Acadia was the second national park we have visited during our full-timing adventures (Great Smoky Mountains was the first). Unfortunately, there aren’t many national parks on the east coast, but we sure visited a spectacular one here in Maine. Acadia was the first national park east of the Mississippi. It is located mainly on Mount Desert Island where the largest city is Bar Harbor. The area was another playground of the rich and famous in the late 1800s and early 1900s, just as Newport, Rhode Island was where we visited a couple weeks ago. It was a summer playground for the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Astors, Morgans, and Fords. But they and many others left quite the legacy as most all of the land was donated by such private individuals for the national park. John D Rockefeller, Jr. was very instrumental in prevailing on other land owners to donate for the park. And he also donated the nearly 50 miles of carriage roads of the park. He had carriage roads on his home estate near New York City and had similar ones built on Mount Desert Island, in part to try to limit the use of cars on the island. Today, cars are still prohibited on the carriage roads and they can only be used for hiking, biking, horses and cross country skiing. There are 17 granite bridges on the carriage roads and along many areas of the carriage roads there are large granite blocks along the edges. We enjoyed two bike roads on the carriage roads, one around beautiful Eagle Lake and the other around some smaller lakes where there were beaver lodges. We hiked several trials, one up to the top of a granite ridge where you could see how ancient glaciers had deposited boulders on top of the ridge and had traveled with such huge force that it had scored the granite rock.
The island and the park contains many granite peaks. The valleys of the park were shaped by glacial flows leaving behind huge boulders and many lakes. The granite is so hard that even the waves of the ocean can’t break it down into sandy beaches. There is only one small sandy beach on the islands and its sand comes from the erosion of shells.
We met up with our friends from Florida again and went to the restaurant overlooking Jordan Pond for an iconic ice cream filled popover topped with hot fudge. We had to walk that one off on one of the carriage roads (well at least we tried).