New England's Only National Park

Posted by: Donna Smith, Contributor on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Not only is Acadia National Park the only National Park in New England, but the first one created east of the Mississippi River. Located on the rugged coastline of Maine, the park is home to the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast, and a variety of animals and plant life.

My explored this scenic area a few years ago when our two boys were teenagers. It was the most relaxing, peaceful trip we have ever taken together. The serenity of staying in a rustic (but modern) home deep in the woods was exactly what we needed. It became our home base for day trips to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor and the surrounding area.

Hiking the park is gratifying with more than 120 miles of trails that range from easy, level walks to arduous treks. The trail settings can change dramatically with views of the ocean and outer islands to steep mountain tops or wooded forests.

We enjoyed hiking on the carriage roads and crossing over the stone bridges that span waterfalls, cliffsides and streams. The 45-miles of roads and bridges were a gift by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. for carriages, horseback riders, bicyclists and hikers. No motor vehicles are allowed. In the winter, cross-country skiing is allowed on the carriage roads.

When you travel with teenage boys, food is a priority. We indulged in a variety of fresh seafood. We soon realized we had arrived during peak blueberry season and every imaginable blueberry dish (and some you can’t imagine) was served. It was unanimous that our favorite fare was in the Acadia National Park at Jordan Pond House.

Since the early nineteenth century, Jordan Pond House has been serving meals to locals and visitors alike. My family enjoyed a scrumptious lunch and their well-known afternoon tea that consists of popovers (so delicious), Maine strawberry jam and tea. My boys were in heaven and could have eaten their weight in popovers! Not only was the food exceptional, but dining outdoors with a backdrop of the mountains, forests and Jordan Pond made it even more special.

If accommodations in a rustic house in the woods isn’t for you, consider a stay in Bar Harbor. Here you will find a wide variety of hotels and quaint inns as well as restaurants and lots of great shopping.

Our boys are grown now but would be ready at a moment’s notice for another family trip to Maine’s Acadia National Park (and so would I)!


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