Bar Harbor, ME

His Favorites:

Best Meal – Beal’s Lobster
Best Trail – Ship Harbor Trail
Best View – Penobscot Mountain Top

Her Favorites:

Best Meal – West Street Cafe (Blueberry Pie)
Best Trail – Jordan Pond Cliffs Loop
Best View – Top of Great Head Trail

The Trip:

Day 1:

We arrived left Boston in the early morning, on the way up to Bar Harbor, we decided to take the more scenic route along the ocean. We had the best lobster roll of our entire trip at McLaughlin’s Lobster Shack in Lincolnville, ME. A perfect view of the bay, and an amazing view while eating.

We arrived on Mt. Desert Island (after four days, I’m still not sure if it is pronounced like the Sahara or a piece of blueberry pie) in the early afternoon and checked in to our B&B. We stayed at the Acacia House Inn, where Anna and Ralph ensured we were well fed every morning and were always happy to chime in if we ever needed any suggestions on activities/directions on how to get somewhere. For our first traipse, we decided to take a hike across the land bridge to Bar Island.

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After our hike, which gave us some beautiful views of Mt. Desert Island, Bar Harbor, and the ocean, we went to start our hunt for the perfect ice cream cone. Stop one, Jordan Pond Ice Cream and Fudge. Jordan Pond Ice Cream is a perfect blend of creamy and creative, with a wide range of flavors sure to please even the most discerning palettes.  Save yourself the disappointment of adequate ice cream and go straight to Jordan Pond Ice Cream.  Trust us – we eat a lot of ice cream.  We had a chocolate fudge something or other, which was perfect.

Day 2:

We woke up the next morning to the best blueberry pancakes on the eastern seaboard.  Anna and Ralph provided us with an amazing breakfast every morning.  We were initially hesitant to stay at a bed and breakfast (visions of retirees playing pinochle for some reason).  Not the case, the Acadia House Inn was filled with a wide range of people.  Yes a couple retirees, but the vast majority seemed to be young thirty-something active couples doing pretty much the same thing we were.

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We drove down to Sand Beach to begin our first day of hiking on the Great Head Trail. It paid to get there early, when we arrived, we were able to park in the parking lot, but by the time we left, cars were parking on the side of the road a half-mile away. The Great Head Trail was a nice loop, providing us with some elevation change (being from Chicago, anything more than 10 feet up or down counts as an elevation change), and amazing views of the beach and ocean below. The trail was well-marked, and involved just the right amount of scrambling up some rocks.

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In the afternoon, we had signed up to take a kayak tour through National Park Sea Kayak Tours.  The tour was on the western, “quiet side” of the island, providing for a less busy/more wildlife tour.

We began alongside Bartlett’s Island, one of the largest private islands in Maine, currently owned by the Rockefeller family and paddled north in tandem sea kayaks.  After some very clear boundaries were established (don’t tell me how to paddle & I won’t tell you how to steer) we fell into a rhythm and had a wonderful time.  The seals seemed to follow us for a good hour along our tour.  Luckily, the tour was a one-way tour, so at no point were we fighting the tide, and the trailer came to pick us up and shuttle us back to town at the end.

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After a hard afternoon paddling, we finished up with some thin crust pizza at Rosalie’s Pizza. A seat yourself, order at the counter, wait for your number to be called kind of joint.  This was followed by a slice of blueberry pie and a blueberry beer at West Street Café.  Excellent pie both filling and crust—a rare combination).

Day 3:

Back into Acacia for some more park adventures!  We arrived early, as this seemed to be the best way to guarantee a parking spot, and parked in the Jordan Pond parking lot.  We had decided to do the Jordan Pond Cliffs Loop.  The trail, one of the more strenuous hikes in the park, took us along the cliffs overlooking Jordan Pond.  After some slightly harrowing scrambling up the iron runs, some rather dodgy looking bridges, and a quick regroup, we made it to the top of Penobscot Mountain.  Penobscot provided us with one of the most scenic lunches I have ever held (brown-bagged by Anna).

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We stopped for a quick ice cream snack after we returned to Bar Harbor.  Mount Desert Ice Cream (there are two, we went to the one on the edge of town) was a let-down.  The flavors were adequate and the ice cream was crystal-y, not creamy, BUT! FEAR NOT! We were willing to get a second scoop at Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, which was a great substitute.

Our afternoon hike was on the quieter side of the island, the Ship Harbor Trail, which, as everything else that we did, was beautiful but not as strenuous as some of the other offerings.  More scrambling along the rocks, more fascination with the power of the tides and the force behind each wave.  It was a great afternoon hike.

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On our way back we stopped at Beal’s Lobster Pier for a traditional lobster boil, where we handpicked our lobster and sat seaside on the pier watching the sunset.  It was a perfect close to a lobster/traipsing/ice cream filled weekend!

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Quick Rundown:

Bar Harbor was a great long weekend.  The town was a bit kitschy but the lobster was delicious and the hiking was great.  We were happy with our un-fussy B&B.  Probably wouldn’t go for much longer though.

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