Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
One of the most famous in Maine, this little lighthouse lies at the very southern end of Mount Desert Island, south of Bar Harbor. It was built in 1858 and is today owned and operated by the United States Coast Guard. In fact, a real family lives in the house attached to the light so it's important when you visit to be as conscientious of this as possible. The light coming from the tower is fixed and red, not white and flashing as in most lighthouses, meant to warm ships of the Bass Harbor Bar as well as mark the entrance to Blue Hill Bay.
There is a parking lot at the lighthouse, but it often gets very crowded so it's best to go early in the morning or during times when fewer people will be around, like when it's raining. The Island Explorer bus also has a stop nearby.
- Family Travel
Walk to Bar Island
There are a few islands in Bar Harbor's Frenchman Bay, the closest of which is Bar Island. At low tide you can walk to Bar Island across a large sandbar. This is a lot of fun. You can swim or bring out a kayak from the sandbar, or just look for shells. Bar Island is also a very pretty place, with forests and cliffs; sometimes you'll even find seals hauled out the water on the rocks. One thing you need to watch out for though is the time! Don't spend too long on the island or when high tide comes in you'll be stuck there!
- Family Travel
Bar Harbor Whale Museum
Located downtown on West Street, the Whale Museum is run by the nearby College of the Atlantic. It's a small place exhibiting several sets of whale and dolphin bones and offering information on the area's local species of whales, dolphins and seals. The museum has a nice gift shop and is a good place to go with kids if it happens to rain. The Whale Museum is free, but they do accept donations.
- Family Travel
Sunrise over the ocean
I woke up Monday morning around 6 am and looked out my window and saw the glorious yellow and orange hues of an ocean sunrise, threw on some pants and a sweater, grabbed my camera and ran down the street before it disappeared. Robert, who had checked to see what time sunrise was, the website he checked said 6:30, set his clock for 6:15 am. By the time he got out there, the oranges and yellows were already gone and the last traces of the pinks and purples were fading as the sun made it's appearance. Perhaps it's not everyday that you get to see what I did but it was about 30 minutes before the official sunrise that I took these pictures.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is just a short distance from Bar Harbor, we arrived around 3 pm and drove up to the top of Cadillac Mountain first and then decided to do the Park Loop Road, a 27 mile one way drive through the eastern side of the park. It was odd that there was no cost to drive up to the top of Cadillac Mountain but that once we entered the Park Loop Road, there was a $20 week long pass that we had to purchase, assessed by car, not by person.
We really didn't do the park justice as we only had about 3-4 hours to see it. But I thought it was still worth a stop even with our limited time frame.
I put a few more pictures and information about what we saw in the park on my Acadia National Park page
LOBSTA' FISHING & SEAL WATCHING TOURS
Board the "Miss Samantha" for this fascinating and fun tour through Frenchman's Bay. They begin by pulling up traps and talking about Lobster biology and the history of Lobster fishing. Did you know that years ago Lobsters were so abundant, that Maine prisoners and servants refused to eat them more than three times a week.
You can touch and feel the sea creatures in their touch tank while they cruise off in search of seals. Harbor Seals are a must see and the boat gets so close you can almost count their whiskers. hehe!
The Captain is available to answer all your questions and this tour with the BAR HARBOR WHALE WATCH CO. sure is a fun trip for the whole family.
SAIL THE MARGARET TODD
Offering 2 hour cruises, the beautiful 151 foot windjammer MARGARET TODD leaves from Bar Harbor and sails among the islands of Frenchman's Bay. In full sail it is a wonderful sight to see.
It makes three trips daily at 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and sunset
Side trip to Bass Harbor Head Light
Even though it wasn't on our route from Bar Harbor to Ogunquit, we decided to make a detour to Bass Harbor to see the Bass Harbor Head Light, one of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine. It wasn't as quick of a detour as I had thought it would be but it was definitely worth a stop, especially since we saw a seal playing around in the water just off the coast.
When you park in the free parking lot here, you can go down a path to your right as you are facing the ocean and get the view of the lighthouse from one side but be sure to also take the trail going down to the left side which had a much nicer view.
This lighthouse was built in 1858, is fully automated and marks the entrance to Blue Hill Bay. If you click on the website below, you'll see the best view of the lighthouse, from the water and you can read more about the history of the lighthouse.
If you visit here near lunchtime, several people recommended a place called Thurston's Lobster Pound in nearby Bernard at Steamboat Wharf and Bernard Rd.
Walk along the ocean path
There's a lovely path along the waterfront, we walked from the harbor area along the water until we got to Albert Meadow, the street where our B&B was, and then the next morning when I got up to see the sunrise, I walked the section from our street until it dead ended onto another street. It's a good way to burn off some of those lobster calories!
BAR HARBOR 1981
In 1981, we were into camping big-time. So naturally we did New England with a tent.
One of the stops along the Atlantic coast was Bar Harbor, Maine.
We were following the coast on US1 going east and at Ellsworth we took route 3 south to the bridge going to the island. We camped north of the bridge and drove route 3 across and then both loops of the local island roads in Acadia National Park. The loop that takes you up Cadillac mountain was excellent.
One and one-half road lanes, steep cliffs and no guard rails. Rain, fog and a nervous wife.
You could cut the tension with a knife. You spiral your way up, snap a few pics and spiral your way back down again. And then head straight for the pub in Bar Harbor for a quick nip.
A little shopping in the local craft shops and back out route 3 to the camp site.
All in a days work. Tough job but someone's got to do it.......
- Road Trip
- Adventure Travel
Kayaking the Islands
If you come to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park you must go kayaking. Some of the most beautiful kayaking in the world is here. There are several Kayaking companies on the island, but I recommend Aquaterra Adventures. They have some of the most knowledgeable guides (including myself) and they are the only ones in Bar Harbor that you can launch right from the shop because it is on the waterfront.
Acadia Natl Park
This place was so serene. You would think that a park would be build up and commercialized, but it wasnt at all. It was beautiful ! The view from cadilac mountain was breathtaking. The sunset was bright orange, and hot pink , and just, amazing ! It is deffinatly somewhere you need to visit.
Bar Harbor Whale Museum
This delightful small museum, open since 1991, is the only museum in the state dedicated to telling the story of whales and marine mammals common to the Gulf of Maine. There is an actual whale skeleton and several interesting displays which have been created by faculty and students of the College of the Atlantic. One exhibit is a life-size model of a nearly 50-million year old whale. You will also find an excellent gift and book shop, including an extensive collection of books on marine mammals. Proceeds go to the ongoing research efforts of Allied Whale, an organization which has been studying whales and seals in the Gulf of Maine for more than 30 years..
Open Daily in Season:
June: 12 noon - 8 p.m.
July/August: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
September/October: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Admission: Free, but donations are appreciated.
- Whale Watching
- Museum Visits
Biking the Carriage Roads of Acadia Park
Biking the 45 miles of Acadia National Park's carriage roads is a great way to view sweeping vistas and close up views of the landscape. I highly recommend utilizing the Island Explorer Bus system to get your bike out ot the top of Brown Mountain and then work your way back down to town, this should keep you from the crowded paths around Witch Hole Pond.
- Hiking and Walking
The main 'thing to do' in Bar Harbour is looking around the wonderful shops, and the dock area. You won't find many theme park activities, none that we saw anyway. Here's a picture of mary and me with our luxury yacht behind (we wish, haha!!).
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