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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Acadia Byway in Maine

Designated as one of America’s Byways*, Acadia All-American Road in Maine, UNITED STATES of AMERICA is a paved, two-lane looped road straddling the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern side of Mount Desert Island. However, part of the byway along Park Loop Road is currently closed for this winter season. Known for its Acadia National Park (National Park Service website), Mount Desert Island in southern Hancock County boasts towering landforms, scenic overlooks, seaside cliffs, virtually-untouched spruce fir forests, and pristine beaches. The Acadia byway’s northern extent lies near the Hulls Cove Visitor Center along Park Loop Road and splits off into two routes, which join together in the south near the town of Seal Harbor.

The trek near the Atlantic coast features the Sieur de Monts water spring as well as Champlain Mountain Overlook, where visitors can see the Frenchman Bay, Schoodic Peninsula, and distant Gouldsboro Hills. Champlain Mountain is named after Samuel de Champlain, a French native who in 1604 encountered the water body now known as Frenchman Bay. The southern seaside portion of Acadia Byway passes the Sand Beach, pink granite Otter Cliffs, Otter Point, and Thunder Hole beach, where waves sometimes crash into the rocks’ narrow slot and thereby create thundering sounds.

The route west of Otter Point is quite curvy. A driver traveling along the Acadia byway west of Otter Point would be going north, then south, then a little bit southwest and west, then north again, then west again, then north and a little bit east then north, and then north and east and north again before reaching the turnoff towards Cadillac Mountain – whew! Good thing there are GPS devices and maps in case someone gets lost in this area! Standing over 1,500 feet tall, Cadillac Mountain is the Atlantic seaboard’s highest point north of Brazil. Communities near Acadia byway include Bar Harbor, Hulls Cove, Otter Creek, and Seal Harbor.

* America’s Byways – US Department of Transportation’s initiative to designate roads featuring important cultural, recreational, scenic, and historic qualities

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