One of the contradictions of America’s national parks is the need for a personal vehicle to explore their pristine pleasures. Maine’s Acadia National Park has been a pioneering force in helping car-free visitors to fully experience its 49,000 ruggedly beautiful acres. The fare-free, propane-powered Island Explorer bus network gives park visitors efficient access to all the glorious nooks and crannies of Mount Desert Island from June-October, no car necessary. The Island Explorer has served as a model for other parks contemplating how the public may continue to utilize the National Park System while curtailing environmental damage.
This year, Acadia National Park is taking its forward-thinking green initiatives a step further by prohibiting private vehicles for two days. May 16 and September 26, 2015 are the scheduled dates for car-free mornings. Outdoor enthusiasts may walk, run, bike, inline skate or skateboard the Park Loop Road without having to share the thoroughfares with cars.
The park’s entrance fee will be waived on both days, so you’ll save money in addition to helping protect the park’s natural resources.
Taste of Bar Harbor
If you’re able to visit on the May 16 car-free morning, you can combine the glories of Mother Nature with delights of an edible sort with the Taste of Bar Harbor food festival. Bar Harbor is the gateway to Acadia and its dynamic dining scene has long been a magnet for hungry travelers. Showcasing the culinary traditions and fresh flavors of Downeast Maine, Taste of Bar Harbor runs from May 14-17, 2015. Select happenings include Dessert Night on May 14 and the Chef’s Table five-course dinner on May 16.
Local restaurants will feature special prix fixe menus for $20.15 throughout the four days, so it’s an opportunity to experience what local farm-to-table and sea-to-table eateries are doing with the windfall of fresh, local ingredients.
Photo credit: Acadia Bike