Bar Harbor, ME

Touring the Ocean Drive in Wintertime

February 27, 2019 by Stephen Coston

During this first winter of operations here at The Inn on Mount Desert we’ve learned that many are under the impression that Acadia National Park is closed in the wintertime.  Fortunately this is not the case!  While the auto road up Cadillac as well as some other parts of the Park Loop Road are closed to vehicle traffic, many auto roads through the Park remain open for vehicle traffic, including the Ocean Drive.  The Ocean Drive section of the Park Loop Road stretches from Sand Beach to Otter Cliff and offers direct access to a great many hiking trails including The Beehive and Gorham Mountain.  It also includes Boulder Beach–one of our favorite places (we like it so much we have a nine-foot wallpaper mural of the scene in one of our hallway nooks)–as well as Thunder Hole.  The Ocean Drive, needless to say, is downright spectacular in all conditions, and you can access it via Schooner Head Road just minutes from our parking lot!  Recently I drove the road during a small snowstorm, and it was gorgeous!

During my tour I stopped at the aforementioned Boulder Beach, which resides beneath Otter Cliff.  The surf was, I would say, moderately grumpy producing a fair degree of pretty splashes and soothing sounds, but nothing like some of the angriest conditions you might see produced in this area.  Indeed, sometimes the spray reaches all the way up to the apex of the hundred-plus-foot cliff!

It was pretty chilly out there but I was able to stay warm enough to take several photos and record a few videos with my cell phone, which required my hands to be exposed.  I was probably out of the vehicle for 30 minutes or so, and despite my failure to wear appropriate attire–my basketball sneakers, while high tops, proved not nearly high enough (nor brightly colored enough–I thought maybe the electric blue and pink hues would melt the snow–no such luck!) to conquer the snowdrifts on the beach–I survived pretty comfortably.