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Bar Harbor is a beautiful little town nestled into the rocky coast of Mount Desert Island Maine. Bar Harbor has a long history of tourism starting in the early 1850′s with wealthy “Rusticators” (America’s wealthy who wanted to rough it) would spend their Summer vacations in Bar Harbor. This tradition has continued with outdoor enthusiasts, wealthy Summer residents and tourists visiting Bar Harbor in the warm Summer months. When you arrive in Bar Harbor it’s easy to see why so many make it a vacation destination, with it’s breathtaking mountain and ocean views, quaint shops, fancy restaurants, greasy spoons, bars, micro-brewed beers and it’s proximity to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor truly has something for everyone!
The Island’s beauty has been centuries in the making, the beauty we see today was left by glaciers and preserved through gracious donations by many great philanthropists who had the foresight to protect this land from development and purchase by private owners.
Mount Desert Island is truly offers outdoor enthusiasts the best vacation spot imaginable. No matter what your interest, Acadia certainly has something to offer you.
At only 47,000 acres Acadia National Park is one of the Nation’s smallest National Parks. But, don’t let it’s small size fool you, Acadia is packed with adventures for you and your family. With over 45 miles of carefully groomed carriage roads originally designed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to accommodate horse drawn carriages. Acadia can easily accommodate new parents who wish to take their baby in a stroller or people who wish to have a leisurely walk, or ride their bicycle. These historic carriage roads feature 17 stone faced bridges 16 of which were financed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. himself. Each bridge is unique, and during their construction John D. would have to remind his workers (who’s skills were rapidly developing) to keep the rustic look and not make the bridges too perfect. These bridges add to the beauty of the trails and are in themselves beautiful.
For those who would like a little more of an adventure, there are 120 miles of hiking trails, various rock climbing areas, endless freshwater and ocean areas for kayaking and swimming.
If you are limited to your vehicle, don’t worry, because Acadia’s Park Loop Road offers unsurpassed beauty with it’s ocean views and the ability to view many of Acadia’s geological features such as, Thunder Hole, Jordan Pond, Bubble Rock, the Cadillac Mountain Summit.
And once you are worn out from your day exploring the park there are plenty of relaxing activities to enjoy in the small towns surrounding the island.


As a life long Midwesterner there is no denying my landlubber status. A “dozen raw” at my favorite local seafood restaurant is about as close to the ocean as I can get without an investment in airfare. In my case, sea-legs and sailboats have never been an option. Therefore any journey to the coast whether for business or pleasure has always been a special experience for me. Over the years I have seen much of the US shoreline and marveled at the diversity and beauty of our many beaches and unique costal geography. Truthfully though, I was unprepared for the splendid beauty of the Maine coastline, specifically the area around Bar Harbor and particularly the rugged and dazzling scenery found at Acadia National Park.
the splendid beauty of the Maine coastline, specifically the area around Bar Harbor and particularly the rugged and dazzling scenery found at Acadia National Park.>
Encompassing over 47,000 acres Acadia National Park is the country’s first National Park located east of the Mississippi. Comprised of magnificent scenery and a spectacular ocean shoreline, Acadia boasts 17 granite topped mountains located on Mount Desert Island. The tallest Cadillac Mountain at 1532 ft. is the tallest mountain on the Atlantic seaboard. The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain is unforgettable. The panoramic views of the Park, Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay and other out islands are breathtaking. Wildlife and hiking trails abound, the forests and lakes are pristine and wild Maine blueberries seem to be everywhere.
Whether your plans for the day include local site-seeing, tramping along the many hiking trails in and around Acadia National Park, or meandering the streets of Bar Harbor behaving like a typical tourist searching for the perfect souvenir, you will quickly fall into the rhythm of this quaint vacation city.
An early morning stroll along Bar Harbor’s renowned Shore Path can be an inexpensive and pleasing self-tour. Postpone your ritual sit-down breakfast, grab a “hot coffee to go” and amble along this famous, over one hundred year old, shore path. The path follows the coastline of Frenchman Bay and is a great way to experience the sights and sounds of early morning Bar Harbor. At Bar Harbor, the difference in height between high tide and low tide is about 10 feet. If you happen to be on the Shore Path at low tide, it is interesting to look for small creatures left trapped in the tide pools or tiptoe out to Balance Rock, one of the many coastal sights along the path. The views of the four porcupine islands at this time of the morning are beautiful, especially when enhanced by the fog that so often accompanies daybreak. Biscuits and gravy just can’t compare.
Of course who would opt for biscuits and gravy?…. when you could have a fresh Maine lobster instead. If you are a seafood lover, the accessibility and price of a Lobster dinner could be another great reason for coming to Bar Harbor. Every restaurant offers the delicacy and it is served up in many different forms. Prices for the basic boiled lobster plate are very cheap compared to the cost at any city on the Great Plains. Be sure to visit the Maine Oceanarium where you will see a lobster hatchery and learn all about the celebrated Maine lobster and other inhabitants of this part of the Atlantic.
A side-trip to Nova Scotia via “the Cat”, comes highly recommended. (book trips in advance) “The Cat” a tourist attraction in its own right, is a spacious and futuristically designed ferryboat. The Cat makes 2 trips a day to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia from Bar Harbor and has the capacity to carry up to 900 passengers and 240 cars. Powered by four 9500 hp jet engines “the Cat” can reach speeds of up to 55 MPH skimming along the Ocean. The 115km to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia can usually be traveled in under 2 hours.
On-board you will find a variety of food and drink options, a bar, a duty free shop, and a movie theater section. You can even try your luck at an on-board casino. The airline type seats are very comfortable and there is plenty of room to walk around during the trip. You will want to keep a sharp lookout for whales throughout the trip. They can often be seen “spouting” at a distance for the ferry. If your whale watching pays off, be prepared to holler ” Thar she blows.”
Some of the best whale watching available can be seen in the Bay of Fundy, off the coast of Nova Scotia. If, during your Maine vacation, you are lucky enough to visit Nova Scotia, by all means book your spot on one of the whale watching excursions. Small groups getting “up-close and personal” with the whales is what it’s all about. It is an incredible experience you will never forget Also, you will need a passport to enter Canada and if you plan on spending more than a day in Nova Scotia, advance reservations for accommodations are recommended.

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