Visiting Idyllic Northeast Harbor, Maine Near Acadia National Park
by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/09/16
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Maine's Acadia National Park is truly one of the most
spectacular parks in the United States, with its beyond scenic rocky
coast, and forested valleys, lakes and mountains, carved by glacial
force. It cannot be fully described, only joyfully visited.
Truly a visual treat, this 40,000 acre wonderland offers endless
natural delights. Take, for example, the dramatic sunsets at 1,500 foot
Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. From
Cadillac, one can see amazing views of Penobscot, Frenchman and Blue
Hill Bays. From the top of Gorham Mountain, you get an incredible view
of the glacial blue Atlantic Ocean. Then there is Thunder Hole, with
its waves creating a sonic boom. For those in touch witha more isolated
nature, miles and miles of trails and bicycle paths will bring you in
touch with beautiful wildflowers, a wonderful variety of trees and some
great fresh and salt water swimming. The 27-mile loop at Mt. Desert
Island offers endless ocean and mountain scenery, unlike anything
you've seen before.
Many choose the commercial center of Bar Harbor to launch their Acadia
National Park and Maine summer vacation. Bar Harbor is certainly
pleasant enough with its tree-lined streets, fine captain's homes,
harbor views, and refreshing breeze, but it can also be capable of
traffic jams, unctious souvenir shops, unkempt flower children and
flavor-of-the-week restaurants, changing hands every few years. In a
way, Bar Harbor is not compatible with the untouched scenic beauty of
the region, and can often come across as a bit too hectic.
We prefer Northeast Harbor, a splendid little village boasting the
prettiest harbor you will ever see. Sunny even when it's cloudy,
Northeast Harbor is quietly confident ,as it never panders to the
tourist. In the little village, you will find an old-time market, the
Colonels Restaurant and Bakery (recently reopened after a fire last
summer), some antique stores and a few restaurants. One of them, the
could be considered your classic Maine restaurant, with
charming "Down East" waitresses, lobster to die for, unbelievable clam
chowder, and in the summer, salt air flavored outdoor dining on the
doorstep of the Harbor.
Kimball Terrace Inn, is your top
lodging choice, with 52 of the 70
spacious rooms having a private balcony or patio with great views of
the Harbor and marina. Kimball Terrace features a heated pool, tennis,
a fine indoor/outdoor dining experience at the Main Sail, and all the
modern amenities (telephone, cable television and meeting rooms). A
short walk from Kimball Terrace is the downtown.
Clifton Dock, a five minute walk from the Kimball Terrace, will sooth
your soul. Try walking there at night, sampling the tall pines, wide
open sky, piercingly bright stars, the bucolic symphony of crickets,
and the soothing sounds of the pristine Maine waters. Boats bob up and
down, as if they were nodding approval at their owner's choice of
location. Soon you become mesmerized by the peacefulness. You forget
about the chill in the air, or the initial plans of getting back to a
nice, warm room to watch the ball game or to the bakery to buy
something sweet. Clifton Dock offers oceans of tranquility, the perfect
place to end a day, or start a new one. The sea is indeed a great place
to become new again.
Although you could spend your entire vacation in Northeast
its rocky coastline, harbor, open fields, flower gardens, hiking
trails, forests and lakes, you're best off having this village as your
point of origin--the rest of Acadia is just too special to miss.
However, if you put on the blinders and did spend your whole time at
Northeast Harbor, you would not leave disappointed. It is an
all-inclusive resort area that doesn't even know it. Perhaps that is
the real appeal of this special little place, big on Maine atmosphere
and short on tourist trappings. What a great place, indeed, to start
your Acadia National Park and Maine summer vacation.
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