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."
Bar 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?