Northeast Harbor, Mount Desert Island

Northeast Harbor was only 12 nautical miles away from Mackerel Cove, but mooring balls are in demand and there is a limited supply. Seven Kadey Krogens had been there for weeks but two were leaving that morning. We heard this from the Kadey Krogen “grapevine.” We left early! Early bird catches the mooring ball, right?

We were feeling fortunate to have another perfect morning on the water.
Kadey Krogens were on the move. We saw Inspiration leaving Northeast Harbor and passed along side Changing Course on their way.
Bear Island Lighthouse sitting high on the hill at the southern entrance to Somes Sound.
The original light station was established in 1839. This 31 foot high lighthouse  was constructed of brick in 1889. Service was discontinued in 1982 but it was relighted in 1989 as an automatic and private aid to navigation.
Our route from Mackerel Cove to Northeast Harbor. Twelve nautical miles, 2 hours.

“Krogen Finder” is a nifty app created by a tech savvy Krogen owner. If you drop your pin in your location, the app can be used (only by other Kadey Krogen owners) to see if there are any other KKs nearby.

WE are in the middle where the cross mark is. Acadia, Rachel, Lima Bravo, Ursa Major, Invictus, and then Magnolia to bring the total once again to seven.
The Krogens in Northeast Harbor were a diverse representation of the boats, different sizes and styles.
We heard there was a Farmers Market on Thursday mornings (now) right up in the parking lot above the docks. We quickly settled the boat and dashed in.

This year is different for Mount Desert Island. There is an Island Shuttle that has routes all over the island making it easy to get around, especially if you are a boater. Sadly, because of Covid-19, they reduced the number of routes and the number of passengers permitted. The routes are limited so that they can run the shuttles more frequently, reducing the wait time for people. Unlike in the past, there are no shuttles that stop by Northeast Harbor. This significantly impacted our ability to see much that was away from the harbor.

The town of Northeast Harbor is small and pretty quiet. We used our walking time to visit the shops, especially the ones with local Maine crafts.

“Christopher Smith Galleries  Wildlife Bronze Sculptures” was definitely worth a visit.
The Great Harbor Maritime Museum is located on Main Street in the former town fire station. We intended to go back and take a look inside but never made it.
Colonels Company is a restaurant and bakery. We ate lunch there and also tried the very famous blueberry donuts.
Colonels also had ICE CREAM so naturally we needed to test it. 😉😁 I have been trying all the local blueberry ice creams to determine the best one in Maine.
Here in Northeast Harbor, we also found friends of friends of ours that we had met only once before. Nancy and Ron on S/V Mandala are from Annapolis and good friend with the Quigley’s. They are experienced Maine cruisers and are a great source of information.
I may be wearing a sweatshirt on this chilly morning, but the sun was warm and inviting. Why drink your coffee inside when you can do this?

Asticou Terrace and Thuya Gardens are part of the Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve.   A dinghy landing dock is provided on the other side of the harbor so this sounded like something we could do without needing a car or the missing shuttles. We didn’t know what to expect and were totally amazed by this little adventure. This hike was my favorite part of Northeast Harbor. 

A little background — Joseph H. Curtis, was a landscape architect from Boston who summered on Mt. Desert Island, ME for 48 years. He built his summer home, Thuya Lodge, high above Northeast Harbor, in a forest of native white cedars (Thuja occidentalis). Thuja prompted the name Thuya Lodge. Curtis established a trail from Asticou Terraces Landing to the lodge that allowed access to his lodge from the harbor, with terraces and shelters along the way. I was curious about the word asticou, having never heard it before. In the early 1600s, the chief of the Wabanki tribe was Chief Asticou.

A memorial to Joseph Curtis with the inscription “The Asticou Terraces are his gift for the quiet recreation of the people of this town and their summer guests.”

The terraces are a hiking trail sculpted into the steep hillside. Some sections are natural “steps” while others were engineered by Curtis.

Rocky sections
and easier man-made paths.
Carpets of moss under the shade of the tall trees.
The moss spill over the edges of the rocks.
Looking down at Kindred Spirit from Asticou Terrace.
Looking out over Northeast Harbor.

Climbing up the terraced hillside was so enjoyable, each step of elevation bringing a new vision. We did not expect to find even more beauty at Thuya Gardens.

Thuya Lodge, summer home of Joseph Curtis
Visitors only get to peak through an open door to see the interior of Thuya Lodge. The bearded gentleman was there to answer questions.
Two hand-carved gates open to the path that leads to the gardens.

I can’t describe this place with words so I will only use some of the photos. We sat and enjoyed this experience before heading back down the terraced hillside.

I could not resist taking a photo of this little girl as she studied her reflection in the pond.

A visit to Northeast Harbor by boat is worth the time, especially for Asticou Terrace and Thuya Gardens.

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