acadia national park, Bar Harbor, bar harbor maine, biking, blueberry jam, cadillac mountain, carriage road, Havana, john d rockefeller, lobster roll, maine, park loop road, restaurant review, travel, vacation
“This place had better be worth it,” grumbled my Dad.
After 15 long hours in the car, we had started to question our decision to spend Labor Day weekend vacationing in Bar Harbor, Maine. In the time it had taken us to get this far north, we could have flown to Hawaii. Who wouldn’t prefer the pristine Pacific islands to the rugged North-East? However, our weekend of adventure in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park certainly made up for the grueling, long car ride.
The town of Bar Harbor is quaint, slightly touristy, but the paragon of New England ideal. Surrounded by Acadia National Park, the town offers an pleasant respite from Acadia’s miles of biking and hiking trails.
Our first morning in Bar Harbor, my mom and I woke up early to go for a leisurely three mile run around town. We ran through Maine street and onto a pathway that follows the rocky shoreline and affords views of the humbly grand homes and inns that line the coast. We returned to our hotel, the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel, and joined my brother and Dad for a complimentary continental breakfast before driving into Acadia.
We planned on driving the 27-mile park loop that day. The 27-mile Park Loop Road begins at the visitors center and connects many of the parks trails, forests, and sites.
No sooner did we complete the first stop on our tour of the park, Cadillac Mountain, did it begin to rain. So, we drove the three miles back into Bar Harbor for lunch at one of the top-rated lunch spots in town, Side Street Cafe.
My dad and I highly recommend the lobster roll.
Since the rain wasn’t letting up anytime soon and my brother needed to complete some summer assignments, my parents and I wandered through the town of Bar Harbor after lunch. We popped into shops and galleries and sampled some local blueberry jam.
Finally, the sun peeked through the clouds and we decided to return to Acadia and bike one of their famous carriage roads. Between 1913 and 1940, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. financed and directed the construction of Carriage Roads on the island. The 45 miles of broken-stone roads prohibit motor vehicles and are open for bikers, hikers, and horse-drawn carriages to explore many of the sites in the park. The carriage roads were one of my favorite parts of Acadia National Park. So many National Parks only offer hiking trails; biking the carriage roads offered a unique and fun way to enjoy the park.
That evening, we biked for an hour, beginning at Bubble Pond and meandering around the Jordan Pond House.
Following our bike ride, we returned to Bar Harbor for dinner at a well-rated, cuban-inspired restaurant, Havana. Our meals were excellent, though the service was certainly lacking. I would highly recommend my dad’s dish, the seafood paella, and my brother’s dessert, the flan. While my scallop dish was delicious and I particularly relished the brussels sprouts and smoky tomato salsa, I was not fond of the quinoa tabbouleh that accompanied the scallops; the flavors did not complement each other in my opinion.
Exhausted from our day, we returned to our hotel and collapsed into our lush, queen-sized beds.