The Quietside of Mt. Dessert Island–Thursday–July 18, 2013

Today was a rest day for us. Our legs needed a rest so we decided to take a ride and visit "The Quietside of Acadia." It's hard to imagine that Mt. Dessert Island has a Quietside!! Nearly three million people come each year to Mt. Dessert Island (often just called "MDI') to enjoy Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. So, how can an island that hosts millions of visitors have a QUIET side?!?!

MDI is roughly circular with a fjord, Somes Sound, through its center that nearly cuts it in two. Acadia NP covers just over half of MDI. Two thirds of the NP are on the east (Bar Harbor) side and about a third of the park is west (Quietside) of the Sound. Most tourists head to Bar Harbor on the northeast coast, which is home to several large hotels and close to most of the major tourist spots in Acadia NP. 
00 - Mt Dessert Island Map 
Tremont and Southwest Harbor are the principal towns on the west (quiet) side of MDI. We have only made it as far as Beech Mountain on the west side, so we decided to take a road trip to see a little more of this side of the island.   We headed toward Somesville where Rt 102 splits left or right forming a loop around the West side.  We headed right on 102 toward Pretty Marsh. There we stop at a small NP picnic area and enjoyed a short walk to see Pretty Marsh Harbor.  Next we continued on through Seal Cove and West Tremont to Rt 102A which took us to Bass Harbor where we visited the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse and Coast Guard Station. We continued along Rt 102A to Ship Harbor where we took a very short hike, past Seawall Campground (one of two NP campgrounds), past Seawall Picnic and back to Rt 102 toward Southwest Harbor.  We continued along 102 back to Somesville which completed the Quietside Loop.  This side of MDI is very low key and definitely has a laid back feel.  Lots of fishing villages and boat yards.  Also looks like there are some mountains we will need to explore the next time we visit the area.  If there is one down side to the Quietside…it is a long drive to shopping and the major attractions of Bar Harbor and Acadia NP.  I guess that is why it is the Quietside;o))

In Somesville, we made a right onto Rt 198 and drove toward Northeast Harbor.  We are no longer on the Quietside and the traffic picks up noticeably. Along the way, we turned right onto Sergeants Drive which runs along Somes Sound.  It is a lovely road with nice pull-offs where you can get great views of Somes Sound.  This road took us in the back way to Northeast Harbor.  We got there just in time to visit the Thursday farmer market!!

Northeast Harbor is lovely and provides ferry services to many islands.  We did get to see a beautiful sailboat name “Far Out.”  We met the young man who overseas the care of this beautiful boat for its owner at the lobster boil we attended a few evenings ago.  He was the one who managed to get all the lobsters for our wonderful dinner!! We found a bench along the harbor and enjoy watching the activity on the water as we enjoyed our picnic lunch. 

From Northeast Harbor, we headed back to the campground on Rt. 198.  We enjoyed our short tour of the Quietside and will definitely check it out in more detail on our next visit to Mt. Dessert Island!!

click on any photo to enlarge
hover your mouse pointer on a photo for a description

01 - Somesville Rt 102 - Flowered rock wall

02 -Pretty Marsh Rt 102 - approaching the harbor02b -Pretty Marsh Rt 102 -  the harbor02c -Pretty Marsh Rt 102 -  harbor cove


02d -Pretty Marsh Rt 102 -  approaching Acadia Picnic area02e -Pretty Marsh Rt 102 - Acadia Picnic Pavillion along Pretty Marsh Harbor02e2 -Pretty Marsh Rt 102 - Acadia Picnic Pavillion along Pretty Marsh Harbor02f -Pretty Marsh Rt 102 - Acadia shore access along Pretty Marsh Harbor02f2 -Pretty Marsh Rt 102 - Acadia shore access along Pretty Marsh Harbor02g -Pretty Marsh Rt 102 - Acadia shore - view across the harbor

03h - Seal Cove Rt 102 - Auto Museum - not open too early03h2 - Seal Cove Rt 102 - Old Church03h3 - Seal Cove Rt 102 - Seal Cove

04 - Bass Harbor Rt 102 - entering Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse04b - Bass Harbor Rt 102 -Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse Sign04c - Bass Harbor Rt 102 -Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse Information Sign04d - Bass Harbor Rt 102 -Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse04f - Bass Harbor Rt 102 - Lighthouse04e - Bass Harbor Rt 102 - Lighthouse Information Sign04g - Bass Harbor Rt 102 - View across the harbor


05 - Rt 102A to Southwest Harbor - Ship Harbor Trail Sign05b - Rt 102A to Southwest Harbor - Ship Harbor Trail - didn't walk far, bugs were terrible

06 - Rt 102A to Southwest Harbor - stop at Seawall Campground, but could not get in07 - Rt 102A to Southwest Harbor - Seawall Picnic Area07b - Rt 102A to Southwest Harbor - Seawall Picnic Area


08 - Rt 102A to Southwest Harbor - Southwest Harbor08c - Rt 102A to Southwest Harbor - The Town08b - Rt 102A to Southwest Harbor - Southwest Harbor

10c - Rt 198 to Sargeant's Drive - Somes Sound Sign09 - Rt 102 to Somesville - view of Somes Sound10 - Rt 198 to Sargeant's Drive - riding along Somes Sound10b - Rt 198 to Sargeant's Drive - riding along Somes Sound

11a - Rt 198 - Northeast Harbor - Farmers Market11b - Rt 198 - Northeast Harbor11c - Rt 198 - Northeast Harbor - Far Out Sailboat

12 - Rt 198 back to campground - past Brown Mill Gate House


  1. A great trip down memory lane for me. We loved Southwest Harbor. These are great pictures. I never could get that perfect one of Somes Sound. Good for you!!

  2. Another beautiful day in paradise :) Looks wonderful!

  3. With all the pictures you take, I wonder how many memory cards you have to keep with you. Imagine the cost if it was all film! :cO

    1. I have just one 8 gig card. It will hold 1000 pictures. Most I ever took is 600 in one day;o)) Usually, I take about 150-200 on the days we are doing something. Then I widdle that down to about 50 good ones. I do have a 500 gig external hard drive where I store my good photos. I have many, many years of space left on that drive for many, many, many more photos:o)) Got to love DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPY!!!

  4. With all the hooligans you hung around with in July, you needed at least one quiet day!! Get ready for more hooligans!!