Spending a holiday in the state of Maine is on the bucket list of many people. Ask the place they most want to visit and the answer probably will be Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.
What is the draw that has so many of us wanting to spend time in one of Maine’s top destinations? In the 1800’s, American’s wealthiest families spent time in this beautiful spot…the Astors, Carnegies, Fords, Morgans, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts. Why did they all pick this particular spot? What brought the rich and famous to the area is also what brings tourists from all over the world to this special place. The answer is the natural beauty and the simplicity of the land.
Mention Bar Harbor and people immediately think of lighthouses, lobsters, and a harbor filled with lobster boats and cruise ships. They think of adventures on the water kayaking, sailing, fishing and whale watching or on the land either hiking or biking the many miles of marked trails in Acadia National Park.
My husband and I have enjoyed visiting this area several times and always look forward to returning for a few days. The West Street Hotel is a wonderful new boutique hotel that opened in July and was our hotel of choice for this stay. It is at the corner of West Street which runs along the water and Main street where all the shops and restaurants are located. The town docks are right across the street making this a perfect location.
The hotel was designed to not look like a massive building but instead like a row of small connected buildings of different colors and different balconies looking out over the harbor. Inside, the lobby is contemporary with a nautical design.
There are comfy seating areas, either around a warm fireplace or in the library.
Upstairs the rooms with balconies overlooking the harbor are spacious, with flatscreen TV’s, IPod docking stations and the baths have huge walk in showers.
The hotel has a rooftop pool with wonderful views and its’ restaurant, Paddy’s Irish Pub has outdoor tables to watch the comings and goings of the tour boats.
Across the street you find several restaurants right on the water where you can have a cocktail, chowder, fresh seafood and of course a lobster roll.
Directly across from the West Street Hotel is a wonderful little group of colorful shops.
This is also where you can buy a ticket for a trolley tour of Acadia National Park.
Taking the trolley instead of driving has it advantages. The driver gives a wonderful history of Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Also you don’t have to worry about taking your eyes off the road which you might be tempted to do if you were driving. The views from the top of Cadillac Mountain are beautiful and worth the price of the trolley ticket alone.
If you do visit Acadia National Park, you might want to make a reservation to have a simple lunch at Jordan Pond House. It is right across from one of the original gate houses for the 57 miles of carriage trails.
You can sit outside with a view across Jordan Pond to the Bubble Mountains. Be sure to order their popovers, everyone loves them.
If you would rather have lunch in town, the Terrace at the Bar Harbor Inn is nice spot.
Sit outside under an umbrella and sip a cool drink, have lunch and watch the passing boats and the Margaret Todd schooner dock at their pier.
I found Bar Harbor to be a colorful and down to earth resort town that gives tourists plenty of options. From a romantic holiday for two with a lobster dinner in town to a jammed packed adventure for an entire family experiencing the glories of Acadia National Park. Yes…it should be on everyone’s bucket list.