Five Things To Do In…. Bar Harbor

Colorful cottages in Narrows Too ME,
Colorful cottages in Narrows Too, ME

Right now, it’s important to continue to stay at home and practice social distancing. We hope you’re using this time to daydream a bit about your next trip. Our goal is to provide some ideas you may find inspiring or useful for a future trip.

Bar Harbor is at once an outdoor lover’s paradise and a picture-perfect seaside town. From the amazing Acadia National Park to the charming streets of downtown Bar Harbor, there is something for everyone to see and do. Hike, climb, stroll, and shop to your heart’s content in this charming New England gem.

We’ve highlighted just five of the hundreds of things to do when you visit Bar Harbor, Maine.

  1. Love the Lobster: Whether it’s learning all about the crustacean at the Oceanarium, taking a lobster boat ride on the Lulu Lobster Boat, or enjoying a traditional Maine Lobster Bake, this town is all about the lobster. The Oceanarium offers a two-part, hour-long program on lobsters that includes little known lobster facts while the Lulu provides an in-depth look at the life of a lobsterman and the lobster, as well – the coastal scenery while cruising is a plus! As for the lobster eating part, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the lobster – try a traditional lobster roll or a visit to Stewman’s Lobster Pound, which is about as authentic as you can get.

    Night sky along the Acadia National Park coastline
  2. See the Stars: As one of the biggest dark sky locations in the East, Acadia National Park is a great place to see the stars in the night sky. Top spots in the Park include Sand Beach, which has a convenient parking lot; Jordan Pond House, which offers the added bonus of the stars reflecting on the pond and the piece de resistance – Cadillac Mountain. During the summer months, the mountain stays open until midnight so stargazers can drive up and catch the sky show!
  3. Cross Over to Bar Island: If you want to see the reason it’s called Bar Harbor, wait until low tide and you’ll see the land bridge, which is actually a gravelly sandbar, that will take you across to Bar Island. Once on the island, you can hike and walk the trails and enjoy the surrounding views. Check the tide schedule, plan about an hour or so on Bar Island and head back across the land bridge before the tide rolls in!

    Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain
  4. Explore Acadia: From sunrise to sunset, Acadia is an all-day playground. If you are adventurous, hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain and watch the sunrise. Then it’s your choice for the day – bike the 45 miles of carriage roads, drive the 27-mile Park Loop Road, hike the myriad of trails (from easy to not so easy, there’s about 100 to tackle), or relax at Sand Beach. As we mentioned earlier, the stargazing here is amazing. Things not to miss here are the rush of Thunder Hole and the view of Otter Cliff.

    Downtown Bar Harbor, ME
  5. Take in the Town: Lots to do here from foodie tours to museums and live music. Take a three-hour culinary walking tour that not only offers plenty of food but history and lore of the town, as well (mainefoodietours.com/bar-harbor). There’s also a Bar Harbor Happy Hour Tour with a focus on appetizers and Maine craft beer. Or, visit the Abbe Museum and learn all about the people and culture of the Wabanaki, Maine’s Native people. Other museum options include the Bar Harbor Historical Society and the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History. There’s plenty of shopping and eateries and the nightlife hops here, as well. There’s plenty of bars with live music and some laughs can be had at ImprovAcadia. On Monday and Thursday evenings, the Bar Harbor Band offers free outdoor concerts on the Village Green.

While exploring Bar Harbor, make a colorful cottage or cozy cabin at Narrows Too or Mt. Desert Narrows your home base.

Explore the Flora

Tiny Houses from Tuxbury Tiny House Village in MA
Tiny Houses from Tuxbury Tiny House Village in MA

The month of May got its name from Mai, the goddess of plantings so we thought we’d highlight some of the indigenous floras around our country (some are always in bloom and some are seasonal, so plan accordingly).

Texas Bluebonnets: This pretty, little blue flower, so named because its petals resemble a sunbonnet, can be found in full bloom across Texas in the spring. In fact, the town of Burnet (outside Austin) is considered the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas and celebrates each year with a festival. Fredericksburg is also a great spot to see the bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers in their full spring glory via the Willow City Loop trail.

Best time to see: March through mid-April.

Where to stay: Spend the night in a cozy cabin at Medina Lake to round out your Bluebonnet trip.

California Golden Poppies

California Poppies: The state’s official flower since 1903, the California Poppy, or Golden Poppy, is native to California. The Native Americans who lived in the area found the flower a great source for both food and cooking oil. While poppies can be found throughout the state, the best place to see them is the Antelope Valley California Poppy State Natural Reserve near Lancaster. The Reserve has the most consistent blooms of the poppy. P.S. – Harry and Meghan fans may find it interesting that the Duchess of Sussex honored her California roots and had the poppy embroidered into her wedding veil, as well as made a part of her official coat of arms.

Best time to see poppies: Mid-March to mid-May.

Where to stay: Call it a night in a cozy cabin at Soledad Canyon.

Florida Mangroves: This Florida native does so much for so many – from providing shelter to Florida’s animal kingdom to playing an important role in the overall health of the coastal ecosystem. Four types of mangroves can be found in southern Florida and those are the red mangrove, black mangrove, white mangrove, and the buttonwood. Guided tours through mangrove tunnels are available in the Everglades as well as the Keys and several hiking opportunities are available too. For hiking options, check out floridahikes.com/mangroves.

Where to stay: Vacation tiny at the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village, or opt for a more woodsy accommodation with a cabin at Miami Everglades.

Spanish Moss

South Carolina Spanish Moss:  When you picture the South, don’t most of those visions include trees draped with Spanish Moss? Which then begs the question, just what is Spanish Moss? It is not a tree or moss at all, but instead a plant from the bromeliad family that uses the trees they drape for support but not at all for nutrients. Those come instead from the moisture in the air and rainwater running down the tree’s bark, among other things. The Low Country of South Carolina is a great place to see an abundance of Spanish Moss.

Sedona’s Prickly Pear: One of the most famous cacti native to the southwest is the saguaro, but when it comes to Sedona, Arizona, the popular cacti here is the prickly pear (fun fact: Red Rock country’s elevation is too high for the saguaro). Squat and low to the ground, unlike the taller saguaro, the prickly pear cactus can be identified by its flat pads. And, the fruit of the prickly pear can be eaten raw but is most delicious when made into a wine or syrup.

Where to stay: Check into a cozy cabin or tiny house at Verde Valley, and while you’re there, head to Alcantara Winery, which is conveniently located right next to Verde Valley.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

IG @saltypinkpineapple, from a cozy cabin in Williamsburg in VA.

Looking for a way to show your appreciation for your favorite Mom on Mother’s Day? Check out these great ideas to make her next glamping trip one she will never forget.

Treat Her to Breakfast: Whip up some avocado toast using Coughlan’s Camp Stove Toaster ($4.99/cabelas.com) and serve it up with a spicy, virgin Bloody Mary. Check out Harry and David’s Bloody Mary Mix set which comes complete with garnishes ($49.99/harryanddavid.com).

Breakfast toast on outdoor camp stove toaster

Have Her Hikin’ in Style: From top to bottom, make sure Mom is well suited for any hike. REI’s Co-op Vented Explorer Hat is made of organic cotton and provides USP 50+ sun protection ($40/rei.com). L.L. Bean’s Darn Tough CoolMax Micro Cushion Socks ($21/llbean.com) are moisture wicking and quick drying and the performance fit helps eliminate bunching and blisters.

Comfort Beside the Campfire: While it might not be possible to give Mom a relaxing spa treatment while glamping, you can make sure her campfire chair provides all the right support. Consider gifting her with STRONGBACK’s Heavy Duty Camp Chair with Lumbar Support ($100/amazon.com).

Play Her Favorite Games: Is she a whiz at cards, or maybe rolling the old bones is her favorite pastime? Orvis offers the perfect compromise with their Campfire Games Set ($30/orvis.com), which includes 52 waterproof playing cards, six dice, and instructions for three different campfire-friendly games.

Orvis Campfire Games Set

Sweets for the Sweetest: After a delightful dinner prepared by her crew, give Mom the perfect sweet treat the whole family can enjoy. Cuisinart’s Love 6 S’more Maker can prepare six s’mores at once on a camping grill ($14/homedepot.com). Gooey fun for the whole family!

Gourmet Greatness: Looking to give mom a little bit s’more? Try amping up her s’mores game for the occasion with a s’mores kit from 1927 S’mores ($18.00). Each component is made from scratch, and the attention comes through in taste. Appropriately named for the year the s’more was invented, this company is making flavor a priority, with offerings such as cocoa espresso, triple chocolate, and peppermint.

Gourmet S’mores

Guarantee the Memories: Make sure the trip and every detail of the experience is remembered for years to come. Check out the selection of camping journals at amazon.com. We like the Family Camping Journal ($8.99), which has more than 100 pages to record all the deets!

Give Her A Cozy Night’s Sleep: Ensure a perfect end to a perfect day by making light’s out is as cozy as possible for Mom. Start with L.L. Bean’s Flannel Camp Pillow ($30/llbean.com) that is lined with soft flannel on one side and is machine washable. Then toss in the L.L. Bean Mountain Classic Camp Blanket ($70/llbean.com) for the perfect lightweight blanket. And, since Mom’s got the day (and night) off, guarantee her an uninterrupted sleep with the REI’s Louis N Clark Comfort Eye Mask and Ear Plug Set ($13/rei.com).