MUS­CAT DAILY A CEL­E­BRA­TION OF ACADIA

To cel­e­brate the 100th an­niver­sary of Maine’s Acadia Na­tional Park, Martha, who is pas­sion­ate about pre­serv­ing and pro­tect­ing it for the fu­ture, takes us for a stroll

Muscat Daily - - FEATURES -

Al­though I am a rel­a­tive new­comer to Mount Desert Is­land, hav­ing pur­chased my house on the edge of Acadia Na­tional Park in 1997, I feel as if I have al­ways been there. Like most of the home­own­ers on this mag­nif­i­cent is­land, I have be­come to­tally en­am­oured of ev­ery­thing the place has to of­fer: The park, the woods, the moss, the sea, the gran­ite cliffs and out­crop­pings, the ponds, the cli­mate, the views, the other is­lands, the abun­dant seafood and the di­verse out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

Last year, the com­mu­nity cel­e­brated the 100th an­niver­sary of Acadia with a se­ries of events that ran the gamut, from lec­tures to cock­tail par­ties and din­ners to gala evenings, and even a four­day week­end of car­riage rides to ben­e­fit the non­profit Friends of Acadia and the park’s car­riage roads.

Orig­i­nally con­structed by John D. Rock­e­feller Jr in the early 1900s, these rus­tic, car-free path­ways me­an­der through the wood­lands, of­fer­ing scenic vis­tas of the land­scape. Decades ago, they were ne­glected, but they are now main­tained beau­ti­fully, thanks to a joint pri­vate-pub­lic part­ner­ship be­tween the Friends of Acadia and the Na­tional Park Ser­vice. They are en­joyed by bik­ers, jog­gers, baby strollers and horse­back riders, as well as horse-drawn car­riages.

Dur­ing the fun-filled week­end, many of us en­joyed rid­ing through more than 45 scenic miles of groomed car­riage roads while seated in 15 roof-seat break car­riages brought by the Coach­ing Club. The car­riages, which were pulled by 80 horses, were driven by beau­ti­fully at­tired whips (the driv­ers of these car­riages) and grooms (care­tak­ers of the horses). We drove from morn­ing through the af­ter­noon, tak­ing in the ex­pan­sive views of the wood­lands and sea, and en­joy­ing the gor­geous weather.

We re­con­vened for cock­tails and din­ner at a dif­fer­ent home each night. On Satur­day evening, I hosted a lob­ster bake for the group at my his­toric car­riage house, one of sev­eral 1925 struc­tures lo­cated on my prop­erty, Sky­lands. All the whips and own­ers of the car­riages at­tended, as did the other hosts and hostesses and many friends.

I was ex­tremely happy to be part of this amaz­ing gath­er­ing, which in­cor­po­rated so many of the is­land’s time-hon­oured tra­di­tions, and in­tro­duced some new and in­no­va­tive ones for the fu­ture. I can’t wait to re­turn.

A walk in the park

Acadia is a beau­ti­ful place any time of year. But I en­cour­age you to visit and see for your­self. A few facts:

1. Lo­cated pre­dom­i­nantly on Mount Desert (pro­nounced dessert) Is­land, Maine, Acadia Na­tional Park pro­tects more than 47,000 acres of land. It has 125 miles of hik­ing trails and 45 miles of pub­lic car­riage roads.

2. It is one of the most-vis­ited na­tional parks in the US The park re­ceives more than two mil­lion vis­i­tors each year, most dur­ing the warm sum­mer months.

3. Cadil­lac, the tallest moun­tain on the At­lantic coast, has a peak of 1,530ft. You can drive or hike one of the many trails that lead to the top and see glo­ri­ous 360 de­gree views.

4. The park is home to lots of wildlife, in­clud­ing hun­dreds of birds like war­blers, loons, bald ea­gles and pere­grine fal­cons, which visit through­out the year.

5. The non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Friends of Acadia was founded in 1986 to pre­serve, pro­tect and pro­mote the stew­ard­ship of the park (friend­so­fa­ca­dia.org).

Many trails in the park have pro­tec­tive board­walks, which makes walk­ing through the boggy woods a de­light

Martha owns an orig­i­nal Bar Har­bor buck­board, one of the early car­riages that car­ried vis­i­tors through the park. It is stored in her car­riage house, on a turntable

( The New York Times)

Ready to ride with Kevin Sch­nei­der the su­per­in­ten­dent of Acadia Na­tional Park

A din­ner buffet was served out­doors

Martha Ste­wart

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