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The Somesville Bridge, Mount Desert Island's Most Photographed Bridge

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

The Somesville Bridge

The Somesville Bridge

Located just outside of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island is one of the most photographed and visually stunning bridges in all of Maine. The Somesville Bridge is certain to capture your attention—the arched wooden footbridge, with its brilliant white coat, spans the waters of Somes Creek.

Situated at the northern end of Somes Sound, the bridge is surrounded by the flora of mother nature and colorful potted flower boxes that help to create an amazing reflective scene that lures visitors to stop and photograph.

Mount Desert Island Historical Society

Mount Desert Island Historical Society

The bridge is located in the village of Somesville on Mount Desert Island on the Maine coast. Somesville is the oldest community on the island and dates to 1761 when it was first settled by Abraham and Hannah Somes. The community that developed here was subsequently named Somesville and the inlet where it is located became Somes Sound, named appropriately after the family. In 1975 the village and harbor area were designated a historic district and listed with the National Register of Historic Places.

The Somesville Bridge

The Somesville Bridge

While Acadia National Park has an abundance of natural wonders to see, if you are spending some time on Mount Desert Island you will most certainly drive past the Somesville Bridge at some point during your visit. The location is right on Route 102, Main Street, and there is a small parking area by the bridge to accommodate visitors. There is no cost to visit other than your time, although donations are accepted to help care for the bridge.

To say that Acadia National Park is a beautiful place is kind of a misnomer. The park is actually a series of beautiful places, all housed on different parts of Mount Desert Island, the Schoodic Peninsula and other islands along the coast of Maine.

— John D. Rockefeller

The Somesville Bridge

The Somesville Bridge

History of the Bridge

While the bridge begs for a long and storied history, it is in fact relatively new by historical standards. The bridge was first constructed in 1981 but had to be replaced in 1995. The wood used in the initial project required a great deal of maintenance so it was replaced with a pressure treated wood version that would better withstand the harsh elements of the Maine coast.

The Somesville Bridge

The Somesville Bridge

How the bridge came to be is actually a very interesting story. The idea for the bridge came from a student at the local College of the Atlantic, who suggested to Environmental Design professor, Roc Caivano, that a bridge be built over Somes Creek. Caivano offered up the idea to Dr. Virginia Somes Sanderson, a descendant of the original Somes family that settled here. Mrs. Sanderson, who was a member of the Somes Historical Society was looking for a new project to support. The story goes that she loved the idea of a bridge over Somes Creek and agreed to fund the entire project in memory of Thaddeus Shepley Somes, who was her grandfather. Today the bridge is appropriately named the Thaddeus Shepley Somes Memorial Bridge.

Dedicated to Thaddeus Shepley Somes

Dedicated to Thaddeus Shepley Somes

What to See

In addition to the bridge there are two small buildings adjacent to the bridge, one on each side of the creek. One was a storage building that was constructed in 1981 and was also a project of Caivano’s students. Today it is the home of the Somesville Museum & Gardens. The museum displays exhibits that feature the history of Mount Desert Island and they are changed each summer. The garden area showcases flowering plants that can be found throughout Mount Desert Island.

The Somesville Museum and Garden

The Somesville Museum and Garden

The other building is the historic Selectman’s Building, which dates to the 1780s. The Selectmen’s Building has a long history and was used at various times as a post office, a cobbler’s shop, a school, and a museum. Visitors can step inside the building to watch videos of local residents being interviewed. The videos are part of a project called "Somesville: A Sense of Place". In the interviews the residents share their stories and experiences of living in Somesville and it really gives visitors a sense of the character of the people who live here.

The Historic Somesville Selectman’s Building

The Historic Somesville Selectman’s Building

Somesville Museum & Garden Information:

  • Open from June 29th – Sept 2nd
  • Hours: 10 am to 4 pm daily
  • There is no charge to tour the museum, however donations are accepted.
Colorful flowers and foliage surround the bridge

Colorful flowers and foliage surround the bridge

It shouldn’t take long to tour the grounds, visit the Museum and Selectmen's Building, and of course cross the bridge. This little corner of Mount Desert Island is very photogenic and you will want to have your camera with you when visiting. The colorful blooms of the plants make a perfect contrast to the pristine white of the bridge and buildings. During the fall season the scene becomes even more magical as the changing colors of the leaves reflect perfectly in the water. It should come as no surprise that the bridge is a very popular venue for wedding photos, and artists and photographers from around the world travel here to capture its brilliance in paintings and photos.

The reflection of the bridge and foliage in Somes Creek is stunning

The reflection of the bridge and foliage in Somes Creek is stunning

Thank you for coming along for a visit to the enchanting Somesville Bridge. If your travels are taking you to Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island be sure to seek out this little corner of paradise. Even if stopping for just a few moments, the beauty of the bridge in this tranquil setting will not easily be forgotten.

© 2020 Bill De Giulio

Comments

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 04, 2020:

Thank you, Heidi. Yes, we are very anxious to be traveling again. I’ve had enough of this isolating, but this to shall pass. Stay safe.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 04, 2020:

You can see why this is most photographed! And it does look like something from another era, even though it's pretty new by historical standards.

I'll bet you're anxious to get traveling again after this pandemic thing is over. Take care!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 29, 2020:

Thank you, Flourish. While we were there the foliage was just starting to turn. The fall colors just make an already beautiful scene even more stunning. While living in Maine did you get to Acadia NP?

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 29, 2020:

Thank you, Linda. Mount Desert Island and Acadia NP is an area I think you would enjoy. The bridge is just one stop in area loaded with exceptional scenery.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 29, 2020:

Thank you, Chardie. It is one of the most photographed bridges in Maine. Pehaps someday you will have the opportunity. Have a great day.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 28, 2020:

I bet particularly in the fall it’s spectacular to see the bridge with its stark white color against the vivid foliage. I used to live in Maine.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 28, 2020:

The bridge and its reflection are lovely. The area sounds like a charming place to visit. The reflection creates a magical atmosphere.

Chardie Cat from Northern Mindanao, Philippines on April 28, 2020:

It is indeed a remarkable bridge to take photographs at. I wish I could see it and take a photo of myself with it taken in the future. Very nice.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 28, 2020:

Thanks, Liz. I thought the same thing, that it must be much older. Regardless, it certainly is a photographer’s dream setting. Have a great week.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 28, 2020:

Thank you, Peggy. Yes, it’s easy to see why it draws weddings, artists, and photographers. The setting is so peaceful and the reflection of the bridge and foliage in the creek makes it a great place to stop and unwind.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 28, 2020:

Thank you, Bill. Those students designed quite the little bridge. And the setting is just stunning. It really grabs your attention as you drive by it. Have a great week and stay safe.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 28, 2020:

Thank you, Pam. We did enjoy our visit to Acadia NP. We drove by the bridge numerous times before stopping. It’s hard to miss. That’s great that you are active in the DAR, it’s a wonderful organization.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 28, 2020:

What a beautiful bridge, a photographer's delight. You had me there. I was expecting it to be much older.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 28, 2020:

I can certainly understand why weddings and other events are photographed at that beautiful site of the bridge and surrounding gardens. Thanks for showing us another place worth visiting around Acadia National Park. Your photos show it off to good advantage. I particularly liked the one where the flowers are in focus, and the bridge is slightly blurred in the background.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2020:

That is stunning in its simplicity. Really a remarkable piece of craftsmanship. Thanks so much for sharing this. I am suitably impressed.

Happy Tuesday my friend. Stay safe!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 28, 2020:

This looks like such a wonderful place to visit. I also think the bridge is beautiful, along with the surroundings.

It is nice that they have an active historical society. I am a member of the DAR and we occasionallymark historical sites. I am sure you had a wonderful time on this island.