Bar Harbor & Acadia at a Glance
- Where to Stay: Atlantean Cottage B&B
- Where to Eat: Jordan Pond House , Reading Room , Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream
- What to Do: Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain (peak accessible by car), Park Loop Road (Jordan Pond, Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole), canoeing or kayaking on Long Pond, walking or biking the carriage roads
After a busy summer in New York City, a family weekend in Acadia National Park was just what I needed. Home to mountains, dramatic coast, majestic pines, and winding carriage paths, Acadia always relaxes and re-energizes me.
When visiting Acadia, there are many harbors, houses, and campsites to choose from for your home base. For this trip, we chose to stay at the Atlantean Cottage Bed & Breakfast in Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is an energetic youth- and family-friendly summer town with an abundance of boutiques, bars, eateries and art galleries.
Of the many places we’ve stayed in Bar Harbor over the years, the Atlantean has definitely been our favorite. The beautiful rooms were unbelievably comfortable and quiet, making for the perfect night’s rest. Gary and Heidi, the lovely couple overseeing this Victorian home, offered us great travel tips, and we really enjoyed planning out our day over homemade blueberry muffins, crustless quiche, and lavender tea.
Our first stop when we arrived in Acadia was an old favorite, Jordan Pond House. This restaurant, located within Acadia National Park, serves the most scrumptious popovers at patio tables beside beautiful Jordan Pond. I have yet to master the art of making popovers myself, but you can find a recipe for them here.
Later that evening, we enjoyed wandering through the streets and shops of Bar Harbor. We watched boats glide into port and lower their sails as the sky warmed to a pastel pink. The rocky coast of Maine is really quite special.
In celebration of my father’s birthday, we went to dinner at another favorite, the Reading Room at Bar Harbor Inn. The pianist playing that night kindly obliged our song request for Claude Debussy’s “Girl with the Flaxen Hair.”
The next morning, we got up early to catch the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain. For much of the year, this is the first place you can see the sun rise in the United States.
With breathtaking views for miles around, it was a unique thrill to see the day break over the ocean and islands. For a brief moment there I thought that I might really become a morning person.
Once the sun had risen, we set out to visit some of Acadia’s other main attractions located along scenic Park Loop Road.
Our first stop was beautiful Sand Beach. We all enjoyed taking in the salty air, meditating on the beautiful textures in the sand, and taking turns perching in the oversized lifeguard chair.
From there, we continued on to Thunder Hole. This rock formation produces the sound of thunder when waves crash into it at high tide, exploding in dramatic bursts of spray. You can really feel the tremendous power of the ocean.
We accomplished all of this sightseeing before 9 am and returned to the B&B for breakfast feeling very productive.
After resting for a little bit, we headed back out once again to go boating on Long Pond. Rolan and I chose a canoe over a kayak for its nostalgic appeal as opposed to its speed. Despite our very best efforts, in the time we were allotted for our rental, we couldn’t quite make it out to the two mountains that always seemed to be very close by. We still had a fantastic time.
We laid low for the rest of the day, relaxing on the grounds of the Atlantean and enjoying ice cream from acclaimed Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream. This shop prepares all its experimental and classic flavors in small batches, and the result is exquisite.
The next morning, we took a leisurely stroll along the park’s famous carriage roads. Built by the Rockefeller family, the carriage roads are closed off to cars, making them perfect for walking, cycling, and quickly accessing the interior of Acadia National Park, away from the crowds.
The Witch Hole Pond trail was easily accessible from Bar Harbor and offered abundant scenery, beaver homes, and, of course, wild blueberries!
Rejuvenated by our time in Acadia, we hit the highway again for a different kind of relaxation at the Inn at Ocean’s Edge – read about it here!