Favorite Places in Maine: Northeast Creek

Posted Jan. 12, 2011, at 3:10 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:29 p.m.
The front end of my Bill Trotter's kayak pointed down Northeast Creek on MDI in the fall of 2008. (Bangor Daily News/Bill Trotter)
The front end of my Bill Trotter's kayak pointed down Northeast Creek on MDI in the fall of 2008. (Bangor Daily News/Bill Trotter)

Ask people who live here, and they will tell you that Mount Desert Island changes radically with the seasons, one of which goes by the name “tourist.”

But despite the island’s millions of seasonal sightseers who descend on MDI and Acadia National Park each year between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, the fluctuation of people is not always the defining factor of the island’s public spaces.

Northeast Creek is one such locale. Sparsely visited by canoers and kayakers in the summer, the tidal estuary takes on an entirely different character in winter, when the creek often freezes hard enough to allow skaters to glide along its winding, marsh-lined waterway. For roughly two miles, the creek meanders through marshy expanses and along forested embankments, with few houses visible in the distance along the way, before it fades into adjacent wetlands.

For all of the beauty of Acadia’s rugged ocean shore, few parts of MDI offer the scenery and tranquility of Northeast Creek in the winter.

Getting There

After crossing onto MDI, follow Route 3 toward downtown Bar Harbor for about 2 miles to where the creek empties under the road into Thomas Bay. Parking is along the eastbound side of the road, on the side where the creek winds inland. As always when you are about to venture out onto frozen water, exercise caution and make sure the ice is thick enough to hold your weight before you go. For safety reasons, going out in groups of two or more is recommended.

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