||Hotels, Small Inns
Oct 02, 2023 - Oct 09, 2023
|Single Supp Cost
Hiking Trip Summary
The coast of Maine is renowned for its beautiful rocky coast and offshore islands, lighthouses and lobsters, quiet white-steepled churches tucked in small villages, and scenery galore. This is familiar territory for us, and we are excited to be offering this 8-day Coastal Maine hiking trip so close to home.
Time on Monhegan Island, laced with 17 miles of walking trails and home to artists and fishing families alike, will give us a taste of Maine island life. Tucked beneath the high bluffs of the Camden Hills and hugging its well-protected harbor, the quintessential New England village of Camden will offer us vista-rich trails and shop-lined streets to explore.
With its bold granite shores, sparkling lakes, high peaks, quiet harbors, and old, stately inns, Mount Desert Island captures the essence of coastal Maine landscapes. Fittingly, we will spend our last few days walking the graceful carriage trails and rugged mountain paths of Acadia National Park.
Day 1: Portland, Maine, to Monhegan Island
Morning pick-up at Portland International Jetport. After gathering as a group, a two-hour scenic drive up the coast will bring us to the fishing village of Port Clyde. We’ll stop for lunch at a wharf-side diner before catching the ferry out to Monhegan. Once on the island, we’ll have time to settle into our accommodations, take a walk around the village, or just relax on the porch and enjoy the evening. Area orientation and welcome dinner.
MONHEGAN: Of the more than 1,200 islands that dot Maine’s coast, Monhegan Island is considered especially captivating. Located 11 miles offshore, measuring 1½ miles long and a ½ mile wide, Monhegan rises like a whale out of the ocean. Monhegan’s current year-round population of around 75 is a mix of artists and fishermen. In the summer, the population swells to almost 1,200, as the Island attracts vacationers, bird watchers, and anyone looking to experience the peaceful setting created by island life. With 17 miles of hiking trails, there are a variety of options from which to choose, some passing through woods and some following along high cliff tops, rising a dramatic 160 feet above the shore. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 2: Day Hike on Monhegan
A cluster of grey-shingled houses, the village of Monhegan cloaks the harbor on the east side of the island. There are no paved roads. Aside from a few village pickup trucks, golf carts are the main form of transportation for the locals. The remaining two-thirds of the island is a nature preserve managed by Monhegan Associates. With 17 miles of trails crisscrossing the island, there is a variety of hiking and walking options from which to choose. The trails are numbered and well-trodden.
- The Cliff Trail #1 circles the island taking in the headlands of Burnthead, Whitehead, and Blackhead. This varied and rugged trail passes through forests and long rocky overlooks as it hugs the coast. Skirting Lobster Cove on the southern tip of the island, a popular area for birdwatching and site of the shipwreck tub boat the T.D. Sheridan, the trail climbs to headlands and dips down to rocky coves as it offers expansive ocean views.
- Cathedral Woods - Whitehead - Monhegan Lighthouse – Many trails cut across the island, making any number of shorter circular walks possible. A particularly enchanting walk is along the Cathedral Woods trail that winds its way through a stately spruce forest. It’s been a tradition among island children, young and old, to build Ferry Houses in these woods. Joining the Long Swamp trail, the path emerges on the high bluff of Whitehead with views down the shoreline to the cliffs of Blackhead and out to sea. The Whitehead trail returns via the lighthouse that sits on a hill overlooking the village.
Around the Village
- Artist Studios: Artists have long been drawn to Monhegan, among them George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, Edward Hopper, and three generations of the Wyeth family. Many of Monhegan’s resident artists open their studios to the visiting public. It’s possible to spend a couple of delightful hours wandering from studio to studio, talking with artists and admiring their work. In town, The Lupine Gallery also has a nice representation of local work.
- Other points of interest on the island are the tiny Monhegan Library, the one-room schoolhouse, the island Ice Pond and Lighthouse constructed in 1824 set on a hill above the village. The Monhegan Museum of Art and History occupies the former lightkeepers house and is open seasonally.
Day 3: Transfer from Monhegan Island to Camden – Day hike and explore the area
It’s back on the ferry again for our return voyage to Port Clyde. From Port Clyde, it’s about a 40-minute drive up the coast to Camden. We’ll have the next day and a half to hike and explore the area.
ROCKLAND: 30-minutes up the coast from Port Clyde is the town of Rockland. Before the days when the automobile and highways were king, Rockland was a thriving harbor integral to the granite, lime, fishing, and boatbuilding industries. As these industries have faded, the art scene has flourished in Rockland anchored by the Farnworth Museum. Today, galleries, cafes, restaurants, and shops line its main street.
- Farnsworth Art Museum: The Farnsworth Art Museum offers a nationally recognized collection of American art. The museum's permanent collection, entitled Maine in America, displays works of many well-known 18th and 19thcentury artists. Four new galleries now showcase contemporary art. The Museum houses the Nation's second-largest collection of works by premier 20th-century sculptor Louise Nevelson as well as the Wyeth Center exclusively featuring works by N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth – America's “first family of art.”
- Rockland Breakwater – The Rockland Breakwater extends almost a mile from shore, providing extra protection to the harbor from storms. Construction was begun in 1881 and completed in 1899 using 700,000 tons of granite quarried from local islands. The Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse at the end of the breakwater was built in 1902. Though it is no longer manned, it is still functioning. Walking time is about 1½ hrs round trip.
- Beech Hill Preserve – The conservancy property managed by the Coastal Land Trust is about a 10-minute drive from the center of Rockland. A relatively easy walk up through blueberry fields to the top of Beech Hill provides classically beautiful views of Indian Rock Lighthouse and Penobscot Bay. Picturesque Beech Nut, a stone cabin with a sod roof, crowns the hill.
- Beauchamp Point – This walk begins at the water’s edge at the Rockport Harbor and Marine Park, the site of the Historic Lime Kiln area, and the commemorative statue of Andre the Seal. The walk wanders through the village of Rockport, along Beauchamp Point with views of the harbor and Penobscot Bay, past the Children’s Chapel, and finally scenic Aldermere Farm home of our beloved Belted Galloway cows, also affectioning known as Oreo cows.
Day 4: Day Hike in the Camden Area – Schooner Olad
CAMDEN: Like many coastal villages, Camden’s heritage is connected to the sea. Shipbuilding and provisioning as well as fishing were the backbones of its economy. Equally important were the six mills that operated along the Megunticook River at the turn of the century. During the 1880s, Camden became a popular summer destination for prominent families from Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC. Today, 19th-century homes still line Camden’s High Street, and, while shipbuilding and woolen mills are things of the past, the harbor remains a thriving center of boating. Over the years some of the mills have been repurposed, and cool summer sea breezes are still beckoning visitors from “away.”
There are many great hiking and walking options in and around Camden. Camden Hills State Park, with over 30 miles of hiking trails, offers a great variety of hikes with ocean views, thick forests, lakeside cliffs, and open summits covered in wild blueberries.
- Bald Rock Trail – Starting in the State Park near the town of Lincolnville, the Bald Rock Trail leads to its summit’s rocky ledges with stunning views of the island of Islesboro and the mountains of Blue Hill and Cadillac in the distance.
- Mount Battie – In 1897 Columbus Bushwell of Camden engineered a carriage trail to the summit of Mount Battie and later built the Summit Hotel in 1898. During Camden’s carriage trade days at the turn of the century, the hotel was a popular destination but was torn down in 1916 as those days waned. The stone tower that crowns Mount Battie was erected in 1918 and vestiges of carriage trails remain. A short hike up one of these old carriage trails leads to the summit of Mount Battie will give us the iconic view of Camden and Rockport Harbors, as well as the islands and coastline from Owls Head to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.
- Ocean Overlook – A longer hike with access via the carriage trails, the route up to Ocean Overlook diverges from the trail to Mount Battie. With a few short, steep, rocky sections this hike offers equally expansive views of Penobscot Bay and a great picnic spot atop the open, rock outcropping of the overlook.
- Schooner Olad: A visit to Camden would not be complete without getting out on the water. We’ll take a sail on one of its famous schooners, the Schooner Olad. Built in 1927, this 47-foot schooner has been sailing the waters off Camden since 1985. Owner and skipper Captain Aaron Lincoln, a local Mainer, talks about the history of the area and the schooner trade as we sail through one he’s best-loved corners of the world. Out on the Olad, we will have the opportunity to breathe that fresh sea air, cruise Penobscot Bay, and experience the beautiful coast of Maine from the water. The schooner trip is weather-dependent – fog, rain, storms, high winds, etc. may result in the cancellation of the schooner sail.
- Camden is a pleasant village to explore and poke around. At the northern end of Camden’s main street at the head of the harbor is the Amphitheatre and Public Library. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2013, the amphitheater was designed by the renowned landscape architect Fletcher Steele and constructed between 1928 - 1931. Between 1928 and 1935 Harbor Park, across from the amphitheater, was designed and developed by the Olmsted Brothers, whose father designed Central Park among other spaces.
Day 5: Camden to Mount Desert Island
We will begin the day with a drive to Mount Desert Island, leaving after breakfast and traveling “Downeast” along the coast. We will arrive by lunchtime, with plenty of time for an easy afternoon hike.
MOUNT DESERT: Mount Desert is the second-largest island along the eastern seaboard of the US, and the largest island along the Maine coast. It's thought the island got its name when French explorer Samuel de Champlain described it as L'Isle des Monts-déserts, the island of barren mountains.
About half of the island is a national park. Established first as a National Monument in 1916 by Woodrow Wilson, Acadia was designated a national park in 1919, though at the time it was called Lafayette National Park. The name was officially changed to Acadia in 1929 and today encompasses 49,052 acres. Wanting to travel by carriage and avoid motor cars, between 1915 -1933, John D. Rockefeller Jr. develop a 57-mile network of carriage roads on the island and donated 11,000 acres to the park. The carriage roads still provide a wonderful way to experience the island hiking, walking, or biking.
- Jordan Pond and South Bubble – The walk around Jordan Pond to South Bubble and Bubble Rock offers outstanding views of Jordan Pond to the south, Eagle Lake to the north, many of the surrounding mountains, and, of course, the Atlantic Ocean. It is a nice combination of easy walking alongside Jordan Pond and climbing steep, granite steps leading to the open summit of South Bubble, where we’ll see the precariously set Bubble Rock.
- Asticou Azalea Garden – Another option is a walk through the Asticou Azalea Garden. Inspired by native plant species and Japanese garden design, this is a “wonderful blend of East and West.” From here, a path climbs up through the Asticou Terraces with viewpoints to enjoy along the way. The path leads to Thuya Garden, a 140-acre preserve and the former home of Joseph Henry Curtis, a landscape architect from Massachusetts who summered here. The natural beauty and design of these gardens are awe-inspiring. From here it is possible to continue to the summit of Eliot Mountain overlooking the quaint village of Northeast Harbor.
Day 6 & 7: Hikes in Acadia National Park
There are many great hikes on Mount Desert ranging from easy to strenuous. Those described below are just a few.
- Cadillac Mountain via the South Ridge Trail – Another scenic route is to the summit of Mount Desert’s highest mountain, Cadillac (1,525’) along the South Ridge Trail. Beginning in a dense forest, the route climbs somewhat gently to the open granite ridges that lead to the top of Cadillac Mountain. During fall and winter, this is where the first sunlight shines on the east coast of the United States. With a road to the top, it can be quite busy when we reach the summit with its panoramic views. On a clear day, it’s possible to see Katahdin to the north and Nova Scotia to the east.
- Beech Mountain Fire Tower and Valley Loop – A hike on the “quiet side” of the island, this is a more moderate hike along forest trails with views of Long Pond, Echo Lake, and the surrounding area. At the summit is a nationally registered historic fire tower, which may or may not be open.
- Gorham Mountain and Ocean Path Loop – A moderate hike with great variety, this route begins at Sand Beach and follows the coastline past the crashing waves of Thunder Hole and then climbs to the summit of Gorham Mountain offering incredible panoramic views of Mount Desert, Frenchman Bay, and the other islands.
Also on Mount Desert:
- Acadia's Historic Carriage Roads: 45 of 57 miles of carriage road on Mount Desert are within the national park. As well as walking, biking can be a great way of experiencing these wonderful roads and exploring the island.
- Abbe Museum: The Abbe Museum of Wabanaki art, history, and culture, is the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state. With two locations, one in Bar Harbor and the other at Sieur de Monts Spring, the museum offers ongoing exhibits as well educational programs. Founded in 1926, the Abbe's collections now represent 12,000 years of Native American culture and history in Maine.
- Bar Harbor has been a popular summer destination since the end of the 19th century when many of America’s most influential families built their summer homes here. Often called “The Gateway to Acadia National Park”, Bar Harbor is a bustling working and yachting harbor with many shops, restaurants, and grand old mansions that have been converted into inns and B&Bs.
- Wendel Gilley Museum in Southwest Harbor honors the legacy of prominent wood-carving artist Wendel Gilley through promoting artistic creativity and engagement with the natural world. The museum serves as a community center offering art exhibits as well as educational programs.
- La Rochelle Mansion & Museum is a Georgian Revival mansion built in 1903 now owned by the Bar Harbor Historical Society. On the National Registry of Historic Places, it is an exceptional example of the northern New England gilded age manors and is set along the shorefront of Bar Harbor. The museum is dedicated to the history of Bar Harbor, from its settlement by Europeans to the creation of Acadia National Park.
Day 8: Acadia National Park to Portland
We will depart our hotel after breakfast at about 9:00 am for Portland’s International Jetport, a 3-hour drive give or take. Depending on traffic we will arrive at the Jetport between 12:00 and 1:00 pm.
If you wish to have your own room, there is a single supplement charge. Please let us know if you would like a single at the time of registration, single rooms are very limited. If you are traveling alone and would like to share a room, we will match you with a roommate. If we are unable to match you will a roommate there is a forced single charge of $400.
- Group Transfers to and from Portland International Jetport
- All accommodations
- All breakfasts
- 6 dinners
- All ferries and van transfers as per itinerary
- Admission to the Farnsworth Museum
- Schooner sail
- Guide and naturalist
- Lots of great hiking and memories!
Airfare, lunches, travel to and from starting/meeting point, optional/individual transfers or excursions, items not on set dinner menu, beverages, tips to guides, insurance, items of a personal nature (phone charges, laundry, excess baggage fees, etc.). Allow roughly $300 in additional costs.
While this trip is van supported, we do ask that you limit yourself to one medium-sized bag that you can easily handle. Keep in mind that you will have to carry it on and off ferries and that not all of our accommodations have elevators. Inn hallways may be narrow and winding. Our suggested packing list may be helpful.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND MEALS
All nights will be in comfortable country inns with private baths.
A full breakfast is provided at the inns. For lunches, we will have the opportunity to shop locally for ingredients for trailside picnics. The inns will also offer bag lunches for purchase, and some days we may have the opportunity to eat at a local cafe, restaurant, or wharf-side diner. Dinners will be either at the inns or a local restaurant, usually at around 6:30 pm – 7:00 pm. The meals will be delicious New England fare. Vegetarian options are not a problem.
The trip will start and end with a pickup and drop off at Portland International Jetport. It is also possible to fly into Boston’s Logan Airport. There is bus service from Logan to Portland, as well as train service from Boston’s North Station in Boston’s city center. Buses and trains arrive in the same terminal in Portland, which is only a short taxi ride from the airport. When making plans please allow for travel time.
We will meet as a group on Day 1 at the Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine at 10:00 am.
The trip ends on Day 8 with a morning transfer to Portland International Jetport, arriving about 1:00 pm.
Please contact us for a more detailed itinerary, for more information, or to register. We're also happy to supply a list of past participants willing to share honest insights into this guided Coastal Maine Hiking experience.
Reserving This Trip
A deposit of $500 along with your completed registration forms will reserve a space on your requested trip. We accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express card as well as personal checks. To make a deposit, you may either follow one of the “Reserve a Trip” links below, give us a call at 1-888-845-5781, or include your payment information in the
area provided when completing your registration forms.
The balance is due 75 days prior to departure for most of our trips. When applying less than 75 days prior to departure, full payment is due. For final payments, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as personal checks.
As confirmation of receipt of your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive packet of information pertaining to your trip, an invoice for final payment and additional information including release agreement form, medical information form, travel information, and packing list. Upon receipt of final payment and no later than 30 days prior to your trip start, you will receive trip rendezvous information and a list of accommodations. Returning trip participants will receive a 5% discount on most trips.
Receipt of all forms will finalize your registration.