^^ the model railroad town of Stonington ^^
^^ I don’t usually do this well on boats ^^
^^ can I please live here? ^^
^^ Town Landing ^^
^^ You can stay at this cute place! A bit too rich for our blood but looks amazing nonethless. ^^
It’s no secret that when we travel, especially when we are in the great outdoors, we like to feel as if we are ‘one with nature’ instead of surrounded by people. As we boarded the tiny mailboat from Stonington filled with people, bikes, dogs, luggage, and supplies for the island, we wondered if we would finally be getting away from the crowds of Acadia or if we were just going to be trapped on a smaller island with the same amount of people, with no chance of escaping until the next boat arrived.
Our little packed mail boat traveled further and further from shore and the town of Stonington started to look like a fake model railroad town. We sipped our coffees and watched as we passed tiny island after tiny island and navigated the maze of lobster trap buoys that blanketed the top of the water. Some of our fellow passengers remained at the top of the boat, stubbornly unwilling to leave their “prime” seats even though the wind made it freezing cold. Others huddled inside the boat, away from the wind and spectacular views. We lounged outside on the benches on bottom deck, enjoying in the breeze, the sun, and the smooth journey on calm waters.
In 45 minutes we pulled into a quiet harbor and dropped off the first group of people at the Town Landing. We continued on past anchored boats and past the island’s lighthouse. Another 30 minutes or so later we spotted a beautiful cove surrounded by rocky shores and tall trees. Beside the floating dock a friendly park ranger waited, waving hello to us as our boat pulled into Duck Harbor.
Getting to this part of Acadia National Park was not the easiest considering its distance from the rest of the park. At over 1.5 hours from Seawall Campground it’s quite a bit away from the rest of Acadia, but then we usually find those are our favorite types of places. We got up pretty early, packed up camp, stopped at Blue Hill Co-op for coffee and bagels, crossed a couple bridges connecting smaller islands, and took a little boat to a remote island outpost. In this case, getting to the island was part of the fun.
Isle Au Haut Mailboat // $38pp RT, additional $10/day parking. Extra fee for bringing bikes or kayaks //A pretty pricey boat ride especially if you add parking and a couple bikes. Thankfully we decided to leave our bikes at home. It’s extremely important to check the mail boat schedule prior to booking anything to Isle au Haut, camping or otherwise. There are two boats — one that only goes to the Isle Au Haut town landing (more frequent) and one that goes to both the town landing AND Duck Harbor where the campground is located (less frequent). In addition, the schedule changes depending on the season, holidays and days of the week. If the weather is bad/water is choppy and you are going to the campground you should be prepared to be dropped off at the town landing where you will have to hike 5 miles to the campground. In addition to transportation to Isle Au Haut, other boat tours are available. Even if you don’t make it to Isle Au Haut, I would recommend getting on the water — either a boat tour, a whale watching tour, or kayak — at some point while up in Acadia. It’s a great way to experience this beautiful little part of Maine.
Isle Au Haut / I think there’s only one way to get to the island, and it’s by boat, and probably just by the mail boat unless you have a private means to get there. It’s a bit of a trek to get to and requires a bit of planning, but the payoff is that you get to visit a remote island outpost, far away from tons of people, and surrounded by rugged, untouched wilderness. Approximately six miles long and two miles wide, a remote area of Acadia National Park covers about half of the island and can be visited as part of a day trip (we saw many hikers come with their dogs to just hike around the park area). Another option would be to explore the very small traditional village and/or stay at the keeper’s inn by lighthouse (too expensive for us). I think there are maybe one or two places where you can grab a bite to eat near Town Landing but check the opening times/days. When we were the only place to eat was closed.
Blue Hill Co-op / local organic and fair trade market, bakery and cafe // If you’re in the area, or on your way to Stonington, this well-stocked, slightly hippie grocery store and cafe is a great place to stop for a bite to eat or to load up on provisions for a picnic or for camping on Isle Au Haut. Great place to get coffee.