Author Q & A

with Marie C. Taylor, author
Doggy Walks and Destinations – Acadia National Park and Vicinity

What inspired you to write the book? 

Over the years I had been keeping a list of places that worked well for us to visit with our dog. At one point, I realized that other people might like ideas on where they could have fun with their dogs, also. Some visitors might not realize that there are many beautiful places where dogs can be off-leash and are not crowded. The properties owned by The Maine Coast Heritage Trust fit into these categories perfectly. They have beautiful properties and dogs must only be under control, either on a leash or under voice control. Our dog especially enjoys Babson Creek Preserve where she can run through the fields and Blue Horizons Preserve where she can go wading. It is nice to be able to share these places with visitors and their dogs.

How did you manage to get such a great photo of Thunder Hole?

We were sitting in our cottage one day when the weather wasn’t very good, listening to the police scanner which we always bring with us. We heard that the Park officials were closing off the steps leading down to Thunder Hole because of the high surf. We grabbed the camera and jumped in the car. When we got to Thunder Hole it was spectacular. My husband took the photo. The surf was so high he couldn’t even get it all in the photo. We were lucky. The Park authorities have changed how they broadcast now and we can’t hear their transmissions anymore.

Do you have a particular time of year that you enjoy on Mount Desert?

I really like to visit when the blueberries are ripe which seems to be the end of July. It’s a treat to walk the carriage roads and pick an occasional blueberry. But our annual visit has come to be the week after Labor Day. When we came on our honeymoon, it was October, 1982. I had to wear my wool hat and mittens to bed! We gradually kept moved the date earlier and have found that the week after Labor Day is ideal, since most of the businesses are still open and the weather is usually still warm. We have recently added a week in June to our schedule ─ after the black flies and before the crowds of visitors arrive!

Do you have favorite places that you visit each year?

We do different things each year, but, we always have breakfast at the Looking Glass Restaurant in Bar Harbor which has a great view of Frenchman Bay. Quite a few years ago I found an old copy of Mary Roberts Rinehart’s autobiography, My Story. I read it and have since read a number of her mysteries. So I find it is fun to wonder around the grounds of her old estate “Far View” where the restaurant and the Wonder View Inn are now located. When our dog is with us, we stay at the Wonder View Inn. Otherwise, we stay at the Edgewater Motel and Cottages in Salisbury Cove which is a perfect spot to see rainbows!

Do you have a favorite walk?

The walks that we take when we don’t have a dog with us usually combine a hike and a carriage road. And I like to be rewarded with a spectacular view. I especially like the hike up Cedar Swamp Mountain. We hook up with a carriage road at the back side of the mountain and walk it for the return. For a walk with a dog, though, my favorite is to the south end of Eagle Lake. [If you don’t want to drive to the Bubbles/Balance Rock parking lot, you can take the Island Explorer.] I also like the walk up the Beech Cliffs, since you get a great view without too much effort.

What have been your dog’s favorite walks over the years?

Well for Kelley, it is Babson Creek Preserve in the Mount Desert section of the island. It is owned by Maine Coast Heritage Trust, so she can be off-leash and go running through the mowed fields. I think the best time she ever had, though, was playing in the water of Valley Cove, near Southwest Harbor.

Do you board your dog when you visit Mount Desert Island?

Actually the first night we stay at the Wonder View Inn in Bar Harbor, a motel that takes dogs. It is a five and a half hour ride from where we live in Massachusetts to Bar Harbor. So we don’t think it is fair to have the kennel be her first stop after such a long ride. We take her to the Acadia Woods Kennel in Town Hill the next day and she never seems to mind. We then pick her up in the morning and return her later in the day, so it works out perfectly.

Did you have a particular purpose in mind when you wrote the book?

I wanted to make Acadia a fun experience for a dog. Sometimes we have seen dogs in challenging places. Even the first time we took our dog on a trail, we forgot that part of the trail was over jagged rocks. My husband had to carry her while trying to keep his balance. It wasn’t fun! It made me realize that we had to adjust our walks so our dog could enjoy them too. I’ve tried to include a variety of walks to choose from depending on a dog’s energy level and how much time someone might have. My hope is that other dog owners will enjoy the walks and destinations that are described in the book. But more important, that their dogs will enjoy them as much as ours have over the years.

What changes have you made to the book in the fourth edition?

The biggest change is that we have included walks in the Schoodic section of the Park. The opening of the Schoodic Woods Campground has made a huge difference. There is now a ranger station as well as new trails and over 8 miles of bike paths to explore. Every time we go there, we enjoy it more. Little Long Pond now has new trails that are in the book. We added Old Pond Railway Trail in Hancock since it is a pleasant walk and you pass it on your way to Schoodic. We actually have added a lot of new walks for the 4th edition since we have been finding so many new places that our dog enjoys.

Some of the new walks are on Maine Coast Heritage Trust Properties: Kelley Farm Preserve and two new preserves on Great Cranberry Island (Preble Cove and Cranberry Shores). The Maine Coast Heritage Trust properties often provide a quiet alternative to some of the busier, more well-known Acadia destinations where parking can be challenging. To make room for the new walks, we removed some of the third edition walks that were out of the way, or not as interesting as the new ones we wanted to include. We still wanted, however, to have walks in different sections of the island, since we know that a many people like to explore the whole island while they are visiting.