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Unique spots to visit???

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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Unique spots to visit???

We will be in Acadia National Park on July 8-10th from the Midwest and we plan on visiting a lot of the "touristy" sites such as Cadillac Mountain, Bar Harbor, Thunder Hole, biking on the carriage trails, hiking, Otter Cliff / Cove / Point, Ocean Trail, Bass Harbour lighthouse, etc.

I would also like to surprise the family with something a little different. Does anyone know of any unique and fun ideas for us and our 2 teenage boys?

As always, Thanks for any help!!!

Virginia
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1. Re: Unique spots to visit???

Hmm unique and different. Thats tough. What some may find unique and different, others may find 'run of the mill'

I like the 'Bowl'. Its a pond between Beehive and Gorham.

'Homans Path' is a stretch of trail that was rediscovered after many years. Its a trail of stone steps that was painstakingly created but didnt hook up to the trails around it until a few years ago. It eventually leads up Dorr Mtn which usually isnt that popular of a trail.

Bubble Rock is pretty cool. A rock appears to sit precipitously on the edge of a mountain. Its a neat sight. (and yes 'precipitously' is an SAT word that I have been waiting a long time to use again in normal conversation.)

Maybe one of the posters who lives in BH can help you.

Cape Elizabeth...
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2. Re: Unique spots to visit???

Well, not sure how unique this is, but what about getting offshore?

You could try Islesford, also known as the Cranberry Islands. There is a frequent ferry to Little Cranberry from Northeast Harbour. There isn't anything going on out there (but it's beautiful)-----you could let the kids explore by themselves whilst you and your spouse take a look at the little museum and perhaps enjoy a beer (or lunch) on the deck of the little restaurant. The kids are safe; it's not like they can get too far away on an island.....and sometimes for teenagers, the whole point is to have some time away from the parents anyway!

I know there are also excursion boats to Long Island, locally known as Frenchboro. This is an interesting community-----it is very old-Maine, with the people still attempting to scrape out a living without a real connection to the mainland (which is why I don't suggest you visit by ferry---it goes out there only once or twice a week). But lobster is king on Frenchboro, and a local family (the Lunts) have created a lunch-attraction----a lobster dinner on the wharf in this little village. I am not a lobster-eater, but I always eat one in Frenchboro (on my once-per-year visit on my own boat)----they are always hard shelled and wonderful, which is a pretty big thing for this Jewish girl to say. Other than the little village, there is NOTHING on the island save vistas to die for and nice little pocket-beaches. Years ago, when the State of Maine was going to close the island school due to not enough students, the good people of Frenchboro took in foster children in order to keep the school going (the high school kids still must go to the mainland to go to school, which involves some adult volunteering to stay with them weeks at a time, away from family). Frenchboro is a struggling slice of what Maine once was...and is just nice to visit.

Although I have often visited Swan's Island on my own boat, I haven't gone ashore too much. However I do know that the ferry runs from Bass Harbour a few times a day, and I am told it is a GREAT place to bike! Perhaps the ferry excursion with the bikes would be fun.

Lastly....and egad am I out of my element here!.....how about renting sea kayaks someplace around the park, or even taking a sailboat cruise? I apologize that I cannot tell you off the top of my head who rents kayaks, but I CAN tell you that as soon as you are on Mt. Desert you will be given a booklet with masses of info.....kayak rental included. I sail my own boat in that area every summer and have encountered at least two different places that rent kayaks and/or give lessons, including a place on the "quiet side" (i.e. western side) of Acadia. We watched them last year from the deck of our boat in the most beautiful pot beneath the mountains and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

Good luck!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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3. Re: Unique spots to visit???

A half day of kayaking with the boys would be unique and fun. You could even let them go on their own while you do something else. The guides are wonderful and it's quite safe. Coastal Kayaking is one of the places where you can sign up for a tour. They take a van full of equipment and passengers to a place chosen with that day's wind and tide in mind. The big trailer takes the tandem kayaks. When you get to your put-in place, you get a short lesson and you are off for an adventure on the ocean.

Or you could take the family lobstering. Right at the Bar Harbor docks there is a boat called The Lulu which will take you out to pull up some lobster traps and let you see, hands-on, what it is all about. If you google on Lulu Lobster Boat you will get the details.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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4. Re: Unique spots to visit???

The two previous posts have a lot of good ideas.

Sea kayaking is a great way to see the island from a different perspective. As has been stated, there are several places that rent kayaks (some rent both cycles and kayaks). There are at least two---Coastal Kayak and National Park Sea Kayak tours---that take you to various locations depending on wind and tide. The guides are licensed Maine guides; you would be paddling in two-person craft,

Another possibiity, since you already have mentioned cycling in another post, is to take your cycles and ferry across to Winter Harbor and cycle the Schoodic Point area, which also is part of Acadia National Park.

Lehigh Valley, PA
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5. Re: Unique spots to visit???

I would just add my two cents to two of the ideas mentioned above.

Take the ferry from Bass Harbor to Swans island. When we went we took our car which obviously helps getting around. The island is fascinating in its own right but Burnt Coat Harbor (Hockamock Head) Light is a neat old lighthouse to visit. You can grab a lobster roll for lunch at Underwater Taxi. You can hike on the island. And as a bonus, you get a great view of Bass Harbor Light from the water on the way back.

Speaking of Bass Harbor Light, when you visit there be sure to follow the short trail on the left side of the parking area around the lighthouse and down onto the rocks below. The view is beautiful - and a whole different perspective of the lighthouse.

The second thing I would recommend is the trip over to Schoodic. The ferry would be a great way to get there and biking would be a great way to see it. The coastline there is very rocky and very scenic. I think you would enjoy it. We plan on going back there when we visit in September again this year.

Also consider the short hike from Bar Harbor to Bar Island. At low tide (+/- 2 hours) the sand bar connecting Bar Harbor and Bar Island is exposed and you can walk/hike over to the island. It is an easy hike and the view from Bar Island of Bar Habor and the mountains of Acadia is wonderful. (It is the background on my computer). Low tide times are 3:07 pm on 7/8; 3:57 pm on 7/9 and 4:47 on 7/10. So you would have a window from about 2pm to 6 pm on the 9th.

Enjoy.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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6. Re: Unique spots to visit???

Thanks for the ideas... I've shared them with the family and we've just made reservations for the sea kayaking and are considering some of the other ideas as well.

Thanks again!

Tenants Harbor...
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7. Re: Unique spots to visit???

Well, you've been given lots of good ideas - but, let me further confuse things. One of the most impressive pieces of real estate in the entire state is Monhegan Island. Just 75 people live there year 'round. The cliffs on the "backside" are nearly 200' off the water. It's a wonderful place to spend a few hours or a few days.

In the summer you can take the boat from Port Clyde in the morning and return later in the afternoon - but spending the night would be a plus. And there are numerous great choices for lodging and dining if you choose to stay.

When you return from even a few hours on the island you really feel you've been gone for a while and have traveled some place totally unique.

Brunswick, Maine
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8. Re: Unique spots to visit???

I have two teenage boys and one teenage girl vising this summer, and I would love to take them rock climbing at Otter Cliffs. There used to be companies offering instructions, but I'm not seeing anything online right now. Perhaps someone local to Bar Harbor knows of a company offering rocking climbing....

Swans Island's roads seems to be popular with serious bikers, folks who want to ride long and hard, but otherwise I am going to suggest that except for the ferry ride giving you a chance to see Acadia from the water, Swans is not going to hold enough excitement for them as it's sorta hard scrabble and it's actually fairly big. I prefer the cruises that go to the Cranberry Isles as I think they have more of an island feel. And, those roads are less crowded as there are no car ferries to those two islands. They might be better islands for bikers who are slower and primarily want to explore and see an "island" pace of life. There are a lot of sailboats in the waters where the Cranberry Isles boats go--once we took that route right in the middle of a regatta--plus you pass right by the Bear Island light.

One of the most fun things I've ever done in Maine is go out to very small islands where I can turn 360 degrees and see water in all directions. I don't know how to describe how it feels--there is this special feeling of "islandness" and isolation and adventure. If you could arrange something like that to a small public island by kayak or by charter, I think it would be terrific. I'm going to look into options for a picnic for my group of eight that is visiting. There is a Ranger-led Baker Island cruise which might be a way to do this if just a few in the group are interested; if there is more interest, perhaps a private charter boat and picnic basket might be a better deal.

Aerial sightseeing might be fun for your teens. There is usually a "flight-seeing" service set up daily on Route 1A adjacent to the Trenton airport. There are also signs for glider rides, but I've never done it or talked with anyone who has.

Two of my teens are golfers, and they'll play golf one day at Kebo, http://www.kebovalleyclub.com/ , the 8th oldest course in the United States.

I think sunrise at Cadillac Mountain is way more fun that sunset--it's intimate b/c usually only a handful of people are there. But, there is no way our teenagers would get up that early! Same with sunrise at the Bass Harbor headlight.

Also look at americanparknetwork.com/parkinfo/content.asp… and http://www.nps.gov/acad/ranger.htm

Bar Harbor, Maine
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9. Re: Unique spots to visit???

I agree with MaineDivers about Monhegan. It's a favorite with us (already have our room booked in September). With your relatively limited time downeast it may not be possible this time, but keep it in mind.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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10. Re: Unique spots to visit???

Michele:

" have two teenage boys and one teenage girl vising this summer, and I would love to take them rock climbing at Otter Cliffs. There used to be companies offering instructions, but I'm not seeing anything online right now.."

http://www.acadiaclimbing.com/