Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Beautiful Schoodic Peninsula, 8/01/2017

Schoodic Peninsula, located about an hour north of Bar Harbor by car, is a 6,000 piece of land that is part of Acadia National Park on the mainland (all other parts of Acadia NP are on Mount Desert Island and small coastal islands). 

One reason we drove to Schoodic is that it is not nearly as crowded as the rest of Acadia NP on Mount Desert Island. After arriving on the peninsula on Route 168, take a right turn onto the 6-mile park road that runs along the coast.

Our first stop was Frazer Point where there is a large picnic area and fishing dock.  

Walking down to the shell-covered and rocky shore, we had fun seeing marine life in the tidal poolsseaweed, and the many cairns other visitors have built

Winter Harbor can be seen in the distance from Frazer Point. This location was a Native American camp for thousands of years. We enjoyed seeing this great blue heron and lots of butterflies, too. 

We pulled over at the next overlook and spent some time rock hopping and the shore. Our sweet doggy, Sadie, got to go for a swim, too. A wave surprised her!

The Mark Island Lighthouse was built in 1856 (decommissioned in 1933). The lighthouse, keeper house and oil house on the 2.8-acre island is a private residence and closed to the public. 

Our next stop was Pond Island where there is a large rocky shoreline at low tide.

Two snorkelers were in the cove with their dog! Sadie went for another swim, too, in the swift-running water between the shore and the island. We spent a far amount of time exploring this area.

Taking a right towards Schoodic Point, we stopped at Rockerfeller Hall which is part of the Schoodic Education and Research Center.

Built in 1935 by the National Park Service, this building housed Navy personnel and top-secret radio operations that had previously been located on Mount Desert Island. John D. Rockefeller brokered the deal to relocate the radio operation and expand Acadia NP with the NPS. 

In 1947 the radio operations were closed, but the base remained open until 2002 when the buildings/property were returned to Acadia NP. The anchor is dedicated to the Navy personnel who served here. Educational and interactive exhibits inside about the naval history and ongoing research here is open to the public. 

A short distance from the Education and Research Center is Schoodic Point, the rocky tip of the peninsula. Unprotected by offshore islands, the ocean crashes against the rocks at high tide. 

Massive pools of molten magma formed the granite that cracked as it cooled. Newer magma with a different mix of minerals subsequently filled in the fractures. Called diabase dikes, you can see the darker rock in the pink granite. As the water pounds the point, the softer minerals erode much more quickly.

We wandered around the point enjoying the stunning views. Sadie made lots of friends, as she always does!

These tidal pools in the rocks had lush vegetation. Fascinating. But the views of the ocean were incredible.

On a clear day, you can see Nova Scotia from Schoodic Point. 

Below is Rolling Island as seen from an overlook on the western side of the peninsula. Bald eagles nest on the 5-acre island, so it is closed from mid-February to mid-August. Also we did not see any. 

Ancient ice and the powerful ocean have rounded the cobbles found here (and other Acadia beaches). The smooth stones provide shoreline habitats for many small marine creatures.

A couple miles after we left peninsula, we stopped at the Wrinkled Pickle for a late lunch (a volunteer at Acadia had recommended it).

What's a wrinkled pickle? See below. (No, we did not order any.)  Sadie was allowed to join us on the deck. And my Blueberry Cosmo was delicious. But the lobster roll and onion rings were divine! John enjoyed his BLT and Pepsi, too. Ha!

There is a dirt road that leads to Schoodic Head, the 440' summit on the peninsula (we missed the turnoff). Also there are seven hiking trails on the peninsula (we spent our time exploring the coast at various overlooks along the park road). 

It's definitely worth the drive to tour the Schoodic Peninsula. There is also a ferry from Bar Harbor that can get you there pretty quickly as the distance by water is far less than the miles to drive. For additional information about the area, click on www.nps.gov/acad or go to www.acadiamagic.com.

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