Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Virtual Vacation: Bar Harbor, Maine

For this week’s virtual vacation lets head to the Northeast, and a port stop on dream cruise of mine, Bar Harbor, Maine. I would love to do a cruise of Canada and New England in the fall. I think it would be an absolutely beautiful time of year to go with the leaves changing colors. 

Bar Harbor is known as the gateway to Acadia National Park and long before Bar Harbor was a popular port on Canada/New England cruise itineraries, it enjoyed a reputation as a playground for the rich and famous. In the late 1800s, frequent visitors -- such as the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Vanderbilts and Fords -- grew tired of hotel living and built summer "cottages" (in reality, opulent estates). Many also bought and donated additional land on the island to protect it from development, leading to the creation of Acadia National Park. 

Acadia National Park is one of the nation’s most beloved parks. It is the first national park east of the Mississippi River and it sprawls across half of Mount Desert Island. The best way to get to know your bearings is to drive the 27 mile scenic park loop road. Most loop traffic is one way and there are restrictions on the size of vehicles. The loop is also closed from December 1st through mid-April.

One of the most popular activities within the park is biking the Carriage RoadsThis network of gravel roads is 45 miles of scenic, car-free biking. The carriage to roads were a gift from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., as a safe way to give cyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians an opportunity to experience the park. 

Accessible by both the carriage roads and the park loop is Jordan Pond House which is the only restaurant within the park. 

Visitors enjoy their famous popovers with tea, cappuccino, lemonade or Prosecco. Reservations are strongly recommended in the summer months.

The highest point in the park is Cadillac Mountain. It is one of the best places to catch the sunrise on the East Coast. 

There are several hiking trails that reach the top and there is also a road to the top right off the loop road for those unable to make the hike. Not a morning person? No worries, the views are amazing all day long.

After your trek to the top of the mountain head back down towards sea level and explore Ocean Path a 2 mile, easy and mostly flat level trail adjacent to the park road. 

Visitors enjoy exploring the beach area and tidal pools, and don’t miss Thunder HoleLocated along the park road, and adjacent to Ocean Path this small, unique inlet has an interesting feature that has made it a sight to be heard. A cavern in the inlet causes an impressive thunder like roar as the waves come crashing in. If the seas are super calm on your visit though keep moving. No waves, no thunder.

Now that we have checked out the main attraction in Bar Harbor, let's see what else the area has to offer. 

The Margaret Todd  a four masted schooner sails from Bar Harbor offering both morning, afternoon and sunset sailings. The ship was launched in April of 1998 and she is the first 4-Masted Schooner to sail the water of New England in over half a century.

The Abbe Museum has two locations in Bar Harbor, one on Mount Desert Island the and the second near Sieur de Monts in Acadia National Park. The museum is dedicated to exploring the history and culture of the Wabanaki. The Wabanaki or “People of the Dawnland" are made up of four distinct tribes who have inhabited the land we call Maine for over 12,000 years. For more information about what is going on at the museum check out their Youtube Channel

One of Maine’s most famous exports is lobsters. Several tour providers offer lobster fishing and sightseeing excursions. Check out this tour on LuLu Lobster Boats. 

Whale Watching tours are also available from Bar Harbor from early July through mid-October. Tours include views of Acadia, lighthouses, and the beautiful coastline as well as potential sightings of seals, porpoise, and other wildlife. 

Located about 25 minutes from Bar Harbor is Timber Tina’s Lumberjack Show a 75 minute live show depicting Old Time Lumberjacks in a modern competition with chopping, sawing, log rolling, climbing and more. Click here to learn more about this fun experience for the whole family! If Tina looks familiar, she appeared on Survivor. 

We hope you enjoyed this virtual vacation to Bar Harbor, Maine!

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