The kids are back in school. (Did I hear applause?) With their exodus from Acadia National Park’s trails and carriage roads, a hush blankets the island. While the sun is still golden warm, crimson hues appear on the mountains. Exclamations and giggles yield to quiet whisperings between couples. It’s a great time to be grown up and visiting Mount Desert Island.
Hiking, biking, and kayaking are still at the top of our list of favorite things to do during Acadia’s autumn. The clear, crisp Maine air makes it a perfect time for these outdoor activities. But there are many other pastimes for honeymooners and couples celebrating a special anniversary. We both enjoyed the assiduous research we did for you to yield these recommendations!
“His” Top Picks
- Rent a house with a fireplace –There are many rentals that are particularly cozy in the fall. Recently the Davis Agency Web site featured a log cabin nestled in the woods, a rustic cottage from which to enjoy sunsets over Blue Hill Bay, and a waterfront home with a large granite fireplace on the deck!
- Enjoy a sunset at Bartlett’s Landing – A map will help you locate this serene harbor on the western side of Mount Desert Island. Bring a bottle of wine and a fleece blanket, and don’t forget your camera.
- Go for a walk to Ship Harbor and collect shells – This easy walk on a figure-eight trail through the pines brings you along the harbor and finally to a great picnic spot facing the ocean. If it’s a sunny October day, you may not even need your fleece.
- Leave enough time for an afternoon “nap” – There’s so much to do in Acadia so be careful not to over-schedule. Take time just to relax.
“Her” Top Picks
- Charter a sailboat – Viewing the fall foliage from the ocean is a special privilege. And through mid-October you can do this on a beautiful and historic Friendship Sloop. Downeast Friendship Sloop offers private charters for $120/hour. Your captain will bring the brie and baguette, as well as soft drinks. But why not stop at Sawyer’s Specialties (353 Main Street, Southwest Harbor, 244-3317) for a bottle of Pinot Noir?
- Relax with a “couples” massage – My tension melts away just sitting in the wicker-filled waiting area of the spa at the Bar Harbor Inn. Couples massages are given in larger treatment rooms that accommodate the two massage tables and two technicians. Each of you can select the massage type – hot stone, sports, deep tissue – you prefer. There’s no extra charge for the couples room.
- Get a corner table at Red Sky – Although there are many great restaurants on Mount Desert Island, Red Sky in Southwest Harbor gets votes from both of us as the most romantic. Start with one of Elizabeth’s martinis at the bar and then move to dinner in the dining room where a central fireplace enhances the glow. Duck with a port wine demi-glace and dried fruit compote is my fall favorite, but you might opt for a special, such as squash-filled ravioli with a touch of savory crème fraiche. Don’t depart without sharing an individual apple pie and a glass of Calvados.
Acadia is wonderful in autumn, but it requires a bit more planning. Some restaurants close after Labor Day and others may be totally booked if you don’t reserve in advance. If you’re planning to go, check out the 16 tips for fall trips here – so nothing will ruin the mood. And fall in love again this fall in Maine