We periodically publish content from DownEast Magazine, The Magazine of Maine. Dedicated to evoking and illuminating the spirit and culture of Maine at its best.
Acadia's Jordan Pond
Size: 187 acres
Maximum depth: 150 feet
Water visibility: 46 feet
If Mount Desert Island is Maine’s celebrity island — the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Fords put the island in the spotlight long before Martha Stewart moved in — then Jordan Pond is its Walk of Fame. Since its establishment in 1864, the Jordan Pond House has drawn such sitting presidents as William Howard Taft, aristocrats like John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and Hollywood types like Chuck Norris and Beau Bridges. They all come to sample the tea and popovers and stare out at the pond’s blue water and the well-endowed, twin pink granite peaks known as the Bubbles. But to truly appreciate this gem of Acadia you need to follow the one-mile Jordan Pond Nature Trail around the pond’s perimeter. Park officials estimate that about 60 percent of visitors will stop by Jordan Pond at some point during their stay, yet even in August only four hundred people a day make it out onto the trail. A network of narrow, split-log bridges keeps walkers suspended above the marshy wetlands and allows them to take in the water lilies and schools of golden shiner minnows that fill the shallows.
With some of the clearest water in Maine — visibility of roughly sixty feet has been recorded here — you might even spot a brookie moving way down deep. Loons and common mergansers nest in this area, and the Jordan Cliffs are home to one of the park’s nesting pairs of peregrine falcons. But this scenic spot happens to also be the water supply for Seal Harbor, so while you can paddle about if you want, swimming is prohibited, and pets are to be kept out of the water.
The power that Jordan Pond can have on artistic visitors has been well-proven over the years — especially if they came from the music colony in nearby Seal Cove. “My mother had a recollection from when she was a child of having to sit on the veranda at the Jordan Pond House and not go inside because the maestro had had an inspiration and was composing,” remarks Bob Pyle, former director of the Northeast Harbor Library. “[The composer] was Fritz Kreisler, and she even remembered the tune — it was “Apple Blossom Time,” which ended up being one of his more popular pieces.”
Excerpted from the article by Joshua F. Moore in the June 2008 issue of DownEast Magazine.