When it comes to things to do in Bar Harbor, Maine, we have the perfect ways to spend two days – the first occupied with the offerings at Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina; the second, a full day in town.
Day On at Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina
Stroll the Shore Path at Sunrise
While most head to Cadillac Mountain (the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard in Acadia National Park) at sunrise, instead, take a ramble on the one-mile Bar Harbor Shore Path accessible right from Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina. The mellow walking trail runs along the eastern shore of Mount Desert Island, following the curve of the bay and giving walkers gorgeous views of the harbor and surrounding islands. You’ll also pass historic mansions, wild roses, and pristine tidal areas along the shore.
Relax and Revive at Bar Harbor Club
Situated on the edge of Frenchman Bay on the property of Harborside Hotel, this Tudor-style building – once the private playground for Gilded Age millionaires – was renovated and reopened in 2009. It’s the perfect place to spend your morning, soaking in the oceanfront pool and 50-person hot tub. If it’s not quite swimming-weather season, retreat to its five-room spa, offering everything from restorative facials and deep-tissue massages to manicures and pedicures and other salon services.
Lunch in La Bella Vita
With earthy tones, copper pots, and handcrafted Italian mosaics, the hotel’s signature restaurant offers an exceptional Bar Harbor dining experience that builds on the traditions of an Italian trattoria. Select from fresh flatbread pizza, mouthwatering antipasti, and small tapas-style dishes, and opt to dine on the outdoor terrace to take in the tranquil harbor views.
Go Lobstering with LuLu
Starting its summer touring season in May, LuLu Lobster Boat is a classic Downeast-style lobster boat that offers daily tours at 1 p.m., departing right from the dock at the hotel. Narrated by rugged, joke-tossing Mainer Captain John Nicolai, the two-hour excursions educate guests on how to pull traps, the anatomy of lobsters, and the sustainability of the fishery.
Dinner at Stewman’s
After an education in lobster, why not a feast of lobster? Located next door to the hotel, Stewman’s Lobster Pound is just the place. Perched over Frenchman Bay in a red building adorned with colorful buoys on its exterior, the restaurant is home to lobster practically any which way you can have it: lobster crab cakes, lobster stew, lobster bisque, chilled and served in cobb salad, in a roll, and of course, in the rough.
Day Off in Bar Harbor
Breakfast at Café This Way
Located in a sprawling white cottage on Mount Desert Street (just south of the Village Green), this quirky eatery is the place for breakfast in Bar Harbor. While known for a robust menu, serving everything from all assortments of omelets, benedicts, organic oatmeal, and more, what they are best known for are their plump blueberry pancakes, made with Maine blueberries and local maple syrup.
Crash Course in Acadia
It is virtually impossible to take in all that Acadia National Park has to offer in just a day, or a weekend – or even a week, at that. So for something of “the greatest hits collection” of the park rolled into a few hours, book the four-hour morning tour with Oli’s Trolley. Departing from downtown Bar Harbor, the old-fashioned trolley car with polished brass handrails and solid oak seating heads to all corners of the 47,000-acre park, including the biggest attractions: Cadillac Mountain, the Jordan Pond Area, Wild Gardens of Acadia, the Nature Center of Acadia, Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, and Otter Cliffs.
Devour the Downtown Shopping Scene
Home to a tight cluster of shops – particular on the streets of Main Street and Cottage – downtown Bar Harbor is a shopper’s paradise worthy of spending an afternoon. A few of our favorites to check out: In the Woods, featuring beautiful made-in-Maine wooden bowls, utensils, and walking sticks from locally downed trees; Island Artisans, a gallery showcasing the work of more than 100 state artists; and Bar Harbor Tea Company, selling all-natural, premium teas artfully blended in small batches right here in the store.
Enjoy a Dinner fit for an Irishman
You’ll find a piece of the Emerald Isle on the corner of Bar Harbor’s West Street and Main in the form of Paddy’s Irish Pub. All tables, chairs, the bar, and other furniture were shipped from Ireland. But what’s particularly eye-catching is the glass-enclosed floor-to-ceiling rotisserie that separates the dining room from the lounge, slowly spit-roasting whole chickens, pork racks, and ribeyes.
Savor a Sunset Cruise
Cap the evening off with a sunset sail on the 151-foot schooner Margaret Todd on Frenchman Bay. Departing at 6:30 p.m. sharp, the two-hour tour on the four-mast, steel-hulled vessel travels around the Porcupine Islands at dusk and features live music. Bring your own wine to toast.
Where to Stay Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina