Ellsworth & Mount Desert

East of Bucksport is Ellsworth. Today, Ellsworth welcomes visitors to its many restaurants, accommodations, large shopping centers, tennis courts and golf courses, public marina, theaters and art center.

While here visit the Black Mansion where you’ll see a fine exhibit of rare period furniture as costumed guides give historical details of the era. A great place for a “nature” picnic is The Stanwood Museum and Bird Sanctuary, also known as “Birdsacre.” This museum features a nature walk through a variety of Maine wildflowers, woodland, small ponds and a bird nesting area.

How appropriate that Mount Desert Island, one of Maine’s most popular vacation destinations, has a passing resemblance to a lobster claw. For when you cross the bridge from Trenton on the mainland to tour the island you’ll be greeted by countless hard to resist invitations to a lobster feast, a perennial Maine favorite.

Mount Desert Island is the third largest island in the continental U.S. encompassing 108 square miles. Its dramatic beauty comes in large part from the seventeen mountains that rise from the sea and the shores of four lakes. There are countless smaller ponds and scenic spots and more than 120 miles of hiking trails and roads that meander throughout the island for touring by car, biking, hiking and skiing.

Somes Sound divides the island. By coincidence this division identifies both the geography and attitude of the island and from the air makes the island look appropriately like a lobster claw. The area west of Somes Sound, including Southwest Harbor and Tremont offers you a more sedate and secluded atmosphere. In contrast, the eastern side around Bar Harbor has more active tourist attractions.

Mount Desert Island’s scenic reputation blossomed in the 1840s when artists from the Hudson River School popularized the area. Their idyllic depictions of the ocean, landscapes and mountain views in their paintings inspired journalists, sports figures and “rusticators” to adopt the island for their holiday get-away.

Today millions of vacationers enjoy accommodations from grand hotels to family camping and restaurants of all kinds, golf, ocean canoeing and kayaking, Windjammer cruises, whale-watching rips and deep-sea fishing, 11 museums, music festivals, as well as several art galleries and boutiques.