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My 5 (or so) Favorite Things about Acadia National Park

From Passionate Outdoorsman and Dedicated Family Man, Phil Savignano.

Phil Savignano’s knowledge of Acadia National Park is astonishing. His passion about the subject knows no bounds—nor does his adventurous spirit. That’s why, when pressed to limit his favorite things about Acadia National Park to five, it presents somewhat of a challenge. He and his family have spent decades adventuring through the park, creating lasting memories and having experiences that are indelibly marked on their family history. “Every time we go, we find something different, we find something new,” he says. Adding, “The seasons change the whole spirit of the park.”

When it comes to Phil’s favorite places, well, we finally got him to commit:

1. Seeing the sunrise and sunset at the top of Cadillac Mountain. “No one wants to get up early,” he says, reminiscing about the time he got his 5-year-old daughter to go to the top of the mountain to see the majestic sunrise. “But at the end of the day, people gather on that western side of Cadillac Mountain and settle in just on the rocks. It’s not a party atmosphere, but more of a reverence atmosphere—people just coming to finish the day off there on the cliffs and watching that golden glow of the red granite and reflections of the water and watching that last piece of red plop down over the ridges on the western side of the state. It’s a great view.”

2. The Carriage Trails. “If you’re a hiker or a biker, you just (have to experience the carriage trails) … it’s so beautiful. They were designed to be scenic, so they’re wide enough and gradual enough for a horse to pull a carriage on, but at the same time, it’s a structured, natural world. It’s familiar but wild at the same time. With kids, it was one of those treats that we’re going to make it to one of these big bridges. And the architecture was just awesome … you could go down underneath the bridge and have a picnic lunch, and if you’re lucky, one of the great surprises is that trails run beneath the bridge and go down along the brook, and so it’s just another Maine adventure.”

3. Hiking Sargent and Penobscot Mountains. “When you are in Jordan Pond House, looking up Jordan Pond towards the Bubbles, Penobscot and Sargent Mountain are on the left … it’s a pretty cool hike up and a hike back down to the Carriage Roads, back to the Jordan Pond House. It’s very do-able as a day trip, especially for people with kids. You pack lunches and your water and there’re places to pick up supplies along the way. The trails are beautifully marked; the stone markings are pieces of art by themselves.”

4. Tea and Popovers at the Jordan Pond House. “Every trip that we’ve ever taken up there … whether it’s a bike ride or if it was a hike or whatever, we always used to try to work our way to get tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House. It was always part of a family vacation.”

5. Somes Sound. “What makes this place special is that the boats come really close. It looks like the boat is going to run into you, but it’s not. It’s so deep that they can go so close to shore. You see huge sailboats sailing on what you think is some really small space, but they sail really close to the shore … and it’s exciting to see something that beautiful come along powered by the wind.”

As for honorable mentions, Phil lists picking wild blueberries (“We always carry big baggies so that you can pull over and pick blueberries and have blueberry pancakes the next morning at the campground,” he says), visiting the Asticou Azalea Garden and taking the kids to South Seawall Wonderland, on the opposite side of the island from Bar Harbor. We knew we couldn’t hold him to just five.

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