Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Asticou Terrace Trail, Thuya Gardens

Bar Harbor, Maine  Mount Desert Narrows RV park   High: 70   Low: 60

There is so much to explore on Mount Desert Island, home of several harbor towns that make up Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, you could spend weeks here exploring everything! We are...we just extended our stay here another two weeks at the 99.00 a week Encore summer special for the Mount Desert Narrows RV Park in Maine. It's a VERY affordable stay at that price, with most campgrounds in the area charging 45.00 a night and upwards. The total each week is 128.38 because of resort fees and taxes added to the $99.00 special. Why move? It's beautiful, the weather is fantastic, we can bike the carriage roads, we can hike in the national park, and we can avoid trying to do stuff on the weekends when all the tourists come in droves. Like we're not tourists, right? As Eldo always says, "This is a lifestyle, not a vacation!" Meanwhile, Sparky wants to go on another whale watch tour. You can never see too many whales! She checked the whiteboard down at Bar Harbor and recent sightings for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Tour were NINE humpback whales LUNGE feeding! SIGN ME UP! Except it's so expensive, sigh! Around 58.00 a person if you sign up online, and 63.00 a person if you call in by phone to reserve. If you are a workamper at the park, you get to go on whale watching tours for FREE! SIGN ME UP! (Not so fast, Sparky! We've got more miles to go around the sun before we start workamping.)

So, what's the latest thing we did? We headed over to the southern tip of Mount Desert Island, around the Northeast Harbor. There's some kind of explanation at to why the southern tip of the island is called the Northeast Harbor. It has something to do with prevailing winds. Sparky does not understand these navigational things, (THAT'S an understatement! exclaims Eldo), but at any rate, there are two interesting places to visit there besides visiting a charming, not quite so busy harbor town. One is the Asticou Terrace Trail, and the other is the Thuya Lodge and gardens. There is VERY limited parking at both spots, no RV's, which is understandable after getting to the spot. It's not an easy place to find. It's best to ride the Island Express bus there or take your car. There is handicap accessible parking and some other kind of road to the Thuya Gardens, but we didn't see it! Everybody else needs to plan on walking up stone steps, a lot of them, on the Asticou Terrace Trail (1/4 mile moderate hike) to the Thuya Gardens at the top. There is also a lodge at the top of the terrace trail built in the early 1900's that's open to the public for viewing. All the furnishings in the lodge are ORIGINAL, not reproductions.

On your way up the terrace trail, about half way, there is a spectacular view of the Northeast Harbor. You can sit at a little trail enclosure and just watch the lobster boats come in and out of the harbor. You could sit there all day if you felt like it! It's a gorgeous view.

You think you are not going to see anything but more stone steps as you continue the climb to the top of the trail to the lodge, but when you get to the top, a remarkable garden awaits....the Thuya Gardens. No picnics, food or beverages are allowed here, it's just a beautiful set of gardens that are have all the flowers labeled and are there for you to walk up and down the grassy aisles. The doors to the gardens were beautiful as well.

Just one of many long rows of labeled flowers and plants
a hummingbird on the bee balm, or monarda
Lots of hummingbirds were zooming around today, drinking nectar from the fantastic selection of flowers. They were literally swarming and buzzing around in the bee balm, or monarda, a spiky looking, tall red flower. Ever try to get a photo of one of those tiny little bird bombers? It's not easy, but Sparky did it! (Don't ask how many tries it took or how long, says E. We were there for QUITE some time! But it was relaxing.....) Caught these hummingbirds with my little point and shoot Pansonic Lumix camera. Yay!

There is not a specific admission price to the lodge or to the gardens, but a donation of 5.00 is suggested. That's a bargain these days, to see some beautiful gardens growing. We highly recommend walking the terraces and visiting the gardens. Wow....what a view! And if you get hungry, a great restaurant in Northeast Harbor is The Colonel's Restaurant and Bakery. Great chowdah! :-) Another wonderful day spent in Maine.....


  1. Oh my goodness. . .I just want to take a walk in that garden right now. . .stunning!

    and I'm with you on the whale watching. . .they are amazing, amazing creatures. . .

  2. Wow, what a beautiful place. Great shots of the hummingbirds too!

  3. Thank you! And I forgot to mention that the Asticou AZALEA Gardens are down below nearby, across the street. We did not see them as the azaelas bloomed earlier in the season already, but I have seen photos of the garden in full bloom, and it is spectacular! The gardens are also awesome in the fall.

  4. Thank you so much. I needed my garden fix. I had a HUGE garden when we had our home. I could look at flower photos all day. Those are BEAUTIFUL!

  5. Sure am envying you the rate and the weather. I'd stay there and stay there and stay there too. After what seems like grandchildren months, you deserve this great freewheeling good time.

  6. Oh my gosh what a great place. Perfect weather, lots to do, whales, hummingbirds (your pictures were great and worth the trouble).

    Sign me up!

  7. Wow...beautiful! And what a fantastic rate! I wouldn't move either. Hope they're having a special like that next year when we go :)

  8. Maine coast was a lot warmer than the Oregon coast is this year...