Monday, August 22, 2016

Carfree Acadia!

 Acadia National Park, on an island in Maine, is awash in cars and tourists in August.  Liv and I wanted a nice, quiet outing....a picnic and hike...without the mobs of Bar Harbor and popular spots in the park.   The solution...a ferry ride from Winter Harbor...across Frenchman Bay to College of the Atlantic...then free rides on the Acadia Explorer Seal Harbor.   A picnic of the green there, then a hike along Little Long Pond (not part of the park, but a scenic spot with link to the Carriage Roads and Jordan Pond House bus stop.  Back to COA and the ferry for a ride home!  No hassle, no traffic, no crowds.  A chance to enjoy the natural beauty of Acadia and Mt Desert Island without the crowds.

Acadia National Park

The Schoodic Ferry (part of Frenchman Bay Research Boating) makes the trip (about 50 minutes) several times daily.  Our ride to COA took a bit longer in some typically thick "Downeast" fog.

Schoodic Ferry website

The Schoodic Ferry dock and Island Explorer bus stop are in Henry Cove.  Free parking and a whale museum!

Schoodic Marine Center....ferry office, whale museum, hot coffee and homemade goodies for the trip.

More about whales and other marine mammals...

The Island Explorer shuttle runs everywhere in Winter Harbor and also on the Schoodic area of Acadia National Park.

Nothing better than a FREE RIDE!

I digress....but here comes the ferry....ghostly... out of the morning fog.

Formerly a dive boat, the Katie Grace's paint job makes her the coolest thing on the water!  Thanks to the Hinkley yard in Manset.  They are not all picnic boats, you know.

Out of the fog, at the dock.   But, not everyone wants to go for a ride when the mackerel are running!

Mackerel fishing in Maine

Capt Kaitlyn ready to go!

Weather, wind, tides all change the ferry route as it makes it's way in and around the many islands of Frenchman Bay.

First Mate Sarah casting off the stern line.  Sarah is a graduate of College of the Atlantic with a special interest in whales.

College of the Atlantic

Fog is a photographers dream.

Fog photography

Even the cormorants aren't going out in this stuff! that a green can?

Starting to lift?

No...not yet.  Easy to get fooled in the fog.

Almost to Bar's one of the "porcupines!"

The local kayak guides are keeping everyone close together...good idea as ocean paddling is not as easy as is looks.

At the COA dock....loading for the trip back to Winter Harbor.

The Turrets....classic "summer cottage" part of the campus.

First stop on the Eden St the Village Green, change busses and on to Seal Harbor for a picnic on the village green.

Quaint village with a nice public beach and placid cove for the boats of the rich and famous "rusticators."

Village Green.

Public beach...also a bus stop.

Short walk to the next cove and across the street to Little Long Pond.....a gem known only to the locals...formerly part of the Rockefeller estate  (you can see a great view of the pond from Abby's garden).

Also a great place for your well behaved pooch!

The path leads into the park Carriage Paths.

A stop along Jordan Stream and one of the bridges....architectural beauties....this on built in 1917!

A great discovery....only a stone's throw from the Jordan Pond House bus stop!  Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactus helleborine).

Introduced from Europe in the 1930s....this little gem is the only nonnative wild orchid in Maine.

Back on the bus in time to catch the 3:55 ferry!

Better weather for the return trip....but fog rolling in again.

Schooner Margaret Todd, as we motored stately out of Bar Harbor.

Spectacle Island.....a private island rental for the very well heeled rusticator!

Egg Rock Lighthouse....a long way off as we turn toward Winter Harbor.

Mark Island privately owned, but the owner still run the light.

Headed through Mt Desert Narrows headed home ahead of the fog to Winter Harbor.

A nice boat bus...picnic on the village green...a peaceful walk in Acadia ...some nature....back home for supper! 
That's what we call