Aug 102011

Here’s a trivia question for fans of Acadia National Park: Name a loop road in Acadia that has virtually unbroken coastline views and is on the Maine mainland.

The answer is: Schoodic Peninsula.  It is the only part of Acadia National Park on the mainland.  Like other parts of Acadia, the land was a gift to the public, in this case in the 1920s by the heirs of John G. Moore, a Maine native who became a Wall Street financier.

I’d visited Acadia for seven consecutive summers before venturing off Mount Desert Island to explore Schoodic.  We got a late start on our 45-minute drive from Somesville to Winter Harbor, but, despite it being August, there was little traffic on this part of Route 1, which passed rural homesteads, snack shops, small businesses, farm stands, and antique shops.

Exiting on Route 186 to Winter Harbor, which you can also reach via ferry from Bar Harbor, we parked at Frazer Point, the official entrance for the one-way road leading to Schoodic Point.  A scenic spot, Frazer Point has picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms the size of some Manhattan bedrooms.  We unloaded our bicycles and headed off. 

Immediately there were views of the rocky Maine coastline, Winter Harbor Lighthouse, many small islands, and the spectacular mountain outlines of more distant Mount Desert Island.  The air was full of the scent of rosa rugosa and the sound of harbor buoy bells. 

When we lost the water view for just a few minutes, our compensation was the fragrance of sun-baked spruce and the sound of chickadees.  There were frequent pull-offs for the cars, which themselves were infrequent and driven by people so polite that twice they stopped to let us finish taking a photo from across the road. 

The culmination of this bike ride is Schoodic Point at the southern end of Schoodic peninsula.  Here pink granite ledges provide seating for expansive ocean views.

Back on our bicycles we pedaled to our next stop, the parking area at Blueberry Hill, where two women were assiduously picking the namesake fruit.  We became distracted watching lobstermen hauling in their catch, circling the boat, and casting the traps back for another day.

Even though we didn’t have our hiking boots, we decided to climb the Anvil Trail, just across the road and a bit beyond Blueberry Hill parking area.  It is one of four hiking trails that traverse the area.  Traveling through spruce and pine woodlands on paths edged in berries and lichen, with occasional steep sections, we hiked 1.1 miles to Schoodic Head (440 feet).  We could have made a loop back via Alder Trail, but since we didn’t have a map to guide us, we retraced our steps back on the Anvil Trail.

After more wonderful coastline views, the six-mile section within Acadia ended, but the two-way town and state roads that followed have a wide shoulder which functions as a bike path.  Another 5.5 miles on these roads, offering up much rural charm, completed the loop and took us back to our beginning at Frazer Point. 

For more ideas on things to do in Acadia National Park, visit OUR ACADIA.

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