, leading to the design of the two towers in the shape of the Washington Monument. The bridge spans 2,120 feet from the east shore to the west shore, and rises 135 feet above the Penob- scot River. The bridge was planned, funded, designed, permitted and built in only 42 months at a cost of $85 million. A little farther south in th town of Bristol, the beauti- ful Pemaquid Point Light- house (bristolmaineorgl parks—recreation) is open to the public for climbing thanks to the American Lighthouse Foundation and .its dedicated chapter, the Friends of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. Visitors to the historic tower not only are provided the opportu- nity to retrace the steps of bygone keepers, they are also treated to a breathtak- ing view of the surrounding seascape atop the beacon. Pemaquid Point Light-- house was commissioned by President John Quincy Adams in 1827. It was built that same year, but due to poor workmanship using salt water in the mortar mix, the lighthouse quickly. began to fall apart. It was replaced in 1835 by a much better structure that was made using only fresh water. In March- 1940, Bristol residents voted to purchase the lighthouse property, minus the tower, .which ' was to remain with the Coast Guard. The town paid $1,639 to the govem- ment over a period of four years and renamed the site nr «.4... n-n min at. David, Kolby, Karlie and Emerson at Sand Beach in Acadia National Park. Thunder Hole is a small inlet, naturally carved out of the rocks, where the waves roll into. Water may spout as high as 40 feet with a thunderous roar. Bristol’s Lighthouse Park. Today, the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is a beloved landmark in Maine — so much so that it was chosen to be featured on the state quarter by the United States Mint. This historic light also boasts one of only six Fresnel lenses still in service in Maine. . In May 2000, the Coast Guard licensed the tower to the American Lighthouse Foundation, which contin- ues to regularly restore the beacon so visitors from all over the world can appreci- ate its history and beauty for years to come. ' The tower’s interior brick veneer, which was added along with the cast-iron staircase during the mid- to-late nineteenth century, was restored in 2010. Resto— ration funds were donated by Lowe’s, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and private individuals through the efforts of the American Lighthouse Foundation. Fort Knox is one of the best-preserved military fortifications on the New England seacoast. Located 420 feet in the air at the‘top of the Western pylon, Pendbscot Narrows Bridge Observatory is the tallest bridge observatory in the world. Journal photos by David Sasser _|_