which to some resembles a lobster claw in shape, is the third largest
island off the coast of the continental United States. Connected to the
mainland by two short bridges spanning the Mount Desert Narrows, MDI is
into four towns: Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert, and
Tremont. About three quarters of the islands contains Acadia National
Park. Ninety-six percent of Maine is privately owned; the 36,000 actres
of Acadia National Park is the largest publicly-owned portion. There
are restroom facilities at the Thompson Island information center at
the head of the island. In Bar Harbor, there are facilities adjoining
At MDI IMPORTED CAR SERVICE, David
White runs perhaps the world's greenest auto repair business. Among
other things, he heats his place with recycled motor oil and wastes
next to nothing. A certified Bosch Automotive Service Center, MDI
Imported Car Service understands foreign cars like few others.
If you're among
those who think art should be fun, you won't want to
miss ERNIE'S. Operating
and anything else that strikes his fancy. Truth
be told, Ernie seems to be a bit hung up on vehicles--many of his
pieces are boats, trains, cars, fire engines and wagons, although he
also has done sundry buildings and much else. He does a frog series
that features a piano-playing frog campaigning against gourmet
food—including, of course, frog legs. Call 207-288-5337.
BREWING COMPANY-ESTATE BREWERY/WINERY features an open air garden bistro and
tavern, a gift shop
and tasting room, and on Saturday there’s a barbecue.
The ASTICOU CONNECTION GALLERY shows a superb selection
of wood furniture and wood sculpture, bronze castings, paintings,
jewelry and photography, as well as rare prints and maps. Monthly open
houses and artist’s receptions feature a diversity of first-rate talent
and afford the opportunity to meet the artists, discuss their work, or
simply wander around and absorb details of form and nuances of color.
The gallery provides a forum and showcase for the creative traits
readily recognized in this area, and aims to be a vivid connection
between past, present, and future generations.
SOMESVILLE was the site of the first
settlement on Mount Desert Island.
Although Native Americans visited here at least 6,000 years ago, they
made no pernament settlement. The first families to settle here were
Abraham and Hannah Somes as well as James and Rachel Richardson in the
year of 1761.
The MOUNT DESERT ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Day. Both wild and domestic ducks swim in
nearby Mill Pond. You might enjoy checking out the
frequently-photographed Somesville Bridge, a graceful span over Somes
Creek. In season, you'll enjoy the gardens.
ACADIA REPERTORY THEATRE has been presenting summer
theater for the past quarter century.
R. SCOTT BALTZ
grew up on Mount Desert Island and his home serves as the base for his
studio and visual interests. He says he is inspired by the surrounding
landscape of Acadia National Park, and he endeavors to interpret the
landscape filtered through both his memory and his imagination.
PRETTY MARSH PICNIC AREA, which is in the national park,
provides views over bluffs to Pretty Marsh Harbor and onward to
Bartlett and Hardwood Islands. Here there is a stony beach.
SAWYER'S COVE, once known as Spirit Cove, is thought
to be a repository for drowned seamen. Whenever the sea has claimed a
local resident, people have reported seeing a fully-rigged ghost ship
depart from the cove to collect the soul. Days later the ghost of the
departed will be seen along the shoreline.
a world-class collection of early
brass era cars stuck away in a metal building on a back road on the quiet side of
Mt. Desert Island, in Maine. People still marvel at
tripping over the SEAL COVE AUTO MUSEUM—the
unlikelihood makes it
all the more remarkable.
The KELLYTOWN ROAD, infamous for the brutal murder of a man
found stuffed in a well, is known to suffer disturbances by
ancient spirits emerging from nearby unmarked swamp graves. Native
Americans once inhabited this area, and there are numerous gravesites
It's a little hard to find
and it's nothing fancy, but
the MAINE GRANITE
INDUSTRY MUSEUM is certainly an interesting place. Proprietors
Steven Haynes and Juanita Sprague are the foremost authority on Maine's
historic granite industry. They have collected specimens from over 350
of the state's abandoned granite quarries. (Steven can look a hunk of
rock and tell you precisely where it came from!) They will show you
their extensive collection of artifacts, including blacksmith and stone
cutting tools, oxen shoes, railroad cartwheels, railroad spikes, old
photos and derrick parts. Studying granite has been a lifelong pursuit
for Steven; nobody knows more about this somewhat ignored aspect of
Maine history. The museum, which is presently sharing space with a
mower shop, is very much a work in progress. Steven says that in the
present economy donations have dried up, but with him hope springs
eternal and he's hoping for better times soon.
You can get a good deal on family camping at the APPALACHIAN
MOUNTAIN CLUB CAMP on Echo
Lake. Campers live in tents that have
board floors and are supplied with beds, sheets, and blankets. Hot
showers are available along with three daily family-style meals,
including a clambake and
lobster picnic. The camp is so popular that a
lottery must often be held to determine who will get in. Write Echo
Lake Camp, Mt. Desert, ME 04660, or call 207-244-3747.
At OCEANSIDE VINTAGE & ANTIQUES
on Main Street in Southwest Harbor, Bernice Fallon brings new meaning to the term "eclectic." She has a bit
of pretty much everything, from vintage clothing for both men and
women, art, books, furniture, jewelry, photography—the list goes on and
on. Her store, she promises, will have something different every time
You'll see the parking area for ACADIA MOUNTAIN, which provides
a 3.5 mile round trip climb and spectacular views of Somes Sound. From the parking area for ST. SAVIOUR MOUNTAIN, you can go
hiking and climbing. Watch for the ECHO LAKE entrance to Acadia National
of Beech Mountain.
From the FERNALD POINT ROAD, you can take a
trail up Flying
Mountain. It's an easy climb, said by many to provide the park's
best view for the least effort (unless you count driving up Cadillac
The SEAL COVE ROAD, most of which is in Acadia
to Bald and Western Mountains, two of
MDI's quieter hiking areas. Roaming around these parts is a great way
to avoid the crowds that flock to Sand Beach and Thunder
Hole. You may meet no other hikers as you explore such places as Seal
Cove and Hodgdon Ponds. Likewise is true of the Long
Pond Fire Road, an unpaved loop providing access to Western
Trail, which leads to a notch between Bernard and Mansell
Mountain and Long Pond. The forests hereabouts have been
untouched for decades, allowing for mature growth.
Southwest Harbor, the WENDELL GILLERY MUSEUM OF BIRD CARVING
changing exhibits of carvings by Gilley and other artists.
Gilley, author of the classic
"The Art of Bird Carving," did around
6,000 wooden birds, some of which have in recent years commanded
thousands of dollars. The museum is housed in a state-of-the-art solar
heated building; staff is on hand to explain its workings. During the
summer months, the museum has a full schedule of demonstrations and
classes. Call 207-244-7555 for schedules. Low ticket prices make this a
real cultural building. General admission: $5; children 5-12, $2;
children under 5 free.
Ed Elvidge, famous locally for the four decades he has produced outstanding regional post cards and calendars, has opened the ED ELVIDGE GALLERY AND SCHOOL OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
At the gallery, there are always more than 100 wall prints on display
and several bargain bins offer attractively priced prints. People
interested in learning fine points of photography can sign up for one
of Ed's half-day summer workshops.
Best thin-crust pizza ever? The LITTLE NOTCH CAFE is
a serious contender for that honor. Chefs there use organic tomato
sauce and whole-milk mozzarella. Besides pizza, which can come with
some pretty imaginative toppings, there are sandwiches like the sweet
Italian sausage with parmesan on focaccia or the roasted broccoli,
onions, and cheddar on homemade wheat. Head honcho Arthur Jacobs also
operates Little Notch Bakery at Hinckley's Great Harbor Marina.
SAWYER'S SPECIALTIES has the biggest selection of
fine wines on Mount Desert Island. The second Saturday of every month
from 2 to 5 p.m., the folks here sponsor wine tastings.
The CAFE DRY DOCK serves
seriously wonderful food, including Crispy Chilean Style Haddock,
Scallops Southwest Harbor, Scallops Mornay, Walkers Wellington, Filet
Mignon, and Lobster along with Great Salads, and Homemade Soups and
Chowders. The good folks here have been cooking from scratch for nearly
a quarter of a century. Go there for lunch, dinner, or lighter fare
served all evening. There is a full bar as well as beer and wine.
Listen to great music on Wednesday evenings or dine under the stars on
The lovely DRYDOCK INN is open
year round and during spring and summer guests enjoy room service. The
inn features two suites with kitchen/living room combo and also
kitchenettes. All eight rooms have cable TV, wireless internet, phones,
in-room coffee, and hair dryers. The inn is convenient to shops and
There is way more
than meets the eye at the QUIETSIDE
CAFE & ICE CREAM SHOP.
This place serves more than 20 flavors of hard ice cream and
yogurt (along with 24-plus flavors of soft serve). On top of
that, there are salads, specialty sandwiches, and what could be
Maine's best homemade bluberry and apple pie. In addiion to that, there
are daily specials, pizzas, and incredible seafood baskets. It's an Ice
Cream Shop with a whole lot more!
Everything sold at PURE MAINE LLC
on Main Street in Southwest Harbor is made in Maine. The lady here will
help you design your own Gift Basket. During holidays, shipping is
A focus on what’s local and fresh has been a driving force behind the success of the RED SKY RESTAURANT on Clark Point Road. Chef James Lindquist, who was featured in Fresh from Maine, the 2010
cookbook of “recipes and stories from the state’s best chefs,” insists
that nothing could be more important. His vivid way of describing
food and engaging the imagination of his diners is another reason Red
Sky has received such acclaim from The New York Times, Travel and
Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, and Down East Magazine, among others.
The CLAREMONT HOTEL, off Clark Point Road is listed in the
of Historic Places. Held here is a famous summer croquet tournament.
The FIDDLER'S GREEN RESTAURANT
is known for providing
outstanding quality of food and service in a warm casual amosphere
overlooking the harbor. Chef-owned and operated since 1999, the
culinary style celebrates New England traditions without being bound by
them. The cuisine is prepared daily using the finest seasonal
ingredients, local and organic produce, farm-raised meats and very best
fish the oceans have to offer. A food critic for Fodor's wrote,
"The Most Difficult Part of Dining at this Harborside Restaurant is
Selecting Just One Entree."
Joe and Anne Paradise both do the wonderful bird carvings found at RAVENSWOOD.
The SHIP'S HARBOR NATURE TRAIL runs about a
through a spruce forest and open ledgey woodlands. A self-guided brochure
to the trail is available free at Seawall Campground.
SHIP'S HARBOR leaves many people feeling psychically uneasy. Some say it's haunted. For sure, its history is grisly. In 1739, autumn gales drove the Grand Design,
a three-ton wooden vessel onto Long Ledge at the entrance to the
Western Way. All 200 passengers made it onto Mount Desert Island, where
they were surprised to find not another living soul. They searched the
entire island, but found no one. It was late autumn, winter was setting
in, and their situation became desperate. They dispatched a 100-man
search party, the heartiest among them, to head for the mainland and
salvation. Only six off those aboard Grand Design lived to see old age. Members of the search party were never heard from again, creating a mystery comparable
to the Lost Colony of Roanake, Virginia. Today, many visitors to Ship Harbor swear they
detect their presence.
The SEAWALL PICNIC AREA
on the ocean is near the Seawall Campground. Both are in Acadia
National Park. Here there is a rocky shore laced with tidepools. The
best picnic tables are perched on flat waterside rocks with views of
little tidepools and Great Cranberry Island in the distance. There is a
$20 per car admission fee.
The trail to WONDERLAND is an old road offering an easy
to the shore thru a dense spruce forest and open pitch pine forest.
Here there is an amazingly wide variety of habitats, making it a good
off, probably no place else on Earth calls itself HOT SHOWERS &
LOBSTER POUND. And this merely hints at this business' unique
versatility. Officially known as SEAWALL CAMPING SUPPLIES, this
is where you come to get lobster, take-out, saltwater bait, hardware
and RV accessories, fishing supplies, souvenirs, beer, wine and soda,
and coin-operated showers. It is run by a good-natured, young lady who
will help you find whatever you want.
SAWYER'S LOBSTER POUND
is owned and operated by a Maine lobsterman, guaranteeing fresh product
every day. The famous Lobstergal (who is on track to sample lobster
rolls from every pound in New England) has declared the rolls here to
be among the very best. The nice lady here gave me a complimentary
organic Maine root beer and, when I came back for a lobster roll, a
piece of homemade blueberry pie. The lobster roll surpassed my fondest
expecations. Visit the FACEBOOK page.
R. HINCKLEY, noted builder of luxury yachts, has its yard in
Manset. Driving past the yard and in the harbor at Northeast, you can
see some of the world's most beautiful sailing vessels.
Yankee Magazine called ANN'S POINT INN the
"Best Acadian Escape." Featured are spacious rooms, ocean views, gas
fireplaces, luxurious linens, elaborate breakfasts, afternoon
refreshments, and evening sweets. Last but hardly least, there is an
indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, and 700 feet of shorefront.
Writing in the Boston Globe, Hilary Nangle boldly asserted that THURSTON'S LOBSTER POUND is
"the best lobster spot on Mount Desert Island." Setting the scene,
Nangle describes "the two-story, screened-in dining area... built on a
wharf above lobster boat-clogged Bass Harbor in a classic fishing
village." She goes on to say that "because it caters not only to
tourists but also to the island’s well-heeled summer residents, it’s
quite a bit snazzier (perhaps pricier, too) than most lobster spots."
Sometimes at night, there is a procession of phantom spirits treading its way from GOOSE COVE to the top of Spook Hill. According to Marcus Librizzi, author of Ghosts of Acadia,
"these ghosts walk in single file and they hold glowing lanterns that
cast no shadows and shed no light on their surroundings." These spirits
follow a long-unused shore road running from Goose Cove to the top of
Spook Hill. Coves in this area have histories of smuggling, and pirates
are thought to have buried treasure on Spook Hill.
On the Pretty Marsh Road, you can see one of
finest collections of antique cars at the SEAL COVE AUTO MUSEUM. The
The PRETTY MARSH PICNIC AREA, which is in the
provides views over bluffs to Pretty Marsh Harbor and onward to
Bartlett and Hardwood Islands. Here there is a stony beach.
INDIAN POINT ROAD
the Blagden Conservancy, which
is owned by the Nature Conservancy. The area was once home to the
Passamaquoddy Indians. Now a nature preserve, trails thru the land
offer views of old spruce forest, an old apple orchard, and white
spruce along the coast.
A major attraction is the OCEANARIUM,
which features the lobster hatchery, a lobster museum, and a
45-minute marsh walk. The museum features net-making demonstrations and
a visit aboard a lobster boat. At the hatchery, visitors can examine
fry via a microscope linked to a television. The Discovery Pool is a
touch tank containing local maine life. Most often there's a lobsterman
on hand to explain the mysteries of his venerable trade. The Oceanarium
is run by David and Audrey Mills, good people who take their roles of
The ATLANTIC BREWING COMPANY of Town
Hill is establishing a
vineyard on Route 3 at what was Sweet Pea’s Farm. The new name
is Sweet Pea’s Vineyard. It’s more than a vineyard, however; it is also
an organic farm selling vegetables and flowers. It has a nice gift shop.
MT. DESERT ISLAND BIOLOGICAL
conducts a free summer visitors' program. Scientists here are engaged
in studying various aspects of cell biology, with an emphasis on
rheopharmacology--they've been using sharks and dogfish to study kidney
functions. Visitors can check out a touch tank, see the laboratories,
and listen to scientists describe their work. The tours begin at 1:30
p.m. Wednesdays mid-June thru August. Call 207-288-3605.
is a wave-chiseled granite arch as spectacular as any landmark in
Acadia National Park. Although the lab lets visitors walk across their
property, the best way to see Star Point is to put in a kayak at Bar
Harbor's Hadley Point boat landing and paddle over for a peek. The
formation is best seen at low tide. Down East magazine called Star Point MDI's Best Secret.
In Ghosts of Acadia, Marcus LiBrizzi calls THE DEVIL'S OVEN
"the most infamous gateway to the supernatural on Mount Desert Island."
He says that this sea cave has been the setting for ghostly encounters
going back thousands of years. Evidently, the Indians of old
always had had misgivings over the entire north shore of Mount Desert
Island. They reported having seen strange lights along there, even
under water. They believed the rocks contained portals to hell with
the Devil's Oven being the primary gateway. The historical
records shows that dark rites were practiced here and that people
really were burned alive in The Ovens.
On the Crooked Road, the MYSTERY COVE BOOK SHOP has a
large collection of mystery and detective fiction along with a growing
collection of Maine, children's, science fiction, nautical books and
more. Open year round. Call 207/288-4665.
The HULLS COVE SCULPTURE GARDEN, featuring the
contemporary Maine sculptors, spreads across two acres of fields,
flowers, trails, ponds, and a stream
WIND AND WINE BY THE SEA offers a nice assortment of
specialty foods along with Maine-made gifts and art. On hand are craft
beers and interesting wines from around the world.
Few places on earth rival the Acadia National Park's popularity. USA Today
chose Acadia as America’s “Best National Park.” Then ABC’s
"Good Morning America" showcased Acadia National Park as “America’s
Favorite Place”! ACADIA
NATIONAL PARK VISITORS' CENTER has printed
information and a free film that'll introduce you to the park. During
the summer, park naturalists conduct daily interpretive programs to
help visitors understand the ecological processes at work here.
On several occasions, Wine Spectator magazine has given THE LOOKING GLASS RESTAURANT
at the Bluenose Inn its award of excellence. The Looking Glass is one
of 18 Maine restaurants to receive national recognition. To be
included, according to co-owner Jim Ash, a restaurant must have
outstanding food along with an excellent wine list.
The GEORGE B. DORR NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM at College of
the Atlantic, open daily Labor Day to Oct. 10, features children's
hands-on exhibits, a 20-foot whale skeleton, and other displays of
island life. There is a self-guided nature trail on the college campus
and summer field studies. The price certainly is right: general
admission, $2.50; seniors, $1.50; kids under 12 - 3, one dollar.
COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC was the first college in the United States to pledge carbon
neutrality. The college, which grants degrees in human ecology, strives
to avoid or reduce carbon emissions that may be generated due to campus
activities, including commuting to and from the campus. Ecofriend rates
COA as the third greenest college in America. At 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, COA holds a
distinguished lecturers' series.
says the SALT AIR INN is
Engand's best oceanfront B&B.
BAR ISLAND can be reached by
walking across a sand bar when the
tide is out. Half of Bar Island is national park, and you're free to
explore the whole place. Take care not to let the incoming tide strand
Back in the days when Bar Harbor attracted the nation's bluest blood, the BAR HARBOR CLUB
was where it congealed. Open only to highly favored WASPs,
it exemplified all that was least likable about high society. The
earliest white settlers shunned the land where the club is located,
referring to it as "the devil's half acre." In the late 1800s, Native
Americans camped out on the property until skyrocketing land prices
forced them off. Local
legend has it that the place is haunted by a young woman who was
strangled there before its most recent refurbishing. People today say
they still can smell patchouli, the perfume she wore night she was
murdered. Other ghosts are said to haunt the club, spirits so numerous
they must keep bumping into one another. Nowhere else on the Island
holds so many claims to the gruesome supernatural.
Let the BAR HARBOR WHALE
WATCH CO. be your one-stop boating company. There are four
cruises, all of which are informatively narrated. It’s both fun and
educational. The folks here promise you’ll see a whale. If you don’t,
the next trip’s on them.
Diver Ed’s DIVE-IN THEATER
is a two- or two-and-a-half-hour scenic boat ride out into Frenchman
Bay where Diver Ed & his sidekick “Mini Ed” dive down to the
ocean floor with specially equipped video and sound equipment, allowing
you to see and hear the ocean floor in real time from the comfort of
the deck. At the end of the dive, Ed & Mini Ed return to the boat –
and so do the creatures! Touch tanks allow you to observe, handle – and
sometimes even kiss – these strange and mysterious beings before they
are returned safely to the sea. You will be amazed at the colors, the
textures and the variety of animal life beneath the waves. Yankee
magazine called Ed's Dive-In Theater New England's best family
Downtown BAR HARBOR has something for just about
There are nice shops with beautiful, expensive things, less nice shops
with inexpensive T-Shirts, and shops with expensive T-shirts. There are
several pretty decent restaurants. Throughout Bar Harbor, there are
motel and hotel rooms aplenty, running the gamut from low cost to
really expensive.Many people love Bar Harbor, although there are those
who hate it. The people who like it enjoy the many shops carrying
quality merchandise not readily available anywhere else in the
territory, the wide choice of restaurants, the high energy level. The
people who hate it point to the tackiness, the high prices, the
crowdedness, the pushiness, the kitsch—all the things that go with
great popularity. Whether you love it or hate it probably has more to
do with you than with Bar Harbor.
The BAR HARBOR INN
got its start in 1887 with a Reading Room for gentlemen. As the local
joke had, all the reading was done through the bottom of a glass.
Everybody knew it was place to escape Maine's prohibition law, which
lasted for nearly a century. The inn is haunted. Two ghostly Victorian
gentlemen are often seen sitting at a table by the windows. Making eye
contact with these specters yields a deathlike chill that can last for
vacationtime more stressful than your regular workaday life? Well,
you're not alone. Lots of people have had the same experience. There is
a solution: Yoga by the Sea! Classes, led by certified yoga instructor
Elizabeth Escardo, meet daily at 9 a.m. at the BAR HARBOR INN. Call 340-643-6467 for more information.
THE SHORE PATH, which begins at the
town pier, has a heritage that includes a large number of supernatural
encounters. At Hardy's Point (still on Bar Harbor Inn property), the
spirit of a young woman often appears at dusk. Her last name is Olsen,
and she traces back to the late 1700s when she, her husband, and young
son lived here. Mr. Olsen, a sailor, and was lost at sea, leaving her
and their son in dire poverty. Then one day he disappeared without a
trace, leaving her alone. To this day, she continues to hold a sad and lonely
vigil, awaiting their return.
The folks at JEANNIE'S GREAT MAINE BREAKFAST figure if you
concentrate on just one thing, you're bound to become awfully good at
it. And they're right. The only thing they serve is breakfast, and, as
you might expect, theirs is the best around.
Something a bit unusual: An owner-run shop in Bar Harbor. A LITTLE MAD SHOP
is just that. It features whimsical home accents, unique gifts,
one-of-a-kind jewelry, classic bulk candy, original art and more.
LITTLE VILLAGE GIFTS proves that hard work and
honest dealing can still succeed, even in Bar Harbor's high-rent
district. A family-owned and operated gift shop, it's been hanging in
there since 1992. On hand are a variety of items, from souvenirs to
accessories and jewelry. There is a big variety of humorous signs.
The Sohns family has three shops: Tony Sohns describes the one on the
Bangor Road as "a rock shop with art" and the one in downtown Bangor as
"an art shop with rocks." Now sister Amanda says the new ROCK AND ART SHOP
in Bar Harbor is "a gift shop with freaky stuff upstairs." She's
referring to the "Cabinets of Curiousity," which contain, as she puts
it, "all sorts of amazing dead stuff." It's worth braving downtown
traffic to check them out.
original art deco style has been preserved at Bar Harbor's CRITERION
THEATRE. The unusual balcony configuration has the upper level,
called the loge, split into many compartments. Everything is original,
including the two projectors, which go back sixty years. The Criterion
was built in 1932 by George McKay, a local legend who is said to have
gotten his considerable fortune running rum. In the early days, live
vaudeville was spotlighted on the Criterion's stage. Shown now is a
wide variety, including recent releases, art films, and foreign
The first owner of the LOMPAC CAFE was a W.C. Field's fan, and since Fields set his 1940s classic The Bank Dick
in Lompac, California, it only seemed natural to so-name the cafe.
These days the restaurant and late-night music spot are known for the
leafy beer garden and bocce court, and for the fun, robustly flavored
Mediterrean and Asian food prepared by Meg Kelly.
At MORNING GLORY BAKERY, everything here is made from scratch. This is where the locals come to get their goodies.
Yankee Magazine holds that FIORE ARTISAN OLIVE OILS & VINEGARS
is New England's best "Around-the-World Tasting Room." Visitors
are encouraged to sample extra-virgin, first cold-pressed olive oils
from around the world (including flavored and specialy oils), plus
balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy, aged 35 years, and specialty
foods, including sea salts and pestos.
A favorite destination in downtown Bar Harbor is REEL
the place to go for gourmet pizza. Eat pizza any way your like it,
enjoy beer or wine, and watch movies ranging from current hits to cult
SERENDIPITY is a very upscale thrift store. Seems
that a lot of wealthy people donate barely used, but highly fashionable
castoff clothing there. All the profits benefit the Bar Harbor Food
Pantry, a charitable organization assising the less fortunate among us.
To our way of thinking, the best place to watch sports on TV
is the MAD HATTER PUB AND GRILL at
166 Cottage Street. There are several
large flatscreen TVs and strategically situated overstuffed couches.
menu features homemade treats made with fresh ingredients such as
famous tri-colored tortilla chips topped
with mozzarella cheese black olives, onion, tomato, jalapeno, corn and
shredded lettuce, portabello fries, bruschelta chicken, parmesan
sandwich ciabatta bread, and fresh mozzarella, homemade bruschetta mix
and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. This is where we go to watch Tom
Terrific lead the
patriots. If the game isn't to your liking, the good folks here also
provide free WIFI.
According to Downeast Magazine, SHERMAN'S BOOK AND STATIONERY
offers more Maine Books than anybody else on Earth. This venerable business began in Bar Harbor
in 1886, and now has opened sister stores in Camden and Boothbay Harbor.
Recently I had lunch at WEST END DRUG.
The half a ham and cheese sandwich on wheat, bag of chips, and small
soda came to $4.01. For 22 cents I could have added a cup of
coffee. Yankee Magazine says West End Drug offers New England's "Best Sweet Deal." As Yankee
put it, "In a town of $4 ice cream cones and $7 sandwiches, this
sanctuary offers a grilled cheese for less than $2 and a one-scoop cone
for $1.49." On top of that, the old-fashioned ice cream soda fountain
here may be the friendliest place in town.a
one-scoop cone for
On Monday and Thursday evenings at 8 during July and
August, the TOWN BAND plays at the Village Green. Concerts are
told the Waymans they wouldn't be able to make it with popcorn alone. The Waymans
didn't listen. They were convinced that if the popcorn was good enough and
properly presented, people would find it irresistable. They were right. At
BAR HARBOR POPCORN on Mount Desert Street, they kept things simple and did things right. The endeavor is succeeding.
The Waymans' great gourmet popcorn comes in three flavors—caramel,
blueberry, and maple—and in three sizes. (The blueberry is flavored
with real Maine blueberries. The Waymans say they tweaked the recipes
for six months before getting each one just right!) Popcorn fanatics
won't want to miss this welcoming shop.
Talk about humble beginnings! The JESUP MEMORIAL LIBRARY on Mt. Desert St. traces its roots back to 1875
when the Bar Harbor Village Library got under way with twenty dollars
and 176 volumes. Work on the present building, which is in the National
Register of Historic Places, began in 1910. On the building committee
were some very big names, including George Dorr, Ernesto Fabbri, and
Henry Lane Eno. The library is named after Morris K. Jesup, a New York
financier and philanthropist, whose widow, Maria DeWitt Jesup, provided
funding for it. Today, the public has free access to more than 35,000
books, 7,000 eBooks, 2,000 audiobooks and CDs, 2,000 videos, and a
ST. SAVIOUR'SEPISCOPAL CHURCH on Mount Desert Street has
wonderful Tiffany windows and welcomes
visitors. Performing occasionally in St. Saviour's Parish House is
Jackson & Friends, a concert series
of comedy, music and new vaudeville. The shows are presented by the
wonderfully talented Jackson Gillman, sometimes known as the Stand-up
BAR HARBOR HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM at
Memorial Library on Mount Desert Street (288-4245) has a large collection of photographs of
early hotels, cottages, steamers, and rusticators. There are excellent
scrapbooks of the 1947 fire.
LEDGELAWN on Mouont Desert St. has a well-deserved reputation as the most-haunted
mansion on Mount Desert Island. Built in 1904, Ledgelawn was among the
last of the true "cottages," palatial estates built of common
bungalow-style materials such as cedar shingles. Accordiing to Marcus
LiBrizzi, author of Ghosts of Acadia,
the place is haunted by
"the specter of a young dark-haired woman with madness in her
smile." She is thought to be the ghost of Mary Margaret, a young
lady who had been left standing at the alter. She hanged herself in her
wedding dress, attaching the veil to the beams of the sloping ceiling.
When Ledgelawn became an inn, guests staying in Mary Margaret's room
were apt to awaken to the image of a woman floating in the moonlight at
the foot of their bed. More times than not, the woman would have a
ghastly smile on her face.
MIRA MONTE INN at 69 Mt.
Desert St. was built in 1861. (Mira Monte means "behold the mountain"
in reference to the beautiful surrounding peaks of Acadia National
Park.) Arrington's Bed and Breakfast Journal called Mira Monte
"One of Top 15 B&B's with Best Gardens" and singled it out as the
"Inn with the Most Privacy" and "Best Inn for Shopping.”
KEBO VALLEY GOLF CLUB,
founded in 1888, the eighth oldest golf club in the United
States, has challenged the skills of many of the country’s finest
players, most influential politicians, and top leaders of
industry. For many years, Walter Hagen held the course record. A
championship par 70 course, Kebo was rated among the "Top 15"
public courses in New England by the New England Journal of Golf and
among the "Top 10" classical public golf courses by Golf Digest.
HOUSE WINE, Bar Harbor's premier retailer for
quality wine, cheese, and beer, was voted by People's Choice as the
best wine shop on Mount Desert ISland.
TEA HOUSE 278
is a traditional Chinese Tea House where guests can enjoy a relaxed
Gaiwan Tea Service, a glass of chilled tea, tea in a to-go container,
and a variety of savory and sweet snacks. A beautiful tea garden
provides a relaxing oasis where one may enjoy the sounds of a babbling
brook and the peaceful energy of the stone garden. Rare loose-leaf
teas,handpicked on organic farms in China, are steeped and presented in
a traditional Gaiwan tea service. Yankee magazine proclaimed that this
was New England's Best Tea House.
you believe that Linda Parker personally de-seeds every blueberry that
goes into her super-premium Ice cream? She says she does, and she also
says that instead of using vanilla extract she cuts and scrapes
Madagascar vanilla beans before infusing them into fresh, Maine-made
organic milk. She does several other seemingly unbelievable things to
make her MDI ICE CREAM perhaps the best in the world. Linda's
ice cream got national attention when President Obama stopped by for a
cone and when Linda appeared on "The View" in a segment devoted to the
Best Ice Cream in America. It's far from cheap, but eating some is an experience you won't soon forget.
For over a quartery century, POOR BOY 'S GOURMET RESTAURANT
has been a local favorite of diners seeking delicious food at
reasonable prices. Featured are lobster, seafood, steak, chicken,
vegetarian dishes and Poor Boy's special "Bottomless Bowl of Pasta".
Poor Boy's has a full bar and makes what many insist are the best
frozen Blueberry Daiquiris in New England. Always on hand are several
locally brewed beers on tap. Poor Boy's has an excellent wine
list (including nightly $15.00 specials) and a complete selection of
non-alcoholic beverages. For dessert, their cheesecake and berry pies
are "simply the best!"
I went to the COFFEE CUP DINER
and ordered a grilled cheese on wheat and fries. Bill came to $5, tax
included. Next time in, a grilled cheese and bacon on wheat with fries.
Still $5, tax included. Place opens for breakfast at 5 a.m., or so I'm
told. The pstrami has has been called "the world best." Home-cooked
food, friendly service, low prices. My favorite Bar Harbor lunch stop.
The COMPASS HARBOR NATURE TRAIL, home to enormous rhododendrons,
Japanese pines, and huge yew trees, ancient symbols of death and
rebirt, is haunted by a long-deceased caretaker, a dark-haired man
dressed in blue. Here was located Oldfarm, the estate of George Bucknam
Dorr, generally regarded as the father of Acadia National Park. He
devoted his life and family fortune to the park. Eventually, Dorr, who
became totally blind and destitute, was assisted until his death by his
loyal servant / companion John Rich, who most assume is the spectre
still haunting the trail. Hogweed, a noxious bloom that can grow 14
feet high and cause painful irritation, permanent scarring, and, in
rare cases, blindness, has been found in Compass Harbor.
celebrating Maine's Native American
heritage, has two locations: the new museum 26 Mount Desert St. in
downtown Bar Harbor, open year-round, and the historic, trailside
museum at Sieur de Monts Spring, open May-October. At the downtown site
there are programs for children and adults including workshops with
Native American craftspeople. 207-288-3519.
THE JACKSON LABORATORY, the world's largest center
for the study of mammalian genetics, is home to some of the world's
foremost genetic researchers. The laboratory also is something of a
factory, producing millions of mice used by scientists throughout the
world. Many of these mice are unique in that they are genetically
destined to have certain traits, including particular diseases.
If you keep going past the lab, you'll get to the TARN, a
shallow, steep-banked mountain pond between Dorr Mountain and Hugenot
Head. The far end of the Tarn is a favored habitat for beavers.
The PRECIPICE is MDI's toughest climb. Many of the
mountains have hiking trails; they are tailored for all levels of
energy and ability. Consult a park ranger for a hike you'll find
We are firm believers in the idea that America's national parks belong
to the people, all of the people, even people who can't spare cold hard cash to get
in. Consequently, we were unhappy when in the late 80s most parks,
including Acadia, began charging user fees. The good news
locally is that you can legally avoid paying the fee for entering the
Park Loop Road, if you don't mind missing Sand Beach and Thunder Hole.
From Route 3, turn left onto the OTTER CLIFFS ROAD. This road
leads to public restroom facilities from which you can get onto the
Park Loop Road free of charge.
The two-mile section of the Park Loop Road known as OCEAN DRIVE is a mecca for photographers. Stretching from Sand Beach to the dramatic cliffs at Otter Point, Ocean Drive sports pink and tan granite ledges perched above the crashing surf of the Gulf of Maine. A pair of secluded cobblestone coves provide some compositional variety. This entire stretch of coastline faces the rising sun, setting a ripe stage for early morning photo-taking. GREAT HEAD is a rocky cliff rising 145 feet above the cold waters of Frenchman Bay. For history buffs, there are ruins of an early-20th-century teahouse once owned by J.P. Morgan. Accessible via the Great Head Trail,
which wends its way up the roacks for abour a mile from Sand Beach, the
cliffs are a popular hiking and rock-climbing destination. A clearing
at the south end of JORDAN POND affords a spectacular view of the Bubbles, a pair of perfectly matched bald peaks at the northern edge of the pond. A great many visitors stop by the Jordan Pond House for tea and popovers. A well-engineered mountain road winds to the 1,528-foot-high summit of CADILLAC MOUNTAIN. The view from the summit is one of the best in all of New England: 360 degrees, taking in Frenchman Bay, the Porcupine Islands, and the surrounding peaks of Mount Desert Island.
BLACKWOODS CAMPGROUND, one
of two national park
campgrounds, has inexpensive sites, although reservations are required
well in advance. At Blackwoods, there is an amphitheater where free
naturalist talks are conducted.
thru OTTER CREEK, you come upon the road to Hunter's
Beach. There is a small packing area from which a park trail takes
you down to an uncrowded cobblestone beach.
Keep going and you'll reach SEAL
HARBOR, summer home to people
in control of some of the country's historic fortunes. Fords,
Vanderbilts, Astors, Mellons--people like that. Here and in nearby
Northeast Harbor you can see their vast, rambling cottages. You can
hobnob with some of them at the Northeast Harbor Golf Course, a
strange, but beautiful, semi-secret 15-hole layout that accepts greens
As you leave Seal Harbor, note that on your left
beach and on your right a pleasant park. Beyond the park is the STANLEY
BROOK ROAD, from which you can get onto the park Loop Road without
paying a fee.
If you continue thru Seal Harbor, you'll reach LITTLE LONG POND.
The Rockefellers own the land around the pond,
but they let people use
it. Beyond this,you come to the Thuya Gardens and Asticou
Terraces, an endowed municipal park containing an English formal
garden, a waterfront mountainside trail, and a rare historical book
library, Thuya Lodge. A walking trail begins a little farther
down the road.
and you'll come
to Rtes 198/3. Turn right
and you'll find
the entrance to the formal ASTICOU AZELEA GARDENS. Down the
road is the
Brown Mountain Gatehouse, one of two lovely carriage road English
Tudor-style gate houses built in 1932 by John D. Rockefeller Jr.
(Rockefeller helped local folks weather the Great Depression with work
projects, the fruits of which we continue to enjoy. He was the driving
force behind MDI's wonderful carriage roads and marvelous stone
A left turn will take you into Northeast Harbor. Check
out the marina;
there are some impressive yachts moored there. The GREAT HARBOR
COLLECTION MUSEUM in the Old Town Hall on Main Street has exhibits
representing all facets of early Maine coastal life. Donations are
suggested. Nearby, there is a nice assortment of shops and galleries.
Prices here aren't necessarily cheap, but browsers are tolerated nicely.
SHAW JEWELRY is the home of extraordinary contemporary jewelry by national artists as well as the largest collection of work by Sam Shaw.
Featured is an expansive showroom with over 100 artists represented in
a spacious, well-designed environment. You will find luxurious jewelry
in high karat gold with precious stones, pearls and diamonds. You will
also find exotic and unusual artist-made pieces in alternative
materials and challenging aesthetic. Shaw Jewelry Gallery hosts 20
exhibitions each year showcasing painters, photographers, sculptors and
TASTEFUL TIDES is affiliated with FIORE ARTISAN OLIVE OILS & VINEGARS, which
Yankee Magazine holds is New England's best "Around-the-World Tasting Room." Visitors are
encouraged to sample extra-virgin, first cold-pressed olive oils from
around the world (including flavored and specialy oils), plus balsamic
vinegars from Modena, Italy, aged 35 years, and specialty foods,
including sea salts and pestos.
SARGENT DRIVE skirts Somes Sound from Northeast
Harbor. The sound constitutes the only natural fjord on the Atlantic
coast. At Somes Sound Lookout,
you'll gaze upon Acadia Mountain. You
may see porpoises frolicking in the sound. Further on, the Somes Sound
Picnic Area hugs the shore.
NORTHEAST HARBOR GOLF CLUB
is one of the Island's well-kept
secrets. Golfers are presented with the best of all worlds — magnificent wooded holes surrounded by thousands of trees and five
traditional links-style holes. There are several significant elevation
changes, very small greens, and unrivaled beauty.
Questions or comments? Send
them along to Captain D.