Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mainely Bar Harbor

Taking advantage of the shoulder season and (still) highly desirable weather, we sneaked off to Maine for an entire week! In mid-September, we were enjoying low 70 degree days and high 50 degree nights! We learnt a lot about lobsters and ate lobster everyday! Now you get to have a taste of our Mainely Bar Harbor vacation! 

3 and 1/2 lb Lobster from Thurston's Lobster Pound
ON OUR WAY THERE
It was a 9 hour drive from NYC to Bar Harbor, so we decided to break up our drive by stopping at the LL Bean campus in Freeport, Maine (~6 hour drive from NYC). We had a lot of fun looking around at all kinds of outdoor/hiking/hunting gear! Don't forget to take a picture with the large iconic Bean Boot! 


EXPLORING ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
Acadia National Park was where we spent the majority of the time. This is the first National Park that I've been to that is situated on the oceanfront, so there is the added diversity of the rugged coastline, thus increasing photo opportunities! This was an extremely active vacation as we hiked, biked and rowed! Biking on the historic carriage roads is not without a bit of gradient, but if you breakup your biking legs by stopping off for popovers at Jordan Pond House, you'll have the fuel you need to complete the journey. Even if you decide an active vacation is not for you, there is plenty to see on the 27-mile Park Loop road (take your own car or the Island Explorer shuttle). Or check out a Ranger-led program - we enjoyed the the Beavers' World and Stars Over Sand Beach.  
  
           

OTHER THINGS WE ENJOYED
Lulu Lobster Boat
We highly recommend going on an educational voyage with Lulu Lobster Boat. Captain John tells you all about Lobsters, provides a demonstration with Lobster Traps and you even see seals and lighthouses on your cruise!



Walk to Bar Island
Take a walk across the Sand Bar to Bar Island. Make sure you check the tide schedule, you don't want to get stranded! 


Baker Island Cruise
There are many remote islands just off the coast of Mount Desert Island. For a fee, there are a few ranger-narrated boat cruises that one can participate in. Unless you have your own boat, this is pretty much the only way you can explore the outer lying islands. So, we signed up for a half day cruise to Baker Island and while there was heavy fog that morning, we managed to reach Baker Island safely! My favorite part of the island is where we came upon a huge, flat rock formation that juts out into the ocean, it allowed us to get pretty close to some crashing ocean waves! 

Canoeing at Long Pond
Unless you are a Maine-r, you probably aren't hauling your own canoes and kayaks to Acadia. We didn't. For your greatest convenience, rent from National Park Canoe and Kayak Rental. This company is located at the northern end of Long Pond, which is so long that we never managed to paddle to the other end. The rates are reasonable and there were few people out on the water, so remember to bring a picnic lunch along so that you can enjoy a tranquil afternoon!

Free Beer Tasting
Head to Atlantic Brewing Company for a tour of their brewery and free tasting of their beers! Try the Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale, it's wickedly refreshing!   

Massage
Like a good massage? Head to Massage Bar Harbor and ask for Nikki. She does a fabulous job of helping you forget about the 9 to 5 job waiting for you when you return from this vacation! 

The Jackson Laboratory
Looking for something slightly off the beaten track? If you are in Bar Harbor in the summer, pay a visit to The Jackson Laboratory, a nonprofit organization focused on mammalian genetics research. The Laboratory employs researchers that use mice to study human diseases, disorders and cancers. The Jackson Laboratory also cultivates and sells mice to other genetics researchers around the world. Make sure to check out The Jackson Laboratory website for tour details and reservations. 

WHERE TO EAT
Start your day right with breakfast at Cafe This Way and 2 Cats! Everything at Cafe This Way is delicious and at 2 Cats, I highly recommend the tofu scrambler. Never one to eat tofu for breakfast, I am now a convert ... it's that good!


Our votes for the BEST LOBSTER ROLL and BEST BLUEBERRY PIE in town goes to ... DOWNEAST DELI on Main Street! Super yummy and prices are reasonable! 



For fresh, delicious and reasonably priced lobster, head to Thurston's Lobster Pound! They even give you bibs and wet naps. Screened in outdoor seating, makes for a very pleasant meal!






















WHERE WE STAYED
We rented Blue Rose Cottage in downtown Bar Harbor, walkable to all sights and restaurants in Bar Harbor. The cottage comes with a parking space, which is convenient as the last thing we want to do is hunt for parking when we are on vacation. This is a 3 bedroom, 1 bath home and can comfortably sleep up to 6 adults. We paid $1200 for a weekly rental of the cottage and we found this listing on Vacation Rental By Owner.  The owners of this property were a breeze to deal with and we would definitely return to stay. 

 

THINGS TO DO NEXT TIME
Camping at Blackwoods or Seawall, Sunset kayak, Windjammer sunset cruise, Take the mailboat to Little Cranberry Island. Or maybe next time we'll take it easy like this ...


Do you miss the summer already? What kind of travel are you doing this fall? 

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