Tooling Around Acadia National Park

Today’s post is 1300 words, 27 photos, 1 short video, a 7 minute read. Enjoy!

Hi everyone,

Last week I left you at the Jordon Pond House where the popovers are the most popular item on the menu. If you missed last weeks post, click here. By the way, the outdoor seating on the lawn of the Jordon Pond House is temporarily closed due to the abundance of aggressive yellowjackets. I’m allergic so the stings of those critters so appreciate the caution. Inside seating is still available.

This week I’ll take you for a look at Jordon Pond and the Dolly Parton’s, also known as the Bubbles. From there I’ll take you to some of the scenic sites in Acadia National Park.

Jordon Pond

As we walked the path from the Jordon Pond House to Jordon Pond, we couldn’t help but admire the calm, pristine lake that lay before us. The water is so clear that visibility is about 45 feet deep! The 187 acre lake is surrounded by scenic mountains, Penobscot on the west and Pemetic on the west.  On the north side are the North and South Bubble Mountains, more on them later. The deepest part of the pond is about 150 feet deep. Although boating is allowed, swimming is prohibited. This lake provides water for the middle part of Mount Desert Island.

In this photo of Jordon Pond, note the North and South Bubble Mountains on the far end of the lake. When we were enjoying our popovers at the Jordon Pond House, we were told these mountains are known informally as the Dolly Parton’s. I’ll leave it to your imagination of why they are so named! Anyway, the Bubbles are on a well-trod hiking path. The hike is about 1.5 miles round trip and does have a few rocky and steep sections. We didn’t do the hike even though I would have liked to, my aching knee said: “No!”

As we walked up the incline to return to our car, we met a friendly young fellow and his family. Kevin is from Pennsylvania, he told us this was his first time in Acadia National Park and loved everything about the park. I told him the informal name of the Bubbles was the Dolly Parton’s. I’m not sure he knew who Dolly Parton was but his mom did. I asked him and his mom if I could take his photo for my blog. They consented and we wished him well. A nice young man enthusiastic about the outdoors.

Thunder Hole

On one of many stops on the one-way Park Loop Road, we pulled into the nearly full Thunder Hole parking lot. This natural attraction is one of the most popular in Acadia National Park. When the stars line up such as high tide and an angry sea, the escaping air makes an ear splitting sound like thunder. Not only is loud, the water spray can be as high as forty. How do I know this? I read it on the National Park Service website for Acadia and in the book Photographing Acadia National Park by Colleen Minuik. During our visit, the tide was rising but the water was fairly calm. The short video below provides a little clap of the thunder, it sounds like the thunder was ten or more miles away. But we got the idea that in certain conditions, it could be quite spectacular. 



Adjacent to the Thunder Hole parking lot was a little gift shop run by the park service. There were a lot of products made from blueberries. Maine is the largest producer of wild blueberries in the U.S (Washington State is the largest producer of domesticated blueberries in the world), hence the preponderance of products made from blueberries. We decided to try out the Old Soaker blueberry soda made by Atlantic Brewing Company located in nearby Bar Harbor. This brewery also makes a Blueberry Ale, something I would take a pass on as I don’t care for flavored beers. Anyway, the soda was very tasty and refreshing as my Traveling Partner and I sat on a bench taking in the atmosphere.

Sieur de Monts and The Wild Gardens of Acadia

A major stop along the Park Loop Road is the Sieur de Monts (also known as the Heart of Acadia), The Wild Gardens of Acadia, the Tarn, and other points of interest. There are many hiking trails that begin in this area. We found this stop to be very relaxing away from the continuous traffic and the numerous tourists like us wanting to enjoy the outdoor beauty.

With a short walk from the parking lot, we came upon The Wild Gardens of Acadia. This area originally became a part of Acadia in the early 1900s. Then in 1961, the park superintendent offered the Bar Harbor Garden Club a plot to grow and display wildflowers. To date the Garden Club has established more than 400 indigenous species of wildflowers in this garden. During our visit, we briefly chatted with one of the many volunteers that manage and maintain this garden. Quite a nice addition to the park. Below are a few scenes from the garden.

This white, Florentine-style six-sided building houses the Sieur de Monts Spring. The water still flows from the spring. Note the carving in the stone in the foreground. George Dorr carved this sign in stone between 1909 and 1916 before giving the land to what eventually became Acadia National Park. It’s a serene place to enjoy the environment.

Not far from the Spring, another visitor spotted this fresh water turtle trying to hide in the tall grass behind a rock. Every once in awhile, he/she would peek out to see if danger was lurking nearby. It was only people, probably it’s most serious predator.

The Tarn

It’s a short drive from the Sieur de Monts to The Tarn, a small (8 acres) wetland with an abundance of lily pads, reeds, and rushes. It began to sprinkle while we were traversing a path along the edge of the pond. According to my book on photographing Acadia, The Tarn is a stop not to be passed up by photographers. The lupines were in full bloom. This is a spot that I could come back to again and again.

The Coastline

As we followed the Park Look Road, we stopped to admire the rugged, rocky coastline. While there were waves crashing into the shoreline, it wasn’t an angry sea that wanted to crush those rock into pebbles of sand. Maybe in a million years, this coastline will be a sandy beach, the water could also be warm enough for a swim from the effects of climate change. Today, we admired the beauty, it’s not something we see very often.

On the other hand, not far from the salty sea, we saw fresh water lakes and wetlands on our journey. They offered us their own beauty and serenity.

Back along the sea, we could see how far the tide falls and rises. Among the thousands of acres of public land in Acadia National Park are spots of privately owned property such as this rustic cabin below. It looks like a summer place, it might be hard to access in the cold Maine winter.

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor is the largest town adjacent to the Park. With a year round population of about 5000 people, it swells in size during the summer months from visitors who come to see the Park as well as boat tours for whale watching, eating fresh lobster, and all sorts of recreation. We spent very little time in Bar Harbor, mostly in traffic on our way through to another destination. I did stop to take a few photos, they are below.

As we traveled around the park, we kept seeing signs that reminded us to leave no trace. This national park as well as many others is getting loved to death. To keep it for future generations, we all have to do our part today to maintain our natural treasures. 

Stay tuned next week when I’ll take up to the famous Cadillac Mountain.

Until then, happy travels!


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