Asticou Terraces, located in Northeast Harbor, Maine, is one of those very special places on Mount Desert Island that not very many people know of and so, lies part of its charm. But, do not be fooled. There is so much here than one would expect, and it is often breathtaking.
Not far from Asticou Azalea Garden on the east side of the protected harbor, is a small parking area next to Peabody Drive (Route 3). On the opposite side of the road is the beginning of a path that leads up meandering terraced steps and slopes to Thuya Lodge and Thuya Garden.
Asticou Terraces Steps GPS: 44.300494, -68.279736
Asticou Terraces Memorial
The beginning of the ascent from the steps off Peabody Drive is gradual for a fair distance as it follows along the roadside. The path then takes a sharp turn to the left. You quickly are taken in by the majestic nature of the design and how it is one with this coastal location. This was a obvious labor of love by renowned Boston landscape architect Joseph Henry Curtis and it shows in every step and turn. Curtis was a long-time summer resident of Northeast Harbor and chose to give Asticou Terraces, Thuya Lodge, and Thuya Garden to the public for quiet reflection and enjoyment. This is the memorial created in his honor.
Early on, there is a small open structure with a bench to sit on that overlooks the road and harbor but the elevation is not there yet for the best view. As you continue on past the memorial, there will be some striking granite stairs through a thick stand of older evergreen trees right next to solid granite cliffs. Once you get to the top of this section, there is a nice observation hut straight ahead to the left with a great view of the yachts in Northeast Harbor. This is a good resting spot as the climb from this point on is a little more steep until it arrives at Thuya Lodge and Thuya Garden.
Access & Support
Access to Asticou Terraces is free. For those not able to make the walk up the steep hillside to Thuya Garden, there is a single lane road off Peabody Drive called Thuya Drive located a short distance past the stairs mentioned earlier. However, this road is very narrow and does not allow for two vehicles to be side by side so be cautious.
Thuya Drive GPS: 44.295088, -68.276557
Thuya Garden is currently owned and maintained by the Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve and a committee of volunteers. Contributions to aid in its support are welcomed. Visitors are asked to donate $3.00.
The garden is open daily, 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM, late May through mid-October of each year. Thuya Lodge is open late June - mid-September, 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Take note that Northeast Harbor and Seal Harbor are both part of the municipality of Mount Desert, Maine.
Stats & Facts
- Located in Northeast Harbor, Maine
- GPS of Asticou Terraces: 44.300494, -68.279736
- GPS of Thuya Drive: 44.295088, -68.276557
- Thuya Garden GPS: 44.295316, -68.274677
- Created by Landscape Architect Joseph Henry Curtis
- Owned & maintained by:
Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve
High Quality Setting & Experience
It makes a lot of sense to try and do both Asticou Terraces along with Thuya Garden during the same day. Together, they are a complete package. Set aside 2 - 3 hours, depending on your energy level. It can easily take up more time. If you happen to be carrying some heavy camera gear, well, you know what that is like going up hills. But you will be glad you brought the tripod if you want to have images with lots of depth of field as much of the spaces are under a thick canopy of evergreen. Early in the day, it is also on the western side of a hill that is in shadow most of the morning. This is really a high quality setting and experience that is different from the usual scenic people are used to when visiting Acadia National Park.