Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor on Mt. Desert Island is one of the little hidden gems near Acadia National Park that I like to visit. The land was once the summer retreat of a Boston architect named Joseph Henry Curtis. He built his vacation “camp,” Thuya Lodge, on the side of a small mountain overlooking the harbor. Thuya is the Latin name of the cedar trees that abound on the property.
In 1912 work on the gardens began, mostly focused on the construction of a rocky trail called Asticou Terraces that leads up the hillside from the harbor to the lodge. The pathway is beautiful and peaceful, passing through a spruce forest and over granite ledges, and has more than two hundred steps. There are terraces, some with crude log shelters, where one may rest along the ascent. The view is lovely.
At the top of the trail, the walkway passes by the front door of the lodge, a large house, and continues into the semi-formal garden. Much of the work on the garden was done after Mr. Curtis passed on in 1928. Graveled garden trails meander through a small wooded area, past a spring enclosed under a roof, and along a glade with several different gardens and plantings of various fruit trees.
A small reflecting pool, seen in the first photo, provides a spot for quiet contemplation. There are several more benches set around the garden. I like this spot on the right with fern and allium blooms. Some of my photos were taken in June and some in September, hence the different seasonal flowers.
A large terrace is set aside for a memorial to Mr. Curtis, seen here being reviewed by my husband. The stonework in the gardens is extensive, well executed, and I’m sure, took much effort to construct. It has stood the test of time well, there is barely a rock out of place through all the years of frost and rain and erosion.
A stop at Thuya Garden will provide a calming interlude in a day filled with the hubbub of Acadia tourists and traffic.
Read more about Thuya Garden here: https://tclf.org/landscapes/thuya-garden