Bar Harbor, Maine, US
As the state of Maine stands apart from the rest of New England, so does Mount Desert Island stand apart from the rest of Maine. When French explorer Samuel de Champlain first dropped anchor here in 1604 he was so impressed by the outline of its towering peaks that he named it "the island of wilderness mountains" - Isle des Monts Deserts. Locals call it the place where the mountains meet the sea. Pink granite mountains give way to pristine freshwater lakes on one side and the mighty Atlantic on the other. Mount Desert's largest town, Bar Harbor, existed for decades as a small local resort and farming community. By the turn of the century, Bar Harbor had gained a reputation as a playground for the rich. In 1916, some of the more conservation-minded residents got together and purchased some 33,000 acres of land and donated it to the government as Acadia National Park, the only national park in the New England states.