Bar Harbor, Maine

Photo: West Street Hotel
Photo: West Street Hotel

Craving blueberries, lobsters, and real ice cream? You’re going to have to work for them on Mount Desert Island in northeastern Maine. The island may be known for the idyllic town of Bar Harbor–so picturesque that it was originally called Eden–but it’s also the home of Acadia National Park. So you’ll have to hike, bike, or be boring and drive through the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River to enjoy your summertime treats. Just try not to enjoy yourself too much in the process.

There are trails for everyone in the granite peaks of Acadia. The easy Ocean Trail along the waterfront begins at Sand Beach, winds past Thunder Hole, and ends up at Otter Point. Gorham Mountain, one of the most popular trails, has spectacular ocean views and wild blueberries along the trail. And the Precipice Trail, for experts only, is a vertical climb up the face of Champlain Mountain. Bike the historic carriage roads–over stone bridges and past waterfalls–in the heart of the park. Or drive Park Loop Road to the top of Cadillac Mountain, stopping at all the pullover points along the way.

Photo: West Street Hotel
Photo: West Street Hotel

Once you’ve had your fill of the view–or are at least ready for a different vantage point–descend into Bar Harbor. The rooftop pool at the West Street Hotel looks out over Frenchman Bay and the outer islands. Seems like the ideal place to watch the sun rise in the morning, if you can’t drag yourself back up Cadillac Mountain in time. The hotel has nautical decor, though not in the cheesy way. More like whitewashed walls, white and blue linens, and pops of red. Balconies overlook the harbor, where at low tide, a sand bar connects the town to Bar Island. And the bathrooms have heated floors. It may be summer, but you’re still in Maine.

If you’re stomach starts to grumble, it’s probably because you can smell the food at Paddy’s Irish Pub downstairs. Eat smoked seafood chowder and a lobster salad–finally, lobster–with a Bar Harbor True Blue Ale. If the beer’s subtle blueberry flavor isn’t enough, there’s always blueberry pie for dessert. And then get out on the water. Sea kayak toward the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. Search for humpback, finback, and minke whales on a whale watch. Or take a sunset cruise on the Margaret Todd. Back on dry land, wander into Carmen Verandah or Lompoc Cafe for live music. Just don’t forget to stop at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream at the end of the night. Your toughest decision of the day will be deciding between Maine sea salt caramel and blueberry basil.

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