Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park:
A "Must-See" for Every Visitor to Maine
Reprinted courtesy of Maine Office
BAR HARBOR, Maine - For those who want to experience
some of Maine's best scenery, Bar Harbor and Acadia National
Park should be at the top of their "must-see" list.
Located on Mt. Desert Island, both the community of Bar Harbor
and Acadia National Park abound with an endless variety of sights,
attractions and activities bound to satisfy every palate.
Outdoor enthusiasts can try biking, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking,
sailing and golf. Those who are more interested in sight-seeing
and quieter pursuits will find spectacular gardens, serene coves
just waiting to be explored, rustic lobster eateries with waterfront
picnic tables, unusual museums, festivals and plenty of restaurants
While glaciers created the upside-down claw-like shape of the
island that is known as Mt. Desert, its shape is hardly the only
thing that makes it unique. The third-largest island on the east
coast of the United States, Mt. Desert is home to the only natural
fjord on the coast, and also Cadillac Mountain, the highest mountain
on the east coast north of Rio de Janeiro. From atop Cadillac
Mountain's 1,532 feet, visitors are the first to watch the sun
rise each day in the United States.
While there are several picturesque villages on Mt. Desert Island,
including Southwest Harbor, Tremont and Northwest Harbor, Bar
Harbor is the island's largest town.
Beginning in the mid-1800s and continuing through the 1930s,
Bar Harbor was known as a summer haven for the very rich, including
the Astors, Fords, Morgans, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Carnegies.
Grand-scale hotels and mansions - known locally as "summer
cottages" - were built during that time and continue to
dot the shoreline. Today, however, many of those "summer
cottages" house some of the most unique and interesting
B&Bs in all of Maine.
Of course, those are not the only accommodations in the Bar
Harbor/Acadia National Park area. There are also resorts, hotels,
inns, and campgrounds.
While on Mt. Desert, consider sailing on an historic schooner,
taking a lobster boat cruise to see how Maine's tastiest crustaceans
are trapped, search for whales off the coast, or look for seals,
puffins, birds and other wildlife that hug the coastline.
For children, the "Dive-In Theater" cruise comes complete
with an underwater camera. The Bar Harbor Oceanarium is home
to the Maine Lobster Museum and Lobster Hatchery, and Acadia
National Park has a complete Junior Ranger Program.
If you like discovering new places on foot, downtown Bar Harbor
is well worth a stroll. The village contains an incredible assortment
of streets, alleys, squares and piers. In addition to unique
boutiques, art galleries and restaurants, there is a shore path
that begins downtown and takes you by the front yards of many
of the town's well-known summer cottages.
If history is your thing, the "Step Back in Time"
walking tour comes complete with a costumed guide. The Abbe Museum,
dedicated to Maine's Native American history, and the Tiffany
windows in St. Savior's Church are just two of the interesting
sights along the way.
While Bar Harbor and the other villages of Mt. Desert Island
are always fun to explore, the biggest draw on the island is
the magnificent Acadia National Park. The northeast's only national
park, Acadia is truly one of the country's most popular tourist
The 47,000-acre preserve is stunning in every way - from its
unusual flora and fauna to its rugged coast line, from its breathtaking
views to its man-made carriage trails, Acadia National Park is
an unforgettable experience.
While a guided tour is a great way to see the park, there's
nothing like getting out on your own to discover the wonder and
the beauty that is Acadia National Park. While there, make sure
you don't miss the following:
- The Carriage Roads: E xplore the 51 miles of gravel
pathways and granite bridges created by John D. Rockefeller,
Jr. for horse-drawn carriages. Always closed to motorized vehicles,
the carriage trails are enjoyed by walkers, hikers, bicyclers,
cross country skiers and snowshoeing enthusiasts.
- The Park Loop Road: A 27-mile scenic ride along the
eastern portion of Mt. Desert Island offers access to most
of the well-known park sites.
- Thunder Hole: A thunderous sound is made in this natural
wonder during each high tide. As water rushes into the narrow
granite channel, it effectively traps the air. When the air
escapes, 'thunder' follows.
- Jordan Pond: Formed by a glacier, the pond's pristine
clear water reflects the surrounding mountains. While visiting
at the pond, stop by the Jordan Pond House Restaurant and sample
its famous popovers.
- Wildwood Stables: The stable offers horse -drawn carriage
rides - a refreshing and unique way to experience the park.
- Schoodic Peninsula: Described as "one of the
last frontiers on the eastern seaboard," the peninsula
is located a few miles away from the main park, but features
working lobstering and clamming areas, blueberry barrens and
timberland, with mountain vistas, islands, and lighthouses.
Many think it's the most beautiful and rugged section of the
To learn more about Acadia National Park visit http://www.nps.gov/acad/
and for more information on Bar Harbor visit www.barharborinfo.com
. For Maine travel information, check out the Maine Office of
Tourism Web site at www.visitmaine.com