Acadia and the Mt. Desert Island Music Festival

Trip Start May 08, 2006
Trip End Oct 2006

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Flag of United States  , Maine
Sunday, September 10, 2006

September 7th through 10th

Acadia National Park and Environs

The Acadia area has a myriad of outdoor experiences available, some easily accessible and some that require more effort, whether that be a physically demanding rock climb, or a ferry or charter boat ride away. For Thursday (the 7th), we decided to make a point of experiencing a couple of these (more easily accessible) opportunities.

The first one was the ultimate in accessibility. As the tide rose to nearly it's highest level of the day, we slipped our kayaks into the saltwater alongside our campsite and headed out to some islands in the bay. It was a short paddle (about an hour), but we enjoyed getting out on the water and seeing the tidal life below us, the rocky shores of the islands, a large kayak touring group dinking along the same shores, and lots of birds including Loons. Along with the pink granite, the Loons have been something we had seen from our westernmost point on Cortes Island and now our most eastern point while kayaking in Atlantic waters.

After lunch we packed up the bikes for a ride on a couple of the Park's famous carriage roads. The roads, which are wide gravel trails, were designed, and the construction overseen, long ago by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and they lead to many interior ponds and lakes on the island. We took a popular and beautiful route along marshlands and ponds in the northeast part of the park. Along the marshes, which looked like great Moose habitat (but with yet again no sighting!), many of the maples had turned bright red; quite a contrast with the straw-colored marsh vegetation and the blue waters.

When we got back to the campsite, the water had drained from the bay. Timing is everything in these waters!

To finish the day, we headed back to the rocky shore, finding a place on sea cliffs high above the water, for. There was an astounding mansion set up on the rocks ahead of us and we settled in for a picnic and watched a fog bank rolling in.

On Friday morning we moved from our bayfront site to the inland campground where the first annual Mt. Desert Island Music Festival was to take place the following day. This was to be the music festival for us to enjoy together. Jeff joined some family members for the Grey Fox Bluegrass festival earlier in the summer while Deb stayed in camp with Rubi. So we were looking forward to a more sane and comfortable one-day festival with some of our favorites. More on the festival later!

Not surprisingly, the campsite was not nearly as attractive as our waterfront site of the previous two days, so we quickly headed out for the afternoon and evening to explore the southwest portion of Mt. Desert Island. After driving on a dirt road through the woods in a portion of the national park, we emerged along the shore at a place called Seal Cove. Maybe because of the foggy skies or rocky shores, or both, the place reminded us of the Pacific Northwest. We felt at home and hung out watching loons and walking a bit of the shoreline. Afterwards we headed out to Bass Harbor, where we found a potential boat tour was not going out due to the weather, so we headed to the nearby lighthouse for some sightseeing and new views of the water. It turns out that both Bass Harbor and the Bass Harbor light were some of the most photographed places in Maine. We've enclosed a couple of our photos for your perusal.

Our touring stumbled a bit after the lighthouse. Southwest Harbor was crowded and pretentious, and the Seawall section of Acadia was not impressive. So - we headed back to where we started the tour, Seal Cove, for an oceanfront picnic in the fog. The tide was down, but we once again enjoyed the calls of loons and watched a few fishermen come and go from the small boat basin. We also enjoyed a good bottle of wine and stayed until nearly dark.

Saturday was concert day. We had learned about the show just a couple of weeks earlier, while Deb was searching the internet for concerts of interest. Though you may not know these artists, or not know them well, they are some of our favorites: Livingston Taylor, Jonathon Edwards and Tom Rush. Some other folks were scheduled too, and well, most all turned out to be great! Actually, with the exception of the first band, a true good ol' boy country band with a beyond-conservative agenda, the day was full of great music from blues, to soul to folk. One band, called Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations, played the blues and soul, with some great vocals, saxophone, harmonica and rockin' guitar. It turns out that one of Pat Colwell's day jobs is being the Speaker of the House in the Maine Legislature. We hope he does as good a job there as he did on stage. Attendance was light, it seemed to be about 500, but the promoters said there were more than twice that number. It was an easy-going affair, with some good food vendors including the Great Atlantic Brewing Company, who managed to have the busiest booth (go figure). We put in a couple photos of the bands...

The concert was a day show and ended at about 7:30, just ahead of a pretty good thunderstorm. We headed back for a quiet evening in the trailer, and pondered our trip back to Vermont.

That trip, which took the next one and a half days, was quite beautiful, passing through the White Mountains in New Hampshire and the colorful hills of east-central Vermont. Deb was feeling under the weather, with a new cold, so we kept the stops to a minimum. We stayed in a forest service campground in the White Mountain National Forest. Run by a concessionaire, overpriced, but empty, clean and quiet. We made a stop in Waitsfield in the Mad River Valley for some groceries and gifts, and took the trailer over Appalachian Gap by Mad River Glen Ski Area. It was nearly as steep as anyplace we'd taken the trailer, and curvy too, but mercifully short. Eric's place is just a few miles past the Gap. We spent a day and a half at Eric's, got the truck serviced for the cross-country push, and headed back to the Adirondacks for a few more days before the long return trip.
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