Saturday, June 27
At breakfast this morning there were two new couples. Our friends from earlier in the week had moved on, and were replaced by newcomers. Laura and I were now the old-timers at the inn, and could talk about the breakfasts, what to do in town, etc.
We wanted to visit Acadia National Park once more. Even though it was a Saturday and likely to be crowded, and the weather was still not cooperating, we decided to head roughly in that direction.
When we reached the bridges over the Penobscot Narrows we decided to visit Fort Knox, located on a bluff over the river, and possibly see if the bridge observatory was open. Laura had hear rumors that the elevator had recently gotten stuck in the 42 story tower, and wasn’t keen on giving it a try, so I was by myself for that jaunt.
The elevator deposits its visitors on a narrow landing with floor-to-ceiling windows. It can be a bit daunting to be faced with such a view as soon as the doors open. It’s certainly not for those afraid of heights. Two more flights of stairs lead up to the observatory deck so that the view is unobstructed by an elevator shaft.
I really wish the weather had been better because the views would have been incredible. As with Cadillac Mountain, there were nice signs showing would I WOULD have seen. Even so, it was an interesting place to visit.
The rain on the windows made for some lousy photography, so I didn’t stay very long. We drove around to the parking lot for the fort and got out for our visit. There were signs everywhere warning us of frequent cannon firings during the day, and a loud boom greeted us as we made our way to the visitors center.
During the War of 1812 British troops had occupied much of Maine’s coast. Fort Knox was planned and built to prevent that from ever happening. It was completed just prior to the Civil War, and is considered a fort from that era rather than a Revolutionary or 1812 fort.
The main fort had gun emplacements within is walls, and there were gun batteries lower down the hill near the river. It is an impressive looking structure.
We walked along some long corridors that were so dark that they required flashlights. Unfortunately the one we brought had weak batteries, so we didn’t explore as much as we might have. We visited the crews quarters and made our way up to the top of the fort with views across the Union and Penobscot Rivers.
Laura was getting tired of man-made stone piles, and wanted to see some natural ones. She was happy that this fort had never seen any military action, but still doesn’t like war-related places.
We checked our map and saw that there was a section of Acadia on another peninsula just north of Bar Harbor. Rather than face the crowds that would be in the main part of the park, we decided to see what this part would be like.
Along the way we stopped at a fascinating book/antique shop just outside of Ellsworth. The Big Chicken House has antiques on the first floor, and acres of used books on the second. I was looking for antique hymnals, but couldn’t find any. Laura found several out-of-print mysteries that she had been seeking. They had quite the collection of antiques, and we enjoyed browsing until the dust and mold started to get to us.
We drove through Ellsworth and past the turn off for the main part of the park. Soon we turned off of US 1 and headed south toward Winter Harbor. Amazingly, the roads in the area had just been resurfaced, so we didn’t face the jarring ride that assaulted us on our other peninsula trips. However, At the community of Winter Harbor we encountered delays as the road was being resurfaced in that area.
Just past Winter Harbor our road became the Schoodic Point Scenic Byway, and we entered a new part of Acadia National Park. The road became one-way, as it had on the main loop of Acadia, and hugged the shoreline. There was very little traffic, and we enjoyed the scenery as we drove along.
We paused briefly along the western side of the point to view the rocks and to look out over the Winter Harbor Lighthouse.
A spur road lead past the Acadia Education Center and out to the end of Schoodic Point. We stopped, and began exploring the unique area.
The rocks at Schoodic Point are fractured, and lava had at one point flowed into these cracks. Dark bands of igneous rock run through the area, cliffs and chasms criss-cross the point. In some areas the rocky depressions have formed little oases, where lilies and other vegetation have gained a foothold.
We stayed at the point for quite awhile, me exploring the rocks and taking photos, while Laura enjoyed the sound of the crashing surf. Even without extensive views because of the weather, it was quite relaxing.
We continued along the one-way loop, pausing at a couple more overlooks before eventually leaving the park. We drove through the community of Birch Harbor, then onto Prospect Harbor, where we found our last lighthouse of the trip. The Prospect Harbor Lighthouse could be seen across the way. There was an odd juxtaposition of the old lighthouse with modern Doppler equipment right behind it. It was obvious that this was an active station of some sort. We drove on around to get as close as we could to get another shot.
From Prospect Harbor we decided to head inland. Laura had found a road that ran between several lakes and along a high ridge. We followed US 1 east to Milbridge where we stopped for coffee at an odd little cafe, then continued north to Cherryfield.
From Cherryfield we turned back west, northwest along highway 182. The road took us through some very scenic areas and past many large lakes. We explore a few of the side roads, be eventually looped back around to US 1. We toyed briefly with heading back to Acadia and to the top of Cadillac Mountain, but the views along our route had all been clouded in, so we figured we still wouldn’t see much. It was getting late, and we had to pack for tomorrow’s departure.
We made one last stop on our way back. We both wanted one last lobster dinner, so we stopped at the Angler Restaurant in Searsport. The place was much more crowded than when we stopped by earlier in the week, and most of them seemed to be locals. It was fun listening to the dialog all around us. I looked around, and one weathered old fisherman was wearing a ball cap with the South Carolina flag logo. Odd. But still, and nice cap to a successful, albeit foggy visit to Maine.