Ellsworth is a city in the part of Maine the natives call “Down East,” and it neighbors Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. In fact, it’s the route to those places, but it has its own attractions, too. The surrounding area is scattered with lakes and ponds, campgrounds and parks, sure to make you and your outdoors-loving fur-baby happy. And with at least four veterinary clinics in Ellsworth just waiting to help, she’ll stay happy and healthy!
Hotels, motels and campgrounds line Route 1/1A, the most traveled route to the Bar Harbor region, but not all of them are pup-friendly. The Patten Pond Camping Resort is an exception. This resort is about a mile off the highway, which makes for peace and quiet, and Patton Pond, which is really a very large lake, makes for stunning water views from some of the campsites, plus a beach for relaxing and swimming. The campground is near enough to the “big” attractions in Bar Harbor, but far enough from the crowds to feel like you’re coming home when you return to your RV or cabin. The lake features waterfowl like loons that fill the night air with their haunting cry, and plenty of room to canoe or kayak with your pup without worrying about literally bumping into someone else. With firepits and picnic tables, restrooms and a playground for the kiddos, this is a pawrfect place to land with your family, including Fido, for your stay in the Ellsworth area.
Whether Ellsworth is a stopping-off point or your intended destination, it’s well worth spending some time in the city, with its Down East Maine flavor!
Bar Harbor lies to the south of Ellsworth and is often the destination of people traveling through the smaller city. It lies on the northeast shore of Mount Desert Island, on beautiful Frenchman’s Bay with its many islands. It is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts because of its many available activities and vistas, including Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest point on the Atlantic seaboard. Climbing Cadillac Mountain by car, bike or foot is a popular summer and fall activity, and the fur-buddy is more than welcome to join in. The route can be accessed at the Acadia National Park gate on Eden Street. And for a place to eat that truly understands dogs? A visit to Jack Russell’s Steak House and Brewery is a must! Dogs are happily welcomed to join their humans for dinner in the fairy-lighted garden, right in front of the restaurant’s own micro-brewery, and to share the prime rib and lobster being served up. Arf!
Trenton is a small town at the crossing from the mainland south of Ellsworth to Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island. It's where you’ll find the pooch-friendly Trenton Community Trail, a 3-mile loop that meanders through forest and features a side trail leading to a boardwalk and viewing platform over a bog. It offers kiosks with informational signs along the way, and parking can be found at the trailhead on Gateway Center Drive. The natural dirt surface of most of the trail also features 3 bridges, and many benches afford you and Fido a chance to sit and contemplate. Fido is allowed off-leash here, but please be warned that the area is home to porcupines, so be sure he will come immediately when you call him! Another safety tip: hunting is permitted here, so keep informed of the season dates and equip yourself and your pup with blaze orange. Woof!
Lamoine is a town to the south of Ellsworth that is home to the Lamoine State Park and Lamoine Beach. Located on Frenchman’s Bay, the park features furbulous views of the mountains on Mt Desert Island, the Eastern portion of the Bay, and the working waterfront of Lamoine. This dog-friendly park offers camping, boating and relaxation not found in some of the bigger and more well-known parks in Bar Harbor. Open year round for casual day visitors for hiking and cross-country skiing, the campground, with its 62 campsites, is open from May 15 to October 15. Fido is welcome at the camp, on leash please. On your walks with him you may see deer, fox and other small mammals, and sea birds like osprey. The tidal pools and beach also offer up their treasures of jellyfish, starfish and sometimes seals and porpoise can be seen in the water. A veritable smorgasbord of delights for your fur-pooch!
Orland is Ellsworth’s neighbor to the west, and home to the Wildlands-Hothole Valley just off Route 1. This wildlife preserve is managed to optimize the habitats of the birds and animals that live there, and you’ll find a network of trails totaling 20 miles laid out for your and your pup’s enjoyment. The surface of the trails differs according to where they are: dirt/forest floor, rock ledge, and gravel are most prominent. Your furry bestie is welcome to join you for a hike on his leash. With 3 scenic overlooks and 3 mountain summits to scale, along with flat, easy walking, there is something for everyone here. There are even tent sites, picnic areas, and restrooms. Woofderful!
Ellsworth Trail is a little over 3 miles in length roundtrip, and its trailhead in downtown Ellsworth is at Birch Avenue. This is a straight paved path with safety barriers that has its other end in Ellsworth Falls and is pawrfect for dog-walking. Parking is available at Ellsworth High School, and the trail can be accessed anywhere along the route where other roads cross it, such as Lejock Street or Lakes Lane. One of the country’s rail trails, this is an easy, flat path long enough to provide some great exercise for human and pooch, out of the way of car traffic! Another easy, short trail in the City Center is Indian Point Trail which features pawsome views of Ellsworth and the Union River to the end of Indian Point. The trail meanders through the woods for about a mile off Fire Road with a looped side trail. It’s great for a lunchtime stroll with Fido, or after work. Pawrrific!