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New England's Gem: Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park

Program Number: 16429RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/14/2014 - 10/17/2014; 5/22/2016 - 5/26/2016; 5/31/2016 - 6/4/2016; 9/6/2016 - 9/10/2016; 10/11/2016 - 10/15/2016; 10/16/2016 - 10/20/2016;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: Acadia National Park, Maine
Price starting at: $548.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks
Meals: 8; 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Enjoy an insider’s look at the jewel of coastal New England — Acadia National Park on Maine’s Mount Desert Island — as those who know the area best share their knowledge and insights. Hear the story of the park’s creation by America’s wealthy elite, including philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and visit Northeast Harbor and Seal Harbor, the last two bastions of old-money wealth on Mount Desert Island. Trace the relationship between the park and the island, exploring the island’s history of ice harvesting and ship building. Year-round residents introduce the island’s seasonal rhythms and best-kept secrets.


• Journey through the park over carriage roads and bridges to discover landmarks like Cadillac Mountain and out-of-the-way treasures such as Compass and Southwest Harbors.
• Learn about Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast of North America.
• A Maine lobster expert shows you how crustaceans are captured after you enjoy a real Down East lobster dinner.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles on mostly even terrain, boardwalks and trails.

Acadia National Park

The first U.S. National Park east of the Mississippi River encompasses 47,000 acres of lakes, mountains and shoreline on Mount Desert Island and other small islands in the Atlantic. Some 40 different species of mammals live in the park. Acadia includes Cadillac Mountain, which in certain seasons is the first spot in the country to see sunrise.

Comfortable hotel in downtown Bar Harbor.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Bill Langlois

Bill Langlois is a veteran Registered Maine Guide, having led countless sea kayaking, biking and hiking trips on Mount Desert Island over the last several years. His love of the outdoors – and particularly, Acadia National Park – is evident in everything he does. Bill is extremely knowledgeable about the natural and social history of the Bar Harbor area, too, and is always eager to share his knowledge with visitors to this unique corner of the United States.
Steve Haynes

Steve Haynes is an expert on granite quarrying; Maine is renowned for the quality of its granite, which is featured in many buildings and memorials throughout the United States, including the gravestone of John. F. Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery. He not only discusses granite quarrying on Mount Desert Island but performs a spellbinding demonstration of granite cutting.
Meals and Lodgings
   Bar Harbor Quality Inn
  Bar Harbor, Maine 3 nights
 Bar Harbor Quality Inn
Type: Motel
  Description: The Quality Inn offers a convenient downtown location near the center of Bar Harbor. Fine restaurants, shops and waterfront activities are only a short walk away from this AAA-approved lodging facility. Also nearby is the Shore Path, a picturesque walking route that is flanked by old mansions and lawns and affords expansive views eastward across Frenchman Bay.
  Contact info: 40 Kebo Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609 USA
phone: 207-288-5403
  Room amenities: Each room has two beds, cable TV, free wireless Internet, free local calls, hair dryer, air conditioning, in-room coffee maker, refrigerator and iron/ironing board.
  Facility amenities: The Bar Harbor Quality Inn has been recognized by Quality Inns International as having the 9th best housekeeping of all Quality Inns worldwide.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Available from the motel Additional nights can be arranged by calling the hotel office at 207-288-5403.
  Check in time: 2:30 PM
  Additional nights after: Available from the motel Additional nights can be arranged by calling the hotel office at 207-288-5403.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:30 p.m., Eastern Daylight time, hotel lobby You will be staying at Bar Harbor Quality Inn that night.
  End of Program:
1:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, hotel lobby You will be staying at Bar Harbor Quality Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking is available at the Quality Inn.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Bar Harbor, Maine
  Nearest city or town:  Bar Harbor
  Nearest highway: Maine Route 3
  Nearest airport:  Hancock County Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Bar Harbor, Maine
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Bar Harbor-Bangor Shuttle
phone: 207-479-5911
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour, 15 minutes 


The Bar Harbor-Bangor Shuttle has several departures daily to and from the Bangor Airport.


Bar Harbor


From Airport




MDI Taxi
phone: 207-288-3333
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 


Taxi service is available to and from the Bar Harbor Airport.

Driving Directions
  From south: You may take I-95 to Bangor, then Route 1A to Ellsworth, and then Route 3 to Bar Harbor; or you can take scenic Route 1 all the way up the Maine coast.
Equipment Requirements: No special equipment is required for this program.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome and orientation, Victorian walking tour
(Tuesday, October 14)
 Afternoon: Check in to motel and register with Road Scholar group leader between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. The Quality Inn is located in downtown Bar Harbor and is within a short walk of downtown shops and attractions. We’ll have our first gathering at 3:30 to get to know each other and to receive an introduction to Acadia National Park. Following that, we'll do a Victorian walking tour, focusing on the era when Bar Harbor was the country's most exclusive and illustrious resort.
 Dinner: We’ll dine at a local restaurant in downtown Bar Harbor. Each evening there will be a designated entrée, and a light alternative will be available.
Accommodations: Bar Harbor Quality Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Abbe Museum, Acadia National Park tour
(Wednesday, October 15)

Note: Our day will be split between classroom activities and field trips. Our “headquarters” will be the Abbe Museum, which highlights Native American culture and history on Mount Desert Island. This facility is ideally suited for our program, with a convenient downtown location, fascinating exhibits and a comfortable, spacious classroom.

 Breakfast: Continental breakfast will be served at the motel.
 Morning: We'll begin the day's activities with a trip to the ruins of Oldfarm, the estate of George B. Dorr, who's considered the father of Acadia National Park. We'll learn the fascinating story of how Acadia came to be the only national park in which the land was donated rather than purchased by the government. Then we’ll move on to the Abbe Museum, where George Neptune will lead a tour of the facility and give us a capsule look at Native American history. Finally, Ruth Grierson will entertain us with her humor-laced presentation on flora and fauna of the park.
 Lunch: We'll picnic today with sandwiches and the trimmings, probably stopping at the scenic Bear Brook picnic area as we start our tour of Acadia's Ocean Drive.
 Afternoon: Be prepared for stunning scenery this afternoon as we tour Acadia’s Park Loop Road, including the famed Ocean Drive section. We’ll stop at Thunder Hole, where under the right conditions the sea sends flumes of spray skyward and produces a booming sound. We’ll also visit the glacially carved Jordan Pond, which is nestled between mountains and features a gorgeous panorama looking towards the Bubbles, twin peaks rising out of the water on the north end of the pond.
 Dinner: Dinner tonight is on your own. We'll be happy to help with suggestions.
 Evening: We’ll enjoy a scenic drive up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern seaboard. When the serpentine summit road was built in the 1930s, it was considered the best-engineered mountain road in the world. From the summit, we’ll marvel at the 360-degree views and will look west towards Blue Hill as the day comes to an end.
Accommodations: Bar Harbor Quality Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Lobster demonstration, field trips
(Thursday, October 16)

Note: We’ll have another “half and half” day, spending the morning at the Abbe Museum, and then heading to the western side of Mount Desert Island – often called “the quiet side” by natives.

 Breakfast: Continental breakfast will be served at the motel.
 Morning: Anne Warner of the Acadia National Park staff will lead off the morning's program with a view of the park's history and many functions. Then Glenn Tucker will present his inter-active lobster demonstration, talking about the fishermen of Maine, their equipment and methods, and the state of the lobster fishery.We'll then head over to Somesville, the oldest settlement on Mount Desert Island, where C. H. Breedlove will take us on a walking tour of the town, including the famed Monet Bridge, one of the most photographed vistas in Maine.
 Lunch: We'll have our picnic today at the Maine Granite Museum.
 Afternoon: Steve Haynes will give a fascinating demonstration of granite cutting and tell us how that industry has impacted Mount Desert Island over the years. Then we'll tour the western side of the island, including Bass Harbor Head Light, which guards the craggy south-facing shore of Mount Desert Island. We'll also pass the famed Stone Barn, a Mount Desert Island landmark.
 Dinner: Tonight we'll enjoy an old-fashioned Down East shore feast, featuring the state’s most well-known crustacean, the cold-water lobster.
Accommodations: Bar Harbor Quality Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Classroom presentations, final picnic
(Friday, October 17)

Note: We’ll wrap up our week’s educational activities with two different presentations at the Abbe Museum.

 Breakfast: Continental breakfast will be served at the motel.
 Morning: Catherine Schmidt will discuss various aspects of science in Acadia National Park before Tim Garrity, director of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, talks about the Civil War and Maine.
 Lunch: Our time comes to an end as we enjoy a farewell picnic and say goodbye to our newfound Road Scholar friends.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Discover Acadia National Park: AMCs Guide To The Best Hiking, Biking and Paddling

Author: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

Field Guide To Acadia National Park, Maine

Author: Russell Butcher

Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park: An Informal History

Author: Sargent Collier

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