For centuries, mariners have taken advantage of the protected waters of Somes Sound. If we viewed Mount Desert Island from the air (a look at the Acadia map will do), we would notice north and south aligned gouges scooped out of the land as if by a very large hand. Indeed, in this case, the hand was that of a huge, slow moving continental glacier over a mile high,... two miles thick in some places. When this giant glacier finally retreated and melted, it left rounded mountain tops, long lakes, many boulders, and seven mile long Somes Sound - widely described as the only fjord on the east coast of the United States with its deepest point at 175 feet (50 m). In recent years, this description has been somewhat downgraded to the “fjard” because it lacks the extreme vertical topography and the oxygen deprived sediments as the Norwegian fjords. (see photos)
Villages along the shore of Somes Sound include Somesville on the northern end, Northeast Harbor on the southeastern side, and Southwest Harbor, including the area known as Manset, on the southwestern side. From here, the waters surrender to the North Atlantic at the Bear Island Lighthouse, marking the entrance and exit of this unique geological feature.
Refer to the Activities page for information on boat and kayak rental companies.
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