Why Acadia National Park enchants visitors year after year

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK -- Smooth, wide footpaths wind around the summit of Cadillac Mountain on March 19, leading to interpretive displays that help hikers identify nearby landmarks. The tallest mountain in Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain provides stunning views of the mountainous Mount Desert Island, nearby isles and coastal Maine. Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — Cadillac Mountain. Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN

Hear Acadia National Park. The waves crash against the cliffs, birds twitter, brooks babble as they make their inexorable tumble over pink slabs of granite on their way to the sea.

See it. The morning turns orange as the sun rises above the Atlantic; snow-white ocean spray reaches for the sky; peregrine falcons soar against the cloudless blue sky.

Smell it. The salt-tinged air; the pine forest. The rich, fresh scent of mud and tree bark as you walk down a forest trail.

Taste it. Popovers with butter and jam, served hot on the lawn of Jordan Pond House. Picnic lunches shared on the rocks overlooking the sea.

Feel it. The tension melts away, everyday concerns fade, as the day’s adventure begins to take shape. Then, as the sun sets, that Acadia state of mind deepens over dinner, or around a campfire, or simply sitting in yet another peaceful place.

There are plenty of places like that here, of course. Acadia National Park is known for them, and has been enchanting visitors with special Maine memories for 100 years.

The park offers different experiences to each visitor, you see. Everyone’s Acadia is their own. Some never step foot on Sand Beach, others have no interest in Cadillac’s peak, still others choose to spend their time on the “Quiet Side,” and make their memories in Southwest Harbor.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK -- The sunsets near Otter Point in Acadia National Park. Ashley L. Conti | BDN

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — The sunsets near Otter Point in Acadia National Park. Ashley L. Conti | BDN

So what is Acadia to you? What is it about the place that brings you back?  What are your favorite spots?

For the next 100 days, the Bangor Daily News will celebrate the centennial of Acadia National Park with daily essays, photos, videos and more from our journalists, bloggers, archives and from you.

Be sure to return next week to read our special report examining the challenges that will face Acadia National Park over its next 100 years.

Over the past century, Acadia National Park has become synonymous with Maine and its values of quiet rustication, environmental stewardship, unparalleled scenery and quality of life. Over the next 100 days, please join us to explore Acadia from all of those perspectives, plus more.

Read about John Holyoke’s Acadia memories on his blog, Out There.

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.