Mount Deserted Island

Downeast Delights
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That evening, I had the opportunity to taste the fruit of the lobstermen's labor at the Porcupine Grill (tel. 207-288-3884). Many of Bar Harbor's restaurants and shops close down from Columbus Day to Memorial Day. Thankfully, the Porcupine Grill, arguably the island's finest restaurant, stays open on weekends year-round. The restaurant serves Maine's most famous resident in a variety of ways, but I like my lobster simply steamed. Put that plastic bib around my neck and hand me a set of crackers and I'm ready to make a mess of myself. This is not a first-date dish. It's a meal you earn. But once you've tried the succulent meat of this crustacean dipped in hot butter, it's hard to order any other entree in the state.

The next morning I awoke to a breakfast of blueberry pancakes—not exactly the ideal way to start the day if you plan on climbing a mountain. However, I'm the type of person who can rationalize anything, so I decided to have a small stack of pancakes and then climb a small mountain. Standing only 681 feet tall, Acadia Mountain overlooks central and southern Mount Desert Island on the island's far less popular western side. The path weaves slowly through forests of birches and pines before crossing a former road and continuing straight up a rocky path. Here, the quick ascent to the peak begins. A series of flat ledges overlook Echo Lake—each plateau offering a slightly better view than the last. When I reached the top, the vista became panoramic, counterclockwise from west to east. Fishing boats and yachts were anchored in Southwest Harbor, the Cranberry Islands looked more like green peas in the distance. I continued to the easternmost point of Acadia's peak for a stunning view—Norumbega Mountain practically plunges into Somes Sound, creating the only true fjord on the eastern seaboard.

Resting on a flat rock overlooking this majestic sight, I started to realize why so many people are drawn to Acadia. Everything is on a human scale. Mountains and forest, oceans and fjords are all within grasp on this compact island. Everything seems manageable, even climbing a mountain after a hearty breakfast. The intense bond between nature and nature lover grows even stronger when you find yourself sitting on a bare summit on a cloudless spring day in virtual solitude.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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