browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.
Our Great American Adventure Website Logo

Bar Harbor, Maine…

Posted by on June 8, 2015

JUNE 8, 2015


The town of Bar Harbor is irresistible! Shops, galleries, eateries and lots of activity on the piers…it’s easy to spend an afternoon just walking around town. We did…more than once.

WE MADE IT! We’ve finally arrived on Maine’s rugged, craggy coastline, to begin our much anticipated summer-long trek down the eastern seaboard. I’m thrilled! The last time I visited this part of the country I was just 15 years old. My parents had taken me on a road trip across the United States. Bless their hearts…they believed it was important for me to have a look at our country at a young age, a geographic and historical “primer,” if you will.

Ever since that first glimpse of New England, I’ve wanted to return. I recall watching lobster boats chugging into little rock-bound harbors at day’s end against the setting sun, seagulls following, gongs on the red navigation buoys announcing the harbor’s presence as they lazily roll in the ocean’s swells…words can’t properly describe it. After all these years, I’ve finally made it. Spending summer and fall driving down this beautiful rockbound coastline while immersing ourselves in early American history marks the high point so far in our Great American Adventure.


Bar Harbor Inn, an institution in town. It’s a little like the Hotel Del Coronado in the San Diego area.

TOWN OF BAR HARBOR. Located on Mt. Desert Island and surrounded by Acadia National Park and located at the edge of the sea, Bar Harbor is a New England vacation spot beyond compare. With a commanding location on Frenchman Bay, it was a haven for the Astors, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and other super-affluent elite American families during the 19th century. William Howard Taft enjoyed golfing in the are. More recently, Martha Stewart and John Travolta have become homeowners and are frequently seen around town. I looked for them, but didn’t see either of them. Oh, well. In addition to being an absolutely gorgeous place, Bar Harbor offers boating, fishing, live theater, shopping, museums and historically significant architecture.

A LITTLE HISTORY. In the beginning, it was mostly artists, scholars, scientists, and writers who journeyed to Bar Harbor for inspiration and tranquility. With only a slight interruption by the Civil War, more and more visitors came to the rugged coastal community. Now and then even theater troupes stopped by and concerts became more frequent. Some local citizens ventured into the tourism business and more hotels were built. By 1870 there were sixteen hotels in Bar Harbor. At one point, reservations for rooms had to be made two years in advance! Supply and demand: More and more hotels were built and “the hotel era” dominated the resort for about two decades. Ultimately, the “cottages” built by America’s rich and famous took over the landscape. These “cottages” weren’t what we think of today as cottages. Quite to the contrary, they were waterfront mansions. Some remain. Some have been replaced. Some new ones have been added. One thing’s for sure, if you’re looking for a place to build or buy a home in an unforgettable and stunningly beautiful part of the country, this is it!


In this slideshow, you’ll see some boats in Bar Harbor, the tiny but full-service post office and some quaint shops in the “downtown” district. I’ve also included images of a retro restaurant called “Route 66” where we had a very good lunch in an eclectic collection of antiques that almost transform the dining area into a museum. Finally, I’ve captured the setting sun against a side street downtown and against a boat in the harbor. Enjoy.



There’s a reason that wherever you go, or however you cook it, America’s favorite crustacean is called “Maine Lobster.” The cold, clean waters of Maine’s rocky coast provide an ideal habitat for lobster, and the patience and fortitude it takes to successfully harvest them in the often punishing weather has been woven into the fabric of Maine’s culture as long as anyone can remember. Harbors filled with lobster boats and piers piled high with traps are familiar sights in Bar Harbor, America’s undisputed lobster capital.


Fishermen harvest more than 50 million tons of these crustaceans each year. No visit to Maine would be complete without a trip to a lobster pound (seafood market) where you can pick a live lobster, wait for it to be boiled in a caldron of fresh seawater and then eat it at a picnic table overlooking the water. Or if you’re in the mood for a little more formal affair, there’s no shortage of fine dining establishments where you can have your lobster presented more fashionably, with lots less mess!


In this slideshow you’ll see pictures of a couple of lobster boats…these without the stacks of traps that are baited and lowered onto the ocean’s floor. There are also pictures of a typical lobster pound. It’s the little seafood market with the red trim. They’re about as common here as 7-11 stores are in San Diego. There’s a huge difference, however. These little seafood markets are charming, fun to visit and have amazingly fresh and tasty seafood…mostly lobsters. Dine in or take out, just pick a lobster and watch it go into the caldron of wood-fired boiling sea-water.


You’ll also see the fella who tends the hardwood fire under each lobster pot and watches the time as the lobsters cook. When they’ve boiled in the saltwater just the right amount of time, depending on weight, he removes them and takes them back to the kitchen to be plated for diners like me, who anxiously await their arrival in the little dining area…bibs in place, with shell cracker and pick at the ready!




WHAT DO YOU THINK? So, what do you think? Bar Harbor’s pretty special, don’t you agree? We’re loving it here. Tomorrow we’re going to visit Acadia National Park and explore it by foot, car and horse-drawn carriage. That’s right, horse drawn carriage. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated a 57 mile horse and carriage-road system on 15,000 scenic acres in Acadia. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Come back in a few days and I’ll have a post with pictures to show you all about Acadia. It’s going to be good. Don’t miss it.



Comments are closed.