Warm days and crisp nights
Plan a summer escape to a northern tier national park
By David Hanson
Acadia National Park's rocky shore makes for stunning ocean views.
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
(Cottage Living) -- Experience the northern tier of jaw-dropping national parks this summer. Spend days in the sunshine and cool nights in a cottage rental.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Maine boasts one of the most rugged, scenic and civilized coastlines in the country. Where else can you eat a fresh lobster roll in a meadow of purple lupine overlooking rocky headlands that dive under a blanket of deep Atlantic blue?
While Acadia visitors flock to Mount Desert Island, we suggest you park on the mainland at Stonington and hop the mail boat or sea kayak out to Isle au Haut. This 5,400-acre island is half private and half park land with a quiet little town tucked in. Rent a bike and explore the mellow dirt roads that run through the island's lush green interior and overflow onto wonderfully exposed, sunny, rocky shore carved smooth by the glaciers that once inched their way across the entire coast.
Where to sleep
Rent a cottage
Lookout Inn, (207) 359-2188 or thelookoutinn.biz. Not only does this spot offer individual cottages, but set on a grassy peninsula on the coast of mainland Maine, it overlooks islands you might pass on your way to Isle au Haut. Bonus: The restaurant serves one of the area's finest meals.
So you're not into roughing it
Keeper's House Inn, (207) 460-0257 or keepershouse.com. Here's your chance to stay in a historic lighthouse inn on the edge of a national park with lobster boats circling the waters while a gourmet meal cooks in the kitchen. It's all here on Isle au Haut. The longtime owners rent one room in the house, plus an independent cottage.
You love camping
Duck Harbor campground, (207) 288-3338 or nps.gov/acad. Acadia National Park operates this Isle au Haut spot, which has the cozy (for camping) option of renting a lean-to shelter so you don't need a tent, just a sleeping bag and pad. The cocktail hour stroll from the campsite to the water nearby is the real bonus.
Where to eat
Isle au Haut has limited dining so here are some mainland selections:
Lily's Cafe, (207) 367-5936. Try the omelet of the day.
Whale's Rib Tavern, (207) 348-5222 or pilgrimsinn.com. Part of Pilgrim's Inn, this rustic-elegant tavern's warmth might make you long for winter, though the view of green grass and a mill pond will snap you back to summer and your hearty plate of seafood, meat or homemade dessert. Reservations recommended.
Eaton's Lobster Pool, (207) 348-2383. Serving fresh Maine lobster for four generations. Just north of Stonington in the town of Little Deer Isle.
More summer escapes:
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