Posts tagged ‘Obama family vacation to Maine’

January 23, 2011

Looking Back at Acadia National Park’s Awards in 2010 to Help You Plan Your Vacation for 2011

Photograph by Raul Touzon

When it comes to picking a vacation destination, past results are indicative of future performance.  So, as we sit here sandwiched between the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, let’s look back at the awards and recognition Maine’s Acadia National Park racked up in 2010.  

When you do, Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island will move up your “Bucket List” of where you want to go in 2011. 

Travel and Leisure’s “Best Island” in North America  Travel and Leisure readers chose Mount Desert Island as the #1 island in 2010, moving it from #2 in 2009.  This ranking wasn’t only based on natural beauty, which MDI, with 23 mountain peaks and a fiord, has in spades.  The survey also asked readers to take into account activities/sights, restaurants/food, people, and value.

Huffington Post “6 Best American National Parks”  The Huffington Post published their list of the “6 Best American National Parks,” but they added a tough criterion.  The park had to be within driving distance of a big city.  Acadia National Park, which occupies roughly two-thirds of Mount Desert Island, made the list of six.  Three hours north of up-and-coming Portland, five north of Boston, and almost nine from New York, it’s a treasure accessible to urban dwellers like me.

Our First Family’s Choice for their Summer Vacation Just in case you don’t remember, the Obama’s headed up to Maine last summer to visit Acadia National Park.  They relaxed by hiking and biking in Acadia, visited the lighthouse in Bass Harbor, and played tennis in Bar Harbor.  (The restaurant choice for date night, Havana, is one of mine, too, although they missed the best lobster pound on Mount Desert Island, Thurston’s.) 

A Burst in Visitors, according to National Park Service Statistics  Whether because of the improving economy or the increase in its inherent appeal, visits to Acadia National Park grew 12 percent in 2010.  Over 2.5 million visitors took the opportunity to see “where the mountains meet the sea.”  And whether they focused on romantic sunset sailing trips or a lumberjack show with the kids, they enjoyed the most beautiful vistas in America.  

National Geographic Best Wallpapers of 2010  National Geographic remains our definitive source for adventure and natural beauty.  Among the spectacular photos selected as the “Best Wallpapers” this year was the photograph shown above by Raul Touzon of a solitary red maple leaf on the trunk of a downed birch tree in Maine’s Acadia National Park. If you go to Acadia, the rangers of the National Park Service lead programs that will teach you fascinating things not only about trees, but also birds of prey, tidal pools, and constellations.’s Best Cookbooks 2010 In recent years Maine has earned its seat at the national culinary table because of its close connection between fishermen, farmer, and table.  In 2010 a top pick among cookbooks was Fresh From Maine, Recipes and Stories from the State’s Best Chefs by Michael Sanders with photography by Russell French.  It featured three Mount Desert Island chefs who focus on local ingredients: Maureen Cosgrove of Town Hill Bistro, James Lindquist of Red Sky, and Kyle Yarborough of Mache Bistro.  Indulging in, say, a lobster risotto or blueberry cobbler at one of these restaurants is a just reward for a day of hiking or biking. 

Convinced?  To plan your trip to Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island, visit OUR ACADIA for tips on inns, restaurants, and kids’favorites.

July 17, 2010

Why the Obamas Will Love Acadia National Park

The Obamas went to the top of Cadillac, but they didn't get up for sunrise

The Obamas are in Maine today enjoying a family vacation to Acadia National Park.  Here are four reasons why I think it’ll make them forget all about Martha’s Vineyard. 

Let’s give a hand to our national parks 

Craggy Maine coastline

Acadia has spectacular scenery.  The national park occupies about two-thirds of Mount Desert Island, the third largest island on the East Coast, about the same size as Martha’s Vineyard.  But with 24 mountain peaks, it’s where the sea and mountains meet – a key reason why travelers consistently name it one of the most beautiful islands in the world. 

Let’s move and get outdoors 

Atop Acadia Mountain

The First Lady’s campaign against childhood obesity is called LET’S MOVE.  To do just that, the park offers 120 miles of hiking trails and 57 miles of car-free carriage roads that wind among glacial lakes and around spruce-covered mountains.  The Obamas have  already biked to Witch Hole Pond, a secluded spot even on holiday weekends.  One of my favorite hikes is to the top of Acadia Mountain which can conclude with a dive from a granite promontory into Echo Lake.  Since the Obamas are accustomed to beaches in Hawaii, they may want to opt to swim there in Echo Lake instead of the chillier ocean waters of Sand Beach! 

Let’s see the science behind things

Park Ranger at Jordan Pond

The National Park Service rangers host daily walks, talks, amphitheatre programs, and cruises – most of which are free.  The President and First Lady would become as engaged as Malia and Sasha to learn about birds of prey, insects in a stream, and the stars over Sand Beach.   In addition to the National Park Service, educational programs are also sponsored by independent nature cruises, a natural history museum, whale museum, and oceanarium.

 Let’s see where food comes from 

Lobster and blueberries -- classic Maine fare

There are 60,000 acres of wild blueberries that grow naturally in Maine, so it’s no surprise that you can pick and eat them throughout Acadia National Park.  That, after all, was what happened in Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal.  Restaurants throughout the island also provide ample opportunity to sample not only what comes from the farm to the table, but also from the dock– including lobster, of course.  A harborside restaurant was on the Obama’s agenda yesterday after a boat tour of Frenchman Bay.

 Planning Your Own Trip

 OUR ACADIA is a great way to plan a trip, starting with the best time to visit.  You’ll find restaurant tips, recommendations for kayaking trips and family rock climbing guides, and even ideas for what to do if it rains. 

 If the First Lady reads the list of 22 great things to do with your kids in Acadia National Park, she’ll probably decide they need more than three days there.