Day 1 - Arrive Acadia National Park / Witch Hole Pond
VBT will offer a shuttle from Bangor International Airport
to Mount Desert Island and the Hulls Cove Visitor Center in Acadia National
Park. The shuttle will depart the airport at 12:00 pm. If you are arriving
after this shuttle departs, or your flight is delayed, you must make your own
arrangements to reach Mount Desert Island. Please plan to have lunch before
leaving the airport, or bring a packed lunch with you.
Guests driving to the tour should meet the group at the
Hulls Cove Visitor Center in Acadia National Park and then drive to the Asticou Inn, in Northeast Harbor. Cars may
be left in the inn's parking lot, without charge, for the duration of the tour.
Our group meets at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center at 1:30 pm. Look for your Trip Leaders and the VBT vans in the
parking lot. Get acquainted with the Park, and the surrounding area, at the
visitor center, then join our Trip Leaders for a safety briefing and
orientation session. Afterwards, we'll embark on a warm-up walk along the
Park's famed crushed-stone carriage roads to Witch Hole Pond.
Later we'll shuttle to our inn overlooking the beautiful,
protected Northeast Harbor, where we'll spend three nights. There is time to
settle in to our rooms.
At 5:30 pm, meet up with the group for a tour orientation
and welcome reception before our 7:00 pm dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 - Jordan Pond Shore Trail
The highlight of our walk today is Jordan Pond—perhaps the
most famous body of water in Acadia. This is a unique area of the Park, as the
pond is framed on all sides by soaring mountains. These peaks include “the
Bubbles,” Pemetic Mountain and Penobscot Mountain. After completing the 3.4-mile
shore trail, we'll have lunch in the delightful garden setting of Jordan Pond
House. A Park fixture since 1870, the restaurant is famous for its popovers—and,
of course, it’s fabulous scenery.
After lunch you may wish to walk along the Asticou Jordan
Pond Path for 2.6 miles to arrive at the Asticou. This walk has a short moderate section. Dinner will be at another local restaurant
Day 3 - Explore Little Cranberry Island / Thuya Garden
Start your day with an elective early morning walk to the
Thuya Gardens, then enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Afterwards, board the mail boat to Little
Cranberry Island (a journey of approximately 45 minutes).
This pristine hamlet hosts a
year-round community of fishermen, boat builders, craftsmen and “rusticators”
(those who opt for country living). We'll visit the Islesford Historical Museum (open mid-June through
September) before boarding the mail boat back to Northeast Harbor (a journey of
approximately 30 minutes).
It's our final afternoon in Northeast Harbor. You'll have
the remainder of the day to explore at leisure. You might consider visiting the
beautifully landscaped Azalea Gardens, which are within walking distance of our
inn, or you may choose to visit the attractive boutiques and galleries. You may
also take advantage of our inn's amenities, which include clay tennis courts
and an outdoor swimming pool.
Enjoy a leisurely dinner this evening with your fellow
walkers at the inn.
Day 4 - Little Long Pond / Ship
Harbor Nature Trail / Wonderland
You may opt to rise early and enjoy an amazing walk along a
private carriage trail to Little Long Pond. We will pass Rockefeller’s boathouse and Little Long Pond, which was
considered Mr. Rockefeller’s bathtub. It
is an easy and relaxing walk on a wide, level trail.
After breakfast, we shuttle around spectacular Somes Sound—a
five-mile-long body of water often described as the East Coast's only fjord—to
the quieter side of Mount Desert Island. Our walks today along two notable Park trails give us the chance to
discover tidal pools and shaded spruce forests. The first, Ship Harbor Nature
Trail, forms a figure eight, winding through a unique mix of shrub lands and
shorelines before finally ending on a stone beach with an excellent view of many
offshore islands. The second,
Wonderland, is an out and back trail. Within just a short distance you will experience beautiful views of the
islands off the coast of Maine.
After lunch, we shuttle to Bar Harbor, a resort town made
famous during the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the preferred summer
retreat for many of America's wealthiest families, including the Astors and
Rockefellers. After checking into our inn, you'll have free time to make your
own discoveries. There are many activities from which you can choose (at your
own expense), such as guided sea kayaking in Frenchman Bay, or a sunset cruise
on the schooner Margaret Todd.
For dinner on your own tonight, enjoy one of the many fine
restaurants in town.
Day 5 - Shore Path / Great Head Trail / Otter Cliff
Rise early this morning for an optional sunrise walk along
Bar Harbor's picturesque Shore Path. If
tidal patterns allow, you may also walk along the sand bar to Bar Island
(accessible only at low tide).
After breakfast, we'll set off to explore the Great Head
peninsula, located on the eastern side of Sand Beach. Our loop trail begins
with us ascending a stone stairway and brings us around the peninsula's
perimeter, where we'll encounter fantastic views of Great Head's rugged
coastline and the Atlantic Ocean.
Later, we'll discover Otter Cliff, a dramatic, 110-foot
granite promontory overlooking a boulder-ringed cove. It is reputed to be one
of the highest headlands north of Rio de Janeiro. As we gaze offshore, we'll
see a bell buoy marking the location of an underwater rock formation known as
the “Spindle.” Centuries ago, while sailing at high tide, French explorer
Samuel Champlain—who is credited with discovering, and naming, Mount Desert
Island—noticed smoke rising from a Native American encampment. Deciding to sail
closer inland for a better view, his ship ran aground of the “Spindle,”
requiring Champlain and his crew to seek refuge in Otter Cove for safety and
The remainder of the day is yours to explore Bar Harbor at
leisure. Perhaps you'll browse its many specialty stores—ranging from
bookstores to antique shops to outdoor outfitters—and art galleries. Or you may
want to take advantage of our inn's spa facilities.
Tonight, we'll toast our discoveries of Acadia during a
farewell dinner at our inn.
Day 6 - Cadillac Mountain / Depart for home
This morning, we'll shuttle part of the way up Cadillac
Mountain—at 1,530 feet, the tallest peak on the Eastern Seaboard—and continue
on foot to walk the final stretch of North Ridge Trail. From Cadillac's summit,
we'll delight in superb, panoramic views of the hauntingly beautiful National
Park we've come to know so well.
Afterwards, our tour ends. VBT's return shuttle to Bangor
International Airport will depart Bar Harbor Inn at 11:30 am. We recommend flights out of Bangor no earlier
than 2:00 pm. If you've parked at the Asticou Inn, our Trip Leaders will
shuttle you back to collect your car.