As October approached, we hoped that the summer traffic through Mt. Desert Island and Acadia had died down enough for us to enjoy an off-season visit. The peak summer numbers would be down and the fall foliage folks would not descend for another week or so. In addition, a friend had given us a tip on how to avoid the traffic through Ellsworth and most of Trenton. With all this in our favor, we booked a night at a small inn near the Bar Harbor airport. This would allow us a full day to enjoy our visit.
Our first stop was Asticou Garden, located near Northeast Harbor. It was built by Charles Savage in 1956 who was inspired by Japanese garden designs. Thanks to Mr. Savage, the visitor has a beautiful, peaceful place to enjoy the calming effects of nature.
As we entered this oasis, the first thing we noticed was the well maintained, raked walkways. In fact, some outposts along the path were raked in crisscross patterns, inviting the wanderer to stop and meditate for a bit, and benches throughout the garden allowed guests to do just that. After passing through the moss garden, we followed a small detour to what might have been the “north lawn”. Not much light came through trees and tall rhododendron bushes but I could imagine that it must have been colorful when those bushes were in bloom.
Retracing our steps and meandering down a different loop we soon discovered the “sand garden”, a garden of rocks and raked sand. A small loop took us over a stream and deposited us directly across from the “sand garden”. The designers had strategically placed a bench by the stream facing the sand, inviting the visitor to stay a bit longer.
We continued our journey towards Asticou Pond, where we found most of the garden’s guests. This section was more open with uninterrupted views across the water to the foliage that was just beginning to put on its autumn colors. Strolling around the pond, we were amazed by the number of flowers still in bloom on either side of the path. I never knew that so many blossoms could be encouraged this late in the season. Everything was labeled, but alas we did not bring anything to write the information down nor did I think to take pictures of the labels for future reference. Probably just as well, with my inability to grow things. We spent a little more time soaking in the tranquility of this park before continuing on to our next destination.