Weekend Retreat: Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park

Where to Stay

Only a mile from Acadia National Park, the Manor House Inn is perfect for adventure-seeking travelers with a big appetite. The inn offers a hearty home-baked breakfast buffet every morning, before sending outdoorsy types out for a hike. The Victorian bed and breakfast, located in the center of Bar Harbor’s West Street Historic District, is the perfect place to rest in between plotting excursions.

If you’re vacationing for the views, you’ll enjoy the towering pines and ocean breezes at the Inn at Bay Ledge, also in Bar Harbor. Perched atop an 80-foot rocky ledge, the inn offers stellar views of Frenchman Bay and golden marmalade sunsets. And on that perfect late summer day, guests can follow a winding set of stairs down to a pristine private beach, an amenity that’s hard to come by anywhere else on Maine’s rocky coast.

The more tranquil side of Acadia can be found at Northeast Harbor’s Asticou Inn. The inn’s turn of the century décor, stellar service, and unfaltering atmosphere have maintained all the charisma of a bygone era. Guests can also rent one of the three private houses, where you’ll get to experience life in a simple cottage setting.

Where to Eat

Forgot your trail mix? Make a pit stop at Jordan’s Pond House, conveniently located within the limits of the park. Serving lunch to hungry campers and hikers for more than 100 years, this eatery can provide everything you need for a day of wandering. Order the ice cream filled popovers, or even a sophisticated afternoon tea while resting your sore feet.

For an elegant dinner, Bar Harbor’s Mache Bistro features a weekly changing menu of ocean fresh seafood. The restaurant’s chefs scour local farms for the perfect produce, concocting original options to accompany more than 50 wines. But save dessert for another sweet spot in Southwest Harbor.

Replace all of the calories you’ve burned scaling peaks at Red Sky, where the house-made treats include Magical Lemon Cake and the sinful Bittersweet Belgian Chocolate Pudding. Eat all you want, because you’ll surely work it all off again by taking on one of the many other popular activities in the area.

Where to Play

Downeast Maine isn’t all about the mountains, there are also many tiny islands that are worth a visit. Kayak to Deer Isle and spend the day roaming the endless hiking paths or photographing the natural wildlife. Or let Lulu Lobster Boat steer the way. Hop aboard the vessel, and lobstermen will show off their tricks of the trade, and perhaps introduce you to a few cuddly harbor seals. Other options include the Atlantic Climbing School, where guests learn how to rock climb from expert guides, or visit the Maine Lighthouse Museum for a grand tour of quintessential Maine landmarks.

So much to do, so little time. Maybe you should stay one more day?