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The sun rises first in Bar Harbor

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By Wayne Lazarus on January 15th, 2012

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

The little settlement that became Bar Harbor was originally called “Eden.” The name may have been a little misleading. The stark, dramatic scenery of the rocks, crags and cliffs formed by glaciers here on Mt. Desert Island is beautiful, but certainly not a garden paradise.

The little town is surrounded by Acadia National Park, which covers 50 square miles. The park was created in the early part of the last century by wealthy people who came to this area to relax. John D. Rockefeller created a network of carriage roads in the park because he loved his horses and hated to see the automobile overtake all the roads. Cars are still not allowed on the trails, but they are quite popular with bicyclists and tourists who take the carriage rides.

One option on the carriage ride is a stop at the Jordan Pond House for popovers and tea, a tradition that dates back to the 19th century, before the creation of the park. The restaurant has a full menu as well, including Maine Crab Cakes. Reservations are required. If you choose not to take the carriage ride, the sightseeing bus goes there and cars can get there via the loop road. The view looks out over the lawn and down to the lake, where the wild blueberries produce fruit in the summer, delighting the tourists.

The blueberries abound in season, and you’ll find blueberry pies on many menus in town. Instead of a lemonade stand, you may find children selling their mother’s pies on the side of the road. Don’t worry – there’s plenty of Maine’s other most popular product – lobster available as well. (It is possible to eat lobster for all three meals in a day.)

There is plenty to do and see in the area. The village has good restaurants and quirky, interesting shopping. Take a whale watching tour or a lighthouse tour. You’ll probably see puffins and seals. Or take a ride on a lobster boat. Paddle yourself out into the bay in a kayak provided by one of the outfitters, who will point out the eagle’s nests you can see in the area.

Be sure you find you way over to Cadillac Mountain for sunrise at least one day of your visit. Those on the mountaintop see the sun come up before anyone else in the U.S. Check Bar Harbor Hotel Discounts for some great choices on where to stay.

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