It’s true, we’ve now passed the one-year mark since we began our journey. It has been a rich and full experience and yet time has passed very quickly.
Before I forget, I’ll answer a question that was asked just before we left: What if we don’t like it? Well, we love it. Even though the first time I woke up in Island Girl knowing that I’d be living here for a while, my first thought was – What have I done? – I quickly came to love it and have never looked back.
The best-known town on Mount Desert Island is Bar Harbor (pronounced Baa Ha Ba by the “Mainers”). Bar Harbor has a number of shops, restaurants, bars etc. The town also offers many boat tours, including a sail on the “Margaret Todd” a 151-foot schooner and the only four-masted schooner operating in this area in over fifty years. We’d spotted this beautiful vessel while driving through, and kept seeing it from different vantage points but we never took the tour. There were, of course, other beautiful boats in this harbor, but the Margaret Todd was a standout.
Bar Harbor was a cute town but we frankly thought it was a bit too touristy and only spent a half-day in the town. Angel enjoyed the visit and got lots of pets while we ordered some tasty ice cream.
We took a scenic nature cruise on the Sea Princess, a boat run by Acadia National Park. The tour goes past some small islands and stops briefly in Little Cranberry Island. It’s narrated by a National Park Ranger, who provides information on the history of various islands, the different animal species etc.
Acadia National Park is located on an island called Mount Desert (pronounced “dessert”) Island. It’s thought that Native Americans were here, hunting, digging shellfish and fishing for at least 6,000 years.
The first documented visitor to the Island was Samuel de Champlain in 1604. He called the island “Isle de Mont-Deserts” or island of barren mountains after noting that it was “very high and cleft into seven or eight mountains, all in a line”.
Hector and I are huge fans of the National Parks and very much looked forward to visiting this furthest northeast park. Another interesting fact about this Park is that it’s the first national park whose land was donated entirely by private citizens.
We took the early morning mail boat out of Port Clyde to visit Monhegan Island, a small (about one square mile) rocky island which is only accessible by boat. The island has a small village with year round and summer residents, a population of less than 65. It has a church, a library and a school. There are no cars or paved roads on the island.
It’s a very remote place with no pharmacies nor medical facilities, limited fire equipment, and only one public restroom facility.
The mailboat, the WWII era Laura B, has been serving Monhegan Island with cargo and passenger service for over 50 years. With the fore deck piled high with assorted goods and a mix of tourists and locals aboard we made the 70 minute crossing.
Maine has over 60 lighthouses, and more than 20 are located in the Penobscot Bay area. Some are accessible by land, others are best seen by boat. There’s even a boat trip that visits 15 lighthouses in a day. Crazy!
We continued to explore the surroundings of Penobscot Bay and discovered many picturesque and interesting towns. Of special interest to us were the harbors, and there were many, some small, some large, many actual working harbors. And in the harbors, of course, are the boats.
We’d been eagerly awaiting our arrival in Maine as this was our first time in the state and many people had told us that it’s a beautiful place. We stayed in Southport, near Boothbay Harbor, at Gray Homestead Oceanfront Campground.