Best of New England, ME 2011: Place to Appreciate the Gilded Age
The Gilded Age of the late 19th century often gets a bum rap, what with all the tales of robber barons and Pinkertons keeping down the masses. But that era’s legacy gets a makeover at the once-exclusive resort village of Bar Harbor on the fringes of Mount Desert Island, which is now very much open to the hoi polloi. Charming shingle-style estates cluster around the central square, offering affordable lodging to a curious mix of foreigners, RVers, Deadheads, and surfers, along with remnants of the old-money clan that made MDI all the rage. They all flock next door to Acadia National Park, a natural wonder set aside thanks to the forward-looking conservation efforts of tycoons of long ago.