Before heading into Acadia National Park, we stopped by downtown Bar Harbor briefly for lobster rolls and walked around the yacht-filled harbor. In the park, we first stopped at Thunder Hole to witness the thunder of sea against the rocks and then hiked on Gorham Trail. After that, we rushed to the top of Cadillac Mountain to see one of the best sunsets of our lifetime.
See & Do
- Thunder Hole: Right after entering the Park Loop, this is one of the first stops that we went to. We parked in the parking lot and walked over to the cliffs. While we were walking on the rocks and admiring the view, we quickly realized there’s a paved path with guardrails that takes you directly to Thunder Hole. During high tide, the water hits the cove with just the right acoustics to make a loud and thunderous boom (hence the name). We stuck around for a bit to hear a few loud and satisfying rumbles before heading over to Gorham Mountain.
- Gorham Mountain Trail(with Cadillac Cliffs Trail and Otter Cove Trail): This is a great hike to get a good introduction to the park, a nice and gradual 45 minute hike with an easy incline that concludes with two breathtaking views — first, you come to an overlook over the beautiful Acadian coastline, and then at the summit you get a great view of the interior of Acadia National Park. We could only imagine how amazing it must look during foliage season at the Mt. Gorham summit (525 ft above sea level). On the way down, we took the Cadillac Cliffs trail and scrambled over some rocks and hiked next to a few cool caves. At the bottom after the approximately 1.5 hour round trip hike, we were still full of energy and noticed that there’s a brand new trail that opened called the Otter Cove Trail. This is a super simple half mile trail that brings you to Otter Cove near the Otter Cliffs, well worth the detour for this nice and peaceful walk. All of our hikes were in relative seclusion since we came before peak season, but we heard that around July 4th and beyond, it might get quite busy and crowded.
- Otter Cliffs: Stop here for some extremely dramatic views of the coastline and the cliffs. Just a one minute walk from the parking area will put you right on the rocks. From here, you can walk all the way back on a well marked path to the Sand Beach. We saw a serious looking motorcyclist stop and go for a brisk walk back and forth as he seemed to be contemplating life (did he make it all the way to Sand Beach and back in such a short amount of time?!). Speaking of which, Acadia National Park would be an absolutely amazing motorcycle destination, especially in this pleasantly warm weather.
- Sunset at Cadillac Mountain: So Cadillac Mountain is well known for its sunrise, but seeing as we were in the middle of golden hour in the evening, we decided to try to drive up and see what we could for the sunset. Most people seemed to be hanging around near the parking lot at the summit, but we ventured towards the west side and kept going down farther and farther until we found a field with an unobstructed and absolutely amazing view of the sunset over Acadia National Park. There were a bunch of college kids who also discovered this area and we shared some laughs with them while enjoying this absolutely breathtaking sunset.
Eat & Drink
- Coffee Hound: We stopped here for a snack when we first arrived in Bar Harbor after driving from Portland. Our first lobster roll in Maine, this little coffee joint is right by the dock in Bar Harbor. As we discovered, the lobster quality in this area is consistently superb (absolutely no fishy taste at all) so you can’t really go wrong by picking any random restaurant at all for seafood, but each place has its own variation on amount of mayo and bread to lobster ratio when serving lobster rolls. This one in particular had dill on it. I’d say this place is a bit on the creamy side, which I enjoy (whereas M prefers something a bit less creamy and more bready).
- Lazy Lobster Bar Harbor: We had lobster at the coffee place, and didn’t get lobster at Lazy Lobster. Tried out the chowder as well as the chicken jalapeno pizza (didn’t want to seafood ourselves out on the first day) along with blueberry soda. Probably should have stuck to the lobster as the chicken wasn’t really that great. Besides that, this seems like a nice little local joint. The blueberry pie (Maine’s official state dessert!), however, was quite excellent, and probably would have been better if we weren’t so full at this point.
- Thirsty Whale: One more lobster roll for dinner, as well as fried haddock. Washed it down with some Peak Organic and Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale brewed by Atlantic Brewing Co. One thing I wish is that our hotel was within walking distance of the Bar Harbor downtown so that we could stay around a bit longer and maybe enjoy a few more beers before heading back, but alas, since we needed to drive back, we had to be responsible and stop after just one beer. There are so many local breweries in this area that it would take a while to try all the different varieties.
- Best Western Acadia Inn: It’s a Best Western, which means it has consistently decent and predictable rooms. The room itself was clean and comfortable, but there was nothing that particularly stood out about it (which could be a good thing, depending on how you look at it). The woman running the breakfast buffet is super sweet and really nice to talk to–she made it a point to chat with everybody there, and even offered us a freshly made cappuccino muffin!
- Flew into Portland, ME and rented a car. A 7 day vehicle pass for Acadia National Park costs $25 as of June 2015. There is a bus available in the summer months that will take you around the park, but during the off-season, a car is probably the best and easiest way to get around. Well, besides a motorcycle…