Some of the best features of the area around Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine are outside the park. The park itself is a well preserved and undeveloped section of this part of Maine, but just outside the park’s borders are many other treasures.
Yesterday we went to Northeast Harbor, south and west of Bar Harbor. Once a working fishing town, it now sports a series of small shops mostly focused on local artists. There is still some fishing and lobstering done from here, but it has morphed from a vacation spot for the summer folks from Boston to a retreat for the very very wealthy.
Out visit yesterday took us to a garden established during the summer folks from Boston era, the late 1800’s and pre-WWII years. Thuya Gardens were designed by two men, one of whom built a 200 granite lined, granite steps path from the lodge to the garden. While it is possible to drive to the top, we chose to take the wonderful stairs which gave us an increasingly stunning view of the harbor.
The gardens were in full late summer bloom and we were able to write down the names of many perennials which would do well in our yard too. They also featured regal dahlias, certainly not perennials here, but lovely just the same. At the end of our visit we sat in the 1916 summer cottage of the builder and talked with a guide. Easy to locate but rare to hear about, Thuya Gardens are one of those better than the Park sites in Bar Harbor.