Mount Desert Island
Jul 6, 2008
|Acadia - our first National Park east of the Mississippi - Sunday, July 6
Today our destination is Acadia National Park about 190 miles north of Wells on the Maine coast. It is said to be one of the most beautiful of the National Parks and we have reservations for the next three nights.
Acadia is on Highway 1, and so is the Sea Vu Campground where we’ve been camped for the last three nights, but everyone in Wells says not to take Highway 1 all the way or it will take ‘days’ to get there. Obviously Highway 1 has a reputation as a slow, winding road that parallels the ocean, but does not apparently give you many views of the ocean. So we took their advice and opted for the interstate - or the Maine Turnpike to be exact.
I-95 turns into the Maine Turnpike from New Hampshire to Augusta, and it is a toll road. That means it has few on and off ramps and no cross traffic, even in the towns. Maine also has a very strict sign policy and so the roads and highways are scenic and not cluttered up with billboards or obtrusive signs.
The drive was very nice, and we enjoyed every mile. Past Augusta we got on Highway 3 which cuts across to the coast and meets up with Highway 1 again. Here the countryside gets very hilly, and the pine forested hills are nearly mountains. When the highway gets to the higher elevations there are often vistas across the land for miles. The receding ranges are softened by fog rolling in from the ocean and it is a scene of great beauty.
Since we’re going to be dry camped for the next few days we topped of the gas tank so we won’t run short for the generator. A few miles later we went through Belfast and stopped at a huge Hannaford’s market to top off our groceries too. Madolyn spotted a car wash near the market that had a bay big enough for the RV and we went there next. We hadn’t found a car/truck wash since leaving Pompano Beach in Florida, so our baby had dirt from 15 states! Embarrassing but true. We hardly recognize her now.
A few miles down the road we stopped and had lunch at The Maine Dish, a good restaurant with a spectacular view of an ocean bay with one of those unpronounceable Indian names. From there it was only another hour to the park, but it’s a huge park and finding the campground was not real easy. We finally did, and our campsite is tucked away deep in the woods. Tomorrow we’ll go exploring, but tonight we’re content to relax and watch the many kids playing in the nearby campsites.
A word about the name at the top of this page:
Most of Acadia National Park is on an island. French explorer Samuel Champlain was struck by the barren tops of the island’s mountains and he thought they looked like mountain deserts, so he named the island, l’Isle de Monts Deserts, which does not exactly translate to Mount Desert Island, but that is what it became.
A strange name, made stranger still by the fact that none of the peaks on the island is actually named Mount Desert. The highest peak on the island is called Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac Mountain was named after another French explorer who founded the Midwest city of Detroit, and he was named after the fancy motorcar that would be produced there several centuries after he died. If any kids are reading this - tell this fact to your history teacher and demand that she give you an ‘A’.