Maine has more than its share of relaxing retreats. Whether you find peace strolling along the shore, deep in the forest, or high in the mountains, the Pine Tree State has you covered!
There's one hidden spot that you'd never expect to find amid the natural beauty of New England. The Asticou Azalea Garden is a traditional Japanese tea garden located in the gorgeous seaside village of Northeast Harbor.
The town of Northeast Harbor, located on Mount Desert Island, is known for its booming summer population including famous residents like the Rockefeller family.
Northeast Harbor resident and student of Japanese garden design, Charles K. Savage created Asticou Azalea Garden in 1956 when the Beatrix Farrand’s Reef Point garden closed down.
Savage purchased much of the former garden's plants to create his vision of a Japanese stroll garden.
Paths wind through the property with plenty of stone benches and individual garden "rooms" for relaxing and enjoying the ambiance.
Savage placed the namesake azaleas along the shores of the pond, providing a beautiful reflective effect.
Asticou Garden even includes a traditional Japanese zen garden. The flat, sandy area was influenced by the well-known 16th century sand garden in Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto.
Depending on when you visit, the garden has a distinct look. Cherry trees bloom in mid-May, while the colorful azaleas and rhododendrons take over in June.
The summer brings Japanese iris, smoke bush, rosebay rhododendron, and blooming water lilies in late August. Fall visitors will find the gardens ablaze with rich autumn colors.
The Asticou Azalea Garden is open from sunrise to sunset May through October or November depending on the weather.
While free to enter, there’s a suggested donation of $5 per person to help preserve this peaceful spot's beauty.