DownEast & Acadia
Everybody knows North, South, East and West. But you have to know something about Maine to know “DownEast.” Back in the day, “DownEast” described the direction sailing ships traveled to get here from New York and Boston. That is, downwind and to the east. Over time, DownEast also came to represent the rich maritime history and strong, independent spirit of the people in this special part of Maine.
Together, DownEast & Acadia describe an authentic Maine experience, beginning each day with a little thing called the sun. The first rays of dawn to touch the United States do so on the face of the West Quoddy Head Light in the DownEast village of Lubec. From there, a world of intense natural beauty comes alive in a union of ocean, coastline and inland wonders that quicken the heart and stir the soul. Summer is simply glorious. Fall explodes with color and passion. Winter is refreshing and calm. And spring ushers in the glorious bloom of nature as the cycle begins all over again.
Speaking of cycles, the ocean tides of DownEast Maine are some of the highest on the planet, with highs and lows occurring twice daily. It truly has to be seen to be believed. If you don’t believe it the first time, there’s always the encore. Also in the “must see” category is Acadia, Maine’s National Park. Comprised of three sections – the spectacular Mount Desert Island, and the quieter Schoodic Peninsula and Isle au Haut – Acadia is a feast for the eyes and all the senses with intricate bays and tree-lined mountains rising majestically along the coast. Cadillac Mountain above the coastal town of Bar Harbor offers magnificent views. With 120 miles of hiking trails and 55 miles of Rockefeller-built carriage roads, Acadia National Park is a national treasure waiting for you.
With so much to explore, an experienced guide can be an invaluable part of the DownEast experience. North of Acadia, the village of Grand Lake Stream is home to the most concentrated population of Registered Maine Guides in the state. The fishing and hunting are unmatched, as are the opportunities to simply relax and enjoy the great outdoors.
Of course, there’s so much more, starting with DownEast’s breathtaking scenic byways: Acadia All-American Road, Blackwoods, Schoodic and The Bold Coast. Or cover some scenic ground on foot on the coastal trails – Great Wass Island, Cutler Coast and Petit Manan. Save room in your schedule and your slide show for the picturesque island towns of Stonington and Deer Isle, home of the internationally renowned Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.
You’ll need a boat – tours are available – to visit Machias Seal Island and witness the phenomenon of thousands of Atlantic puffins each summer. While you may not be able to book the Presidential Suite, Roosevelt Campobello International Park invites you to an inside look at FDR’s historic summer home. And save room for those famous Maine Wild Blueberries and the Machias Blueberry Festival. It’s DownEast delicious.
Instagrammer Emily Blincoe captures the soaring beauty of the Maine Highlands.@ benschuyler
Acadia’s Forgotten Lakes