You begin by walking down to the pond (it's actually a tarn) from the Jordan Pond House restaurant. That's actually the best view, since you see the Bubbles, two mountains, rising in the background:
The pond provides water to the town of Seal Harbor, where Martha Stewart and some of the Rockefellers, among others, summer. So the water is sparkling and clear, and swimming and wading are not permitted — although boating is okay. The pond is full of fish....
As you begin to circle the pond, the views look like this, with water on one side and woods and rocky ledges on the other:
We noticed that beavers had been busy on this tree:
Further along, we saw their dam. It was big but messy; not impressive:
Then we came to another tree that they'd done in:
In my opinion, the entire point of circling Jordan Pond is to head to the restaurant afterward, for popovers and tea. Popovers have been eaten at the Jordan Pond House since 1870; it would be more sensible to skip Sand Beach or a visit to touristy Bar Harbor than to miss the popover experience.
You can sit outside, on wooden benches under green umbrellas on the lawn or you can sit inside, away from the yellow jackets. Or you can be ambivalent (often our choice) and sit on the shady, sheltered "swoop" that curves alongside the building but is still outdoors.
View of the lawn, from the swoop. There's a fine view
of the Bubbles and the pond from the lawn.
Wherever you sit, you have to have popovers. It would be a serious mistake to not have at least two, which you would quickly realize if you were ever foolish enough to order a meal that included only one.
One popover. But don't stop there.
The staff ensures a plentiful supply of butter and jam.