Bar Harbor is on Mount Desert Island, one of several islands that are part of Maine. Though not part of the mainland, Bar Harbor is one of the largest ports in Maine. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Acadia National Park, this town has been welcoming visitors for more than 150 years. Whale and dolphin watchers, hiking and exploring the surrounding forest, or getting a feel for the city are just a few of the options that await. Passengers will be tendered into the Town Pier directly in the center of the town where they can find helpful information from the outfitted Information Center.
Bar Harbor is home to the largest parts of Acadia National Park, including Cadillac Mountain, the highest point within 40 km of the coastline of the Eastern United States. The park offers a number of great outdoor activities including hiking, biking, mountain climbing, and bird watching. The marina is a great place to catch a glimpse of seals, whales, and the adorable puffin. More relaxed outdoor visitors will enjoy the Village Green, a park at the center of town known for its relaxed and sunny atmosphere. There are also Asticou Azalea Gardens, botanical gardens that are home to local wildlife, and a variety of trees and flowering plants.
For the history buff, Bar Harbor has some great options. Inside the gilded mansion of the La Rochelle Mansion and Museum is the Bar Harbor Historical Society. This waterfront location gives visitors a first-hand look into the colonial history of Mount Desert Island. The museum also serves as a repository and research center which has accumulated a vast collection of books, photographs, artwork, furnishings, and other memorabilia. The Abbe Museum offers the chance to go even further back in history with its exploration of the native Wabanaki Nations. The trailside museum has presentations of Native American archaeology in Maine, whereas the downtown museum is filled with exhibitions and activities that highlight the history and culture of the Wabanaki. The Abbe Museum is the only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine.
In 2017, the town voted for an expansion and re-zoning of the old ferry terminal to create a new cruise terminal. Currently, two ferries that connect Bar Harbor with Nova Scotia are currently available, but the expansion will include a Customs Plaza, space for a few ships to dock each day, and more as the project gets underway. This will make Bar Harbor an even more popular destination as it improves the infrastructure needed to increase cruise traffic. Whether sailing, hiking, or simply relaxing, visitors on one of the nearly 200 cruises that visit Bar Harbor every year will continue to be enchanted by this quaint seaside town.
Image Credit: Acadia National Park