If you missed the intro post to this blog series, be sure to check it out here.
Our stay in Bar Harbor was my favorite leg of our trip. Bar Harbor itself is a lovely town with tons to do. Of course, Acadia itself was breathtaking and lived up to its reputation. We stayed at Bar Harbor Manor, which is perfectly situated. It is a quick walk to all of the action in Bar Harbor and a quick drive to the entrance of Acadia.
We were super bummed to learn that the whale watching tour that we had booked for our first night in Bar Harbor was cancelled due to fog. Unfortunately, that was our only night to participate in the tour, so we didn’t get to see any whales while we were there. If anyone is interested, the company that we booked our tour with was Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., which has phenomenal reviews.
On our way into Bar Harbor, we made an unplanned stop at C-Ray Lobster get our lobster roll fix, and they were nothing short of amazing. Even better, it was a no-frills joint in which the cashier was also the owner and fisherman. We enjoyed our lobster rolls, made with lobster caught early that morning, at picnic tables outside of the lobster shack.
Next, we settled into our hotel and decided to walk downtown. I was blown away by how lively the town was. There was no shortage of charming shops and eateries – many of which were waterfront. We stumbled upon the Shore Path, which we walked along briefly. We admired the beautiful waterfront homes and inns, but our ability to take in the scenery was limited due to the intense fog.
After walking around town a bit more, we decided to get some grub at Finback Alehouse, which has delicious cocktails and pub food. Soon after, we headed back to our hotel. We ended up calling it an early night in anticipation of our busy day ahead.
Knowing that we had one full day in Acadia National Park, we woke up early so that we could experience as much as possible. Unlike many national parks, Acadia is doable in a day. Simply follow Park Loop Road, which is a 27-mile loop around the park. However, much of the loop is one-way, so be sure to look at a map and strategically plan your destinations beforehand.
We began our day by hiking Cadillac Mountain. We opted to hike the North Ridge Trail, which is of moderate difficulty and is 4.4 miles from start to finish. If, once you reach the summit, you prefer to take a break after soaking in the breathtaking views, there are restrooms, refreshments, and a gift shop available.
After our morning hike, we briefly visited the Wild Gardens of Acadia located at Sieur de Monts. If, like me, you are drawn to wildflowers and love to learn their names, this stop is a must. These gardens hold all of the flowers and foliage of Acadia, making it a very educational stop.
Next, we had planned on exploring the tidepools at Anemone Cave located at Schooner Overlook. Although we strategically planned this stop according to low tide, we missed it and were not able to turn around due to the road being one-way. Instead, we went to Sand Beach in hopes of discovering some tidepools there. Unfortunately, it was not the tidepooling experience that we expected. Regardless, Sand Beach is worth the stop. If we had more time in Acadia, I would have loved to spend a day of beach bumming there.
Our next stop was Thunder Hole. It was brief, because it wasn’t until we were there that we learned that the magic that is Thunder Hole only occurs during high tide. Thus, if you time it correctly, the waves hit the rocks in a way that makes the water soar as high as 40 feet in the air! If and when I return to Acadia, I would love to see it for myself.
Next stop: Otter Cliff. Otter Cliff offers stunning views and is extremely peaceful. My mom is an avid bird watcher and was able to capture many beautiful shots at this site. Her Instagram handle is @jns5 if you’re interested in checking them out! After taking in the views, we took a short but sweet walk along Ocean Path.
Then, we stopped by Jordan Pond, which is also very peaceful. The reflections of the clouds and trees on the pond were magnificent! This is due to the water being so clear. So clear, in fact, that Jordan Pond serves as a major source of drinking water for Seal Harbor. We spent some time walking along the Shore Trail, which was both picturesque and relaxing. By the this time we had worked up an appetite and decided to grab a bite to eat at the Jordan Pond House, which is the only full-service restaurant in the park. Their fresh blueberry mojitos were to die for!
We ended our day in Acadia how we started it – on the summit of Cadillac Mountain. This time, instead of taking in early morning views, we experienced an incredible sunset. Being that it was at the end of the day and at the end of our trip, it was a really special moment. Then, feeling completely exhausted, yet completely fulfilled, we headed back to our hotel.
Anticipating a long drive home, we checked out of our hotel early. However, before heading home we drove to Tremont, ME to check out Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. Be sure to take the trail to the left, as it offers much better photo opps than the trail to the right. After snapping some photos, we hit the road.
…Next stop, home sweet home!