Published August 7th, 2012
There are plenty of stunning destination spots a short drive from Stockton Springs that compel many of our guests to linger on the Maine coast for a few days after the ceremony. Two of the most popular nearby spots are Acadia National Park and Port Clyde, both of which attract thousands of tourists every year in their own right.
Acadia National Park is located on Mt. Desert (pronounced dessert) Island, an hour’s drive east of French’s Point on Rte. 3. The park is home to the tallest mountain on the east coast, Cadillac Mountain at 1,532 feet, and dozens of hikes for all levels and ages. There are 125 miles of trails on the island – my favorites include the Beehive Trail (steep with iron rungs built into the rockface), Pemetic Mountain, and the Bowl Trail. Cadillac Mountain is a strenuous but fun hike, and you can also summit it by car. There’s also a network of carriage trails throughout the park that offer easy terrain for jogging and biking, two park campgrounds, and from Bar Harbor, the largest town on the island, you can rent kayaks and canoes, take off on a whale watch in the bay, or shop at the local boutiques, including the popular outdoor gear shop Cadillac Mountain Sports. If you’re a stargazer, don’t miss some of the most unpolluted night skies on the eastern seaboard. The park runs weekly stargazing sessions for free during the summer and a host of star-studded activities at the Night Sky Festival every September.
South of French’s Point by about an hour and fifteen minutes is Port Clyde on the tip of the St. George Peninsula. Port Clyde was a long-time residence of the Wyeth family of painters, particularly Andrew and N.C. Wyeth. While in Port Clyde, you’ll want to check out Owl’s Head State Park (which has the lighthouse that Tom Hanks ran to in the movie Forrest Gump) and the Marshall Point Lighthouse Museum. You can also kayak or paddleboard around the bay or grab some grub at Cap’n Doug’s. And make sure to take the Monhegan Boat Line to Monhegan Island, a famous community of artists and lobstermen located right off the Port Clyde coastline. The island is small and very walkable and resident artists sell their jewelry and other wares from their studios. Monhegan offers a great mix of natural and creative attractions suitable for all ages. Not to be missed!