There are only three bridge observatories in the world, and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory is not only the tallest, but also the only one in the western hemisphere. And I rode the elevator 420 feet to the top for a 360 degree view of the Bucksport/Prospect area which is something few Americans can claim. Notice the granite shape. The Washington Monument was built from local granite, leading to the design of the two towers in the shape of the monument. http://www.maine.gov/mdot/pnbo/
Fort Knox State Park is located on the western side of the bridge and was established in 1844 to protect the Penobscot River valley against a possible British invasion. The fort is very well maintained, and I would have spent more time exploring the grounds if the weather had been better. There were a lot of side rooms, levels, hideaways and even just appreciating the hand hewn granite work was unique. http://fortknox.maineguide.com/FortKnoxBrochure.pdf
I was now ready to begin the second half of my Downeast day trip in Bar Harbor. After a walk past the historic 1877 St Saviour’s Episcopal Church, followed by a scrumptious slice of fresh Maine blueberry pie, I rode Oli’s Trolley for a complete and comprehensive sightseeing experience of the Downeast area. I’m very happy I did because I was able to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery while learning a lot of new information about Acadia.
We had three scheduled 15-minute stops on the tour, the first of which was at the top of Cadillac Mountain. Did you know Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the eastern seaboard at 1,530 feet? After being in the Sierra Mountains last year this seemed like a foothill. Bar Harbor can be easily seen from the eastern side of the mountain. Our guide suggested we get up early to witness sunrise on the summit. He said not only is it breathtaking, but it is scientifically the first place to see the sunrise in the United States each morning. If I had been staying overnight in Bar Harbor I would have made the effort to see the miracle of sunrise on Cadillac Mountain.
Our second stop was at the Nature Center and Wild Gardens at Sieur de Mont’s spring. When the trolley stopped it didn’t look like much to me. However, upon closer inspection I found several meandering paths with benches placed just so to enable visitors to appreciate the many native plants that are labeled for easy identification. The Wild Garden is open year round with numerous photo opportunities. Fall must be spectacular.
Our final 15-minute stop was Thunder Hole on Ocean Drive. It’s one of the symbols of Acadia for a very good reason, it’s powerful. When the right size wave rolls into the naturally formed inlet, a deep thunderous sound emanates. Water may splash into the air as high as 40 feet with a roar! I experienced that on my previous visit, though today the faces in the rock were pointed out to me. There is both an Indian and a pirate hiding in the rock face. Whether a person can see the faces, or not, this is a beautiful spot to view some of the most striking features within Acadia. To the north is Sand Beach and to the south is the majestic 110 foot high Otter Cliff.
Taking the fully narrated tour was a fun, relaxing way to discover the unique treasures of Acadia. Throughout the tour our friendly guide (a snowbird from Vero Beach, FL) was pointing out areas rich in history, the amazing landscape and the famous carriage roads, even hiking trails we might be interested in returning to. It was an unforgettable way to explore Acadia and I will leave the driving to Oli’s Trolleys in the future.
If you are interested in learning more about Acadia or Oli’s Trolleys please click on the links:
What a day. All this AND a Triple Crown winner!!!