Photo: Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine
Four friends take a road trip through New England to admire the region’s stunning fall foliage. Click here to read our blog from the beginning.
A Twisty Turvy Drive
We left our hotel in North Conway, New Hampshire, and said goodbye to the White Mountains as we crossed into Maine. We followed Highway 302 for a while, stopping to soak in stunning fog-enclosed Moose Pond after the town of West Bridgton. Then, our GPS sent us onto a series of random highways and roads through beautiful remote forested land passing lake after lake before we finally reached Interstate 95 and made it to Maine’s capital, Augusta after a short drive north.
We stopped at the Maine Capitol Building and walked through its beautiful hallways. Then, we drove north through Augusta’s downtown and were impressed by its shapely hills and great views of the Kennebec River.
We then continued for another hour on I-95. Both sides of the freeway were covered by dense fall foliage so it made for a gorgeous drive. Next, we exited the highway and drove through the city of Bangor, which had dozens of cool historic buildings and is built along the Penobscot River.
An hour along Highways 1A and 3 finally brought us to Acadia, New England’s only national park. We started at Hulls Cove Visitor Center, where we watched a short film showcasing Acadia’s beauty and got tips on the best sights to see and hikes to do.
We drove onto Park Loop Road, which takes you to most of the park’s destinations. Our first stop was the Sieur de Monts Nature Center, where we parked and did a short, easy 1-mile round-trip hike along Jesup Path which had some quiet fall foliage and lots of fallen leaves for us to play around in.
Our next stop is the simply named Sand Beach, one of the park’s most gorgeous beaches which was beautifully flanked by colorful trees celebrating autumn. After a short walk on the beach, we drove on to Thunder Hole and walked down a path to this rocky inlet that creates a booming thunderous sound whenever waves come in. Our final stop along the coast was Otter Cliff Overlook, a short walk that takes you to a breathtaking view of the rocky coastline. We didn’t see any otters though!
A Heavenly Pond
After driving through more beautiful scenery, we stopped at Jordan Pond, one of Acadia’s most famous areas (see top photo). Unfortunately, the Jordan Pond House, which serves famous popovers and tea, was closed for the season. But we were able to walk along the pond for a while and soak in incredible views of The Bubbles, the two aesthetically pleasing rounded mountains on the far side of the pond. If you have time, a trail circumvents the entire pond for 3.4 miles.
Top O’The East Coast
We drove north on the Park Loop Road, passing huge Eagle Lake and then turning onto Cadillac Mountain Road and driving to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak on the East Coast. There’s several great walking paths to allow you to explore this elevated area and enjoy the panoramic views of just about everything within a hundred mile radius – the Atlantic Ocean, Acadia’s coastline, tons of islands.
As we walked down one of the paths, a couple walking a dog passed us and suddenly the dog lunged at and began attacking one of my friends. Luckily, he escaped unharmed and we were all able to have a few laughs at his expense 😇
A Coastal Drive & A Jolly Evening
Leaving Acadia, we drove through the resort town of Bar Harbor just outside the park, which has a cute historic downtown. From there, we veered onto Highway 1 and passed through dozens of quiet beach towns, going over a variety of architecturally stunning bridges and getting excellent views of the Atlantic.
After a 2-hour drive, we arrived in Rockport, the home of our hotel for the night – Ledges By The Bay. This super affordable hotel incredibly sits on a hill directly facing a small bay and the Atlantic. When we checked in, the hostess was super sweet and offered us homemade cookies (the 2nd cheap hotel to do so on our trip!). We invited her to come hang out with us in our room that night, but she didn’t make it 😭
For dinner, we drove a few minutes south to the town of Rockland, where we went to Cafe Miranda, a small cafe located inside an old house, and enjoyed a delicious meal of Maine lobster, pasta, and sandwiches.
Back in our hotel room, we played some drinking games and I did a little dance performance in the tutu I acquired in Vermont. We called it a night early so we could get an early start for our final day.
Click here to go on to the final New England Fall Foliage Road Trip blog as we find a lighthouse on an island and meet witches in Salem.
Click here for a travel guide to Acadia National Park outlining the best hikes and things to see, explore, and eat in the area.