Friday, September 7, 2012

More Maine-ly About Maine--the Forgotten Blog

WHOA there, Sparky, I thought you were in Michigan! Yep, we are, but I had forgotten I started this blog and it had a few things I left out of my OTHER Bar Harbor bye-bye blog. And besides, Bar Harbor was so wonderful, it takes TWO blogs to cover it all. So here it is, a few more tips, a handy dandy carriage road trail guide that I forgot to put in the Bar Harbor blog AND one of my favorite photos of our campground and then we'll come back to Michigan.

You know, we stayed in Bar Harbor and Maine for seven weeks, and neither one of us got hitch itch. That makes it one of our new top favorite places to stay....
Sunset at Mount Desert Narrows Campground
There was so much to do here....hike the fantastic trails in Acadia, bike the carriage roads, watch the boats and ships come into the many harbors around Mount Desert Island, explore the little harbor towns, try out little restaurants on the water, sample lobster and blueberry everything, do the ranger talks, and take in all the fantastic scenery which can change from minute to minute.....

And of course, Sparky has to add to our list of favorite places to eat. We did not eat at the $$$$ restaurants, we tried to keep to more moderate or less expensive places. There are many, MANY excellent places to eat, these are just the ones we tried and enjoyed. There are some great ones on the side streets of Bar Harbor that people often miss because they don't go exploring the side streets.  Here are the ones we tried, more than once. :-)

1. Jeannie's for breakfast...really good breakfast burritos....also called Jeannie's Great Maine Breakfast.

2. Trenton Lighthouse--also good for breakfast and less expensive than Jeannie's, near the Trenton Bridge.

3. Seafood Ketch--in Bass Harbor--great seafood, great view on the water for watching lobster boats come in and out, wonderful homemade bread made daily served with meals, great CHOWDAH!

4. Jack Russell Steakhouse and Brewery--nice, cozy tavern atmosphere, decent food, in Bar Harbor on the way into town from Mount Desert Narrows.

5. Rosalie's Pizza--downtown Bar Harbor, fresh dough and sauce made daily...thin crust or thicker, your choice. Excellent pizza. Not too spicy.

6. Rupununi's--great chowdah! (That's Maine talk for chowder) Nice salads, good menu selection, on the main street, down town Bar Harbor

7. Lobster pounds--Trenton Lobster Pound seems to be a favorite, but all the "pounds"--places to get lobster steamed and cooked fresh every day, are all over the island. We tried Lunt's and it was ok.

As far as things to do, almost everybody does the Cadillac Mountain trip up to the top to watch the sunrise or sunset, maybe they'll drive the Park Loop Road or do a whale watch boat tour and perhaps visit Sand Beach, but there is so much more not to be missed. Here are "Where's Eldo?" Bar Harbor/Mount Desert Island visitor tips:

1. More trails that are not as well known..These are not as populated, we have found--
the Jessup Trail (easy), Kebo Mountain (moderate), Hunter's Beach (easy), Flying Mountain    (moderate) and the Bass Harbor Marsh Fire Road (easy) which can be biked, about 3 miles. The trails with ladders and rungs--Precipice and Beehive-- are NOT for small children or pets, so say the rangers.

2. Do the Whale Watch Tour offered down at the harbor....even if whale viewing is not optimal, the narrated tour is excellent!

3. Do a lobster boat tour--you learn so much about the life of a lobsterman and about the lobsters

4.. Don't miss the Oceanarium--see previous blog about that, wonderful little place. Especially great for families with children, and big kids, too! It's a very small operation, but very interesting!

5. Use the Acadia visitor's center often for wonderful information, helpful tips from the rangers, and there are some great guides to purchase for getting the most out of your stay in Acadia. Pick up the free Beaver Log, the park's newspaper for all kinds of information and bus schedules for the park. The ranger station at Jordan Pond has a great map with a list labeling all the locations of the carriage road bridges. This is something a park employee made for visitors.

6. Ride the Island Express bus just about anywhere on the island for FREE! You can access almost any hike when you want without having to worry about finding parking or parking on the highway shoulders in peak summer season. Best times for hiking or biking and getting a parking spot if you are taking your car to the trailhead--before 9:30 AM and after 4:00 PM. during the busy summer months.

7. If you have your passports, don't miss Campobello Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, about a two hour drive from Mount Desert Island, just across the water from Lubec, Maine--the summer home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It's free.  Hiking trails, a couple of carriage road drives, beaches, gift and craft shops, FDR's home, the Roosevelt International Park, a golf course, a lighthouse station...very pretty. The drive out to the island is on Highway 1 North, the Schoodic Scenic Byway.

8. Best lobster for the money? Look for specials, there's a lot of competition for your lobster dollar in Bar Harbor and the surrounding towns. The lobster "pounds" are very Maine. Try one there! And there are the side road stands advertising cheap lobster and seafood as well.

9. When navigating around the carriage roads by bike or walking, the signposts are not clear. Visit the local bike shops to get more specific information about biking the carriage roads. A LOT of people are confused about the signage in the carriage roads, not just Sparky. Even the locals will tell you the signs are confusing! Here is a great chart from Southwest Cycle Shop on the carriage road sign sequences for biking the carriage roads. Wish I had had the list from day one when we got here!

Carriage Road Bike Routes 10. For you crafters, Sewing by the Sea is a small but jam packed sewing center with machines and fabric. Not a lot of fabric choices for serious quilters, but in a pinch, you can find a LOT of different things. Great supply of books and patterns. They even carry a little bit of knitting supplies. There's another sewing/quilting shop in Southwest Harbor just before you come into the center of town in a little shopping center that has a VERY nice selection of quilter fabrics AND a wonderful selection of knitting supplies, yarn and needles.

11. Here is a link to the park service website for frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Acadia:

12. Check out the St. Saviour's Episcopal Church in downtown Bar Harbor, built in 1877, with ELEVEN Tiffany stained glass windows. Free tours are available. One of the most beautiful interiors I have seen on my travels. It's on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of the stained glass windows is a very modern one with the Jackson Laboratory, a DNA strand, and other scientific symbols etched into the glass. A VERY beautiful church....Here is the knave....
Although we've said goodbye to Bar Harbor, we'll be back some day...We'll see "Where's Eldo?" is going to be.....


  1. You can sure tell you both loved spending the summer in Maine. I can't wait to go!

  2. Oh! This is a wonderful blog and resource! It's been saved for next year too. If it's even half as wonderful as you say, I'll hate to leave.

  3. Hopefully your not going back to FLORIDA GRANDE this year. I hear the new owner is EXTORTING the lot owners $20,000 cash each!!! Those poor owners paid for their lots in full, and paid double or triple the value. I was at the good sam and fmca rally this summer and EVERYONE is talking about it!!!! The word is to STAY AWAY from Florida Grande!!! Owners and going to picket, bulldoze their lots, and call all sorts of news stations. Who wants to be in the middle of that battle?? I hear the fees doubled and could be $400 a month next year...WOW!!! BOYCOTT FLORIDA GRANDE.....SPREAD THE WORD!!!!