What's your favorite music festival in Maine
Ignite your senses and visit Bar Harbor, Maine
As one of the busiest cities in Maine, we wanted to find out what got Bar Harbor going so far. Speaking to Jessica Donahue, we discovered the city's plethora of cultural attractions, as well as the vibrant beauty of its lakes and forests - features that make a wonderful escape for any visitor.
Where Should Culture Lovers Go In Bar Harbor?
Culture vultures will find their home in every corner of Bar Harbor. The Bar Harbor Historical Society, founded in 1946, oversees collections and exhibitions of photographs, paintings, and clothing from the Golden Age. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in the rich and fascinating history and heritage of Mount Desert Island.
The Abbe Museum celebrates the heritage, culture, history, and archeology of the Native American Americans. Changing exhibitions and educational programs for visitors of all ages take place here. In the College of the Atlantic, visitors will find the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History. This museum is entirely designed and produced by the college students and focuses on the natural world of Maine. Culture and adventure lovers will also find that Bar Harbor offers a variety of hiking, boating, and air tours around the island.
What is Bar Harbor's proudest moment?
Bar Harbor's proudest moment actually hasn't happened yet, but it's extremely close. Acadia National Park, less than five miles from downtown Bar Harbor, will celebrate its centenary in 2016. Many events are scheduled throughout the year, and more than two hundred organizations, companies, and individuals have come together to plan a community-based and world welcome ceremony.
Where are the sights in your city?
While there are plenty of fun things to do in Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island, here are some not to be missed. Hop aboard a catamaran or windjammer to cruise around Frenchmen's Bay and see Maine's rocky coastline filled with wildlife and natural wonders. Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island also offer the best kayaks and canoes in the nation. All skill levels will find an opportunity to test their skills. Whether you have your own gear or take a guided tour that takes you through the Porcupine Islands, families and individuals will enjoy the sights along Maine's rocky coast. The Mount Desert Oceanarium features the Maine Lobster Museum, hiking tours, and a one-of-a-kind lobster farm.
A whale cleaning its breath hole is just one of the amazing sights to enjoy on a summer whale watching tour. Off the coast of Bar Harbor, migratory birds and whales travel Maine's cooler waters to feed for the summer. Then they return to warmer climates to mate and give birth. You're almost certain to find a shark, dolphin, seal, or puffin too! There is only one lighthouse on Mount Desert Island: Bass Harbor Head Light. The light is still fully functional and guards the southern entrance of Blue Hill Bay. This lighthouse is still operated by the US Coast Guard and is on the National Historic Register. Visitors can tour the lighthouse site, but because it is operational, they cannot go inside the lighthouse itself. There are five other lighthouses nearby, which can be seen on one of the scenic cruises from downtown Bar Harbor.
Why do you think your city made the top 10 in Maine?
Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, and Mount Desert Island are gems in the state of Maine. While it's not a well-kept secret, visitors find that the area is not overrun by tourism and is a comfortable vacation spot. Acadia National Park offers over 50 square miles of mountains, lakes, hiking, biking, and dramatic views of the coast and the Atlantic Ocean. Billions of visitors have been welcomed over the past 200 years. This area is not recommended on any trip to Maine.
Tell us about the typical local cuisine in your area.
Lobster, lobster, lobster and more lobster! Our juicy Maine lobster, caught just off the coast of Mount Desert Island, is the reason many people travel to Bar Harbor. You could eat a different lobster every day!
Where is the right place to experience this?
For the best of Bar Harbor lobster, head to West Street Cafe, a popular family eatery that specializes in fresh lobster and other seafood. And don't forget to stop at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream for dessert. Your Maine Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream is what dreams are for! One of Acadia National Park's unique man-made gems is Jordan Pond House, which has served afternoon tea with popovers and jams (as well as a full menu) since the 1890s. This is a tradition for returning visitors.
What makes your city unique? Is it the people, the sights, the food scene or something completely different?
There is a special mystique about Bar Harbor. Surrounded by Acadia National Park and on an island, Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor is not only an adventure but also a romance, and sits perfectly between the rocky coast and the towering granite mountains and cliffs. It is an incomparable place that draws visitors back year after year.
What is Bar Harbor's best kept secret?
One of the best and newest attractions is the walking tours now on offer in downtown Bar Harbor - learn about the people, heritage, and landscapes that have shaped Bar Harbor today. If you feel like it, there are even tours that celebrate the area's haunted history.
What brings tourists to your city?
Acadia National Park is a major attraction for visitors to Mount Desert Island and Bar Harbor. On the island, Bar Harbor is the main service center for the region. Here you will find restaurants, sights and accommodations.
Do you have any exciting events coming up?
There's always something going on in Bar Harbor! There will be a beer festival in January featuring local craftsmanship, music and lively fun at Atlantic Brewing Company. In May there is the "Taste of Bar Harbor" event, which is a three-day celebration of Maine Food. Downtown Bar Harbor's Village Green is also home to many craft fairs, live concerts, and even Maine movie nights.
The community also hosts one of the premier night sky events on the east coast of the United States. Held in September each year, the annual Acadia Night Sky Festival features a full calendar of events from nationally recognized speakers to workshops and hands-on experiences. There is something for everyone from families to the serious astronomer!
What should I spend my last $ 5 on in Bar Harbor?
Your last $ 5 should be spent on an ice cream cone. Not just any ice cream cone, we'd go straight to Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium and order a chocolate-covered waffle cone filled with decadent and rich, homemade lobster ice cream made from real Maine lobster.
What's the most bizarre Bar Harbor tradition?
Have you ever seen a team of costumed runners pushing a bed down the street and running at full speed? The Bar Harbor Early Bird Pajama Sale & Bed Races are held every November. This is the only time of year when you are asked to shop in your pajamas. Prizes are given for the fastest bed and best decorated, to name a couple.
The Bar Harbor Historical Society is one of the winners of The Culture Trip in Maine Local Favorite 2015. The Local Favorite Badge is awarded to our favorite cities, restaurants, artists, galleries and everything in between. We are passionate about showcasing popular local talent on a global scale. That is why we have cultivated a carefully selected but growing community.
Interview by Isabelle Pitman
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