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Overview

Bar Harbor, on Maine's far northern coast, has been a summer playground since the turn of the 20th century, when wealthy families who shunned the artifice of Newport society sought Bar Harbor’s refined quiet for their mansions – called “cottages” – by the sea. Their gardeners decorated the lawns with brilliant gardens that still overlook the ocean, although many of the grand homes that stand proudly above them are now B&Bs instead of society cottages. Encircling the town is Acadia National Park, whose soaring sea cliffs, tiny fishing harbors and tree-clad interior offer something for almost every taste.

Seaside campgrounds, ...

Bar Harbor, on Maine's far northern coast, has been a summer playground since the turn of the 20th century, when wealthy families who shunned the artifice of Newport society sought Bar Harbor’s refined quiet for their mansions – called “cottages” – by the sea. Their gardeners decorated the lawns with brilliant gardens that still overlook the ocean, although many of the grand homes that stand proudly above them are now B&Bs instead of society cottages. Encircling the town is Acadia National Park, whose soaring sea cliffs, tiny fishing harbors and tree-clad interior offer something for almost every taste.

Seaside campgrounds, coastal trails, sea caves, tiny cove beaches, lobster in the rough, leisurely carriage rides, ferry rides to offshore islands, genteel tea-times on the lawn of Jordan Pond House, sailing excursions and seafood dinners are only the beginning of the diversions this fashionable enclave and its environs offer visitors. Bar Harbor’s streets are lined with boutiques and cafes. It has long been a summer mecca for artists and fine craftsmen, whose works are shown and sold in galleries and studios throughout the region.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Much of Bar Harbor closes down in the winter, so don't expect much shopping, gallery hopping, cruise activity or nightlife then. Fall weather is usually beautiful, and most places remain open through mid-October.