Maine Day Tripper: Bar Harbor

The Maine day tripper

Bar Harbor

There’s so much to do and see in the Bar Harbor region, which can be a little overwhelming for an indecisive yet adventurous personality type such as myself. Each time I visit this place I really do feel like that figurative kid in a candy store because the options for how one could spend a day here are quite vast.

The first must-see in this region is Acadia National Park; I could easily spend an entire day here just trudging around on all of the nature trails. I’m always amazed at how invigorating it is just to take a leisurely stroll through the woods, even for just an hour or so, and it’s especially welcome after a 50-mile drive through that heavy summertime traffic. I like to make a point of visiting the summit of Cadillac Mountain every time I’m there – the view is absolutely stunning, and if you enjoy photography like I do, you’ll get your fill of excellent scenics.Acadia-7

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While you’re in the park you’ve got to check out Thunder Hole. When the waters are calm it doesn’t appear to be much more than a low-positioned rock cavern inside a rocky inlet, but when the waves start to roll in it’s show time, and you’ll see how this natural attraction earned its name. When the waves crash onto the cave you’ll hear a sound similar to thunder rolling off in the distance, and the force of the water hitting the rocks creates this huge spout of water. It’s the kind of thing you must see and experience for yourself in order to fully appreciate it.

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Another one of my favorite spots in the park is Sand Beach, and even though it’s relatively small – it’s about 290 yards in length – the sandy shores offer a nice change from the rocky terrain you tend to see on many Maine beaches. I once spent several hours there lounging in my favorite beach chair with a best-loved summer read and it was wonderful, but it would have been more wonderful if I remembered to reapply my sunscreen after taking an afternoon dip. So if you go, make sure you bring your sunscreen. That way you’re less likely to go home with the outline of your book burned into your thighs.

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If you enjoy spending time on the water and you’ve never tried kayaking, you’re in for a real treat. I have always loved paddling around in a canoe, and a few years ago, I decided to give it a try myself. After I was done, I couldn’t believe it took me so long to get around to it! The feeling of gliding on top of the water’s surface is pure freedom, and it’s easier to get around if you have an instructor who can teach you the correct way to paddle a kayak (hint: it is nothing like the method used to propel a canoe forward, and I learned that the hard way). Luckily if you’re new to the activity, there are tons of outfits around that offer guided kayak tours on Frenchman Bay, and you can get the rundown on how to use them safely. Once you get comfortable with it, it’s a great way to see the bay, and you may catch a glimpse of a seal or a porpoise during your tour. I especially love seals because to me, they always appear to be smiling. I can’t help it, I always smile back. They’re just so darn cute!

As many who have visited this region will tell you, there’s more than one way to see Bar Harbor. I may be a bit of an oddity because even though I am terrified of heights, I’ll never pass up the chance to see the area in its entirety from the seat of a small plane. If you’re a bit of a heights wimp like me, you might try booking a tour on a Cessna, where they have closed cockpits. If you’re more of a daredevil, you might prefer to take a spin in a biplane or a glider. Either way, you’ll certainly get an eyeful of natural beauty.

Finding a good meal is never a problem in Bar Harbor. The problem for me is deciding where to go because there are so many great restaurants from which to choose. I think my favorite is Geddy’s, an establishment with lots of local character located right in the heart of the downtown. Geddy’s cooks up tons of awesome sandwiches, burgers and wraps as well as plenty of entrées  – no worries lobster-lovers, Maine’s most famous shellfish has a prominent place on the menu, too. Since I enjoy sampling all of the fine beers crafted right here in Maine, I like to order a nice frosty glass of Geddy’s in-house brew, Moose Breath (trust me, it tastes better than the name might imply).

Well, I think that’ll do it for this weary wanderer for now. Until next time, safe travels!

Tanya Mitchell

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