Mount Desert Island
Mount Desert Island (pronounced “dessert” with a French accent!) is 109 square miles and is the second largest on the eastern seaboard, outranked only by Long Island (Martha’s Vineyard takes third). It was discovered in 1604 by a French explorer named Samuel de Champlain. He named the island “Isles des Monts Deserts” which translates to “island of bare wilderness peaks” for the smooth granite mountain tops on the island. He then named the island’s tallest 1,532 foot peak Cadillac Mountain.
The island is separated from the mainland by Frenchman Bay (off the eastern coast near Bar Harbor), Mt. Desert Narrows, and Western Bay. The island’s rugged topography is a result of glacial action. It is split into two sections by the beautiful deep blue waters of Somes Sound (the only Fjord on the east coast). Acadia National Park (the only national park in New England) covers 41,000 acres; it's about 65% of the entire island. That means that no matter where you are on the island, you are only a few minutes from Acadia National Park.
There are miles and miles of carriage roads built by Rockefeller for hiking, biking, walking, or enjoying the romance of a horse drawn carriage ride, over one hundred miles of hiking trails of all levels of difficulty and the “Park Loop Road” which is the only peak on the island that is accessible by auto, circling the island’s summit, Cadillac Mountain (a popular sunrise and sunset spot). It is a spectacular location where your eyes can absorb the mountains and the ocean in one sweeping glance. Along the Park Loop Road, don't miss Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliff, The Ocean Path and the Jordan Pond House. There's a convenient free shuttle bus, the Island Explorer, that runs on a regular schedule around the entire island. It's a very convenient way to see busy Bar Harbor without worrying about where to park.
Located on the southwestern side of Mount Desert Island (nicknamed the “Quietside” as the island's less trampled, less commercial side of the island), the town of Southwest Harbor is thought to be a historically romantic icon of seafaring coastal life. It is ranked as one of the top ten commercial fishing harbors in the state of Maine. Some of the world’s most spectacular sailboats and yachts are built by more than ten boat builders on the island. The small but vibrant town has the perfect mix of harbor life, history, Maine crafts, local artists, shopping and restaurants to fulfill a tourist’s needs. Southwest Harbor is a wonderful home base for exploration of the island.
Our water views and warm hospitality make The Kingsleigh Inn in Southwest Harbor a perfect lodging choice on Mount Desert Island, Maine.