Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bar Harbor Mondays

Mondays have us performing a new role – not one of work camper or sight-see'er – but that of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAan Inn Keeper. We head down to the Maples Inn in Bar Harbor to give Betsy's brother Mark a well-needed break. In the late morning, we kick him out the door and tell him not to worry. The role of an Inn-keeper is complex so us novices stick to the easy tasks that don't mess up the financials or overbook a room. In essence, we do the laundry, unload the dishwasher, vacuum, bake cookies, water the garden, grocery shop, and check-in arriving guests. 

Betsy and I have always loved the town of Bar Harbor and since the Inn is downtown we get a chance to absorb the vibrant energy that makes this town so popular.  We usually venture downtown around lunch time, grab something to eat, people watch in the park overlooking the harbor, and take a walk on the shore path to marvel at how beautiful the harbor is.  But since we have work back at the Inn to do, our hour break goes pretty fast.

Agamont Park in downtown Bar Harbor
Originally called “Eden,” the town of Bar Harbor was settled in 1763 and has been home to lobstermen, shipbuilders, outdoor enthusiasts, farmers, artists, and wealthy summer visitors.  The early 1800’s saw the arrival of people named Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan, and Astor who built large summer “cottages” with servant’s quarters, stables, and guest houses so they could enjoy the cool summer weather and the outdoor wonders that abound.  No longer a small fishing village, Bar Harbor was transformed into a playground for the rich and forever became a tourist destination.

In 1947, a devastating fire raged for ten days burning over 17,000 acres and destroying many of the grand historic structures.  The situation grew so dire at one point that evacuation had to come by boats and through smoldering forest roads cut with bulldozers.  The fire ended an era as many great homes and historic structures were destroyed.  Some buildings still remain and are part of a historic self-guided walking tour through town called "Museum in the Streets."

035Bar Harbor appeals heavily to outdoor enthusiasts who descend on the tiny town in the summer with SUV’s overly accessorized with gear that emptied out an REI store.  The crown jewel of outdoor adventure is Acadia National Park with it's hundreds of miles of hiking/biking trails, scenic overlooks, and stunning natural beauty it is no wonder this is consistently one of the top ten most visited National Parks.  (But more on Acadia in another post.)

Downtown Bar Harbor appeals to the many tourists with it’s shops, restaurants, parks, galleries, and beautiful harbor.  We always seem to wander in to Bark Harbor the local pet store and House Wines which has  . . . you guessed it . . . wine.  The local ice cream shop Mt. Desert Is. Ice Cream has been ranked by Food and Wine Magazine as one of the ten top ice cream parlors in the country.  So we have many reasons to go downtown.  The towns popularity is obvious when cruise ships come to port and release 3,000 wandering tourists. Despite the crowds we still enjoy strolling the downtown streets and look forward to spending our Mondays there.

Did I forget to mention that Spirit is particularly fond of the fountain downtown?

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  1. Good thing you have a leash on Spirit or you'd never get her out of that fountain! :c)

  2. In all our travels, we've yet to make it to Bar Harbor - but your blog certainly motivates to do so one day. Thanks for sharing!

  3. we loved every minute of the month we spent touring Bar Harbor and surrounding areas last summer. . .a spectacular place to be.


  4. We had a great time in Bar Harbor last month when we were in port. Mike and I have definitely added it to our "must return" list. Maybe when we get the last one off to college...


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