Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park

 View from The Boathouse at the Claremont Hotel, Southwest Harbor Maine

View from The Boathouse at the Claremont Hotel, Southwest Harbor, Mt. Desert Island, Maine.  They make an excellent blueberry martini!

Of all the subjects that I write about, I get the most positive feedback from my customers on my posts from Maine.  For the last three years, Michael and I attended the Camden (Maine) House and Garden Tour, and I featured photos from the Camden-Rockport-Rockland area in my Maine posts.  This year is the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park located on Mt. Desert Island, which is about two thirds of the way up the Maine coast southwest of Bangor.  As we had never visited that area we decided to spend four days in and around Acadia and attend the Garden Club of Mt. Desert Open Garden Day.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.


Northeast Harbor Maine

Northeast Harbor, Mt. Desert Island: Many families from the Philadelphia area where I live summer on Mt. Desert so it was fun to see all the locations I have heard so much about.

In the days before the garden tour, we visited three public gardens on Mt. Desert, many of the little villages on the island, and most of the major sites in Acadia National Park.  I hope to do more in depth posts on the gardens once I figure out how to transfer my photos efficiently from my Apple iPad, which I used to take the pictures, to my PC, which is where I compose posts.  Its not as easy as it should be—if anyone has any tips let me know.


Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

US native fireweed in a field on a back road.  Mt. Desert was much less developed and crowded than I thought it would be.  We were often the only car on the road.

Acadia National Park was gorgeous and not crowded at all even though it is one tenth the size of Grand Teton National Park and gets the same number of visitors, in 2015, 2.8 million.  One reason that I have never visited it before is that I thought it would be similar to the Maine Coast that I am used to around Portland.  I couldn’t have been more wrong—the geography is totally different even down to the type of rock, which is an arresting pink granite.  Beautiful lakes have been scraped out of the rock by glaciers, and there is even the only fjard on the East Coast, Somes Sound.  Mountains abound and, although they are not tall by many standards—Cadillac Mt is the tallest at 1,530 feet—they soar straight up from sea level.  Gorgeous coastal vistas and lovely beaches abound.


Acadia Somes Sound MaineSomes Sound at sunset


Acadia Sand Beach

Sand Beach in the park looks just like beaches I have visited in the Caribbean, although the resemblance stops at the water line as the water temperature was 54 degrees F (12 C).  There was much warmer swimming in the ocean at Otter Cove and at Echo Lake.

In this first post from the area, I am just showing some beautiful scenes to give you an idea of the setting.  Once I get my images straightened out, I hope to go into more depth about the gardens in the area.


Acadia Mounument Cove
Monument Cove in the park is spectacular with its namesake pillar and a beach composed of perfectly round granite rocks.  It is not on the park maps, and I found it while reading Down East Magazine’s Summer 2016 issue dedicated entirely to Acadia for the 100th anniversary.  If you plan on visiting Mt. Desert, I highly recommend you get this issue because I used it for much of my planning.  To access Monument Cove, enter the Park Loop, which requires a $25 7-day pass) and park in the Gorham Mountain Trailhead Parking.  Cross the street and Monument Cove is to the left.
Moss, Rockefeller Garden, Seal HarborBeautiful stands of moss are everywhere, here the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden.
Northeast HarborNortheast Harbor
Bass Harbor Head Maine
Bass Harbor Head near the lighthouse, which is part of the park, features the characteristic pink granite plunging to the ocean.
Acadia Delphinium and MonardaDelphiniums and monarda at the Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor.  I wish delphiniums would grow like this in Pennsylvania, but it gets too hot and humid for them.
View across Jordan Pond to the North and South Bubbles
A view across Jordan Pond to the North and South Bubbles.

I hope that you will have a chance to visit Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park.  A special thanks to my wonderful customer and friend Charlotte F. who welcomed us into her beautiful home during our trip and provided crucial planning advice.



Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

29 Responses to “Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park”

  1. It looks to be a truly delightful place to visit, I will just have to enjoy it through your eyes and lens.

  2. I went to the Camden House and Garden tour this year based on your recommendations last year. It was well worth the visit.
    Susan Gay
    Rome, Maine

  3. lencl3145 Says:

    love your newsletters – when can I order galanthus?

  4. Dear Carolyn,
    I live in Bryn Mawr and you might remember me as the customer who arrived at your last sale via golf cart and driver after having become confused with your neighbor Carolyn Smith’s property.
    Right now I am in Maine on Seal Cove Pond where we have had a small cottage for many years. Although I am hardly in the same league as the grand gardens of this wonderful island, (or yours in Bryn Mawr) I would be happy to have you visit this pretty place.
    My number is , and the house is not far from the Auto Museum. Family and friends are welcome and we have kayaks, and a canoe. (Don’t dial 207 when you are in Maine.)
    Look forward to hearing from you. Susan

  5. My daughter has been trying to get us to visit Maine–she’s working there at a girls’ camp for the summer. To me, it sounds and looks very much like N. Wisconsin, which is beautiful, too. Enjoy your time in Maine.

  6. Elizabeth Says:

    Our family has been vacationing in Southwest Harbor (and eating on the Claremont dock) on Mt. Desert Island for the past 12 summers. The island is as special and spectacular as you have described it and the gardens are amazing. Your pictures capture the beauty perfectly. I hope you found some blueberries in your travels!

  7. cherylNjohn Says:

    Hi Carolyn, I love getting your blogs. These pictures brought back many happy memories. We have friends who now have a house on a cove in Pretty Marsh–the quiet side of the island. We’ve visited them and went to the Northeast Harbor garden tour. All the gardens were on the ocean. Thuja gardens were resplendent with dahlias when we visited. The hiking is so much fun there. Easy with wonderful views. Cheryl and John Sent from my iPad

  8. Hello Carolyn,
    Fabulous photos of what looks like a very beautiful part of the world – particularly under such lovely blue skies,
    best wishes

  9. I’m amazed that you’ve spent all these years in Maine and never gotten to Mt. Desert before — but I suppose it’s just far enough not to be a day trip. I used to spend every summer solstice camping at Acadia, and always included a hike from the campground to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, a day of hiking around either Northeast Harbor or Somesville, visits to the Asticou Azalea Gardens and Thuya Gardens, and afternoon tea at the Jordan Pond House. I haven’t done this in several years now; your post reminds me that I need to go back.

    • Jean, It is six hours round trip from Portland and I am seven miles out on an island, but I am amazed I haven’t gone either. I thought it would be similar to my island but it isn’t. If you go, you have to visit the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Gardens, which are only open on Thursdays by appointment. I noticed that all the Thursdays except one are reserved until 2017. Reservations become available May 31, and that’s when I got mine. One of the most beautiful gardens I have ever visited. Carolyn

  10. Very nice! My husband has always wanted to visit Arcadia, and now that we live up north we are a lot closer to it. We just went to Maine for the first time this summer, and hopefully before too long will be able to make it to Arcadia!

  11. Very beautiful place. I hope to get there one day. My friend and I twice planned a visit, and instead traveled abroad.

  12. Charlene Says:

    Just signed up for your emails & imagine my pleasure with this article about Acadia. I am headed there later this summer after touring around NS & NB with a stop of course at St. Andrew for a visit to Kingsbrae Garden. Thanks for the photos.

  13. Beautiful pictures and you really capture the feeling of “down east” 🙂
    Acadia used to be an annual destination for us after we spent the first two weeks of vacation at my aunt’s in Cape Elizabeth. They are both such beautiful coastlines.

    • Frank, I am totally devoted to the coast line around Portland/Cape Elizabeth. What’s fun about that area is the multitude of small islands to explore and all the beautiful beaches not to mention the wonderful City of Portland, one of the best cities for restaurants in the US. Acadia is very different and dramatic, but I still prefer this area. Carolyn

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