Northeast Harbor, Upper Hadlock Pond Carriage Road, & Somes Sound
Another day off work means another day to explore Acadia National Park. If you’re noticing a pattern here, this is kinda what we imagined when we were investigating the opportunity to work in Bar Harbor, ME this summer. Work the hours we are scheduled and then utilize our days off to explore a National Park where most people come to vacation. So far it has worked out pretty good.
For today’s adventure we chose to head to the southern side of the island, often referred to as the “quiet side” of the Island for its slower and more relaxed pace when compared to Bar Harbor. As advertised, the town had a feeling of understated “class” in a Maine coastal way. Along Main St. there were several small and attractive boutiques, some great galleries, and great places to eat including a very good bakery. As we drove down Main St. admiring the storefronts, as usual we were easily distracted by a sign for the Town Marina. Since we had already been advised by Jay and Mike that the marina was worth a look, we made the left turn and headed for the water. Our long-time readers already know that we always head for water when given the choice, so today was no time to veer from that habit.
After parking in the marina parking lot, next to the lobster roll-selling food truck (a nice touch), we strolled towards the sail masts and lobster boats. Granted, we have seen quite a few lobster boats during our time in Maine, but Northeast Harbor had a pleasant mix of working lobster boats, large and small sail boats, and some beautiful wooden boats that looked like they may have been created at the Hinckley Yacht Boat Yard, which is located directly on the harbor. We found a bench close to the water’s edge and sat down for a closer look. Every direction in the harbor could have been a painting, or at least a good photograph. Directly in front of us was a collection of three, meticulously maintained boats, that we were told belonged to the legendary television producer, Dick Wolf, of “Law & Order” fame. There was a lady onboard the largest of the three boats, cleaning, wiping, and waxing everything in sight. The boats were well taken care of, and it showed in their shine. Deciding this would be a great place to enjoy the lunch we had packed, we went back to the car, retrieved our coolers, and settled in for a lunch with a view. Some people would not be able to wast away a couple of hours with just a view of a harbor and some boats, but we had no problem accomplishing just that.
Enough sitting and looking around, it was time to move our bodies a bit. Having already planned for this by loading our bikes on the back of the Pilot, it was time to head for a Carriage Road in the Park. We parked at the Brown Mountain Gatehouse parking area which is located along Route 198, less than one mile south of Upper Hadlock Pond. The gatehouse structure is one of the majestic carriage road constructions in the park and is one of two formal entrances to the Carriage Road system. We were quickly on the 4.1 mile Upper Hadlock Pond Carriage road. Since this was our second excursion biking on the Carriage Roads we were much better prepared for the hilly terrain, gravel surface, and tree canopy above the trail. Read about our first Carriage Road biking experience here. No walking this time (although we did stop for a brief rest on the comfy coping stones!), as we pedaled the Carriage Road around the loop. The main reason for choosing this section of Carriage Road was the fact that there were three Rockefeller-built granite bridges in this short 4 mile section.
They really are works of art and engineering at the same time. And the best bridge was probably also the largest over a small waterfall. A great photo op, but the pictures never do the scenery justice.
After completing our short bike ride, we loaded the bikes on the car and headed home. With our path home running along Somes Sound we were eagerly anticipating some nice views of the Sound. Somes Sound is a large and deep body of water located in the lower mid-section of Mount Desert Island whose cavity was formed from past glacier activity. Gigantic continental glaciers shaped the land to have a noticeable “North-South” orientation seen with so many of the ponds and lakes on MDI. Several places in the Sound are measured at over 100 feet deep, with the deepest point being approximately 175 feet deep. In the past, Somes Sound was described as a “fjord” and the only one of its kind on the East Coast. In recent years, this description has been somewhat downgraded to the “fjard” because it lacks the extreme vertical topography and the oxygen deprived sediments as the Norwegian fjords. We found an opening along the road to snap a couple of pictures. Perfectly timed, there was a sailboat making its way up the Sound as we stood and watched.
So there you have it, another day with boats, a little exercise, natural beauty, lunch with a friend and some perfect Maine summer temperatures. Back to work tomorrow to earn some more time off!
Carriage Road Progress: 14.5 miles down, 30.5 miles to go