2014-05-20 Oli's Trolley Tour of Bar Harbor and Acadia

Gary and I were witnesses at a wedding here at the KOA, and the happy couple was so very nice to give us a gift certificate to Galen's, an excellent restaurant in Bar Harbor. What a nice treat! We had a great early lunch - fantastic crab cakes for me and a hamburger (one of the best he's ever had) for Gary. Then we caught the afternoon tour on Oli's Trolley. 

 We sell Oli's Trolley tours at the park, so we go free on "stand-by".... so before the summer crowds hit, we took advantage of the opportunity to experience the tour. There were only 10 folks on our trolley, and the driver was very knowledgeable about Bar Harbor, history of the park and area. We learned a lot about the Rockefeller history in the area, as the driver's family worked for the Rockefellers for 40+ years.

The tour cruises around highlights of Bar Harbor where we learned about the fire of 1947 which changed the face of Bar Harbor forever, burning down the summer homes of the wealthy and famous. The tour then continues on the Acadia scenic loop. Moments before our tour, it was beauiful blue skies, but when we headed up the road to the peak of Cadillac Mountain, the clouds laid low and the peak was enshrowded in a layer of fog. This is how fast conditions change in Acadia. The tour stopped at Sieur de Monts Spring and the Wild Gardens of Acadia. Definitely worth a stop on the Acadia loop, the gardens will be amazing when the blooms are a-bloomin'.

Trolley on the peak of Cadillac Mountain
Cadillac Mountain on a cloudy day

Beaver trimming in evidence at Sieur de Monts

Beaver Lodge at the parking lot for Sieur de Monts Spring

The tour also made a 15 minute stop at Thunder Hole. Once again, we enjoyed scrambling on the rocks and watching the incoming surf, but alas it was again a calm day and there was no "thunder".

View of the rocky coast from the trolley

2014-05-13 Acadia's 27-mile scenic loop

On our first full day with a road-worthy truck, we set out to explore Acadia's 27-mile scenic loop here on Mt. Desert Island. There are many trailheads along the way, scenic overlooks, and popular stops. It will take months to explore them all. One half of the drive is a one-way, 2-lane road so folks can park in the right lane to check out the sights. Just before the entrance station for the scenic loop, our first stop was the Schooner Head Overlook, with a short path around the bend and down to the shoreline to admire the rocky shore and an impressive mansion on Schooner Head.

parking for Schooner Head overlook

Schooner Head Overlook

Sand Beach is the only sandy beach on the island, surrounded by an abundance of hiking trails. all of which I hope to explore, including the Beehive climb. There is an easy foot path called the Ocean Path leading from here, past Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs, to Otter Point. While we were at Sand Beach, the nature cruise boat came by - we would be on that boat soon! (We are very blessed to go free, on the boat and trolley tours we sell in the park!)

Lighthouse / Nature Cruise boat

Thunder Hole is one of the most visited sites in the park - where a surge of water in the right conditions creates a thunderous WHOOMPF of water and air exploding from a narrow tunnel in the rock. The tides were quiet with no big splash for our first visit, but I had a blast climbing around on the rocks. This place is better than Tom Sawyer's Island! Great place if you enjoy scrambling around on granite.

Our 1st vist to Thunder Hole

No crashing waves today

From Thunder Hole towards Otter Cliffs and Otter Point

Around the bend at Otter Point
We had some errands to run so did not spend time exploring the rest of the loop, we cruised right on by the Otter Cliffs where climbers abound, Otter Point, around the bend and through the remainder of the scenic loop, passing the historic Jordan Pond Gate House, Jordan Pond House where the popovers are a big draw, and on home.
Jordan Pond Gate House, built by John D Rockefeller,Jr. in 1931

2014-05-12 Cadillac Mountain and Bar Island

Truck repair was done this morning, so we finally could head up the winding road to the peak of Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the eastern seaboard and, in winter, the first place to see sunrise in the U.S. It is a popular place for sunrise and on a clear day, provides a gorgeous view in all directions.

Can't wait to hike the trails up the mountain. When the free Island Explorer shuttle is running, we can start a hike in one place and finish in another, so there are lots of options up, over and around this peak.

There is a short path around the peak of the mountain, providing outstanding views

Looking down towards Bar Harbor

Gary riding the bike down Cadillac Mountain (note he did not ride UP)


While checking out the view from Cadillac Mountain, we noticed that the bar leading from Bar Harbor across to Bar Island was exposed by low tide, so we headed to town for the unique experience of driving to the island. There is a short hiking trail on Bar Island, but plan carefully or you'll be stranded when the tide comes in. Just in a half hour, we noticed there was a noticeable reduction in the size of the "bar".

driving on the bar

From Bar Island looking back to Bar Harbor

No kidding!

Time to head back