Where in Maine?


Can you identify this waterfront walkway?

Photograph by Pat and Chuck Blackley

There’s a whole lot of history surrounding this three-quarter-mile trail on the eastern edge of one of Maine’s most visited islands. It overlooks the bay named in honor of the European explorer who first marveled at the island’s bald mountaintops in 1604. From the 1850s through the 1950s, the area’s gilded age of summer tourism, this path became a promenade for the rich and famous, with frequent visits from the Rockefellers, J.P. Morgan, and Evalyn Walsh McLean, an owner of the Hope Diamond. Some of that era’s opulent homes and hotels still stand today, even after a fire devastated the town in 1947. 

A great deal has changed here, but time has yet to alter this footpath’s tranquil beauty on a sunny summer morning. “The bay is very calm and the waves reflect the gold and purple tints of the clouds so vividly,” wrote a reporter from the Ellsworth American in 1877, describing a boat ride through these very waters. “We move lazily along, there is no need for haste — that belongs to a world far from this. We approach the delectable condition when the body is at perfect rest.” It’s a fitting endorsement for a town that was originally incorporated under a slightly more telling name — one it shared with another (much older) storied paradise. 


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