Summertime in New England is my favorite. After suffering through the seemingly never-ending winter months, we are rewarded with amazing summers. I try to do as little air-travel as possible in July and August to take advantage of the amazing coastal towns of New England. So last weekend, we chose Bar Harbor, Maine. Yes, it was a HIKE (~5 hours drive from Boston) but read on to see why the long trip is so worth it!
Downtown Bar Harbor
Spend your afternoon and evenings wandering around downtown Bar Harbor, an adorable oceanfront village with an endless amount of restaurants, bars, shops, and ice cream parlors. Each restaurant serves the best tasting lobster you’ll find in the country, and the atmosphere of most places is top notch. We ate dinner at McKays Public House, listening to an older gentleman strum on his guitar and ivy and fairy lights dangling around us. It was so beautiful (and the lobster was all that my tastebuds imagined/hoped it would be)
We also ate dinner one night at the Ivy Manor’s Inn‘s (an ADORABLE B&B) restaurant. The Italian seafood was to die for, and we sat on a back porch giving us a lovely B&B feel with tremendous service.
Bar Harbor Sunsets
We ate dinner early enough each night to ensure we would catch the sunsets at 8pm. I’m a sucker for sunsets anywhere but in Bar Harbor they are especially gorgeous. The first night, we sat on Adirondack chairs outside Bar Harbor Inn, a gorgeous hotel right on the edge of the water. We watched boats of all kinds come and go on the harbor, including small dingys, cruise lines, and even a pirate ship! The view was absolutely stunning, as shown below.
The second night, we left downtown after dinner to drive up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. The drive is only ~20 minutes to the top of the mountain. TIP: go early if you want to park at the very top. We stopped about 3/4 of the way up on the side of the road for spectacular views with a smaller crowd because the parking lot was full. Bring a blanket and sit back and enjoy the sun setting over the National Park, with amazing colors over the acres of trees, ocean, and winding road.
Acadia National Park
We spent our mornings and early afternoons in Acadia National Park, which is absolutely breathtaking. We wandered around Jordan Pond, which touts the clearest water in New England, and waited in a long-line of people for the Jordan Pond Road House restaurant to open at 11am. This restaurant draws a crowd for its traditional popover and tea breakfast – and the popovers were AMAZING! We almost went back the second day we were there for more 🙂
We chose Cadillac Mountain North Trail to hike, due to it’s moderate difficulty and stunning open views. This 4.4 mile hike goes to the highest point (which is accessible by car if you’re not a hiking enthusiast). I would recommend the hike for more private/exclusive views without the large crowds who drove to the top.
The next morning, we visited Thunder Hole which is a rock outlet famous for the “thunderous” noises it makes when the waves crash into it during high tide. The best time to experience this is 2 hours before high tide, so visit this website to find the best time to go. Unfortunately on our visit, the ocean was far too calm for us to get the thunder effect. Regardless, it was a beautiful area to walk around with the cliffside rocks and Sandy Beach close by for a break. For a guide on other hikes to do in Acadia, click here.
After a hike, I wanted nothing more than to jump in a pool and RELAX before heading back to downtown. We stayed at the Bar Harbor Regency which is about 5 minutes outside downtown Bar Harbor. The oceanfront pool was perfect for unwinding for an hour or two, with good lunch options and a one-man band for some quiet entertainment.
Although there is plenty to do in Bar Harbor, I found three days to be perfect. If you’d like help planning your trip there, let us know!