Leg 2 Rogue Island to North East Harbor

This would be the best pickup point for the crew.

Here is the harbor description from the Taft guide.

imageAT THE EASTERN side of the entrance to Somes Sound, in a setting of great natural beauty, Northeast Harbor is one of Maine’s major yachting centers. Still reflecting its history as the playground of affluent society, the harbor has the elegant Asticou Inn and a wonderful armada of pleasure craft, with a working fleet of lobsterboats mixed in. The best large harbor in the Mount Desert area, Northeast makes it very easy for the yachtsman: services are concentrated on the waterfront, stores deliver, and the town is water-oriented.

This is the homeport of the missionary vessel Sunbeam V, affectionately dubbed by some as “God’s tugboat,” which brings religious services and practical help to many of the isolated islands of the coast. The ferry to the Cranberry Islands operates from here, and so do several natural-history and whale-watching boats.

One of the treasures of Northeast Harbor is Asticou Terraces, gardens that are easy to reach by dinghy and not to be missed.

Approaches. Chart. Coming from west and south, approach through Western Way, between Great Cranberry Island and Mount Desert Island, starting at gong “1” off Long Ledge. The beginning of the narrower portion is marked by red-and-white bell “WW,” followed by a nun and a can marking shoal areas on each side. Thereafter, the passage is clear to the nun on Cow Ledge, which you leave to starboard, and red-and-white gong “SP,” marking the end of Western Way. Red bell “2,” west of Bear Island, should be left to starboard. After that, the entrance is wide and clear.

Coming from the east, pass north or south of East Bunker Ledge and run through Eastern Way, along the north shore of Sutton Island. Leave to starboard several red marks, the lighthouse on Bear Island, and red bell “2” at the entrance, and head north into the harbor.

Anchorages, Moorings. On the west side of the harbor, near the southern end, is the large town dock and marina. The inner portion is reserved for commercial use, but the outer finger floats are available to yachts, with 10 feet alongside at low. For dockage, check with the harbormaster (Ch. 09, 16, 68; 276-5737) or look for him in his gray office at the head of the pier. Moorings are available on a first-come, first served basis.

The town rents about 50 moorings, identified by bright green pickup buoys and three-digit numbers on the float. They vary in weight. Boats 40-50 feet should use 400-series moorings, boats 30-40 feet should use the 300 series, boats 20-30 feet should use the 200 series, and boats less than 20 feet should use the 100-series moorings. Either pick up one and check in with the harbormaster or call in advance and have one assigned. Another 25 boats can be accommodated on floats moored in the harbor. The town mooring agent will come by to collect the fee.

If the town moorings are all taken, additional moorings are sometimes available through Clifton’s Dock or the MDI Water Taxi (Ch. 16, 68; 244-7312).

All of the deep water in the inner harbor is full of moorings, and anchoring is not allowed. There appears to be space on the east side of the entrance, but it is exposed, and the bottom is hard clay.

Keep your eyes open. There is a lot of traffic around the town dock, including cruise boats and the Cranberry Islands ferry.

Getting Ashore. Yachtsmen should come in to the dinghy floats farthest north and parallel to the shore (The public float south of the town pier is intended for fishermen’s dinghies).

For the Boat. Northeast Harbor Marina (harbormaster Ch. 09, 16 or 68; 207-276-5737). The town dock here is one of the largest facilities of its kind, with many floats, parking spaces, open greens, and tennis courts. The dock is used by tour boats, ferries, fishing boats, and yachts, so traffic is heavy. Water and electricity are available at the public float (farthest south), where you can tie up for two hours, with 8 or 9 feet at low. They also have holding tank pump-out facilities. Packages will be held for cruisers. Address them to Northeast Harbor Harbormaster, P.O. Box 237, 18 Harbor Drive, Northeast Harbor, ME 04662.

Clifton Dock (207-276-5308). On the west side of the entrance to Northeast Harbor, Clifton Dock is a convenient spot to take on gas, diesel, water, or ice, with 22 feet alongside the fuel float. Pump-outs are also available.

Mount Desert Yacht Yard (207-276-5114). At the northwestern end of the harbor, the yard has moorings and dockage for its customers, but they are occasionally available to others. There is 6 or 7 feet alongside at low, with water and electricity but no fuel. The yard hauls with two boatlifts and a crane, and they can perform hull and engine repairs.

F.T. Brown (207-276-3329). Brown is an extensive hardware store on Main Street, with a serious boating department that stocks hardware, propane, charts, and marine supplies.

Hodgkins Marine Electronics (207-276-5090) is on Tracy Road, a few blocks from the waterfront.

For the Crew. Pay phones are right at the town dock. The Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce’s shingled “Yachtsman’s Building” (276-5040) is right by the marina, with showers available 24 hours a day (the key will be in the harbormaster’s office after hours), a reading room, a paperback book swap, and recent copies of The New York Times. They will even rent you towels and a hair dryer. The Chamber of Commerce handles reservations (and rents rackets and balls) for the public tennis courts near the marina, and they have literature available describing the nearby attractions. If you need to get to them, they can rent you a car.

Sea Street leads from the waterfront up to the Main Street in town. A takeout on the way has block ice and ice cream, something our kids don’t let us forget.

Turn right on Main Street and you will find the post office, the full-service Shirt Off Your Back Laundry (276-5611), and Brown’s Hardware. A new restaurant, 151 Main, serves eclectic cuisine by Browns.

Turn left on Main for the Pine Tree Market (276-3335). Pine Tree is everything a good market should be—creaking floors and sweet smells from the bakery, a good butcher, wine and fine cheese, fresh produce, liquor, and ice. And they will deliver to the dock. The coin-op Downtown Laundry Cellar is beneath the market.

Sadly, the classic, old-world Stanley’s Fish Market is no more. Nor is the elegant Redfield’s restaurant. Farther down Main you will find Sherman’s bookstore and McGrath’s newsstand, which sells The New York Times. The Colonel’s Bakery, pizzeria, and restaurant (276-5147) is also a wine and cheese shop, and they will deliver to the docks. Wikhegan Books is over Pine Bough Antiques, on Main at the head of Sea Street, and carries rare and out-of-print Mount Desert Island and nautical titles.

Mount Desert Medical Center (276-3331) is on Kimball Road at the south end of town.

Things to Do. Beal & Bunker, Inc. offers a variety of sightseeing cruises starting from the waterfront, including an evening cocktail cruise and another with an Acadia Park naturalist on board. Sign up at the waterfront booth (244-3575). They also run the mailboat trips to the Cranberry Islands. The Delight, a 32-foot antique open launch, provides water-taxi service to the outlying islands (244-5724).

Maine Whalewatch (276-5803) makes a full-day trip out to Mount Desert Rock with a naturalist, looking for finback and humpback whales, porpoises, and many species of seabirds.

A visit to Thuya Lodge and Gardens in Asticou Terraces is unforgettable. Take your dinghy in to the float of the pink-granite Asticou Landing, at the northeastern part of the harbor. Follow the path to the main road and cross on the crosswalk.

Rustic paths lead upward past terraces and gazebos designed by Joseph Henry Curtis (1841-1928) “for the quiet recreation of the people of this town and their summer guests.” The small formal garden is a delight for botanist and gardener alike, and there is a rare botanical book collection in the lodge. From the gardens, a leisurely trail leads to Eliot Mountain, or you can follow the park trails east a couple of miles to Jordan Pond House.

The small but elegant Great Harbor Maritime Museum is right in town in the old fire house. Their exhibits feature local maritime history and boatbuilding greats.

If you are socked in by bad weather, visit the charming public library. The Milliken Room is devoted entirely to books about
Northeast Harbor Bike Shop rents bikes. They are set back off Main Street across from Stanley’s Fish Market, and the trails of Acadia are nearby.

Northeast Harbor is on the loop of the free Island Explorer shuttle bus for exploring the rest of Mount Desert and Acadia. The bus stops right at the harbormaster’s office. For taxis call Airport Taxi (667-5995).

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