Bar Harbor isn’t somewhere I’ve spent a lot of time during my years in Maine. I visited a few times early on and then, somewhat to avoid crowds, and also because there are just so many other amazing places to visit around the state (and as I’ve stated, a little further up the coast is really where my heart lies) my visits tapered off.
Somehow it had been several years when we made our return trip, generously invited to spend the weekend in Winter Harbor. Our first day there we rented bikes and toured the carriage roads. I’m no biking pro, and had no idea what to expect going into this, but it ended up being one of the highlights of the weekend. What a fun way to tour the park, avoid the crowded parking lots, and do something we don’t always find ourselves doing on vacation.
The following morning we booked a puffin cruise. It’s the type of thing that seems touristy – okay, maybe it is touristy – but it turned out to me much more enjoyable than I think any of us anticipated. It was overcast and a little chilly when we set out, but by the end of the cruise, the sun was out, we’d all enjoyed some time on the water, and of course, we saw loads of puffins and seals.
One of the benefits of staying in Winter Harbor vs. Bar Harbor is a little extra peace and quiet. On top of that, it’s incredibly easy to access the portion of Acadia that’s at the tip of the Schoodic Peninsula. This is a beautiful section of road, with a few hiking options and plenty of places to get out of the car and climb out onto the rocks. If you bring bikes with you (or if you rent them in Winter Harbor!) this is a really nice loop.
Dan couldn’t leave town without a jump in the ocean, so we drove part of the Park Loop Road on our last morning in town, found a spot to swim, and toured around a bit. We ultimately ended up at Echo Lake Beach for a second swim before meandering home, being sure to stop at my favorite Bagaduce Lunch in Penobscot for lunch.