Mount Desert Island, Maine | Yankee Classic
But many sections of the island also epitomize Maine and its fishing villages: cabins with lobster traps stacked like cordwood in the back yard; lilacs grown up like trees in front of the windows of squat farmhouses whose fields stretch down to the harbor; gardens, sometimes the whole yard tilled up, planted with cold-weather crops — turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, peas — whose roots must surely touch salt water; cliffs like cathedral walls and trees that grow out of rocks.
The last time I was on Mount Desert Island, I got up at 3:30 a.m. and made my way through the darkness to the top of Cadillac Mountain: I wanted to be the first to see the sun rise at 4:07 a.m. and I was relieved to find that I was alone when I reached the top. The darkness eased into light but I never saw the sun, sheathed as it was in fog.
At that moment, I knew that the island was weighted with thousands of visitors, most of them asleep in their tidy guest cottages or trim hotel rooms — image enough to make mockery of Champlain’s perception of these mountains as barren and deserted. Yet through the dimness of the mist, there wasn’t a hotel, a cottage, or a person in sight — all I could see were the breakers that looked like lace collars around the ledges below.