In 1604, Samuel de Champlain sailed along the coast of what would one day become the state of Maine. The French explorer's ship ran aground on a large island marked with treeless granite mountains - summits that would inspire him to name the place "Île des Monts Déserts," or the island of barren mountains.
In the centuries since Champlain's arrival, Mount Desert Island has made its name as a summer escape for New England's elite and the home of Acadia National Park, a spectacular meeting of land and sea that covers two-thirds of the island's landscape. Add in several charming towns and world-class hiking and kayaking, and you'll come to understand what makes our Mount Desert Island vacation rentals so memorable.
Where is Mount Desert Island?
Mount Desert Island sits just beyond the gateway to Downeast Maine, directly south of the town of Ellsworth on the state's ocean coast. Encompassing an area of nearly 108 square miles, the island is the largest in Maine, the second largest on the Eastern seaboard, and the sixth largest in the contiguous United States. It's also only 37 miles south of Bangor, 91 miles east of the capital city of Augusta, and 152 miles east of historic downtown Portland
The Towns of Mount Desert Island
Although its population swells in the sparkling summer months, Mount Desert Island has roughly 10,000 year-round residents who make their homes in four townships: Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, and Tremont.
Scenically perched on the island's eastern shores, the lively town of Bar Harbor
spent decades as a playground for wealthy "cottagers" from New York and Boston. Today, it is full of families, ice cream parlors, cruise ship day-trippers, and tasty cuisine, from the homestyle breakfasts at Cafe This Way to the contemporary Latin dishes at Havana.
A picturesque drive east will bring you to the "quietside" of the island, where the communities of Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, and Tremont offer galleries, boutiques, and tranquil glimpses of everyday life. Bring your camera along to photograph the morning fog on Seal Cove
and catch the beautiful sunset view of the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on the island's southern tip.
Visiting Acadia National Park
The island's crown jewel is the stunning expanse of Acadia National Park
, which offers 125 miles of trails, 45 miles of carriage roads, and a 47,000-acre backyard for our Mount Desert Island vacation homes.
Established as a national park in 1919, Acadia attracts nearly two million visitors each year to admire some of the nation's most iconic coastal scenery. Follow the North or South Ridge Trail (or simply hop in the car) to reach the 1,532-foot summit of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on Mount Desert Island that catches the nation's first sunrise between October and March.
The 2.2-mile Ocean Path between Sand Beach and Otter Point traverses some of the park's most famous rugged shoreline, while the Precipice Trail provides unrivaled views of Frenchman Bay for those brave enough to make the ascent. And there's no better place to spend an autumn afternoon than the dining room at Jordan Pond House, where you can snack on seafood chowder and piping hot popovers with a view of the lake and mountains.
Experience the peace and tranquility of this truly unique landscape - book your stay at one of our Mount Desert Island vacation homes today!
Photo Credit: Paul Geffen via Flickr