The Island of Mount Desert and its surrounding area have so many things to offer. There are towns to visit such as Southwest Harbor, Ellsworth, Northeast Harbor, Blue Hill and Bass Harbor, and of course the main attraction to the area is Acadia National Park. There is whale watching, hiking, kayaking, and biking in Acadia. For a more relaxing day there are museums, galleries, antiquing, and lunch at the Chart House. Take a walk along Shore Path in Bar Harbor and have lunch at The Bar Harbor Inn overlooking the pier and Frenchman Bay. Spend some time in Acadia enjoying the beauty of Park Loop Road and Somes Sound.
The geography of MDI is diversely wonderful and the rock-bound coast and soaring granite cliffs are spectacular. From the stonewall-lined and tree-covered road leading you into Bar Harbor to the sweeping vistas from atop Cadillac Mountain, there is a special mystique. Nestled on the east side of Mt. Desert Island, surrounded by Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor has a variety of restaurants and shopping as well as hotels and other accommodations.
Looking at a map of Mt Desert (MDI) there is the Bar Harbor side on the right and the “quiet side” on the left. Since Acadia National Park covers half of the island, you will want to explore the entire area. One of my favorite places is Otter Cliffs. The view is incredible, and if you bring your lunch and a bottle of wine you can sit for hours enjoying the view overlooking the ocean. Take the three mile hike around Jordan Pond and reward yourself with popovers.
The island contains over 50 miles of carriage roads built and donated to Acadia National Park by primarily by John D. Rockefeller. These roads, also called carriage trails, are for the exclusive use of horseback riding, hiking and bicycling. No motor vehicles are allowed on these roads. Additionally, there are miles of hiking trails that go all over the mountains and around all of the lakes and ponds of the island. A hiking guide that is a personal favorite is A Walk in the Park, by Tom St. Germain (Parkman Publishing). Tom also owns and runs the Jack Russell Restaurant, famous for its steaks and lobster.
Whether looking for an active trip or a relaxing stay, Mount Desert Island has something for everyone. Multigenerational families visit as there are activities to satisfy all lifestyles, from the most strenuous rock climbing to a casual hike to relaxing at the seashore at Sand Beach. There are restaurants to satisfy all pallets from Maine Lobster to the highest quality beef, from French cuisine to vegetarian specialties. In the mood for beer? There are a number of beer pubs offering great local spirits to festive brews, Bar Harbor, Maine, and surrounding communities near Acadia National Park such as Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, and Ellsworth, offer a diverse selection of restaurants and other dining options including pubs and Maine seafood cookouts. The following information and links will aid you in your search and selection of a place to eat and relax while visiting the area.