The Abbe Museum, a private non profit institution, was founded in 1927 for the purpose of furthering the understanding of Maine’s Native American cultures, history and archaeology. The museum’s exhibitions and rograms focus on the Native American tradition in Maine and explore the broader Native American experience past and present.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Abbe at Sieur de Monts Spring is noted for its distinctive architecture. Nestled in the woods overlooking the wild gardens of Acadia, the Abbe is one of the last trailside museums bordering a national park and one of the few remaining examples of Bar Harbor’s “Gilded Age.” Enjoy the beauty, tradition and serenity of this special place. This museum is located at the Sieur de Monts Spring entrance within Acadia National Park.
At the newer Abbe Museum (2001) in downtown Bar Harbor, Native Americans frequently teach basketmaking,
woodcarving and other traditional arts.
www.abbemuseum.org | Click to view the Abbe's 2016 Featured Exhibitions
Located at the junction of Route 3 and Route 198 just outside the village of Northeast Harbor, these wonderful gardens have a long and rich history. At this time they are maintained through the good will of private citizens and are a pleasure to tour. Designed after the fashion of an oriental garden, the design surprises the visitor and demonstrates how well indigenous plants can adapt to new uses, as well as how imported plants can flourish in our climate.
Off Route 102 in Bass Harbor the lighthouse is the most picturesque lighthouse on the island, hanging on to the side of the cliffs facing the sea. This lighthouse is still active, guarding the entrance to Great harbor and warning vessels of the ledges and bar that runs between Bass Harbor and nearby islands. A ride to see this lighthouse will also introduce you to the far side of the island, worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Bar Harbor.
• Cadillac Mountain
The drive up Cadillac Mountain is always rewarding, even on the meanest day, but it is most rewarding just before sunset. The National Park Service has kindly placed a parking area just below the mountain’s top, facing west. A spectacular sunset is almost guaranteed! The view is also excellent from the top itself, with its 360 degrees of water, mountains, islands, and sculpted rock. Sunrise is magnificent as well, but very early in the morning! There is an annual Earth Day Celebration here is April which begins when the sun rises.
Actually there are two oceanariums (oceanaria?) on Mount Desert Island. The first one, located at the head of the island off Route 3, strongly focuses on the life of the lobster and the lobster fisherman and includes a Lobster Museum! There is also an informative marsh walk. Admission fee. Open Monday through Saturday, 9am-5pm. Call 288-5005. The second oceanarium is located in Southwest Harbor on the waterfront and has excellent live displays of ocean specimens. How many sea cucumbers have you seen? Call 244-7330 for more information.
• Tea and Popovers at Jordan Pond House
For many, many years the Jordan Pond House, located at the southern end of the deep glacial lake, has played host to summer visitors who sit at tables on the lawn and enjoy the pleasures of afternoon tea and popovers with home-made strawberry jam. The hot fluffy popovers seem a miracle to anyone who has tried to replicate this delicacy. The gardens are lovely, the gift shop features Maine-made designed products, and the setting in Acadia National Park is unbeatable. Remember to make reservations. Call 276-3316 for more information.
Located in Northeast Harbor, the Thuya Gardens can be reached by following a trail across the street from the harbor, beyond the Asticou Inn, headed for Seal Harbor. There is also a road with pillars and a sign along Route 3, beyond a small parking area. If you choose the trail, be prepared to climb. The entire walk is through a garden which appears to be natural but has been enhanced by the subtle guiding hands of man—a garden of unparalleled beauty!
• Wendell Gilley Museum
A special stop in Southwest Harbor for visitors who love woodcarving, since this is the home of a marvelous collection of carved birds. Local carver Wendell Gilley became very well known for his miniatures of song birds and sea birds. Many of Gilley’s larger works are also exhibited. Bird carving by other recognized artists are also on display. The Gilley offers classes, lectures and other activities related to ornithology. Call 244-7555 for more information.
• Wildflower Gardens of Acadia
Supported by volunteers and guided by experts, this superb indigenous wildflower collection is open to visitors for pleasure or for research. The naturalized gardens are very attractive, informative, and located at Sieur de Mont Springs near the Abbe Museum. Local volunteers are delighted to talk with visitors and show off the depth of the collection and the particularly special floral specimens.