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  • Writer's pictureDave Pidgeon

The charm of Mount Desert Island

A black-and-white image of a lobster boat in a calm harbor.
A lone boat sits moored in Bracy Cove, Mount Desert Island, Me.

LOCATION: Bracy Cove, Mount Desert Island, Me.

EQUIPMENT: Canon EOS 5D | EF 100-400mm f/4.6-5.6L IS II USM

GPS: 44°17'35.3148" N 68°15'15.5412" W

THE STORY: Undeniably, the main event should you ever visit Mount Desert Island on the Maine coast is Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.

However ...

Its charm can be found outside the scenic park and its jagged coast line, and while Bar Harbor is among the best small-town USA experiences you can have, the bustle of its main street shops can feel overrun and touristy.

Get in your car instead. Keep the GPS on but don't add a destination. Just drive. Get lost.

That's because as state Route 3 and Route 102 circle around the island, you'll emerge from the woods and find these little towns with dreamy inns, B&Bs, and harbors where the lobster and fish boats sit in silent repose.

Don't blink and don't speed by because, in an instant, a moment of New England shoreline allure, that picturesque scene of boats, buoys, lobster traps, and rugged harbor towns, disappears as the road leads you back into the woods.

Bracy Cove is one of those places.

You find it along Route 3 just west of the town of Seal Harbor. There's a beach and a small pull off, where you can park.

I was there at the beginning of July. A fog stayed all week, and moored boats like this swayed softly with the calm bay waters, about 200 yards off the beach.

Four hundred millimeters of focal length were needed to isolate the boat in the frame, and I exposed to blowout the shoreline behind it, giving the image the eery, enigmatic sense the entire place gave off that morning.

There was no sound. Fog clung to the opposite shoreline. I was alone.

It remains at the top of my favorite images from that trip.

Dave Pidgeon is a seasoned writer and photographer. He lives in Lancaster, Pa., with his three sons. You can contact him at


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