Maine: Spring Vacation in Bar Harbor
January 1, 1970
by Ryan U
Where To Go And What To See
If you have a few days to spare and live somewhere in New England, take a drive and visit Bar Harbor, Maine in the United States. It offers three distinct vacation spots all in one general area. The Atlantic Ocean always has a nice breeze so you can relax on any of the beaches. Acadia National Park is massive and spans miles, offering multiple hiking trails and picture locations. And in the middle of the park is Cadillac Mountain, which is a must-go. Anyone can drive up the mountainside and the location offers a fantastic view of the city and surrounding park.
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Day One: Whale Watching & Abbe Museum
I arrived the night before and didn’t do anything but sleep because I knew this first day would be a long one. I woke up nice and early and started my day on a whale watching cruise, which happened to also be my first time out on a boat. Fun fact, they almost always sell these magic little pills that make seasickness go away. I didn’t need any, I absolutely loved feeling the boat rock beneath my feet, but everyone else I know swears by them. I don’t remember exactly how long the whale watching trip was, but we never got to see any whales breach the water. Luckily, everyone was given a ticket to come back another time and partake another whale watching trip for free, so I’m already planning my next Bar Harbor vacation. After disembarking from the boat, I grabbed a quick bite to eat and made my way to the Abbe Museum. The museum focused on the native Wabanaki people, who originally lived in New England and parts of Canada. It was interesting and informative. After the museum I made my way to Stewman’s Lobster Pound. I made a promise to myself to have lobster every night I ate in Maine, and I planned to keep that promise. Absolutely phenomenal food, and priced fairly. I kept my first meal simple and just had lobster tail with a side of corn and mashed potatoes (I love me some mashed ‘taters). While sitting there and eating my meal I watched boats going back and forth out on the ocean and I noticed something interesting; a dune going out to one of the islands. I didn’t remember seeing that before and wanted to go see it up close. When my waiter came by to refill my drink, I asked her about the island and she told me that the sand dune becomes available during low tide and people could travel over to the island. She also cautioned keeping an eye on the dune, because once the tide comes back in you’ll be trapped there. I admit, I got super giddy and excited. Nowhere near as excited as when I saw a car driving across the dune! That really put into perspective how large it was, and I knew I’d make time tomorrow to go out there and check it out myself. After I finished eating, I went to do a little research and found the island is called Bar Island, and checked when low tide would be the next day.
Day Two: Acadian National Park & Cadillac Mountain
I didn’t make any reservations for the second day because that was all about sight-seeing. I woke up while it was still dark out, grabbed a small pre-packed breakfast, and made my way up Cadillac Mountain. I love being out in mountainy areas during sunrise. There’s nothing quite like watching the sun break over the horizon and watch as the light crawls across the land below you. It’s one of those moments that you never get tired of watching. Afterwards, I went down into the park itself and went hiking through the forest. I spent hours just walking around and enjoying the fresh air. The trees were just beginning to show their greens and the grass looked so fresh after the long winter. The water was clear as crystal, allowing me to watch a school of fish swim around as I ate my lunch at the edge of one of the streams. Because it was early spring it was still quite chilly, so taking a break in a clearing where the sun poked through was a must do. Since I had an early breakfast and lunch, I decided to have an early dinner at an ocean side grill where I could keep an eye out on the sand dune. And yes, I made sure to eat lobster again. I decided to drive across the sand dune to Bar Island which was fun because I was literally driving in the ocean. How many people can say they’ve done that? There’s not much at Bar Island except for a few camping spots (not sure if they’re legal or not). I didn’t spend too long on the island because I wanted to make it back up to Cadillac Mountain before sunset. When I finally made it back up to the mountain, I enjoyed watching the sunlight recede and the stars come out. Bar Harbor is not particularly big, so it didn’t emit nearly as much light as most cities do, allowing for an excellent view of the stars above. I don’t remember how long I spent laying out there and looking up, but eventually I made my way back and passed out after the long day.
Day Three: An Extra Day In Paradise
Woke up extremely late, probably close to noon or so. I had brunch at a little local place and contemplated what to do. I decided that I wanted to spend one more full day in Bar Harbor, and made my way back to Acadia National Park. I wanted to hike around some of the areas I didn’t already get a chance to visit. The wind still had a chill to it, but overall it was warmer which made the hike that much more enjoyable. I found a nice small pond at one point and watched two squirrels running around the trees on the other side. After a full day of hiking, I went back to have my third and final lobster dinner before retiring early to make my 12-hour drive back home the next day.