Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Schoodic Institute, Lobstah and the Heath

Sunday August 20, 2017                                                                 Most Recent Posts:
Schoodic Woods Campground                                                          Schoodic Peninsula Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park                                                                      Bass Harbor Lighthouse and Friends of Acadia
Winter Harbor, Maine




We take the first bus this morning down to the point to see what today’s wind brings in terms of crashing waves.   From there we’ll take the bus on around the loop road to the Schoodic Institute and hike their Sundew Trail.

The bus drops us off  at 9:15, in time for high tide.  After spending 3 wonderful hours yesterday here at the point, we must limit ourselves  to an hour and a half today. I could probably spend an entire day here.  But we have many more plans for today.

The ocean is churning.  High tide has resulted in arms of the point being underwater.



Still foggy as I look east toward Mount Desert




I love watching the water cascading off the rocks.




A Touron demonstrates just exactly where you do not want to be standing on a day like this.  



While this young man has an appropriate respect for the power of the sea.





Sure hope this kayaking group is on guided tour with someone who has a lot of experience.





The fog may be lifting just a tad.




It’s amazingly difficult to click the shutter at the right time to show the height of these waves.









Schoodic map

Eventually we really do have to move on or we won’t be able to do any hiking.  So we hop on the bus and it takes us around the point to the bottom of the Schoodic Institute drive where we hike up nearly a mile to Rockefeller Hall.  

The map on the right shows the Schoodic Loop Road down which the bus came from the upper left to the point.  We get back on at the point and go around the Loop Road to the red star and walk up the Institute road eventually to beyond the auditorium.  The bus then continues on around the loop road and eventually returns to the campground after passing through several small towns including Birch Harbor, Prospect Harbor and Winter Harbor.   It’s a seriously scenic and interesting ride.



The complex that is now Schoodic Institute was built in 1935 by John D Rockefeller to house Naval top secret radio operations and personnel.  In exchange, the Navy moved its base from Mount Desert Island to make way for the expansion of Acadia’s Ocean Drive.   This main building was designed by the same architect who did the lovely carriage road gate houses. 

The Schoodic Institute is an ecosystem research and educational organization in partnership with the National Park Service.  It provides in residence forums and educational workshops as well as hikes and informational programs.in partnership with Acadia National park.

It’s a good size campus with residence halls, dining facilities, recreational facilities, classsrooms, meeting halls and an auditorium.


We pass by the beautiful Rockefeller Hall on our way to the trailhead.  We’ll return later to take a look around if time permits.   What a gorgeous building.




We locate the trailhead for the trail which will ultimately take us along the west coast of the peninsula.




The trail starts out as a lightly graveled path.




As we walk it’s clear from various labels along the way, that the trail is used for many activities including informative talks/walks and research.





A researcher gathers data.  His wife and daughter know that it will be imported to an excel spreadsheet where it will be analyzed, charted, graphed and who knows what else.



Shortly the terrain changes and becomes more muddy and boggy as we head down toward the water.




The paths lead us to this lovely spot.



Drawing closer we find the perfect bench and we have it all to ourselves.  Sweet!




Further down we come to another bench, even closer. You can walk down onto the rocks but we choose to save that for another day.




This is as close as we get.



It doesn’t get much better than this as a wonderful contemplative spot on the coast of Maine.



We enjoy it for some time and vow to return again.   It’s lunch with a view – a nod to John and Pam.



The fog lifts enough for us to realize we are looking right at Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island.   We stay a little longer.



With my super zoom I can get a fuzzy picture of  Egg Rock Lighthouse without taking a boat tour.  No tour I know of stops at the island.



The fog has cleared enough for us to take a selfie with Cadillac.  Here’s David’s version with Cadillac Mountain seemingly sliding downhill.  I couldn’t straighten the horizon without cutting off half my face.  HA!   Makes it more fun!




By the time we finally move on down the trail, Cadillac is out of the fog, the skies are blue and the clouds are puffy white.



The trail takes us back up through the woods and then down to another section of the shoreline.









A group of Common Eiders is bobbing along.  Many of them appear to be napping. 




On shore there is a pair of plovers.



Back up we go, along more boggy area to one last coastal spot.






This time we come to  what is known as West Pond though it’s not a pond at all as you can see from the Schoodic map above.



A boardwalk takes us back to the trail to the Institute complex.



We apparently took the Sundew Trail in the wrong direction becasue when we get to the end, we find this nice map.   We would have known where we were going had we started here but that might have spoiled the surprise.

We started at the gold star and walked down to the water, back up over to the right to another water spot and on around with the final water stop at the West Pond and up to the red star.   They apparently thought you’d go the other way.  But that’s us.  The direction less traveled.




We head back to Rockefeller Hall which is the Welcome Center for the Schoodic Education and Research Center, a part of a nation wide network of National Park Service Research Learning Centers.  There are 18 of them around the country. You can find out where they are using the link in the previous sentence.




I wonder if they’d let me sit right here and read all the books on their store shelf?  Really love the rug.



The welcome center is where you check in for programs.  It has a small book store and shop.  They also provide information about the instutute and the things to do here.





Rockefeller Hall is a marveous building.  Out back is a patio with information panels about the work of the institute.




Not sure why they mow so much of the meadow but I’m glad they have left some of it wild.





We walk back down the long drive to the park loop road to pick up the bus.   The view from the bus stop is outstanding but I question the footware of this young woman walking on the slippery rocks and  seaweeds.  Even in good hiking boots I found it tricky when I tried it along the shore at Narrows Too.





Although the bus will take us through several small towns, it won’t go as far as Corea where we think we are going to find some very fine lobster.

On the way to our early dinner in Corea, we drive by the iconic Lobsterman in front of the  Prospect Harbor Maine Fair Trade Lobster plant.  From 1927 to 2010 the facility was used as a Sardine Cannery and was one of the last in the nation before it closed and the new owners retrofitted it for lobster.   

Big Jim as he’s known has been in front of the facility for over 30 years.  He is 40 feet tall and made out of metal. His predessor was made of wood but his bottom half got blown off in a severe storm.   Jim used to hold a sardine can but now he’s been updated wearing a yellow slicker and holding a lobster trap.   He’s a great roadside attraction.  You know you are in Prospect Harbor when you see Big Jim.



We arrive at Corea Wharf after first driving right by the little sign and small drive that lead to it.   We  know what we want, their $16.95 lobster dinner.  1 1/4 pound lobster,  some fabulous german potato salad and slaw.



Not sure what happens if it’s cold or rainy since all the tables are outside on a dock overlooking Corea Harbor.




The tide is out and I wonder how the lobstermen get from their boats to the shore whether it’s in or out.   Dingy from a lobster boat?  Tramping  knee deep in mud?   Guess they have to time their coming and going pretty well.





Beautiful view while we wait.




But in no time at all we’re tying on the bibs.



Not sure I can think of anything as delicious as fresh lobster dipped in melted butter.





This is the view away from the water from our table. The traps are on the adjoining pier.   Lobster doesn’t get any fresher than this.




All the fishermen but this one are in for the day.




How convenient that Corea Wharf just happens to have an ice cream shop just across the dock from the seafood order counter. 




A few last looks at the harbor and we’re on our way.  This spot ranks high up on our list of great places to eat.IMG_2238


No yachts here.  This is a working man’s harbor.   And the working boats have some great names.







We really hope this spot doesn’t get “discovered” and be overrun with people losing its charm by our next visit to Acadia.




The sun is starting to go down by the time we’re headed for home.  We drive right by one of Maine Coastal Wildlife Refuge’s very short hikes and decide to give it a try.   It’s 1/4 mile out to a “Heath”, also known more commonly as a “bog”.   This is Corea Heath.

The information signs tell us what a bog is.  I never really knew. 








The trail ends at a platform overlooking the heath.  At first it just looks  like a field growing up until you look closer and see that even in this drought there is water here.






Because of the moisture in the peat, plants are in bloom. 





These aren’t meadow plants.




At first we didn’t see the flowers of the Pitcher Plant but once we did, we saw that they were everywhere in the bog.  With the other tall plants and bushes around them, they are hard to see at first and without getting much closer the “pitchers” themselves aren’t visible.. 



The acidic conditons encourage berries of all kinds,  cranberries, blueberries, and crowberry.







At the end of the boardwalk on our way back, I walk over to the edge of the mowed area and it’s damp walking.  I can see that I wouldn’t want to try to walk further unless I wanted pretty wet feet.   In this drought that is surprising.  Nature is just amazing.







The sun is setting behind us as we end a long and busy day.   So many things to do and see everywhere we go.  And so little time.