Tag Archives: Maine

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

Overview

Administered cooperatively by the National Park Service (NPS) and Parks Canada, Saint Croix Island International Historic Site has a unique location in the middle of the Saint Croix River on the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick.  It is the only International Historic Site designated in the 419 units of the NPS system.  Under the leadership of Lieutenant General Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, the island was the site of a short-lived French colony, founded in April 1604 and abandoned by May 1605 after a hard winter when the settlers relocated to Port Royal, Nova Scotia. 

Highlights

Sculptures, tidepooling

Must-Do Activity

There are no ferries to the 6.5-acre island, but the miniature NPS visitor center and a short walking trail on the river banks provide a thorough background on its history.  Six bronze statues offer a glimpse into the past, and all interpretative information is offered in both English and French.  Private boats are allowed access to the island during daylight hours.  Parks Canada also manages a visitor centre across the river in New Brunswick, as well as Port-Royal National Historic Site in Nova Scotia.

Best Trail

The Saint Croix River is tidally influenced in its lower reaches near Passamaquoddy Bay.  If you continue past the pavilion at the end of the short interpretive trail, you can access the beach for tidepooling at low tide.  Just up the road at Devil’s Head Conservation Area, a gravel road accesses the river shoreline and a 1.3-mile trail that provides an overlook of the area.

Instagram-worthy Photo

Pick your favorite of the six bronze sculptures to pose with.  The native Passamaquoddy traded furs to the French settlers for European goods, like iron cooking pots.

Peak Season

Summer

Hours

https://www.nps.gov/sacr/planyourvisit/hours.htm

Fees

None

Road Conditions

Access road is paved, but be aware that our GPS unit had the wrong location for the NPS visitor center.

Camping

Camping is not permitted on Saint Croix Island.  Your best bet might be to the head south to the campgrounds at Acadia National Park.

Related Sites

Fort Caroline National Memorial (Florida)

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (Maine)

Acadia National Park (originally established as Sieur de Monts National Monument, Maine)

Explore More – Since Saint Croix Island was located in the center of a brackish river, where did the French settlers have to go for fresh drinking water?

Acadia National Park

Overview

Acadia National Park in Maine is famous for its 45 miles of Carriage Roads and watching a sunrise from atop 1,530-foot tall Cadillac Mountain.  We recommend you plan your visit around attending a Star Party to view the night sky through dozens of telescopes.  We visited on a September weekend, and even though it was not yet leaf-peeping season, the main park road across Mount Desert Island was jam packed and parking spaces were difficult to come by.  [This is also one of 50 National Parks covered in our new guidebook]

Highlights

Cadillac Mountain, Precipice Trail, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Must-Do Activity

If you don’t like crowds, then visit on a weekday and avoid Cadillac Mountain, Bar Harbor, Precipice Trailhead, Thunder Hole, Jordan Pond House, and Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.  We preferred our time spent on the Schoodic Peninsula with its nice campground and unoccupied overlooks across the bay towards busy Mount Desert Island.

Best Trail

Iron rungs and ladders assist those who wish to climb the aptly named Precipice Trail.  The trail provides awesome Atlantic Ocean views from the cliffs on the way up to Champlain Mountain.  A 2.5-mile loop can be formed when combined with Champlain North Ridge and Orange & Black Trails.  Other “ladder trails” in the park include the Beehive and Perpendicular Trails.

Instagram-worthy Photo

Photographers hang out for hours waiting for sunset on the rocks below Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

Peak Season

Summer and fall

Hours

https://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/hours.htm

Fees

$30 per vehicle or America the Beautiful pass

Road Conditions

Most roads paved with the notable exception of the one that summits Schoodic Head.

Camping

There are several campgrounds in the park and we enjoyed our stay in the forested Schoodic Peninsula Campground, which opened in 2016.

Related Sites

Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Maine to Georgia)

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site (Maine)

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (Vermont)

This design we created to celebrate Acadia National Park is available on a variety of products at Cafe Press and Amazon.

Explore More – What was the original name of this park when it was created on February 26, 1919 (the same day as Grand Canyon National Park)?

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Overview

The Appalachian Trail (or A.T.) is one of only three National Scenic Trails that the National Park Service (NPS) includes in its total of 417 units, despite there being many other affiliated trails (some with their own Visitor Centers).  The trail stretches 2,185 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine, crossing 14 states, 6 NPS sites, 8 National Forests, and countless other parks.

AT6-IMGP0879.JPG

Highlights

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Mount Washington State Park, Baxter State Park

Must-Do Activity

Even if just for a short stretch, gets a taste for the A.T. by following the white rectangular blazes going north or south anywhere along its length.  The trail through Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is especially popular.

Best Trail

The last stretch of the trail ascends Katahdin in Maine’s Baxter State Park.  My impression from the surly park employees is that they would rather not be the official end of the Appalachian Trail.  For instance, they fined record-setting Scott Jurek for public alcohol consumption and littering when he spilled some champagne celebrating his accomplishment atop Katahdin in 2015.  The funny thing about the A.T. is that it ends (or begins) on top of a mountain where you have to turn around and hike out.

Instagram-worthy Photo

The views on top of Katahdin are unsurpassed and you might get to celebrate with a thru-hiker finishing the 2,185-mile journey.

At the top!  The mountain looks similar to many of the 14ers in Colorado

Peak Season

Most thru-hikers go in the summer due to snow.  Baxter State Park closes in the winter, but most of the trail is accessible year round.

Hours

https://www.nps.gov/appa/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm

Fees

Free to hike, but some parks (like Shenandoah National Park) charge for admission and camping.

Road Conditions

Trailhead access can be both paved and dirt (which is the case in Baxter State Park).  The trail is only paved in a few portions like atop Clingman’s Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Camping

There are more than 160 trail shelters along the A.T. and in some places like Great Smoky Mountains National Park backpackers are required to utilize them.  Otherwise dispersed camping is mostly allowed along the entire length of the trail.

Raven flyover
Raven about the Katahdin summit!

At the peak and end of the AT

Group shot!

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A view of the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
A view looking east at the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

Explore More – Approximately how many steps must a human take to cover 2,185 miles?

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WONDON WAS HERE