Bar Harbor, Maine, originally incorporated as Eden on February 23, 1796, has a world renowned ambiance that is a blend of seashore community, Down East character, and the famous Maine Lobster. Part of Hancock County, it is the best known town on Mount Desert Island with an approximate population of 5,235 (per year 2010 census) and 28,800 scenic acres. Included within the municipality are the villages of Hulls Cove, Salisbury Cove, and Town Hill, as is a large portion of Acadia National Park. Because of this, people often refer to it all as being part of the same concept and place, as well as the same state of mind.
Bar Harbor is known for its stunning beauty, its many yachts and lobster boats, its view of islands and ocean in settings that can range from glistening sunlight to thick fog and mist. It is a place where life slows down so that we can appreciate nature and a people, living in a noticeable harmony with the land in which they live. Bar Harbor is a lifestyle, an aspiration, and a very special place. It is the center of activity for many island visitors seeking a variety of shops, restaurants, taverns, hotels, or bed and breakfasts as well as easy access to Acadia National Park.
Bar Harbor is home to College of the Atlantic, a unique and inspired college whose primary focus is in the relationships between humans and the environment. You will notice the college on the ocean side of Route 3 as you approach the town. Jackson Lab, the world's largest mammalian genetic research facility, is here as well. For those who are not familiar with its name, the Jackson Lab is at the forefront of the genetics revolution that is transforming contemporary medicine. Wild Gardens of Acadia (at Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park), features over 200 species of plants, trees and shrubs indigenous to the island. Abbe Museum, also at Sieur de Monts Spring, has a year-round location in the downtown district across the street from the Village Green, a park right in the center of town. The focus of both museums is on the Native American culture and its history in Maine. Agamont Park sits next to the public pier and overlooks the harbor, its many activities, and several islands.
There is a picturesque and historic Shore Path you should walk on at least one morning during your visit or anytime during the day. The path, originally created about 1880, begins near the town pier and Agamont Park, and continues for about 1/2 a mile along the eastern shore of town. Off shore to the east are the four Porcupine Islands which are especially beautiful at sunrise. Be sure to select the link on this page to view the pictures taken from this Shore Path.
Directly north of the town pier is Bar Island. This island is accessible by foot at low tide and provides a spectacular view of the town of Bar Harbor with the mountains behind it. Be sure to plan ahead and allow enough time so that you do not get stranded or wet! See this fireworks picture for a view from there.
Several cruise ships such as the majestic Queen Mary visit this Maine harbor town providing their passengers with one of the most unique visual experiences available on the east coast of North America. (see panoramic) For people wanting water related recreation, there is whale watching, kayaking, and some narrated tours of a few of the islands. The views from the ocean of the mountains of Mount Desert Island are striking.
For those wanting to leave the driving to someone else, the Free Island Explorer Shuttle Bus makes regular stops on the western side of The Village Green in the center of town. For area lodging, dining, activity, and Park information, please use the links at the top or bottom of this page. Be sure to click the smaller pictures to see larger versions and the larger ones to see the next in a series.
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