Acadia National Park at Schoodic Point in Winter Harbor has one of the most beautiful rocky stretches of coastline in the whole state or for that matter the country. The waves breaking against the rocks can be truly spectacular especially if there has been a storm at sea. We've had many artists vacation with us over the years and one thing they all keep repeating is that "the area is an artists dream come true".
Welcome to Winter Harbor in Downeast Maine. The way life should be.
During tourists season there is a free shuttle bus service that starts in Winter Harbor and tours Schoodic Point, the park and area before returning. The bus runs every half hour or so and the stops are scattered around. Not that it matters since the drivers are more than happy to pick you up if you wave them down from the side of the road. In the immediate area there are shops, stores, businesses, eateries, piers and pounds to buy your lobsters plus a lot more. You'll be hard pressed to find lobsters cheaper anywhere else. On Grindstone Neck in Winter Harbor there is a nine hole golf course that has views of the ocean from every hole. If you really enjoy the ocean and don't mind getting wet then rent or bring a kayak and meander through the bays and coves. Ride out and see the seals basking on the rocks on the other side of Turtle Island, the osprey nesting near the Halibut Hole or the lighthouse on Mark Island.
Throughout the year Schoodic Arts puts on different programs, theaters, concerts, dances and many other events in Winter Harbor. Then during the summer they host an arts festival for two weeks which usually starts around the last week in July. But still overall it's generally quiet here (compared to where you probably live) except for the Winter Harbor Lobster Festival and a few other things. Once a year the entire town goes on holiday. Usually the second Saturday in August. The only time of year the tourists are thicker than the lobsters. Sometimes the cars get backed up at the stop sign downtown ten deep waiting to make the turn for the craft fair or to watch the boat races. (What can I say I'm not used to crowds and lines anymore ) The day starts off with a 5K road race and childrens race in the morning and ends with a parade in the evening. Of course there are lobster dinners, barbecues and a lot of other things. It's always a good time.
(There's more about the area on the front page.)
It is a little over a mile from the park road where you can bike or hike the trails. The first thing you will come to are the new hiking trails and biking paths starting a hundred feet down the road and if miles of trails don't interest you, next there is the Frazer Point picnic area that juts out on a finger of land overlooking the harbor. There is a long pier with a float attached that people fish for mackerel, bluefish and striper's when they run. From here you'll have spectacular views of the mountains, Mark Island Lighthouse and you can watch the harbor porpoises, seabirds, osprey and of course the lobstermen pulling in the days catch or the sail boats races from the Winter Harbor Yacht Club. The vistas are nothing less than magnificent and many have spent the entire vacations right there. I know, I spend enough time there myself. We love to picnic by the fire in the evenings. And I'm not really sure why but lobsters always seem to taste that much better there. Words can't really describe time in this place.
Next, hike or drive to the top of Schoodic Head to see some breathtaking sunrises, sunsets and a commanding view of the area, ocean and islands. On a clear day you can see the Petit Manan lighthouse and preserve on the next peninsula over. From there, head out to the point relax or picnic and gaze straight out into the Atlantic. It can be really spectacular if there has been a storm at sea. People come from all around to watch the waves break over the rocks. And actually it's pretty much spectacular almost any given day.
There is also freshwater swimming and canoeing at Jones Pond (5 miles away) where you can also enjoy fishing for its landlocked salmon, brook trout, lake trout and bass. If you are a leaf peeper and plan on visiting to view New England's fall foliage in all it's colors. The leaves generally reach their peak in October and can be quite spectacular.
And finally if you want to see the coast of Maine as it should be seen. Hop on the ferry. First you'll head out by Mark Island Light, then around Grindstone point and then either through the narrows between Turtle and Spectacle Islands or through the Halibut Hole and into Frenchmans Bay to stop at the dock in Bar Harbor before returning. On the trip you'll see seals, porpoises, ospreys and round many small islands. Some with secluded cottages, camps and cabins that time has forgotten. If you go early in the morning you might see deer coming out to the rocks to lick the salt. Sometimes and quite often as a matter of fact moose swim between the mainland and the islands. There are also the occasional sea turtles, whales and on rare occasions one of the most unusual looking fish you have probably ever seen, a sunfish. They average around 400-600 pounds downeast but can get as large as 3000 pounds. They are round in shape and have a fin that gives the first impression of a shark in the water. You can get right up and pet them if you like. Most people think they are dead or sick when first seen. They are very friendly, curious and primarily eat jellyfish. Combined both legs of the trip are a 14 mile leisurely 1 hour+ trip and it is really gorgeous on a clear sunny day. The views from the ocean give you an entirely different perspective.
I could go on and on. Instead I'll just say where ever you vacation this year. Hope it's a great one. ~ Wes
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