|credit: Fred LeBlanc
|In 1916, when the Park was first established, the Schooner Lewis R. French was actively engaged in the coastal cargo trade right on Mount Desert Island. Carrying loads of gravel and lumber up and down Somes Sound, the 145-year-old schooner would have been a familiar sight to the Park’s first visitors.
One hundred years ago, Acadia National Park was established by President Woodrow Wilson. Not only was it the first national park located in the East, it was also the first national park created entirely by private donations of land. A century later, ANP is celebrating with the help of the Maine Windjammer Association. On August 2nd from 2:00-4:00 pm, six of Maine’s windjammers, along with scores of private yachts and motor boats, will parade through Somes Sound, the body of water running deep into Mount Desert Island where dramatic 600-foot cliffs form the backdrop.
Says Captain Dennis of Angelique, “We are ridiculously excited for the trip. We already do five trips to Acadia every year, and we’ll charter a bus so that our guests can explore the Park. Acadia just has amazing accessibility—you can drive to pretty much every spot in the Park—and the views from the top of Cadillac are awe-inspiring. The cool thing about being on a windjammer is we get to see the Park from the water, and it’s breathtakingly gorgeous.”
Captain Brenda of Isaac H. Evans agrees. “One of my favorite memories as a windjammer captain was a most-amazing 12-hour sail around the Park. Normally, we sail 20 miles per day. On this particular day, all the conditions were right—the tide, the wind, not a big sea—and we managed 60 miles from Rockland to Bar Harbor. As we arrived in Frenchman’s Bay, there was a full moon rising. We anchored in Bar Harbor, full moon lighting our way. Of course, it took us the rest of the week to make our way back to Rockland!”
While Acadia is home to many plants, animals and the tallest mountain on the US Atlantic coast, Acadia also boasts granite peaks, historic carriage roads and spectacular views of the Gulf of Maine.
|Schooner Heritage is one of six windjammers participating in the Acadia Centennial Celebration in Somes Sound on August 2nd. Technically classified as a fjard, Somes Sound’s 600-foot towering cliffs provide windjammer guests with a spectacular view of the Park.
For windjammers, there are plenty of anchorages that allow guests a unique perspective on the Park.
Says Captain Dennis, “My favorite anchorage is Pretty Marsh—I love the backdrop; with cliffs overlooking the cove. I just love to spend the night there.”
“Because it’s the first place in the US to see the sunrise, I like to hike up Cadillac Mountain in the dark and watch the sunrise,” says Captain Brenda, “Especially on New Year’s Day!”
For Park visitors who wish to view the Somes Sound Parade on August 2nd, the best vantage points include Acadia and Flying Mountains, Nurumbega, Sergeant Drive and the Head of Somes Sound. The fleet will tie up at the John Williams Boat Company in Hall Quarry for the evening.
To participate in the Parade, guests may sign up to sail with the fleet during this special 6-day Acadia Centennial Celebration from August 1-6, enjoying great sailing from Penobscot Bay to the shores of Mount Desert Island. Highlights include shore trips, wildlife sightings, spectacular scenery and delicious schooner-cooked meals.
Participating windjammers in the Somes Sound Parade include American Eagle, Angelique, Heritage, Isaac H. Evans, Ladona and Lewis R. French. For more information about Maine Windjammer Association vessels, visit our Fleet Page.