4-DAY ITINERARY IN BANGOR & BAR HARBOR, MAINE
TRIP DATE: JUNE 17-20, 2019
The last time I travelled to Maine was when I was really little. My family and I would often visit the Ogunquit area with my grandparents, but after my grandfather passed, we stopped going. Ogunquit and the Marginal Way was really all I knew about Maine, so when I was asked to visit the town of Bangor and Bar Harbor, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As I often do before a trip, I Googled both places, and I was excited at the opportunity to see what I would find. I was able to invite someone to come with me to help snap some pictures and without a doubt in my mind, I wanted to invite my mother. It seemed so fitting, as we always talked about going back to Maine one day! Cheers to four-day mother/daughter trips! If you’re wondering where Bangor and Bar Harbor fall on a map, I’ll include one below.
We started our four-day trip with a flight to Bangor, Maine. When we arrived, we went straight to Hertz to pick up a car. Was renting a car essential? Yes! We used the car to get everywhere in Bangor, and of course, we needed it to drive down to Bar Harbor. We didn’t need it so much once we arrived in Bar Harbor, as the town is walkable, but we did need it for Acadia National Park (more to come on that gem later).
Once we finished with getting our car, our first order of business was to check-in to our hotel but the room wasn’t quite ready, no worries! We hopped back in the car and headed to Orono Bog Walk to pass the time. This was actually the perfect way to get off a flight — a walk in nature! We started walking through the path, and we loved how lush and green it was, like walking through a bit of a magical story book.
We found this beautiful pathway that we had to stop at to take a few pictures. As we were doing that, it didn’t take long before the biters (mosquitos) found me. We both realized we didn’t put on bug spray (DON’T FORGET BUG SPRAY!) — I seem to remember packing up so fast and speed walking out of there and mom laughing so hard at me because she thought I was practically running and couldn’t keep up with me.
Mom and I will laugh about that story for quite some time! Question is, would we suggest it? Absolutely, it’s beautiful in there, but just remember lots of bug spray!
After the bog walk, we drove around town and happily got lost checking out all the homes. Mom and I love getting lost in neighbourhoods and going down any street that calls to us. We found that the older homes here had so much character, some were painted purple and other a classic creme or white and they were all so different. One house in particular that was really unique was one that belongs to Stephen King. If you don’t know who Stephen King is, he’s a famous horror author who has written stories that some of you have definitely heard of, “Carrie,” “The Shining,” “Pet Cemetery,” and the list goes on! My mom is a huge fan, so stopping at his house was really cool!
After we got checked in, we settled in and wanted to grab some dinner. Timber restaurant came highly recommended, so we decided to try it out, and boy did it not disappoint! The food was amazing, especially their flatbreads. I didn’t think something so simple would be so incredible, but they said they make them in-house and that they’re a crowd favourite. If you plan on going to Bangor, make sure you stop by.
We checked out of our hotel and started our 70-minute drive to Bar Harbor. One thing we’ll say about the drive is give yourself and extra hour or two to stop off along the way! We passed so many antique shops and cute little restaurants on the way, like The Happy Clam shack. I personally would’ve loved some extra time and some serious room in my luggage to bring home all the antiques.
When we arrived in Bar Harbor, my first impression was, “This is the cutest little village that’s straight out of a storybook I read when I was younger.” Like the older houses in Bangor, this town had so much character. All the buildings were differently shaped and decorated; it made us excited to walk around and see what it was all about. We decided to first figure out our check-in at the Bar Harbor Inn. You know when you walk through a building and you can feel it has so much history? That’s what Bar Harbor Inn felt like. I wasn’t wrong, the Inn was built in 1887, but it became an official inn in 1950. It sits right on the water, and it’s the perfect place to watch the boats come in and out of the harbor.
We took our time settling in, and in the afternoon, we hopped on a nature sightseeing tour. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Mount Desert area (which is where we were) and also see what Maine has to offer in terms of wildlife, then this is a great tour. Note for all your photographers out there, bring a zoom lens! We spotted several bald eagles and many seals, but the boat can only get so close to them. I would also suggest dressing warm and bring binoculars so you can follow along with the boat guide who catches all the sightings.
After our tour, we grabbed dinner at our hotel and this is where Maine blew our minds. As my mom scanned the dessert menu, she noticed they had blueberry pie. We were noticing blueberries more and more when we’d walk around town. When we asked our server, “Hey, what’s with all the blueberries?” he responded that Maine is the number one producer in the world for wild blueberries. In the world? Yes!! In the world! I know, it’s crazy right? Now it was all making sense as to why we would find blueberry everything in town — blueberry jams, blueberry ice cream, blueberry pies, blueberry pancakes, etc. When you go to Bar Harbor, try everything blueberry. If you don’t like blueberries, well…sorry.
After dinner, we took a stroll through town and heard that crossing over to Bar Island was doable at this time. Bar Island is an island you could see right across the water and when low tide hits, you can easily walk to the other side or if you’re in a good SUV you can drive across. Don’t get ambitious with a car, we saw one try and they got stuck trying to get through all the loose rock areas. It only took us about 15 to 20 minutes from the Inn to where the crossing started, and we stayed for a few hours until the sun went down. It was beautiful and so worth the time. We saw so many couples just sitting here enjoying time together. We even caught a kid frolicking in the water, but he must’ve had no nerve ending because the water this time of year is still FREEZING!!! But hey, to each his own, and he seemed to be having the time of his life!
The day we were so excited about, visiting Acadia National Park! Visiting this park was on both mom and my list to visit, and it’s one of the top reasons people visit Bar Harbor. We drove about 10 minutes to get there and paid $30 for a week pass. We decided to go as early as possible since we knew there would most likely be some crowds wherever we went, and turns out we were right. We were there on a weekday, and it was busy so I can’t imagine what a weekend would look like. We started with Sand Beach as we thought this would be one place that would fill up quickly. It was a bit of a foggy day, but it made the beach so mysterious and moody. We spent about an hour here, and when it was time to go, we noticed how much the beach filled up in that amount of time. Moral of this story is get started as early as you can to deal with less crowds.
We headed back up the stairs towards the car and realized how many more people had now parked their cars. We decided to leave ours where it was and start walking toward Thunder Hole, which is another place we wanted to visit. We stopped at so many little paths along the way and those lead to some beautiful views of the rocky coastline. I strongly suggest you do this, park the car where you can and then stop off in as many areas as you want. You can easily do this all day and then also enjoy a beautiful sunset on the rocks. When we finally arrived at Thunder Hole which is said to blow water as high as 40 feet. We stuck around for about 15 minutes and then headed back to the car. Someone told us that either you should get to Thunder Hole as early as possible or come back at night if you want to avoid a lot of the crowds.
The afternoon brought us onto the Margaret Todd. What or who is Margaret Todd? Glad you asked! She is a MASSIVE five-sail sailboat, and she’s beautiful! This boat ride was an easy-going nature tour around the area. Personally, I think one nature tour is enough to get a good understanding of the area, but if you’re a huge nature buff, this might be a good one to hop on. Note that you should listen when they say, “bundle up!” Wear a jacket, hat and gloves. I thought it was so ridiculous to be bundled this much, so I was in a sweater, but I was frozen! They offer you blankets on the boat, but I would’ve been much more comfortable in a windbreaker, jacket and hat.
After our boat ride, which was about 2 hours, we were exhausted and so ready to grab dinner. We walked around town and stumbled on a restaurant that came highly recommended, Havana. Oh. My. Goodness!! This food was delicious, and I strongly suggest anyone go and try it out. We got a super fresh tuna salad in an avocado, a couple of lobster rolls and some kind of potato pancake. I can’t remember what the pancake was called but it turned out to be incredible!
This was our last day! We checked out of the beautiful Bar Harbor Inn, packed up the car and headed to Acadia National Park one last time to see Cadillac Mountain. Only problem was that it was a really foggy morning and was scheduled to rain all day. As we drove up the mountain, we soon realized we wouldn’t have any view once we got up there. My suggestion is to take advantage of seeing any views in the park when you have beautiful weather. On a better note, I had been noticing a lot of lupine (a beautiful purple weed) on the side of the road while driving around and someone was telling me that they only grow wild in Maine.
There isn’t a specific area or field to find them you just need to look around for them. WELL! On this foggy day, we found a lupine field on the side of the road, and I had my mom pull over as I went to run through it (you’ll see more of that in a vlog coming up!). Not only was I now standing in a field full of lupines, but a deer in the distance was just standing there, still and looking at me. I stood there for a good 30 seconds looking at him before heading back to the car. It was a really magical moment that I won’t ever forget.
Because we couldn’t really see much, we opted to stuff our faces instead. We headed to Thrive Juice Bar just before leaving, and I’m so happy we did! We had the most incredible avocado toast and smoothie bowls. I’ve tried MANY avo-toasts from all over the world and the bread at Thrive made this avo-toast so good! As we were sitting at Thrive, we got a notification that one of our flights was cancelled. Mom and I both needed to get back to Montreal on the 20th, as I had to leave that night for another trip and mom had to work the next day. We knew that one cancelled flight would mean that we would only get into Montreal the next day and that wasn’t going to work. So we made the decision to drive the 7 hours home instead. Turns out that the drive is really nice and we came across so many little towns that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Save this to Pinterest for later!