Bar Harbor, Maine

Stop number three on our cruise is Bar Harbor, Maine.  When we were trying to pick cruises, it was between this one and one that stopped at Portland instead of Bar Harbor.  From what I’m finding out, I think we made a good choice!

Bar Harbor is actually on an island, Mount Desert Island, located on the southeast side of Maine, about halfway between New Hampshire and Newfoundland.  It is said to be one of the most beautiful spots in North America.  Bar Harbor is surrounded by Acadia National Park, with more than 120 miles of marked trails, mountains to climb and lakes and ponds for canoeing. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point within 25 miles of the coastline of the East Coast of the United States.

While in Bar Harbor, you can also take a whale-watching excursion to see various whales calling the Atlantic Ocean home.

Ever hear of Maine Lobster?  Of course you have!  In Bar Harbor there is not only a lobster museum but also a working lobster hatchery!  We have already decided that having lobster in Bar Harbor is a must!

One way to get around the island is on the free “Island Explorer” bus system.  There is no tour narration but it is a free ride!  This bus can take you up to a hiking trail and then pick you up several miles away or on the other side of the island.  If you want to go to the top of Cadillac Mountain, however, you will need to look for another option.

Once in Acadia National Park, there are a variety of hiking trails.  There are easy ones around a lake or some up and over hills.  You can also rent bikes and get around pretty easily without a guide.  Keep in mind a good hike or bike ride could take a couple hours.   A great way to experience the park is on the carriage roads.  What are the Carriage Trails?  They are over 50 miles of dirt road through the middle of the park which is closed to motor traffic.  The trails go around the lakes and mountains.

From the pier, you can also take the shore path for a nice easy walk.  This one half mile walk along the water’s edge will show off the backyards of some nice “cottages”.  Here is some additional information http://www.acadianationalpark.com/bar_harbor_maine_attractions/bar_harbor_shore_path.php. There are also bike rentals near the pier as well.  You can go to Bar Harbor Bike or Acadia Bike.

I also heard there is a winery here!  It is about seven miles from the pier so we would have to take a taxi to get there.

Some of the shore excursions offered by Princess Cruises include a scenic drive through Acadia, stopping at Thunder Hole and Cadillac Mountain (we have been told that Thunder Hole can be disappointing if the tide isn’t right).  In fact there are many excursions that take in the park so that looks like a must do for us!  One tour has a tour through Acadia National Park with a Lobster Bake – described as a “downeast” lobster bake lunch.  This is currently our choice.  We could also do a tour of Bar Harbor with a lobster bake, or opt for a limousine tour of Acadia or even a horse-drawn carriage ride in the park!  Of course there are many historic lighthouses as well that we can see on a boat tour.

Whatever we finally decide, we are looking forward to Bar Harbor, Maine and all that it has to offer.

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