Over the years, Northeast Harbor, Maine, has become famous as much for its summertime residents as it has for its beautiful and protected harbor full of exclusive yachts and sailing vessels. You may be surprised to hear that it is actually not an official township by itself but rather part of the municipality of Mount Desert which covers 25,699 acres and has an approximate population of 2,053 (per the year 2010 census). It is located on the southern end of Mount Desert Island at the entrance to Somes Sound, which used to be designated as a fjord but now is more correctly called a fjard. Park land is close by for easy access.
This part of Mount Desert Island is often referred to as the “quiet side” for its slower and more relaxed pace when compared to the better known Bar Harbor. The town has a feeling of understated “class” in a Maine coastal way. There are several small and attractive boutiques, some great galleries, and great places to eat including a very good bakery right on the Main Street (one of my guilty pleasures). Park the car and walk around for a while. Check out a few of the various downtown businesses.
Of particular note, and places that you should consider visiting, are the Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Gardens. Prime time for visiting Asticou is mid-May through mid-June when the spring bloom is spectacular but most anytime will do. This is a lovely Japanese inspired oasis perfect for sitting in quiet reflection or for sharing with a loved one. The enchanted Thuya Garden is close by and features sculpted shrubbery and perennial borders. Both gardens have an exceptionally beautiful presentation and ambiance.
There are basically two ways to get to Thuya Garden. One, for the more agile, is via a path that leads up the front of the granite cliffs (Asticou Terraces) that provides panoramic views of the yachts in the harbor. Parking is provided across the street. The other is by driving up. If you can make the walk, I suggest the path as it is exceptionally well done. Once there, you will be surprised at how many beautiful flowering plants are in bloom during its season. As with the Asticou Azalea Garden, there are wonderful spots for sitting. Both the Asticou and Thuya are great examples of the magic of Acadia on Mount Desert Island.
For area lodging, dining, activity, and park information, please refer to the links at the top of this page or use the ones below. Be sure to also click the photos above to see larger versions and Asticou and Thuya Gardens to see others. Also, view Upper Hadlock Pond Panoramic.
Weddings: Visit the weddings section for information about having a wedding ceremony within Acadia National Park or elsewhere on MDI or nearby villages and towns.
Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce: (207) 276-5040
Fire Department: (207) 276-5111
Library: (207) 276-3333
Golf Courses in the area
Mount Desert Municipal Office:
21 Sea Street
P.O. Box 248
Northeast Harbor, ME 04662
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