Points of Interest: Mount Desert Island vs. Blue Hill Peninsula

Mount Desert Island

THE PEAKS
Watching the sunrise from the top of the 1,532-foot-high, cedar-studded Cadillac Mountain may be as close as you’ll ever get to God.

THE PEOPLE
A strange human bisque of Camelbak-and-Teva-wearers and caviar-and-boat-shoe-loving occupants. The tourist crush in Bar Harbor can be irksome.

THE GRAND TOUR
The 27-mile-long Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park rolls by natural wonders like Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, and insanely good popovers at Jordan Pond House.

THE TOWN
The area is like Newport, Rhode Island, but with fewer mansions and more gift shops. A blueblood brawl between Northeast and Southwest harbors keeps things interesting.

THE LOOK (see photo at right)

 

 

Blue Hill Peninsula

THE PEAKS
The new Penobscot Narrows Bridge’s observatory hovers a dizzying 420 feet over the bay. Bonus: It’s open at night during full moons.

THE PEOPLE

Down East natives suspiciously eye "newcomers" (i.e., summer folk who’ve only
been coming for two generations). Besides yachters in Castine, the tourist count is low.

THE GRAND TOUR
Route 175 roller-coasters around the peninsula and offers spectacular water views; for a close-up, get a customized kayak tour from a local outfitter.

THE TOWN
Once the second-richest port in the country, Castine is now a mix of cutesy cottages and up-and-coming boutiques.

THE LOOK (see photo at right)
 

THE VERDICT
Both excel in everything Maine: rocky cliffs, quirky locals, and boiled lobster with melted butter. Mount Desert has more-dramatic views, but its summertime crowds can spoil an otherwise lovely day. For quiet Down East pleasures, we’ll take Blue Hill.