Bar Harbor, sort of….

One of the screaming deficiencies of this blog has long been the omission of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, among the absolute jewels of Maine and a place where a person could easily spend two weeks and still not do everything there is to do there. This post attempts to — if not rectify — at least ameliorate this glaring omission, as golfing pal Steve and I took the Little Guy to Bar Harbor to play one of the oldest golf courses in America, and one of my new favorites — Kebo Valley.

Kebo is a lovely course, placed as it is amongst the mountains of Acadia; it is the eighth oldest golf course in America, is extremely well kept and is an outstanding challenge for golfers of all abilities. In fact, the annual Maine Amateur tournament is regularly contested here. When we visited in August, it was baked to a crisp, as you will see from the photos — but the greens and tee boxes were pristine and pure. Here is the view of the 18th green from the clubhouse deck:

One of the interesting features of the course is the extensive use of mounding, something I have not seen to this degree at other Maine courses.

There follows a picture of the so-called “Taft Hole”, named for the 27th president (and tenth Chief Justice) of the United States, William Howard Taft, who (legend has it) took 27 strokes to get out of the sand trap which stretches completely across the fairway and constitutes about 1/3 of the entire length of the hole. I have never seen a bunker like it and the photo below, severely foreshortened, utterly fails to convey the immensity of this sand trap. The hole is a par-3 but only the longest hitters dare to take on that trap. I, believing that discretion is indeed the better part of valor, laid up on the flats below the trap and then hit a short iron over it to the green.

All in all, Kebo Valley takes its place among the top 3 courses which I have played in Maine, along with Sunday River and Sugarloaf (yes, there are a couple other top-tier courses which I have not yet played, so others might rank this course lower); it is expensive but worth every penny to any golfer who finds themselves in Bar Harbor.

Speaking of Bar Harbor — again, Bar Harbor itself is worthy of a blog post of its own, as is Acadia National Park, so this is but a small sample of the stunning views to be had here. These photos were taken from the lovely park on the waterfront at the center of town:

Steve and I played Kebo three times on this trip, but on our last day there we entered Acadia National Park to ride our bikes on the carriage roads around Eagle Lake. These carriage roads are one of the most unique and outstanding of Acadia’s many features, built by the Rockefellers when the park land was their own. No motorized vehicles are allowed on these smoothly-graveled roads, only bikes, pedestrians and (in some spots) horses. It’s a fabulously scenic place to bike ride without the constant worry of being run down by automobile traffic. Again, the carriage roads alone are worthy of their own blog post and I would say that no trip to Acadia is complete without at least one bike ride — the best ride being, of course, to Jordan Pond for popovers at the Jordan Pond House restaurant! The ride we took circumnavigates Eagle Lake; lake views below. Note that there are a number of bicycle rental shops in Bar Harbor for those who left their own bikes at home.

Again, as any Mainer will tell you, this post barely begins to touch the immensity of opportunity which is Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Yet to be described here is the ride up Cadillac Mountain, the stunning park loop road, the fabulous cliff walk to Otter Head, the plethora of windjammer and fishing cruises available out of Bar Harbor, the kayaking in Penobscot Bay — the list goes on and on. My hope is to, next summer, take the Burgman there and do a proper scooter blog post of Acadia — but have no doubt that Steve and I will also tow the Little Guy back there to play another round at Kebo!

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