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Bar Harbor combines beautiful, crisp weather with glorious sightseeing opportunities. Maine is a wonderful state to visit anytime of the year, and in the spring and summertime you could not ask for a more scenic location. In the winter, the weather is cold, but the new-fallen snow will have your eyes begging for more. The soft powder covers the area, and it is an absolutely breathtaking sight to behold. There are several standout museums in Bar Harbor, and the Mount Desert Oceanarium, in particular, is outstanding. This city is a great place for the whole family, as there is a wide array of activities to captivate young and old alike. The dining in Bar Harbor is magnificent, and if you are a fan of lobster, you will adore the possibilities here. You can find surf and turf specials in numerous high-end restaurants, and a few places prepare magnificent meals that you will not soon forget. Pubs and bars line many of the streets, and if you enjoy good ale, Bar Harbor will definitely fit your style. The city is set up in a way that pleases the Maine locals and impresses tourists. There are a number of great historical spots, and you cannot visit Bar Harbor without visiting Acadia National Park. This destination is truly one of Mother Nature's greatest achievements, and the local government has made tremendous efforts to keep this park in its natural form. There is plenty for you to do in Bar Harbor, and both the shopping and the nightlife are rocking. From live music to the theater, the city offers plenty of great activities once the sun goes down.
 
The harbor and docking area are exquisite, and seem like they have remained the same for years. The locals don't want their small town to change, but it is changing, and they are accepting this fact graciously. They understand that tourism is starting to grow as an industry, which is no wonder to anyone who has visited the area. Experience Bar Harbor and see the best of the Eastern United States.
 

Bar Harbor is the busiest cruise ship port in the State of Maine. Rockland and Eastport log a handful of stops each season. Portland, which has a pier where large ocean-going vessels can tie up allowing easier shore access for passengers, logged about 60 cruise ship visits in 2014.
The published schedule of cruise ship visits for 2015 shows the town on track to set a new record this summer with 140 scheduled port calls. That’s up three from 2014 which set the previous record
 
Docking & Local Transportation
There is no dock large enough to handle a cruise ship in Bar Harbor, so cruise ships anchor off shore and tenders drop passengers off at Town Pier beside Agamont Park.
Bar Harbor happens to be a fabulous walking city, so you might not need any transportation source other than your feet. Downeast Transportation (207/667-5796) operates free shuttle service from central Bar Harbor to Acadia National Park.
 
By Bus: Explore the area independently with the Island Explorer, a free shuttle bus with routes that link the village center to attractions in Acadia National Park. To get to the park entrance and visitor center, take the Campground route (No. 1) bus, which departs Village Green every 30 minutes. The ride takes 10 minutes. To visit Cadillac Mountain or Jordan House, you'll need to take the Loop Road route (No. 4) from the Visitor Center at the park entrance. The Sand Beach/Blackwoods route (No. 3) departs Village Green every 30 minutes and takes about 20 minutes to get to Thunder Hole. The shuttle is free, but you'll pay a small per-person fee to enter the park.
 
By Trolley: For a 2.5-hour narrated trolley tour, Oli's Trolley takes passengers on a red and green trolley through Acadia National Park, visiting Cadillac Mountain and Thunder Hole. A running commentary addresses topics like the area's mansions, geology and more. (Tours daily June through October at 10:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Adults, $16; children under 12, $11; children under 5, $6) Oli's Trolleys operates a sightseeing tour. http://www.acadiaislandtours.com/
 
By Bike: Rent bikes from Bar Harbor Bike (141 Cottage Street) or Acadia Bike (48 Cottage Street) and cruise along the motorist-free, gravel carriage roads, located about 1.5 miles from downtown. You can either bike from Bar Harbor to the trails, or take the Island Explorer shuttle (bicycle express route) from Village Green to the Acadia National Park carriage road system at Eagle Lake.
 
By Car: No rental car agencies are located in town. Hertz and Enterprise are represented at the Hancock County Airport in Trenton, a 45-minute ride away on the Island Explorer bus (Campground Route). But, given how long it will take you to travel between the cruise port and the rental car office -- and considering the fact that the free Island Explorer bus goes most places you'd want to visit -- we don't really recommend the rental car option.
 
By Taxi: Taxis line up on the street by the pier. At Your Service Taxi Company is Bar Harbor's oldest and largest taxi service. They also provide custom narrated tours (207-288-9222).
 
Things To See and Do
The best water views in town are from the foot of Main Street at grassy Agamont Park, which overlooks the town pier and Frenchman Bay. From here, set off past The Bar Harbor Inn on the Shore Path, a wide, winding trail that follows the shoreline for half a mile along a public right of way. The pathway passes in front of many elegant summer homes (some converted to inns), offering a superb vantage point from which to view the area's architecture.
 
The Abbe Museum, 26 Mount Desert St. (tel. 207/288-3519; www.abbemuseum.org), opened in 2001 as an in-town extension of the smaller, simpler museum at the Sieur de Monts spring in the national park . showcasing a top-rate collection of Native American artifacts. A 17,000-square-foot gallery, this downtown branch has an orientation center and a glass-walled lab where visitors can see archaeologists at work preserving recently recovered artifacts, along with changing exhibits and videos that focus largely on tribes from Maine and other parts of New England. From late May through October, it opens daily from 10am to 6pm; then, from November through late April, it's open Thursday to Saturday (same hrs.). In late April and most of May, it's open Friday to Sunday only. Admission is $6 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 15.
 
A short stroll around the corner from the new Abbe Museum is the Bar Harbor Historical Society, 33 Ledgelawn Ave. (tel. 207/288-0000 or 207/288-3807). The society moved into this handsome 1918 former convent in 1997, where it has showcased artifacts of life in the old days -- dishware and photos from the grand old hotels, and exhibits on noted landscape architect Beatrix Farrand. Leave enough time to spend a few minutes thumbing through the scrapbooks about the devastating 1947 fire. The museum is open from June to October, Monday to Saturday from 1 to 4pm; admission is free. Even during the off season, entrance can sometimes be arranged.
 
At the north edge of town on Route 3 is the College of the Atlantic (tel. 207/288-5015), a school founded in 1969 with a strong emphasis on environmental education. The campus, a blend of old and new buildings, features the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History (tel. 207/288-5395; www.coamuseum.org), at 105 Eden St. It features exhibits that focus on interactions among island residents, from the two-legged to the four-legged, finny, and furry. From mid-June to Thanksgiving, the museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm; the rest of the year, it's open by appointment only. Admission is $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for seniors, $1.50 for teens, and $1 for children ages 3 to 12.
 
The Mount Desert Oceanarium (207/288-5005, www.theoceanarium.com) is a wonderful spot for the whole family to enjoy. The marine life here is spectacular, and the view overlooking the water is extraordinary. Kids, in particular, love this establishment because it gives them an opportunity to experience the wonders of the ocean from a first person point of view, with its many hands-on exhibits. The guided tours are comprehensive; all of the employees here really know their oceanography.
 
Acadia National Park is an excellent place to hike and explore, and gives you a chance to see the beauty of Maine. Taking a guided tour of the park is your best bet, and you can do so by contacting Acadia Tours at (207/288-0300, www.arcadiatours.com).
 
The Southwest Harbor Causeway Club can be found on Fernald Point Road (207/244-3780) and is a fabulous place to hit a few balls. Whichever sport you choose, you will have a great time on the course or on the court. The tennis facilities are top notch, and the greens are fantastic. Golfing here is quite a pleasurable pastime, and the experience is enhanced by the wonderful scenery and crisp Maine weather.
 
The Argosy Gallery is located at 110 Main Street (207/288-9226, www.argosygallery.com) and is a spectacular art gallery that features a wide array of works by a diverse selection of artists. A visit to the Argosy Gallery is a splendid opportunity to get a sense of the culture and life of this lovely city.
 
Acadian Whale Adventures (55 West St., 207/288-9800, www.barharborwhales.com) offers three whale watching tours daily from June 1 - Oct 15. Free Parking is available.
Bar Harbor is a base for several ocean endeavors, including whale-watching tours. Operators offer excursions in search of humpbacks, finbacks, minke, and the infrequently seen, endangered right whale. The sleekest is the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company's Friendship V (tel. 888/942-5374 or 207/288-2386; www.whalesrus.com), which operates from the municipal pier at 1 West St. in downtown Bar Harbor. Tours are on a fast, twin-hulled, three-level excursion boat that can hold 200 passengers in two heated cabins. The tours run 3 hours plus; the cost is $49 per adult, $26 per child age 6 to 14, and $8 per child 5 and under. A puffin- and whale-watching tour is also offered for the same prices, and there are shorter seal-watching tours for about half the price. There's free on-site parking and a money-back guarantee that you'll see whales. The daily tours begin each season in late May and run through fall; call ahead for dates.
 
Eating Out
If you're wanting a light bite or breakfast, Cottage Street Bakery and Deli at 59 Cottage St. (tel. 207/388-1010). Egg dishes, omelets, blueberry pancakes, and baked goods are all well done, and there are plenty of coffee drinks; I also like the outdoor patio. The kid's menu is fun and welcome.
 
The Pier Restaurant (207/288-5033) serves hearty meals throughout the day. The breakfast and lunch here are solid, but the real treat is enjoying one of the Maine lobster specialties for dinner. Prepared marvelously, their surf and turf is spectacular, and the desserts complement the meal perfectly. The ambiance here is ideal; a pleasant blend of sophistication and relaxation. Havana Restaurant is located at 318 Main St. (207/288-CUBA, www.havanamaine.com) and offers fine American food with a Latin influence. The combination is dynamite, and every dish is scrumptious. The seafood and the lamb are particularly tasty, and this establishment has one of the best wine lists in the area. Sip a glass of five-star wine with your delicious dinner, and afterward try one of their delectable desserts. Poor Boy's Gourmet Restaurant is located at 300 Main St. (207/288-4148, www.poorboysgourmet.com) and has a great selection of entrees and fantastic appetizers. The salads, especially the Caesar, are excellent, and the pasta dishes and clam chowder are outstanding. If you aren't too full, be sure to split a slice of the amazing homemade cheesecake with your favorite traveler.
 
If you're craving something sweet, head over to Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium, 66 Main St. (tel. 800/806-3281 or 207/288-3281), for a big ice-cream cone. In the evenings, you may have to join the line spilling out the door. Visitors are often tempted to try the house novelty, lobster ice cream. Resist.
The Bar Harbor Music Festival (207/288-5744, www.barharbormusicfestival.org) is a fabulous venue to catch a jazz or rock performance. The performers in the festival play all around town, and you should definitely catch one of their acts, because they are musical geniuses. Most often, you can see them do their stuff at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church, 29 Mount Desert St. Watching a film at the Criterion Theater is a dazzling moviegoing experience. It is located at 38 Cottage St. (207/288-3441, www.criteriontheater.com) and features an ornately decorated ceiling and an intensely engaging atmosphere. The Lompoc Brewpub, found at 30 Rodick St. (207/288-9513) features the best selection of beer in Bar Harbor. This old fashioned bar is fun and lively, not to mention the fact that the beer is cold, frosty, and brewed to perfection.
 
Shopping
Bar Harbor is full of boutiques and souvenir shops located along two intersecting commercial streets, Main Street and Cottage Street. Most sell the usual tourist tack, but look a little harder and you can find some original items for sale at places like these.
Enjoy shops all over Downeast Maine.  You'll find a lot of shops in Bar Harbor,  Ellsworth and the areas of Blue Hill, Stonington, Deer Isle Winter Harbor and Milbridge.  All along the coast, there's shopping opportunities. While you're out and about checking out the beaches and scenic areas, visit the shops, the merchants welcome visitors. When you go to Deer Isle, keep your eyes open for all of the galleries and shops.  You'll find Maine made soaps, perfumes, jewelry, pottery, themed items with Maine blueberries, Maine lobster, Maine beaches and Maine harbors. Find souvenirs, Maine sweatshirts, Maine T shirts, Maine hats, sporting goods, outdoor goods, glassware, handbags, totes, Native American Maine made baskets, Maine made rugs, Maine adirondack chairs, trinkets, collectibles, granite, candles, signs, books, things for dogs and cats, sun catchers, calendars, posters, crocs, home and garden items, cooking gadgets, antiques, bedding, nautical items, games, toys and wonderful works of Art.




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