Southwest Harbor, Maine, affectionately known as the “Quietside”, is a quaint, fishing village located on Mount Desert Island, Maine, at the southwest entrance of Somes Sound.
Southwest Harbor offers a variety of delectable restaurants, unique shops, and fine museums and galleries. World renowned boat builders Hinckley, Morris Yachts & Wilber Yachts also call Southwest Harbor home.
Clark Point Inn and Southwest Harbor are located just a scenic, 15 minute drive from Bar Harbor, Maine and moments from some of the more notable Acadia National Park landmarks such as Echo Lake, Bass Harbor Lighthouse and Seawall. Hiking trails aplenty on the Quietside!
Mount Desert Island
Mount Desert Island (pronounced dessert and abbreviated MDI) is the largest island off coastal Maine and is most famous for housing Acadia National Park. Covering an area of 108 square miles, Mount Desert Island is the 2nd largest island along the eastern seaboard and is home to several well known summer colonies and noteworthy seasonal residents. (Hint: It’s a good thing!)
While the year-round resident population of Mount Desert Island, Maine is approximately 10,000 people, it is estimated that more than two and a half million people pay a visit to the island each year!
Mount Desert Island was discovered by Samuel de Champlain, a frenchman who led the expedition that arrived on the island in 1604. Upon arrival, he noted the mountain summits appeared, from the sea, to be free of vegetation thus he named the island “Isles de Monts Desert” or island of the Bare Mountains. Frenchman Bay is named in honor of Champlain.
Over the last 2 million years, many glaciations have occurred and glaciers have eroded Mt. Desert Island. Deep, glacier formed ravines contained small lakes and streams that we know, today, as Jordan Pond, Echo Lake and Somes Sound.
The most recent glaciers were melting back across the Maine coast about 14,000 years ago. The southeastern edge of the glaciers stood across Somes Sound, for a period of time, creating mounds of sand, gravel and mud. These mounds are called moraines. Today, Jordan Pond House, in Acadia National Park, is built on one of the moraines.
Ultimately, the early rusticators – artists, journalists and such, are to be given the credit for popularizing MDI. Each summer they would travel here to paint, socialize, create and renew friendships with local islanders and fisherman. By 1880, 30 hotels were in business and serving visitors to MDI. The island continued to flourish and became a retreat for wealthy families of the East coast – Rockefellers, Astors, Fords, Vanderbilts, Carnegies & Morgans. These folks landscaped the island with touches of refinement, beautiful gardens & elegant estates, or “cottages” as they commonly referred to them as.
Ultimately, the Great Depression and WWII took a toll on the extravagance that MDI had come to enjoy and be known for. On October 17, 1947, an unfortunate fire of great proportions, originating from a cranberry bog, burned a good majority of the eastern portion of the island and almost 400 of these estates.
Today, Mount Desert Island is once again thriving and is a very popular escape for visitors seeking outdoor activities, fresh ocean air and plenty of fresh caught Maine lobster!
Calendar of Mount Desert Island Events 2020
Just a partial lisiting of the many exciting events and fun festivals taking place on Mountain Desert Island during the 2020 season!
We’ll be out and about at a number of them and we hope to see you out there enjoying yourselves in this beautiful area we are so lucky to call home!
Acadia Birding Festival – May 28-31
Fireworks extravaganza takes place just across the street from us in the harbor – reserve now and have the easiest, most convenient, access to the Independence Day fireworks celebration!!
Quietside Flamingo Festival July 10 – 13
Mount Desert Festival of Chamber Music – July 21 – August 18
Lobsters on the Sound – August 4
Island Arts Association Craft Fair – June 20-21 & August 15-16
Acadia National Park FREE Entrance Day – April 18, August 25,
September 26 & November 11
MDI Garlic Festival – TBA
Acadia National Park Car Free Mornings – Hikers, bicyclists, walkers – this is your time! No cars on Park Loop Road until 12 noon! – TBA
Acadia Night Sky Festival – a fabulous, fun celebration of Maine’s star filled night sky! September 16-20
Acadia Oktoberfest October 9 -10
MDI Marathon – October 18
Southwest Harbor & Area Village Restaurants
When you are on vacation, what is one of the things you look forward to the most? That’s right …Eating! It just so happens that Southwest Harbor and the surrounding villages offer many unique, locally owned and operated dining opportunities. Most of the restaurants listed below are located in the village of Southwest Harbor and are walking distance from Clark Point Inn. Area restaurants enjoy a relaxed, casual casual dress code and reservations are recommended.
‘WD’ – location is within walking distance of our bed & breakfast
Red Sky – Creative, Upscale dining, casual dress. A fabulous culinary experience. Open year round -WD
Sips – A delicious wine bar style cafe – Often featuring local, live musical entertainment. Open year round – WD
Eat a Pita/ Cafe2 – A local favorite -Outdoor, flower-filled dining and bar area. Delicious overstuffed Pita Sandwiches for lunch, casual fine dining in the evening – WD
Quietside Cafe – A good spot to grab a sandwich or ice cream and just people watch. Be sure to save room for a mile-high piece of blueberry pie! WD
XYZ – Locally sourced food, creating recipes from the Mexican interior. A unique & delicious dining experience –
Beal’s Lobster Pier – A traditional Maine lobster pound just a 5 minute walk down the street from us – WD
Coda – contemporary small plates, farm to table dining experience where food and live music meet -WD
Just a leisurely drive down the road…
Seafood Ketch – Relaxed dining on the huge outdoor deck overlooking the harbor – Located in Bass Harbor, a short 4 mile drive. Lift your feet at high tide!
Thurston’s Lobster Pound – A traditional Maine lobster pound located in Bernard – less than 4 miles from us!
Unique Shops, Galleries & Museums
All In One
Quilt N’ Fabric
Southwest Harbor Artisans
Under The Dogwood Tree
Area Activities & Services
Carroll Drug Store