Known in the late 19th century as the summer escape for many of America’s wealthiest elite (as well as the birthplace of Nelson Rockefeller), Bar Harbor, Maine is still polka-dotted with luxe hotels and mansions. But it’s the salty-dog attitude of local New Englanders who give it flavor. Just turn a corner on any street in “Bah Hahbah” and you’re bound to find an eclectic and memorable experience.
From the homey wooden tables of Looking Glass Restaurant, look one way to see Frenchman’s Bay and another to take in Acadia National Park. Chef Montes stresses that good food is all about the best ingredients and practiced preparation. 50 Eden St., 888-439-8439, wonderviewinn.com.
2 Cats is a cozy bed and breakfast popular among locals for morning meals. Savor hot chocolate served in oversized mugs and edible flowers nestled between lobster omelets and muffins with strawberry butter. 130 Cottage St., 207-288-2808, 2catsbarharbor. com.
No trip to Bar Harbor would be complete without a stop at Geddy’s Pub. On brightly painted chairs, try not to chuckle with your mouth full over munchies called “Sea Balls,” “Spam on the Half Shell,” and “Salmon Guppies.” 19 Main St., 207-288-5077, geddys.com.
Besides enjoying the obvious beauty of Acadia National Park, take your pick of bicycling, hiking, swimming, boating, camping, and more. Kids can visit the Nature Center or take part in the Junior Ranger Program. Don’t forget your granola! Rt. 33, McFarland Hill, 207-288-3338, nps.gov/acad.
From September 17 to 21, celebrate natural wonders at the Acadia Night Sky Festival through exploration, ecology, astronomy, and the arts in this brand new festival. nightskyfestival.org.
Swing by the Bar Harbor Inn between August 14 and 16 to get your paws on some one-of-a-kind art produced by both local and not-so-local artists at the 2nd Annual Bar Harbor Fine Arts Festival. Newport Dr., 207-244-9107, barharborinfo.com/events.
Located only a couple of blocks from Main Street, the Black Friar Inn & Pub’s quirky rooms each voice different Medieval personalities. 10 Summer St., 207-288-5091, blackfriarinn.com.
Ready to spoil yourself? The Harborside Hotel and Marina is the town’s newest luxury hotel with two restaurants, a lounge, pool bar, marina, and spa. 55 West St., 207-288-5033, theharborsidehotel.com.
Opened in 1903, Balance Rock Inn has undergone a facelift, which hasn’t detracted from its “Gilded Age” ambiance and beauty. 21 Albert Meadow, 800-753-0494, balancerockinn.com.