Acadia National Park

On my last day in Maine, I drove to Acadia National Park. For the drive up, I took Route 1 along the coast and was awed by the beautiful scenery. I honestly feel like my entire trip to the Northeast was just me stuffing my face with lobster and staring in disbelief at the gorgeous views. Translation: It was awesome.

I detoured through Camden to see Mt. Battie and Rockland to see the Rockland Breakwater Light, but I had my sights set on Bar Harbor, so the stops were quick. After three hours of singing along to the radio and taking hundreds of photos of the orange foliage, I arrived.

Acadia National Park encompasses 47,000 acres on Maine's Mount Desert Island. Its dreamy landscape is marked by rocky beaches, pine trees, granite peaks, and an array of fascinating wildlife. It's one of the most visited national parks in the United States, and for good reason. Around every corner is a breathtaking lake, forest, or view.

I started off by driving around the park and getting a feel for the landscape. One thing that really threw me off was how vacant the roads were. During my time in Acadia National Park, I only saw one other car. I even stopped at a ranger station, in search of a map, and there was nobody in sight. It was very eerie, especially since I didn’t have cell phone service. But it was also peaceful and refreshing.

Without any means to guide me, I followed the wooden signs and ended up at Jordan Pond. After parking in a small dirt lot, I walked down a long path that ended next to a rocky shore. There were looming mountains in the distance, and the air was cold and clean. The pond was crystal clear, and I could see large rocks strewn across the bottom. I stood there for what felt like hours, absorbing the view and reflecting on how amazing our planet is. With scenery like that, how could you not be amazed?

Afterwards, instead of retreating to my car, I decided to take a leisurely hike through the woods. I’m so glad I visited in the fall, because the foliage was incredible. I was shrouded in orange, red, and crispy brown leaves, and every footstep resulted in a satisfying crunch. I walked deeper and deeper into the forest, and the sunlight gradually faded. I wanted to catch the sunset on Cadillac Mountain, so I turned around and retraced my steps to get back to my car. (It’s actually a small miracle I didn’t get lost.)

Cadillac Mountain was an absolute dream. The winding roads were small and narrow, but after several minutes of waiting impatiently for a view, searing sunshine filled the sky. The sun was setting the sky on fire, melting into oranges and reds and yellows. It looked like a perfect, fiery painting. I kept driving, up and up and up, and finally reached the top. Despite the bitter cold and bone-chilling wind, I got out of the car to experience the view firsthand. I took a few photos, and I’m pretty sure my hands went completely numb. Still, it was worth it. If I could go back to any moment in the past six months, I’d choose that sunset. It was gorgeous. On my drive down, the blazing colors morphed into pastel purples and pinks, which was equally as stunning. Cotton candy sunsets are one of my favorite things.

After the sky faded to black, I left Acadia and drove into Bar Harbor. Finback Ale House was the perfect place to grab some cider and a lobster roll before hitting the road back to Portland. Instead of taking Route 1, I opted to go the shorter route, past Bangor, Waterville, and Augusta. An old friend called me out of the blue, so I had fun catching up with him during my return trip. It was almost midnight when I finally pulled into my hotel, and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, with all my clothes on — even my coat. 

I really can’t gush enough about Acadia National Park. Sometimes I get so preoccupied with traveling abroad that I forget how many beautiful, scenic parks are in the United States. I only saw a small portion of Mount Desert Island, but I fully intend on returning soon to further explore the rocky coastlines, majestic mountains, and crystal clear lakes.