Winter in Acadia (February 5th)

When the time came for a Sunday drive, I was very excited to go and see Acadia National Park again, with its beautiful snow-covered rocky shores stretched out against a restless winter ocean…It oughta be amazing!

Acadia National Park largely shuts down in the winter. They don’t maintain the Park Loop Road, so at the season’s first snowfall, driving access to most of the park closes. You can still walk-in and ski-in and such, I think, but for a short-ranging family like ours, there is just one narrow little stretch of road that is still accessible, which follows a very nice stretch of the coastline, including the Sandy Beach. 

We arrived in Bar Harbor around lunchtime, and it was…deserted! Picturesque and colorful and…empty! Gone were the lines of cars parked on each side of every road, gone were the sidewalks full of passers-by, gone were the lines of drivers inching around in search of parking…

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…so that now, there was no one in sight!

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There’s a very small year-round population associated with a few local businesses and a college, and there are a couple of hotels open year-round that must support visitors that are captured by the winter beauty of this wonderful place, but a winter visit is wonderfully quiet and still…
 
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It’s a great time to see the Common Loons fishing…
 
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As well as winter-visiting Buffleheads and Grebes…
 
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After lunch, where we joined the rest of the dozen people in town at a cute little Mexican restaurant, (and where we couldn’t figure out why people were dressed up in Patriots gear, having never even realized that this was Super Bowl Sunday!), we piled in to drive the short stretch of Acadia’s park road, and see what we could see…
 
And here was the snowy coastline, stretching out against the winter ocean!
 
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The trail down to the rocky shore was open, and we wandered down to check things out.
 
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The combination of melt-freeze cycle and freezing ocean spray makes for spectacular ice-falls all along the water’s edge…
 
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…and throughout the ice-scape, we still found lots of little pools to explore. In fact, the tide pool ecosystem seems to continue as though nothing at all has changed, with seaweed and mussels and snails and limpets all piled in to the little pools, unimpressed by the ice gathering around them, and even forming over the surfaces of their little worlds!
 
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We watched the magnificent Common Eiders paddling offshore, equally as oblivious to the chilly winds and numbing waters and icy shores!
 
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After clambering about on the rocks for a while, we headed slowly down the road, peering out through binoculars at the gulls and loons and cormorants and eiders, until we arrived at Sandy Beach, a wonderful stretch of golden-sand that is rare in our area.
 
Doesn’t it look just like a summer day at the beach?
 
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Except for the 8-foot icicles hanging over the water!
 
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It was beautiful, but windy!
 
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So windy that a line of foam whipped up at the edges of the waves, and then blew across the sand like snow balls, giving the kids something to chase and stomp!
 
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We made our way all the way out to gaze admiringly at the enormous icicles…
 
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And then turned into the wind and began to make our slow way back home after a delightful day!
 
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