Remembering Ash Cottage

This plaque, to be displayed near the entry, recognizes the Mira Monte inn as the former home of Orlando Ash, an early Bar Harbor entrepreneur and developer who built the Mira Monte and many of the surrounding historic homes. Ash’s holdings were once said to extend from Cadillac Mountain to the sea. Although there have been some competing claims regarding the precise age of the building, the inn is widely recognized as one of the oldest homes in town, as well as one of Bar Harbor’s first B&Bs. 

Mira Monte Receives TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!

We’re proud to have been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in our first year as new owners! A BIG THANK YOU to all our guests for making this possible. We won’t forget that your’e the reason for our success!

Hiking Guide- Flying Mountain

At just over 280′, Flying Mountain is more of a rocky outcropping than a true mountain, even by Acadia’s standards. It was named by the native Abenaki, who thought that the hillock appeared to be leaping or flying from the surrounding mountainsides. Despite it’s modest height, the short 1.5 mile hike to the summit offers truly beautiful vistas that make the trip worthwhile. The trail is a moderately steep scramble over cobbles and tree roots, interspersed with a series of graded steps. For this reason, it is not suited to those with mobility issues, though hikers of average fitness should find the climb relatively easy due to it’s short length. The hike is a favorite among kids, but be forewarned that the few rugged areas and drop-offs  do require some level of parental diligence. Once at the top, you will be rewarded with serene views of Sommes Sound and the Cranberry Isles beyond. There is a normally a very pleasant side trip that can be added to nearby Valley Cove, but the trail was sadly closed for maintenance during our visit. Directions: From the Mira Monte Inn, take Mt Desert St (Eagle Lake Road) west to hwy 102. Turn left on 102 toward Southwest Harbor. In about 5.4 miles, turn left of Fernald Pt Road. In about .75 miles, the trailhead will be on the left.

 

Bar Harbor 2018 Midnight Madness

 

Suites Button

Come stay with us this winter in the Mira Monte Suites and Ashe Cottage Buildings during Midnight Madness!

 

We’ve already told you about the Pajama Days as a fun day of activities and sale prices, but did you know we have one final day of sales and events to close the year out? Midnight Madness in 2018 in Bar Harbor is on Friday, Dec 7. It starts at 8pm and runs until midnight, with many shops offering free snacks, wine, and warm drinks. There’s some caroling that usually goes on at the Village Green as well with free cocoa and cookies. Santa comes in to light the tree at about 5pm, and then he reads Twas the Night Before Christmas before heading off to the YMCA for some family crafts fun, so kids are definitely welcome for this event.

So that’s 5pm for Santa and Twas the Night Before Christmas on the Village Green. After that head to the Y for Christmas crafts, and come back into town at 8pm for the sales, drinks, and fun around town!

To book with us for that event, go to www.miramonte.com. Please remember that our winter rates do not include breakfast or daily housekeeping.

Acadia Hiking Guide: Hadlock Ponds

Upper Hadlock Pond

Upper Hadlock Pond in the fog

 

Not all hikes offer spectacular views of the ocean and lakes, but what good are those hikes on foggy days? There are plenty of hikes that weave in and around the mountains and lakes that offer tranquility and peace. The Hadlock Ponds area is one of those worth taking in on foggy days.

One good thing about these hikes is that there are plenty of different loops that one can do. I prefer the hike that starts out near Lower Hadlock Pond and comes back around by Upper Hadlock Pond. It takes about an hour-and-a-half and can be done in multiple different ways. We recommend having a trail map with you because there are also plenty of non-Acadia hiking trails (read: private property) that are definitely OK to hike on but aren’t as well signed as those in the actual park. This is especially true on the southern end of Lower Hadlock Pond (Schoolhouse Ledge in particular).

I start out at the Brown Mtn. Gate parking lot and cross Rt. 198 to find the trail that will take you to Lower Hadlock Pond. Go right at the pond and follow that to the end until you get to the wooden bridge. To stay on Lower Hadlock, and to do the easier hike up Norumbega Mtn, go left. To head north, as I do, stay right until the next trailhead. At that next trailhead, go left toward the Goat Trail parking lot. Take this until you get to one of the parking areas off Rt. 198 an the start of the Goat Trail hike, which is the harder trail going up Norumbega Mtn..

From there, cross the street to the north side of Upper Hadlock Pond. At the carriage trail, you can go right on the carriage trail, which will bring you back to the Brown Mtn. Gate parking area, or you can head straight up to continue on the Hadlock Brook Trail. Going straight probably adds about 30min to the hike or so. I like to stay on the carriage trail because I like the walk along there, especially with my dog in tow (or in the lead, depending on how many chipmunks are about). The carriage trail is the Around Mountain trail.

Along the carriage trail you’ll eventually find the Hadlock Ponds Trail on the right. If you take that, it’ll cross back over Rt. 198 and bring you back to Lower Hadlock Pond and eventually the wooden bridge. I stay on the carriage trail still. When on the carriage trail, you’ll come to a couple of sign posts. Just follow the road back to the Brown Mtn. Gatehouse and all will be well.

The entire hike the way I described it is about 1.5 hours. Staying on the Hadlock Brook Trail makes it about 2 – 2.5 hours, and cutting over to the Hadlock Ponds Trail is about 2 hours flat.

For info on what these hikes are like, come stay with us and we’ll gladly point you in the right direction: www.miramonte.com.

Acadia Hiking Guide: Acadia Mountain

Acadia Mountain

Somes Sounds from atop Acadia Mountain

I always say beware the smaller mountains in Acadia because they tend to be the steepest. Acadia Mountain is no different. In fact, where Acadia Mtn. is located there are two of the smaller-yet-steeper mountains on the island, with St. Sauveur being the other. And yet these smaller mountains often offer intimate views that the larger mountains don’t. The four mountains in this area just north of Southwest Harbor are no different.

Acadia Mountain is probably the most popular of the four mountains: Acadia, St. Sauveur, Valley Peak, and Flying Mtn. are all nestled together in the Valley Cove area. Parking is in two places. The spot off Clark Point Rd. doesn’t have much space, but is best if you’re tackling Flying Mountain and Valley Peak. The more popular parking area is the Acadia Mountain lot just off Rt. 102 near Echo Lake.

From the lot, cross the street, and you’ll find your first decision. It doesn’t matter if you go left or straight, as both will take you to the Acadia Mountain trailhead. Going left is a bit faster, but straight is better for St. Sauver Mtn. Now, I normally recommend going up the steeper hike and coming down the less-steep trail, but with Acadia that’s different because the steeper trail on the back side of the mountain has better views that are right in front of you as you hike down.

So having said that, go up the trail that’s closest to the road. At the top, enjoy the magnificent views of Somes Sound and Valley Cove. Head down the other side, keeping those views in front of you, until you get to the Man-O-War Truck Road. Follow that to the right will bring you back to the parking lot.

Acadia Mountain itself, up and down, is about 1.5 – 2 hours long. However, if you’re looking for a good, full day of hiking then tackling more than one peak will definitely get your exercise in. Adding St. Sauveur will add another two hours to Acadia, and then adding Valley Peak and Flying Mtn. will add another 2-3 hours on top of that. In total, doing all four peaks, car-to-car, it’s about 6-8 hours and a lot of hiking up and down. The good thing here is that there are loops and one can keep going or call it quits and head back to the car without too much trouble.

And after a long, hot day of hiking, head back to the car and walk down the Echo Lake Bluffs trail to grab some excellent swimming.

For more info on how to do this, check our availability calendar and we’ll be happy to give your our local advice: www.miramonte.com.

Garden Seekers Come Hither

Asticou Azalea Garden

The sand garden at the Asticou Azalea Garden

Of course Mount Desert Island is famous for Acadia National Park, but would you believe that not everyone comes to the island for the park? Well, it’s true, and while it may seem a bit funny to ignore the park as a destination, there are plenty of other things to do and places to see. There are three gardens in particular that bring many tourists to the island each year. Two of them are in Northeast Harbor and owned by the Land and Garden Preserve while one is near Bar Harbor and is in the park itself. You can do all three in a convenient loop. It doesn’t matter which way go, but stopping for lunch at the Asticou Inn is a wonderful idea, especially if you can get out on the terrace.

  • Asticou Azalea Gardens: Part of the Land and Garden Preserve set up by the Rockefellers, the Azalea Gardens are small but quite tranquil despite being right off Rt. 198. If you’re going to Northeast Harbor, there’s a turnoff to the left before you get into town. This turnoff goes to the Asticou Inn. You can park there if you’re going to the restaurant after the garden (or before), but the parking for the garden itself is right before that intersection on the left-hand side. Many people who can’t get into the small parking lot end up parking on the road. My favorite part is the sand garden, but there are some wonderful ponds, stone bridges, benches, and plenty to admire plant-wise, of course.
  • Thuya Gardens: Also part of the Land and Garden Preserve, the Thuya Gardens are on Rt. 3 between Northeast Harbor and Seal Harbor, and they’re right around the corner from the Azalea Garden as well. At the turnoff for the Asticou Inn, before you arrive in downtown Northeast Harbor, turn left and drive past the Asticou Inn for a minute or so. Down the road a bit you’ll see the path that ascends up the left-hand side of the road. There is a small dirt parking lot right across the street from that path on the right. It only holds about 10 cars, so if that’s full, or if you don’t fancy the hike up (not long and worth it), drive a minute down the road and find Thuya Drive on the left. Drive up the hill and find maybe another 10 parking spaces closer to the garden. My favorite thing here is the smells. All those flowers lined up that way really challenges the senses.
  • Wild Gardens of Acadia: These are on Rt. 3 just outside of Bar Harbor (between the Jackson Lab and the parking area for Dorr Mtn.and Champlain Mtn.) at the Sieur du Mont Springs section of the park. You can get here either off Rt. 3 or via the Park Loop Road as well. These gardens are famous for having a sample of all the native species on the island. There are also plenty of hikes in the area, and not all of them go up mountains, such as the Jesup, Stratheden, and Hemlock trails, which all form loops off the Great Meadow Trail. These hikes can be accessed on foot straight from the Mira Monte, too.

 

To get directions to any of these, check out our availability calendar and we’ll set you up right: www.miramonte.com.

Acadia Hiking Guide: Connor’s Nubble

Connor's Nubble

Two waters as seen from Connor’s Nubble

Connor’s Nubble is one of the easiest peaks you’ll bag in Acadia, except that it takes a long time to get to the trailhead. Even so, it’s not difficult hiking at all, as it’s the distance that will give you your exercise. And it has a surprisingly awesome view from the top, so this is one of those I definitely recommend.

There are a couple of different ways to get there, but both are about the same. If you go from Bubble Pond, it’s shorter but a bit more complicated. Still, going from Bubble Pond also gives you a chance to do North and South Bubble at the same time, giving you three peaks in one shot. I almost always go via Eagle Lake, and that’s because I walk my dog out there a couple of times per month.

Park at the Eagle Lake parking lot, either the one at the bridge or at the boat launch. From there, you’ll want to head on the right-hand side of the lake. It really doesn’t matter to be honest, but Connor’s Nubble is on the right side of the lake if heading south from the parking lots.

Now, before you get to Connor’s Nubble you’ll come across the southern trail that goes along Eagle Lake’s southern edge. This hike is actually a very difficult hike despite having no elevation gain. It is difficult because of the large number of good-sized unbalanced boulders that are hard to scramble around without losing balance. Hiking Poles is recommended for this hike, which crosses right below Connor’s Nubble for a good portion of the hike. If you want to do Connor’s Nubble, we recommend skipping the Eagle Lake South Shore Trail (however, see below…).

At some point you’ll arrive at the sign post that takes you either around Eagle Lake or to Jordan Pond. Stay on the Eagle Lake carriage trail to the left. After a few minutes of hiking from there, you’ll see the Connor’s Nubble trailhead on the left. Head up no more than 5-10 minutes to the summit. The summit itself doesn’t actually offer great views, but if you hike just a few seconds beyond the summit a very surprising view appears almost out of nowhere. One of the great things about this view is seeing the color difference between Eagle Lake and Frenchman’s Bay just beyond. It’s also a trick of the eye played by Mother Nature herself. That strip of land separating the two looks very thin, and almost hike-able. In fact it is hike-able (walking toward Paradise Hill and the Visitor’s Center), but it’s much wider than it appears, with a down-hill section that is out of view farther to the east.

To head back, go down the same way you came up. Once on the carriage trail continue downhill to the left. At some point you’ll come to another trail head that goes toward the South Shore Trail on Eagle Lake, which I advised you to avoid farther up. However, at this point the difficult boulder-jumping is finished and this makes for a very nice walk along the southern shore. Either way, just finish by staying to the left until you’re back at the car.

In total, this is a 2-3 hour hike that’s perfect for getting exercise without the elevation.

To learn more, come stay with us. Check out our availability calendar at: www.miramonte.com.

 

Acadia Hiking Guide: Parkman Mtn to Bald Peak Loop

Bald Peak

Looking south from Bald Peak

My favorite hike on the island is the Parkman Mountain to Bald Peak loop. I don’t know why it’s my favorite. I guess it has the moderate level of difficulty that I enjoy, and I definitely prefer natural loops, which bring you back to where you started without going over the same terrain. This loop is like that, and even better, one can decide to add on or take off loops, thus making it either shorter or longer depending on one’s needs.

I always park at the Parkman Mountain lot (or across the street), which is on the road into Northeast Harbor (Rt. 198). The lot is at the crest of a hill if going toward Northeast Harbor, but if that’s full then there are lots farther down the road on the other side of the hill. These other lots are just a bit farther away from the trailheads, so just be aware of your whereabouts.

Now, it is much easier to do this loop with a good trail map. This is because the Around Mountain carriage trail winds across the trails of both peaks, and it’s easy to get a bit disoriented. One common theme I hear from guests who didn’t have a trail map is that they ended up at a different parking lot from whence they came. This really isn’t a problem except that walking back up to your car on Rt. 198 is not as nice as walking the same direction on the carriage trails.

This is how I do it:

  • From the Parkman Mtn. parking lot, take a right at the first sign post on the carriage trail. This will bring you to sign post #13. Take a left here and walk up the carriage trail a few minutes until you come to the Parkman Mtn. Trailhead.
  • Head up Parkman Mtn, taking a left near the top to the summit at the trail marker that splits Parkman from Bald Peak. Remember this trail marker for the way down. Enjoy the views of Somes Sound from the summit.
  • Head back down to the trail marker where you turned left and go left again toward Bald Peak. Follow that path no more than 10-20 minutes to the top of Bald Peak. Now enjoy views of the Hadlock Ponds and the bay beyond Northeast Harbor.
  • Head down the other side of Bald Peak until you get to the carriage trail.
  • At the carriage trail, you have two options:
    • Continue across the carriage trail on the hiking trail. If you do this, you’ll hit another carriage trail down further. This is where folks most often end up at the wrong parking lot. At this carriage trail, head right back up to sign post #13, and then turn left to get back to the parking lot.
    • Instead of going straight across, turn right on the carriage trail and walk until you get to sign post #12. At that intersection, go left and – surprise! – in a minute or so you’ll walk right past the Parkman Mtn. trailhead that you went up to start your hike. Follow the carriage trail down to sign post #13 and take a right to get back to the lot.

All told, this is a 2-4 hour hike round trip. Don’t be afraid if there are a lot of cars parked at Parkman Mtn. Not everyone is doing this loop or even these mountains. It’s a great place for cyclists to get on the carriage trails and do some more difficult riding.

And as always, if you’d like to hear this person, check out our availability calendar and book today at: www.miramonte.com.