Ali, ready for a meal at Jordan Pond House
After establishing our base camp in at Bar Harbor campground, we set out to explore the park. We were particularly excited to get onto the ocean, see whales and puffins, bike the carriage roads and have a popover or two at the Jordan Pond House. And, by golly, that’s just what we did!
Lighthouse and cabin on Petit Manan
We rose early for our first morning in the park and headed down to the docks to catch a whale watching tour. Catching a boat is always a sticky wicket for two people who are both worriers and consistently fashionably late. We haven’t been left at a dock yet, and this was no exception. We were impressed by our tour providers, it was a big boat, professionally run with a staff that can identify whales by skin color patterns and knows all of their names. You could see almost everything from any seat on the boat. The tour provider offers several different whale watching tours including a sunset tour and our puffins and whales tour.
It was great to see the puffins, although we forgot our binoculars, so mostly caught quick glances of speeding fly-bys and distant groups of them swimming in the ocean. Petite Manan, our destination for puffin watching, was a worthy sight in it of itself. The lighthouse and cabins are photogenic and our tour guides provided us with a wealth of knowledge about the importance of the island as bird habitat and for bird research.
And whales! Yes, whales. We saw whales! Rolling, diving, tail flipping blowhole spouting, flipper flappin’ whales. We saw humpback and finbacks
A whale going deep
and porpoises, oh my! We were both amazed at the amount of whale activity we were able to witness. Thanks to the our tour operators, as well as the whales for providing us with such sights.
We made it back to shore in time for some lunch in the Village Green park, near the center of downtown Bar Harbor and then drove into the park for a bike ride along the carriage road system to the Jordan Pond House for dinner. The Bubble Pond parking lot is relatively small and was pretty well packed. We lucked out and were able to slide into a space as a family was sliding out. We’d recommend taking advantage of the Island Explorer bus system instead of driving into the park, which can take you and your bike to this and many other adventure starting points, for free.
The carriage road system provides a great opportunity to get outside to feel and see Acadia National Park. The roads are beautifully built, with well crafted stone bridges. These gravel paths are graded for horses and
The view from Jordan Pond House
carriages, making for less huffing and puffing on the uphills and gentle gliding on the down. We enjoyed riding for about an hour and a half, arriving at the Jordan Pond House in time for an early dinner. We couldn’t help but feel like aristocrats, dining on lobster, quiche and popovers and sipping delicious tea on their beautiful lawn overlooking Jordan Pond. After dinner, we enjoyed a leisurely sunset ride back to the car, completing a perfect day in Acadia National Park.