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16429
Maine

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

Get to know Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park as you learn about the East Coast’s only fjord, explore a compound area of the Rockefellers and enjoy a lobster feast.
Rating (5)
Program No. 16429RJ
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,169
Maine

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

Get to know Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park as you learn about the East Coast’s only fjord, explore a compound area of the Rockefellers and enjoy a lobster feast.
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,169
Length
5 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
1,169
Program No. 16429RJ

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climate
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Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 6 - Sep 10, 2022
Starting at
1,169
Oct 11 - Oct 15, 2022
Starting at
1,169
May 21 - May 25, 2023
Starting at
1,399
May 30 - Jun 3, 2023
Starting at
1,399
Sep 5 - Sep 9, 2023
Starting at
1,549
Oct 10 - Oct 14, 2023
Starting at
1,549
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 6 - Sep 10, 2022
Starting at
1,529
Oct 11 - Oct 15, 2022
Starting at
1,529
May 21 - May 25, 2023
Starting at
1,749
May 30 - Jun 3, 2023
Starting at
1,749
Sep 5 - Sep 9, 2023
Starting at
2,029
Oct 10 - Oct 14, 2023
Starting at
2,029

At a Glance

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.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles on mostly even terrain, boardwalks and trails.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • 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.
  • See how crustaceans are captured after you enjoy a real Down East lobster dinner.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Earl Brechlin
Earl D. Brechlin is a Bar Harbor resident who brings the history, magic and beauty of Maine’s North Woods alive in his new book of evocative essays “Return to Moose River.” He was the founding editor of the Mount Desert Islander and the holder of more than 100 awards for news and featured writing, and photography. Brechlin is a registered group leader in Maine, a former Maine Journalist of the year and the author of seven books on Maine and Acadia National Park.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Steve Haynes
Steve Haynes View biography
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.
Profile Image of Steve Ressel
Steve Ressel View biography
Steve, a professor at Bar Harbor’s College of the Atlantic (COA), holds a Ph. D. degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Connecticut. Steve was a high school teacher before joining the faculty of COA in 1993 where he teaches courses in a number of scientific areas. He has traveled extensively for both work and pleasure. Steve’s presentation on winter animal habitat on Mount Desert Island provides a glimpse of a seasonal life that few visitors to Acadia ever experience.
Profile Image of Linda Shingleton
Linda J. Shingleton View biography
Linda Shingleton is passionate about conveying her extensive knowledge of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park to Road Scholars. Like many of the participants who attend Road Scholar programs, she is a retired educator, having spent 30 years in that field, and her ability to relate to others is a major reasons she’s such a well-liked group leader. Linda’s eager to help immerse participants in the diverse history and lore of Acadia and to brighten Road Scholars’ days with her unfailing optimism and good cheer.
Profile Image of Earl Brechlin
Earl Brechlin View biography
Earl D. Brechlin is a Bar Harbor resident who brings the history, magic and beauty of Maine’s North Woods alive in his new book of evocative essays “Return to Moose River.” He was the founding editor of the Mount Desert Islander and the holder of more than 100 awards for news and featured writing, and photography. Brechlin is a registered group leader in Maine, a former Maine Journalist of the year and the author of seven books on Maine and Acadia National Park.
Profile Image of Lauren Tucker
Lauren Tucker View biography
Lauren Tucker spent years as a marketing executive before returning to her first love, Mount Desert Island. She has extensive knowledge of the island, its wonders and its hidden charms. She enjoys sharing her affinity for the island with Road Scholars.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Field Guide To Acadia National Park, Maine
by Russell Butcher
Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park: An Informal History
by Sargent Collier
Discover Acadia National Park: AMCs Guide To The Best Hiking, Biking and Paddling
by Jerry and Marcy Monkman
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5 days
4 nights
9 meals
4 B 3 L 2 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Orientation, Bar Harbor, Dinner
Bar Harbor, Maine
D
Bar Harbor Villager Motel

Activity note: Motel check-in available from 2:30 p.m. Walking up to 1 mile, 1.5 hours city streets and sidewalks.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 2:30 – 3:15 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us in the motel’s café to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 3:15 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Group transportation will be via mini-bus. We will make selections for bagged lunches in advance. For many of our activities, you may want to bring along a camera to capture the stunning beauty of this area. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a restaurant in downtown Bar Harbor, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Walking back to the motel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure. (The minibus will take those who prefer not to walk.) Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Oldfarm, Acadia National Park's Ocean Drive, Cadillac Mtn.
Bar Harbor, Maine
B,L
Bar Harbor Villager Motel

Activity note: Getting on/off a mini-bus. Walking 2 miles throughout the day; paved and uneven terrain; steps at several sites, use walking sticks/canes as needed.

Breakfast: A grab & go breakfast will be available at the motel.

Morning: We'll head out to Oldfarm, the ruins of the home of George B. Dorr, considered the “father” of Acadia National Park. We'll learn the fascinating story of how the park was founded and how it came to be the only park in the entire national system in which the land was donated rather than purchased by the government. We'll also be able to see nearby Compass Harbor, a delightful shoreside area offering spectacular views. This small harbor is off the beaten path in Acadia and known primarily to locals. Next, we’ll ride the YWCA for a presentation on topics of interest to the program by a local expert from the Mount Desert Island Historical Society. We’ll also have an entertaining, humor-laced presentation on flora and fauna of the park with noted local author Ruth Grierson.

Lunch: At a scenic spot, we’ll have bagged lunches with the selections we made previously.

Afternoon: We’ll get back aboard our minibus as we prepare to encounter stunning scenery along 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 nestled between mountains that features a gorgeous panorama looking towards the Bubbles, twin peaks rising out of the water on the north end of the pond. We’ll end the afternoon with a scenic drive up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern seaboard of the United States. When the serpentine 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 look west towards Blue Hill as the day comes to an end.

Dinner: Dinner on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Lobster Class, Carriage Roads, Somesville, Granite Cutting
Bar Harbor, Maine
B,L
Bar Harbor Villager Motel

Activity note: Getting on/off a mini-bus. Walking 2 miles throughout the day; paved and uneven terrain; steps at several sites, use walking sticks/canes as needed.

Breakfast: A grab & go breakfast will be available at the motel.

Morning: Using authentic gear and live lobsters, a local lobster expert will show us how Maine’s most famous sea creatures are caught and what the future of the industry looks like. We'll then head out to view an exquisite portion of "Mr. Rockefeller's carriage roads." We'll learn about the monumental effect the Rockefeller family has had — and continues to have — on Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park.

Lunch: At a scenic spot, we’ll have our bagged lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll ride through picturesque Somesville, the oldest settlement on Mount Desert Island. From there, we’ll take in the sights of the western side of Mount Desert Island — the “back side” or “quiet side” as many natives call it. At the Maine Granite Industry Museum, we'll participate in a fascinating session on granite cutting by a local granite quarrying expert. We’ll have a chance to lend our hands in prepping and cutting. The museum houses tools used by the quarrymen, blacksmiths, stone cutters, and stone carvers, as well as many historic photos and related documents. Moving on, we’ll visit Southwest Harbor and stop at Seawall, a natural rock formation that offers some of the loveliest ocean views on the island. We’ll then meander in and out of Acadia National Park and areas that many tourists never see. Returning to Somesville, we’ll visit sites that will reveal more about local history and culture including the so-called Monet Bridge, one of the most photographed spots in the state of Maine.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Sieur de Monts Nature Walk, Cranberry Islands Boat Ride
Bar Harbor, Maine
B,D
Bar Harbor Villager Motel

Activity note: Getting on/off a mini-bus; on/off a research vessel. Walking up to 3 miles; paved and uneven terrain.

Breakfast: A grab & go breakfast will be available at the motel.

Morning: After an early breakfast, we'll be treated to a morning bonus: a field trip to Sieur de Monts Springs, one of Acadia's little-known secrets. There, accompanied by a well-versed naturalist, we'll traverse the mile-long nature walk, a wonderful way to begin our day. Then we'll head to Northeast Harbor for our boating adventure. We'll board the “Sea Princess” a sightseeing/nature cruise vessel in Northeast Harbor. We'll tour explore the Great Harbor of Mount Desert and make a stop on Little Cranberry Island, one of 14 offshore Maine islands that maintain a year-round population. Then we'll cruise into Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast of North America, where we'll view dramatic cliffs rising out of the sea.

Lunch: Lunch on your own.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we'll enjoy an old-fashioned Down East shore feast, featuring the state’s most well-known crustacean — Homarus americanus — the North American cold-water lobster (alternatives available).

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure after our lunch and graduation tomorrow.

DAY
5
Winter Habitat & Local Fauna, Program Concludes
Bar Harbor, Maine
B,L

Activity note: Motel check-out 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: A grab & go breakfast will be available at the motel.

Morning: We'll wrap up our program’s educational activities with two presentations at the YWCA. A professor from Bar Harbor's College of the Atlantic will talk about winter habitat and how animals on Mount Desert Island adapt to harsh conditions. Then we'll learn about the "Great Fire" of 1947 that burned half the island before riding to Grant Park.

Lunch: At Grant Park, we’ll our bagged lunches followed by graduation.

Afternoon: In the park, we’ll take part in a brief “graduation” ceremony and savor our memories of a learning adventure on the magnificent Maine coast. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.