The contrast between these depressed, rural towns, and the beauty of Acadia and the bustling town of Bar Harbor was stark. There is wealth in this region of Maine, but it is tucked into the coves, rocky hillsides, and discreet, coastal areas. I imagine that some of those folks must reach their homes by boat, avoiding the Route 3 corridor jumble of tourist buses, RVs, cars, bicycles, road crews, and trucks.
We found two state-owned sites along Route 3, between Augusta and Acadia, where we stopped for our picnic lunch. The first was Lake St. George State Park in the town of Liberty. When we entered, the toll gate keeper said we wouldn't like the entrance fee -- $6.00 each for adults and $2.00 each for seniors. It turned out to be a nice picnic spot on the lake, with a large lawn for Kodi to run about (supposed to be on leash we learned later) and clean bathrooms, although $16 to have our own picnic lunch did seem a little steep.
On our return from Acadia we stopped at Fort Knox State Historic Site and Penobscot Narrows Observatory in Prospect. It was another lovely picnic spot--this one overlooking the Penobscot River. During the American Revolution and the War of 1812, the British seized control of the Penobscot River and claimed this very site for the British Crown. As we know, their control of the area did not last, but the United States was concerned that the Penobscot might be attacked again and decided to build a fort.
Construction of the fort did not begin until 1844 and was never really finished and never really used. The large cannons required 12 men to load the 450 pound cannonball; the cannon could fire a solid cannonball 5,579 yards. The fort was built of granite blocks, quarried from Mt. Waldo five miles upstream. By the time the fort was nearly finished, the threat from the British diminished and warfare technology had changed. Still, it is an intriguing site and worth a walkabout.
The beauty of this landscape and the capacity of humans to engineer infrastructure suited to the times are intertwined at this site. It is well worth a stop to or from Acadia National Park. If only the communities in between could benefit from or build on these natural and man-made features.