On Mount Desert Island, there’s a name for every place

Algerine Coastname for every place postcard


I hail from the Saint John Valley River region myself, but now I’m on Mount Desert Island, Maine’s biggest island. Prior to moving here, I’d visited a handful of times, and had somehow left with only the knowledge that Bar Harbor was a beautiful town, that Cadillac Mountain summit was the height of my excursions (pun attack!), and I am not particularly talented at mini-golf.

What I certainly didn’t know until I moved here is that, much like any community and geographical region, Mount Desert Island is comprised of a lot of different places. Though there are only four towns on the entire island, each town has multiple villages.

So, not only is Bar Harbor “Bar Harbor,” “Bar Harbor” is also the villages of Town Hill, Salisbury Cove, Hulls Cove, and Eden.

And Mount Desert? It’s the name of the island, but it’s also the name of a town. There are also two ways to pronounce it: Mount DeZERT or Mount DEZert. It consists of the villages of Hall Quarry, Northeast Harbor, Otter Creek, Pretty Marsh, Seal Harbor, and Somesville.

On top of municipalities, there are geographical locations. Acadia National Park spreads out across the island, and includes dozens of little spots, many unknown to tourists unfamiliar with the region. Though I’ve only been here a couple months and have already gone out on a few excursions to “see the sights” of the island, I haven’t seen them all.

I live with island natives who know every micro-region of the island and – it turns out – there’s a name for everywhere on MDI.

Here’s the list I’ve collected so far of

1. Raggedy-a** (RA) Corner

2. Red Rock Corner

3. Echo Lake stretch

4. Otter Creek

5. Otter Cliffs

6. Hall Quarry

7. Hulls Cove

8. Salisbury Cove

9. Eden

10. Compass Harbor

11. Somesville

12. Somes Sound

13. Town Hill

14. Seal Cove

15. Seawall

16. Pretty Marsh

17. Bar Harbor

18. Mt. De-ZERT

19. Mt. DEZ-ert (same place, just a different pronunciation)

20. Crooked Road

21. Southwest Harbor

22. Northeast Harbor

23. Bernard

24. Tremont

25. Jordan Pond

26. Park Loop Road

27. Witch Hole

28. Thunder Hole

29. Algerine Coast

30. Cadillac Mountain

31. Schooner Head

32. Great Head

33. Sand Beach

34. Balance Rock

35. Bubble Rock

36. “Rock Chucking Place”

37. Long Pond

38. Eagle Lake

39. Bar Island

40. Manset

41. Bass Harbor

42. West Tremont

43. The Quiet Side

44. The Backside

45. Blue Hill Lookout

46. Precipice

47. Beehive

48. Hamilton Pond

49. Carriage Roads

50. The Maze

51. Wonderland

52. Asticou Gardens

53. Lakewood

54. Hadley Point

55. Albert’s Meadow (The Meadow)

56. Shore Path

57. Sieur de Monts Spring

58. Beech Hill Road

59. Sargent Drive

Honorable mention: Thompson Island – the small island first crossed coming over from Trenton. I thought it was Mount Desert Island, until I learned from the locals that – no – that’s the gateway island to the big island.

It’s just one of the joys of discovering a new place: learning that each curve, rise, harbor, and village has been warmly named by its people.

Jenna Beaulieu

About Jenna Beaulieu

Jenna is a writer and fine art photographer who recently moved from the Saint John Valley region to the quiet side of Mount Desert Island. She’s a fan of excellent music, homemade gravy, and colored pencils (also, short books and long books, good pens, flannel, and when the June bugs don’t really come out much that year). For more about Jenna and her work, visit her website at www.jennabeaulieu.com