Maine Part 4: Mt Desert Narrows near Acadia National Park

We have had three significantly discounted campgrounds in a row: Poland Spring on a weekly rate and then three additional nights at 50% off with Passport-America, followed by three and six nights at at Blueberry Pond and Meadowbrook, respectively, both also on PA.  For our last stop in June, we wanted to continue the streak of campground fee savings, but were starting to run up against one of the common PA restrictions for coastal Maine: many participating places exclude the peak summer months, just as south and coastal Florida parks tend to exclude the peak winter season.

This meant that if we wanted to see Acadia National Park, and do so affordably from one of the private campgrounds with hook ups rather than the drycamping options within the park itself, we could allow no further delays.  Fortunately, the last three days of June happened to be during the week rather than the frequently excluded weekends, and we locked in a reservation for a power and water site at Mt Desert Narrows Camping Resort.  We left Meadowbrook late Tuesday morning to make the circuitous three hour trip north.

We arrived in Ellsworth, the closest town just off of the Mt Desert Island, just as serious lunchtime hunger was setting in.  We made the spur of the moment decision to pull into JJ’s Ice Cream Academy and World Class Lobster Rolls, for the obvious reason of lobster rolls and ice cream, but also because they had a large empty hard packed lot beside them that allowed me to pull in and through easily without having to disconnect the tracker.  In addition to a great lobster roll for me, they had a terrific crab roll for Rosemarie, and delicious, rich ice cream in Maine oriented flavors.  We sampled both the wild blueberry and maple walnut.  A fantastic and highly recommend place.

We continued on to the island proper, and  after a few miles pulled into our campground. Mt Desert Narrows is a probably the ritziest place we have stayed since leaving South Florida.  It has relatively spacious sites on a rolling property overlooking the bay, with beautiful views from nearly any point.  We were able to walk less than a hundred yards right down to the water’s edge for a quick dip in the cold but tolerable clear water.  The property is well manicured with plenty of resort style amenities and a helpful front staff.  It is, in short, the type of place we probably would not splurge for if we had to pay the full price, but on Passport-America it was fantastic.

We got quite lucky on our site draw, getting one of the largest “value” spots, a long pull through, at the top of a rise, and with no significantly sized RV beside us we had nearly unobstructed views of the water.  We relished every minute there.  This is the type of place we could see ourselves coming to for an entire month or longer some future summer.

But this location was not supposed to be about relaxing in the RV park, but rather exploring Acadia National Park.  So on our second day we drove to the Hull Cove Visitor Center (there is a free shuttle bus but we wanted to have a bit of independence and control over our timing) to collect the standard maps and brochures and watch the traditional short park movie.   Afterwards we hopped on the #4 Orange route shuttle for a 90 minute tour of the park.

It was beautiful, particularly for the first half hour when the weather was clear.  We hopped off at Sand Beach, a rare “pocket beach” with extensive sandy stretches rather than rocks, but that would be our last exploration on foot for the day since a cold drizzle and heavy fog set.  We decided to make this our scouting trip, returning during better weather for some day hiking and related exploration.

As we headed back to our campground, we stopped at a handful of lobster pounds along the way to compare prices to the ones we had seen in Ellsworth, and were pleasantly surprised to find a few affordable options, so when dinner time rolled around, I had a 1.6 pound soft shelled lobster, which unlike the hard shelled version do not requiring any tools to eat, and are considered sweeter but contain less meat than the hard shelled.  I took it as take out from the place a mile up the road, Rose Eden Lobster, and got it freshly steamed for less than $13 all in. Our budget is blown, but thankfully Rosemarie doesn’t care for this particular crustacean, otherwise it would be that much worse.

Our last day at Mount Desert Narrows we examined our options for staying longer, if not in this park then at least in someplace near by.  While the resort had one cancellation leaving bay front site open, the cost was prohibitive, even with the 15% discount they offered me we still would have been paying over $85 a night, and everything else on the island itself was booked up for the Fourth of July long weekend.  We dug a little deeper and found an affordable option to stay, details in a future post.

6 thoughts on “Maine Part 4: Mt Desert Narrows near Acadia National Park

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