You’ve landed in the (unofficial) Lobster capital of the US: Acadia National Park on Mt Desert Island!
This coastline has a rich history of native residents, explorers, and vacationers, and believe it or not, Lobster was not always a treasured delicacy! But the land WAS treasured, first protected in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, and later changed, in 1929, to Acadia.
To see what all the fuss is about, follow our route through this northernmost park, and sample Acadia’s scenic playground alongside its crustacean concoctions! Go on a Lobster-Only Diet!
Start Day 1, catching the sunrise up on Cadillac Mountain, then head straight to Jeannie’s Breakfast House — in the park’s main town, Bar Harbor — for a Lobster Omelette (raved about on TripAdvisor’s Bar Harbor breakfasts!) served alongside her legendary fresh berry pancakes.
Then, with bike and daypack, scoot to the bus stop in Mt Desert Street’s main square. You can latch your wheels to the front rack of the Island Explorer (it’s free!) and shuttle down to Seal Harbor, a perfect starting point for your ride home along Acadia’s famous carriage roads.
The unique and treasured legacy of the Rockefeller family, these car-free roads are fun for a short leg or for a whole day. They feature 17 stone-faced bridges spanning streams, waterfalls, cliffs, and roads, and the design of each bridge, such as Cobblestone Bridge, is unique.
Check out the below map:
See Jordan’s Pond House?
It’s the perfect spot to take a bike break, for lobster stew, lobster salad, or lobster claws on a bed of lettuce!
After lobster lunch, it’ll be a slow going, so take your time getting back to town, and plan a quiet afternoon at the Mt Desert Oceanarium, a Lobster Museum with Hatchery lab and Marsh tours:
On the way back into town, stop at 35 West street, Stewman’s Lobster Pound. Choose a snack to go…. some crab and lobster cakes or one of the pound’s famous lobster rolls.
Picnic in pack, head on over to the causeway to walk or bike over the only-at-low-tide land bridge to Bar Island which you’ll find just north of the big pier on West Street.
Make sure you check the tides:
Wonder how to read the tides? Next week, for example…. Friday June11th… low tide is is at 4:30 pm. High tide is at 10:42 so that means that you should be off Bar Island, and back in town, by around 7pm. Make sense?
On Bar Island, you can hike up to the little summit, or beach comb along the tidal beaches, but either way, you’ll work up an appetite, so when the tide rises, head inland to the Cafe This Way for your evening’s lobster!
Cafe This Way describes itself as “artfully prepared meals served in a setting as comfortable as your living room and as relaxed as your front porch”.
In fact, you can savor your meal on THEIR front porch — check it out:
Start the evening with lobster spring rolls, then dine on Lobster and spinach over penne (a nice twist on the ubiquitous Lobster Alfredo)
Day 2 should begin over on Cottage Street, on the front porch of Two Cats!
Enjoy your morning Lobster alongside Fair Trade coffee, fruit smoothies, legendary pumpkin-chip muffins, and seafood crepes seasoned with herbs from the cafe’s garden. There’s also a fine Lobster Benedict!
You’ll want some exercise to work off this decadence, so choose from the park’s more than 120 miles of trails with cool names like Precipice, Beehive, and Perpendicular– names that have become vacation lore for scores of families who make Maine their annual summer retreat.
Or explore the lively waters, looking for porpoises and bald eagles, with Acadia Outfitters (also on Cottage St). Don’t worry if you’re a novice…. the guides are great, and offer you double kayaks and a range of itineraries to fit your skill and energy with your route.
Find a quick bowl of Lobster chowder or chili (no kidding!) and some Lobster fritters.
There are lots of lunch places in town — one of the biggest tourist traditions is the Thirsty Whale, right off the main harbor. Order a cocktail there and get a red rubber lobster garnish!
In the afternoon:
Take a horse-n-buggy ride or a narrated boat tour to explore the woods and waterways.
Join a ranger program! A full listing is in the Beaver Log, the NP’s newspaper. Here is a link to last summer’s issue: http://www.nps.gov/acad/parknews/upload/JulAug09BLog.pdf
And tonight, head to Beal’s Lobster Pier on Southwest Harbor.
You can watch the sun go down as the kitchen cooks you up some Lobster Thermidor.
On your last day in Acadia, take a daytour out to Little Cranbury Island. It’s a sleepy island of rosebushes and grasses, historic wooden houses, and a dockside cafe with ice cold drinks and front row seats for all the harbor buzz!
And the Ultimate? Celebrate your 72-hour Lobster-Only Diet with an authentic Downeast Lobster Bake!
Most communities have some version or another of the Maine lobster bake. In the deep South it is the crab, crawfish or shrimp boil and in the Midwest the fish fry. The traditional lobster bake is the most involved of the three, because it requires building a fire pit. There are great outfits who cook up your crustacean (grilled or boiled) with seaweed fresh from the ocean… corn on the cob, boiled potatoes, and sometimes clams and mussels.
The options go on and on… Lobster stuffed Manicotti……. Lobster Ravioli…
You probably need more than 72 hours!