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National Parks of the Northeast

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Maine – Acadia National Park

 

 

6 days from $2898

This special adventure on the rugged Maine coast will carry you deep into a one-of-a-kind landscape carved by the ages from stone and salt water. Here, dense balsam forests spill onto a magnificent rocky coast teeming with natural wonders, and sweeping views of timeless ocean and unbounded sky wait on the many trails that lace the shore. Travel from the charming town of Bar Harbor to mountain-summit panoramas that reach their apex atop Cadillac Mountain, the Eastern Seaboard’s highest point.

Following the park’s car-free, turn-of-the-century carriage roads, you’ll encounter idyllic ponds hosting herons and loons, and Azalea and Thuya Gardens, which blend natural beauty with landscaped historic areas. Explore miniature tidal-pool worlds at the ocean’s edge and enjoy walks in hushed woodlands below soaring cliffs. And did we mention the seafood? From a clambake at the famous Bar Harbor Inn to lunch on a secluded beach, you’ll find the chowders, lobster, blueberry pies, and other Maine delicacies to be as abundant as the sea-scented locations in which they’re savored.

Jordan Pond & the Bubbles

 

 

    Walk the carriage roads of Acadia National Park
    Explore Little Cranberry Island
    Walk along the Asticou Trail
    Hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain
    Two expert, local guides (for groups of 8 or more), with you 24/7

 

Day 1 – Acadia National Park / Bar Harbor
Meet your guides and group at the Bangor, Maine airport and depart by van for the one-hour drive to Acadia National Park. Proceed to the park’s visitor center. An introductory walk along one of the park’s many carriage roads leads to Witch Hole Pond, and provides views of Frenchman Bay and Hull’s Cove to the northeast, as well as the distant mountains to the north. After lunch at a seaside restaurant, an afternoon walk in the Sieur de Monts Spring area takes you to a mountain pond known as the Tarn via the Jessup Path. A series of plank bridges skirt the open marsh and provides views of Huguenot Head, Champlain Mountain, and Dorr Mountain. You connect to the Hemlock Loop, which dates back 100 years when the walking paths connected downtown Bar Harbor to Acadia National Park. The well-graded paths and log and plank bridges provide good footing in this area. After a short drive to bustling and quaint Bar Harbor, the island’s largest community, you settle into your in-town resort hotel with a water’s edge marina overlooking Frenchman Bay and the open ocean. For dinner, you are welcomed to Maine with a taste of its ocean bounty, perhaps fresh steamed lobster or littleneck clams. Overnight Bar Harbor Inn. (L, D)
Miles logged: Paradise Hill – Witch Hole Pond Loop: 2.3 miles, easy, 200 ft elevation gain. Sieur de Monts Spring area, Jessup Path, Hemlock Loop, Tarn, and Great Meadow Loop: 4.9 miles, easy to moderate, less than 100 ft elevation gain

Day 2 – Ocean Drive Trail / Gorham Mountain Trail
The morning’s walks are devoted to the ocean side of Mount Desert Island, starting at sheltered Sand Beach, a gorgeous 300-yard long beach nestled between Great Head and Newport Cove.
Continue on to the Ocean Drive Trail, one of the park’s most popular trails featuring dramatic views stretching along the oceanfront from Sand Beach to Otter Point. The historic trail, which was part of the original trail network dating from the late 19th century, was completely restored and resurfaced about 10 years ago, and rises to Otter Cliffs, the highest ocean-edge cliffs in the park. Baker’s Island is in full view to the south, and a slice of Little Cranberry Island can be seen to its west. The Great Head loop departs from the eastern end of Sand Beach and follows the peninsula’s headland, with views south back to the beach, the Ocean Path, and Otter Cliffs. Rising through windblown grass to its highest point of 145 feet, waves crash below. Returning to the trailhead on a bog walk, you are ready to enjoy your picnic lunch. This afternoon you enjoy a hike along the Gorham Mountain Trail providing sweeping views of the morning’s walks along the Ocean Path, Sand Beach, and Great Head. The gradual ascent up open ledges features ridge-top panoramic views as your trail follows the ridge that runs north to Champlain Mountain, and is part of the chain of mountains closest to the ocean. Overnight Bar Harbor Inn. (B, L)
Miles logged: Shore path: 1.5 miles, easy. Great Head Loop: 2.1 miles easy to moderate. Ocean Path: 2.1 miles, easy. Gorham Mountain Trail: 1.8 miles, easy

Day 3 – Jordan Pond / Asticou Trail
After a hearty breakfast, the setting of the day’s walk is Jordan Pond, a serene fresh water pond at the park’s interior. The trail circles the pond, winding through blueberry bushes, clusters of white birch and shady spruce. At the pond’s northern end are two symmetrical hills called the Bubbles, North and South. Reflected in the pond’s pristine waters, the real peaks are also in view throughout the walk. A longer and more challenging option leads to the summits of both Bubbles, where you are rewarded with views of Eagle Lake, another freshwater pond lying just to the north, as well as Connor’s Nubble and Frenchman Bay. Looping back to Jordan Pond, enjoy lunch at the Jordan Pond House Restaurant, a historic teahouse-style restaurant dating from the late 19th century. This afternoon provides two options: Those who wish to arrive on foot to our home for the next three nights will leave the Jordan Pond parking lot and join the Asticou Trail. The path is a carpet of pine needles filling the air with an earthy sweet aroma. Crossing streams on wooden bridges with fancy handrails and winding through the forest you arrive at the Asticou Inn and find your luggage waiting you in your room. The other option is arriving by van, making your way to Northeast Harbor, on the southern end of Mount Desert Island, at the entrance to Somes Sound. Smaller and quieter than Bar Harbor, it is well known for its yacht-building tradition, in addition to a range of galleries, shops, and restaurants. For dinner this evening, you travel to the village of Southwest Harbor for dinner at a fine restaurant offering cuisine celebrating New England traditions with European and Southwest influences. Overnight Asticou Inn. (B, L, D)
Miles logged: Jordan Pond: 4-8 miles, easy to moderate. Asticou Trail: 2.5 miles, easy

Day 4 – Little Cranberry Island
Today discover one of the secluded islands off Mount Desert’s southern coast. After breakfast overlooking the sound, catch the mail boat out of Southwest Harbor for the hour-long crossing to Little Cranberry Island. One of the five Cranberry Isles—Great Cranberry, Little Cranberry or Isleford, Bear, Baker, and Sutton—the islands are from one to five miles offshore and named after the low-bush wild cranberries that grow profusely throughout their terrain. A quiet road leads up to a grassy bluff and continues through groves of tall firs, passing white clapboard cottages. A picnic is unpacked at a perfect spot overlooking glimmering water and a pebbled beach, distant sailboats skimming the ocean’s surface. After looping back to the village dock, you board the afternoon ferry for the return trip to Southwest Harbor. At your hotel there is time to linger in the manicured grounds and perfectly situated Adirondack chairs, or perhaps play a game of croquet in the late afternoon light. Tonight you dine at your elegant hotel restaurant while taking in the view of the beautiful Northeast Harbor. Overnight Asticou Inn. (B, L, D)
Miles logged: Little Cranberry Island: 4-7 miles, easy to moderate

Day 5 – Beech Mountain
A walk on Beech Mountain, on the western side of Mount Desert Island, gives an excellent overview of the region. The trail gradually ascends the western flank with views of Long Pond and Blue Hill across the sparkling waters of Blue Hill Bay to the west. At the summit, near a closed fire tower, you look over the towns of both Southwest and Northeast Harbors, the entrance to Somes Sound—North America’s true fjord—and the Cranberry Isles lying offshore to the south. The trail descends some rocky ledge before looping back to the trailhead in Somesville. Later, celebrate your Acadian adventure at an elegant restaurant, toasting your exploration of a stunning region over creative gourmet cuisine. Overnight Asticou Inn.
Miles logged: Friends Trail – Long Pond Loop: 1.8 miles easy. Beech Mt. North Ridge Trail: 1.5 miles easy to moderate. Valley Trail: 2.3 miles, easy to moderate

Day 6 – Cadillac Mountain
No visit to Acadia is complete without a trip to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Not only is it the highest point in the park at 1,530 feet, but it has the distinction of being the highest point on the entire North and South American coastline. This morning you drive to a point where the North Ridge Trail intersects the access road and hike the final mile to the treeless summit offering breathtaking views over Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay, and the open ocean spread before you.
The Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden were created in the 1950s by Charles Savage, a local innkeeper. In Asticou Azalea Garden over 20 varieties of azaleas are featured in a Japanese-style garden where pathways meander to an iris-bordered pond, stream, and meditation garden. The Thuya Garden is named for the native white cedar trees, under which a profusion of colorful perennials are artfully placed. Many of the gardens’ plants were relocated from the Bar Harbor gardens of landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, who, in the early 20th century, consulted in the landscape design and plantings along the carriage roads, contributing to their seemingly effortless blending into the topography. After stopping for lunch in Ellsworth at a lively Mediterranean bistro, you arrive at the Bangor airport by mid-afternoon for onward flights. (B, L)
Miles logged: Cadillac Mt. North Ridge: 1 mile, moderate. Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden: 1.5 miles, easy


 

Bar Harbor: Bar Harbor Inn and Spa
Northeast Harbor: Asticou Inn

 

 

 

Departure Date Twin Single Triple
6/29/2014 $2898 $3598  
8/24/2014 $2898 $3598  
9/07/2014 $2898 $3598  
9/14/2014 $2898 $3598  
9/212014 $2898 $3598  
9/28/2014 $2898 $3598  

 

Additional Information

 

Prices are land-only, per person.
Please also note that actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience.
Activity Level: This tour is one of our Classic Walking tours, rated easy to moderate, walking an average of 2-8 miles daily with occasional options on most days. The ascents on this tour are short with the longest being no more than 45 minutes with a maximum gain and loss of up to 540 feet. The walks take you along tidal pools, rocky shores, and wooded trails, so the terrain can be sandy and rocky, or well-worn forested paths, and gravel carriage trails. Not all trails have level footing and you may encounter exposed roots and rocks. Classic coastal Maine sights and flavors are enhanced by the history of Acadia National Park and its tradition of elegant summer vacationing.