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Input on our Itinerary

San Mateo, CA
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Input on our Itinerary

Hello Bar Harbor/Acadia Experts! My husband and I will be vacationing in Maine mid September. I am ready to book flights and accommodations but would love your input on our itinerary first. We are traveling from San Francisco, both in our early 60s and are National Park and hiking enthusiasts.

Arrive and spend night in Bangor

Day 1: Drive to Acadia and do the Park Loop taking in stops and possibly a hike. Check into hotel (Bass Cottage Inn)

Day 2: Hike in park and visit sieur de monts

Day 3: Hike in park in am and 2:00pm sailing on the Margaret Todd

Day 4: Drive to Schoodic Peninsula, schoodic park loop, hike and if time drive a bit farther north. We are planning to drive as it looks like the park bus stops running August 31st on the peninsula...plus we have the option to go farther north. My husband doesn't mind driving.

Day 5: Drive to Southwest Harbor, hike, go to Bass Harbor and take the nature cruise 3-5:00 pm. Have early dinner at Thurston lobster pond.

Day 6: Bike carriage roads, stop at Jordan Pond and ???

Day 7: Depart Bar Harbor............drive to Blue Hill Peninsula and then down to Deer Isle. Check into hotel - Pilgrim Inn.

Day 8: Lazy day.....visit the various preserves and other sights.

Day 9: Depart Deer Isle and drive to Castine with possible stop at the Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park. Check into hotel (undecided on which one).

Day 10: Leave Castine and drive to airport for departure (more than likely an overnight somewhere near airport and then early morning flight out.)

Have we allowed ample time for the park? We don't like to do drive-byes and like to hike.

Have we allowed enough time for Deer Isle and Castine?

Many thanks for taking the time to share your expertise. We appreciate it and are looking forward to our trip. Neither of us have been to Maine before.

Kathy and Mike

Phippsburg, Maine
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1. Re: Input on our Itinerary

Your itinerary sounds great! I've only visited Castine once, by boat, but found I was able to see most of the town on foot in a few hours. There really isn't that much for a tourist to do there.

While you are in Stonington and since you enjoy hiking you might want to consider a day trip on the Mail Boat over to Isle Au Haut. It's part of Acadia and has many good hiking trails, and the remoteness keeps the crowd pressure down.

Just a thought. Have a great trip!

San Mateo, CA
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106 posts
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2. Re: Input on our Itinerary

Thanks for your input. Maybe we will stay another night in Deer Isle and go to Isle au Haut and then just pass thru Castine for a look around on the way to the airport. Kathy

Central Maine
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for Maine
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3. Re: Input on our Itinerary

Camden also offers some good hiking in Camden Hills State Park.... not likely something you'd find if you arrived by boat and didn't have transportation to the Park, which is north of the village area on US Rt 1 or west of town on Rt 52. About 30 miles of hiking trails of various levels and some nice coastal views from some of them. Google Camden Hills State Park hiking for more details... At a minimum, regardless of how long you're in town and whether you hike or not, take the Park's Mt Battie Auto Road (entrance is off Rt 1 a short distance north of town on west side of Rt 1) to the top of Mt Battie for a great view of the harbor, the town and the local coastal area.

New Jersey
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4. Re: Input on our Itinerary

As vets of 10 or 12 (or so) summers on Deer Isle and/or ANP, a few suggestions to consider:

Days 1-3, 6: Sooo many great hikes at ANP. Some of our favorites include Gorham Mountain (save room for wild blueberries you’ll find and eat along the way); Great Head/Ocean Path; Bowl Trail; Jordan Pond Loop (which MUST end with lunch or dinner + popovers) at Jordan Pond House; Jordan Stream Trail (an out-and-back to a beautiful cobblestone bridge); The North and South Bubbles; Bar Island (just before and after low tide only, and climb all the way to the top of the island if you do); and I could go on and on, but just buy a good ANP trails book (Dolores Kong’s is excellent) and see what is best suited for your ability. The ones I listed above are easy-to-moderate.

Two non-hike activities we ALWAYS enjoy are a trip to the spectacular Thuya Gardens (which actually allows you a great stair hike up the side of the hilltop where it sits) and the evening, ranger-led program (Tuesdays and Thursdays) Stars on Sand Beach.

Day 4: On the easy, pleasant drive to the peninsula, stop at the Sullivan Harbor Smokehouse on Rt. 1 for some great smoked seafood (try the mussels and the salmon spread) so that you’ll have a snack atop Schoodic Head after you hike to the top, starting at Alder Trail and coming down whatever way you like. (Let me know if you’re able to see anything. All three times we’ve hiked this lovely loop of trails, the fog rolled in!)

Day 5: Hike Beech Mountain near SWH via any of the four or five ways to the top that have varying degrees of difficulty. Or rent a canoe or kayaks at the north end of Long Pond at Pretty Marsh Road and spend a few hours on your own water before your cruise. The town of SWH also is great just to walk around, have some ice cream, great little indy shops. And Thurston’s? Yes! Best lobster pound on the island. Saw a twin rainbow there a few years back, arced over the harbor as we cracked shells open.

Day 7: Try to spend a little time in the town of Blue Hill on your way to Deer Isle. Some neat shops/galleries/restaurants.

Day 8: Deer Isle is lovely just to drive around. Try to get to Nervous Nellies to try/buy some delish (if a bit pricey) jams and jellies, but also to see Peter Beerit’s amazing, fantastical sculptures created mostly with found materials. (We have two in our backyard—an owl made in part with pieces of lobster trap gear, and a buffalo with a flayed tricycle-pedal eye and a tail made of fringed copper roofing!) You also should look up the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, they have open houses and we watched ironworkers creating art a few years back.

Never been to Castine, but I hear it’s lovely. Personally, I’d maximize my time at ANP, but that’s just me.

Please let us know how it goes. You should be able to google everything I’ve mentioned, but definitely get a good book for more background on hiking.

I’m sure you’ll find this little corner of our country as enchanting and intoxicating as anywhere you’ve ever been. That’s why we keep going back.

San Mateo, CA
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5. Re: Input on our Itinerary

Thanks NJPat for your input. Putting the final details together and your recommendations are greatly appreciated. We are leaving September 16th. I will report back when we return. Kathy

Truro, Canada
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6. Re: Input on our Itinerary

On your way to Schoodic Peninsula, there is good hiking up Schoodic Mountain. The trailhead is off the #183 highway which is off the #1 highway. It isn't on the Schoodic Peninsula itself, though (but there is other hiking on the peninsula).

San Mateo, CA
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7. Re: Input on our Itinerary

Great! Thanks for the tip. We will in Lubec 2 nights and our first stop after we leave will be at Schoodic. So maybe we will do your recommendation too. We're really excited for the trip. It's amazing how much there is to do and see in the area.

From what I have read you cannot buy a park pass at Schoodic. The books say get it on MDI. Do you know if you can pay for pass @ Schoodic? The day we arrive there I will be turning 62 and will get my $10 forever access pass. Seems silly to go to MDI for a pass and return to Schoodic. If they don't sell it there maybe I'll just put a note in the window saying we are buying it on MDI. But with all the shortage of Rangers, maybe they don't check there.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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8. Re: Input on our Itinerary

They very likely won't check for a park pass at Schoodic and will believe you if you tell them you will buy one on MDI.

9. Re: Input on our Itinerary

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