- Acadia National Park,
- Bar Harbor,
- North America,
- United States
My wife and I will fly to Bangor, Maine in June 2009, rent a car and drive to Bar Harbor. We plan to spend several nights in a B&B and the balance of the week in a hotel with a view of the Ocean or Harbor. We plan to visit Acadia National Park, take a boat to Nova Scotia and then local sightseeing trips.
See + Do
Seafood Celebrations in Maine
Sure, Maine's official nickname is the Pine Tree State, but it could be the "Land O' Lobster": 90 percent of these American crustaceans are caught in Maine. And all spring and summer long, there are parties for the prickly little fellows and their undersea buddies. The Fisherman's Festival in Boothbay Harbor kicks off the seafood-festival season in April with the Miss Shrimp Princess pageant, a lobster crate race, and enough fried seafood to sink the Gorton's guy (207-633-2353). You'll also dig the Yarmouth Clam Festival, which starts the third Friday in July just north of Portland (207-846-3984; www.clamfestival.com) and go crackers for the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland at the beginning of August (207-596-0376; www.mainelobsterfestival.com). And to fuel you up for fall colors in the mountains, in September there's the Chowdah Cook-off in Bethel, just minutes from hiking along (207-824-2282). Another fun outing is lobster-boat racinga watery NASCAR for 100-plus working vessels sponsored by the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Associationin eight coastal towns, including Boothbay Harbor, from mid-June to mid-August (888-333-8379).
See + Do
The Lighthouse Route, Maine
For lighthouse aficionados, driving the 400-mile length of Route 1 between Kittery (at the southern tip of Maine) and Fort Kent (at the Canadian border) is a rite of passage. The two-lane road follows the rugged, rock-strewn coast and delivers beacon hunters to four of the state's most iconic lighthouses. The first stop is Cape Neddick in York, just north of the New Hampshire border. Better known as Nubble Lighthouse, the 40-foot tower was built in 1878 and is still in operation. A 45-mile drive north and a short detour into picturesque Cape Elizabeth brings you to Portland Headlight. Commissioned by George Washington in 1791, it is Maine's oldest lighthouse, and it may look familiar if you've seen Edward Hopper's 1927 watercolor portrait of it in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Another 60-mile jaunt north, in Bristol, is Pemaquid Point, a quaint lighthouse of whitewashed brick. And one last 100-mile haul brings you to Acadia National Park, where Harbor Bass Light is located on a cliff on Mount Desert Island. In the heat of summer, Route 1 is notoriously jammed with bumper-to-bumper traffic, particularly around popular vacation towns like Ogunquit and Old Orchard Beach. Use I-95 or I-295 to speed along your journey.
See + Do
Acadia National Park, Maine
Tel: 207 288 3338
In the 1800s, "rusticators" like Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, and other Hudson River School painters fled to Maine's Mount Desert Island, dotted with 26 mountains and surrounded by azure seas. In the early 1900s, a large parcel of the island became Acadia National Park. Today, the park is 47,000 acres, or two thirds of Mount Desert Island. One of the best ways to see Acadia is by kayak; you'll share the shoreline with puffins, whales, and peregrine falcons. Acadia Bike & Kayak rents kayaks and canoes (207-288-9605; www.acadiafun.com). From October to March, you can be the first person in the country to see the sun rise, with a before-dawn hike up 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the U.S. Eastern seaboard. It's a 7.5-mile loop and a moderately challenging hike. (Also note that the popular Precipice Trail up Champlain Mountain is closed until further notice because of minor earthquake damage.) If you're looking for scarier stuff, you can scale Acadia's granite sea cliffs with an instructor from Acadia Mountain Guides (198 Main St.; 888-232-9559; www.acadiamountainguides.com). Fat-tire friends can hop on a mountain bike to explore the 45-mile web of carriage roads that roll through the park. Rent bikes at Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop in downtown Bar Harbor (141 Cottage St.; 207-288-3886; www.barharborbike.com).
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
Tel: 207 288 5077
If you go to Acadia National Park to escape chaos, then you go to Geddy's to reenter it—in a good way. A Bar Harbor institution since 1974, the cheeky pub is better known for its kitsch than its kitchen: The restroom doors read "inboards" and "outboards," while a sign above the bar, amid the various license plates, water skis, and lifejackets, proclaims "this mess is a place." Among the menu items is Spam on the half-shell. But after a couple of days in the park, nothing tastes better than Geddy's wood-fired pizzas topped with roasted garlic, or the bacon-and-blue-cheese burgers. (Uh, pass on the Spam.)
Lunch and dinner daily.
Bar Harbor Inn, Maine
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
Tel: 800 248 3351, Tel: 207 288 3351
The best place to slumber on Mount Desert Island is in a sleeping bag under the stars at an oceanfront campsite in Acadia National Park. If pitching a tent ain't your thing, though, or you're traveling in the black-fly season of late May and early June, book a room at the Bar Harbor Inn. Yes, the ho-hum decor and five-o'clock-shadow sheets should be tossed into the ocean. But the views are stunning, the service excellent, and the location—downtown, and a short drive from Acadia—ideal. The Bar Harbor Inn splits 153 rooms among three buildings: the Main Inn (best for convenience), the Oceanfront Lodge (best for balconies), and the Newport Building (best for a budget). A new, lighthouse-shaped spa and fitness center and a heated pool sit in the middle, while the inn's own pier hosts cruises on the Margaret Todd, a four-masted schooner. Don't miss sitting under a yellow umbrella at the outdoor Terrace Grille, cracking open a lobster.
Closed seasonally (December through March).