Boston to Bar Harbor in October
I had been itching to get to a National Park for a bit. Acadia National Park in Maine being the closest one seemed like a logical choice as Josh and I thought about taking a Fall long weekend trip. Between the foliage, hiking, spectacular ocean views and delicious, meals it did not disappoint! We went the first weekend in October 2019. The weather ended up great, 60s and sunny. The Island was filled with many other visitors hiking and dining as we did.
Acadia was a great place to visit and you can spend countless hours exploring the park and enjoying the outdoors and the ocean, all while being close to Food/Restaurants/Bars etc in Bar Harbor.
Getting to Bar Harbor from Boston
It was an easy drive, not much traffic – probably took 4.5 – 5 hours.
Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain:
We woke up around 5:00 AM to experience the first sunrise on the East Coast at Cadillac Mountain. It was cool to do for the spectacular views. If going in the cooler months be prepared to brave the cold and wind! It was not utterly freezing, probably like in the 40’s but the wind was unrelenting.
Quite a few other people decided to join in on the AM fun as well. My recommendation if going when its chillier out is to get there early so you can get a parking spot, and then wait in the car for as long as possible until its time for the sunrise. We left around 5:30 AM from the hotel and got there about 45 minutes pre-sunset. We were too late to get into the parking lot. Once it fills up people start parking on both sides of the road back to back. This makes for a narrow road as we witnessed a tour bus get stuck because it did’t have enough room to get through on the way back!
At last, the sunrise appeared!
We did two main hikes. We did Bubble Hike on Saturday Morning and Bowl Hike on Sunday morning. Neither one of them took that long so we probably could have fit a lot more hiking in if that’s what was of interest (maybe an hour or so round trip plus some additional meandering and exploring). Both were reasonably active in terms of there being hills/stairs etc. to hike up but really not that difficult.
Bubble Hike – Offered spectacular views of Jordan Pond. Make sure to get to North and South Bubble.
Bowl Hike – Josh really wanted to do the BeeHive hike but I got there and had a panic about the sign below and opted out, and decided to go up the path on the right hand side.
Bowl hike was pretty similar to Bubble hike in terms of difficulty, and had some spectacular views as well.
Enjoyed a sampling of wines at Bar Harbor Cellars winery.
Quick round of Pirate’s Cove mini golf.
Popping Around Town/Bar Hopping in downtown Bar Harbor
Plenty of restaurants, bars, galleries and souvenir shops to pop into in Downtown Bar Harbor.
Food & Drink
Below is a micro-documentation of each meal we had while on the trip. A highlight was that every meal was very good! Food Profiles – Tracy: Pescetarian Josh: Carnivore
Dinner 1 (Friday Night) @ Provender in Ellsworth, Maine
We couldn’t make it all the way to the hotel in Bar Harbor without dinner so we made a pit stop in Ellsworth, Maine which was about 20 – 30 minutes from the hotel. It worked out nicely to fuel up for the remaining portion of the drive after being at it for 4ish hours. Provender was super cute like a speakeasy type vibe on the inside and the food was delicious.
- Tracy: Sole in Lemon Butter w/ Butternut Squash
- Josh: Hamburger described as: Juicy, tender,fresh bun, amazing sauce that melted in my mouth, homemade pickles
Breakfast 1 (Saturday AM) at Two Cats in Bar Harbor
Fresh off of the sunset viewing at Cadillac Mountain we hit Two Cats. We got there right at 7:00 AM which is when it opened. Many others seemed to have the same idea coming from Cadillac Mountain because there was a line to get in, which luckily we beat out for the most part.
Breakfast was delightful. They had a special for a Maple Latte that we both had that was amazing. It was not too sugary and had just a hint of maple and was so delicious, semi life changing. After I was energized for hours.
- Tracy: Mediterranean Breakfast w/ Spicey Homefries & Maple Latte. Side of Blueberry Biscuit with Strawberry Butter
- Josh: Lobster Benedict w/ Spicey Homefries & Maple Latte. Description: The homefries were amazing, love the added onions, benny sauce was good, lobster meat was well done which is typical of any other lobster benedict I’ve had.
Dinner 2 (Saturday Night) at Black Friar
This place was recommended to us by a bartender at Atlantic Brewing for their seafood. Cozy bar type/bed and breakfast type atmosphere inside. They had a happy hour for half off oysters and cocktails from 4-6 which worked out great.
- Tracy: Swordfish
- Josh: Mussel and Scallop Dish
Breakfast 2 (Sunday AM) at Thrive
- Tracy: Egg Sandwich Burrito w/ Rice and Sweet Potatoes, an interesting combo. I was full for so long after this
- Josh: Egg Sandwich
Dinner 3 (Sunday Night) at Havana
Fancier than the other locations we went to – pricier as well. Had a great meal and a great cheese plate.
Appetizer Cheese Plate: Good quality, reasonable amount of cheese and fruit for price. One cheese had seaweed in it which was interesting.
Tracy: Lobster Dish
Josh: Seafood Paella
Breakfast 3 (Monday AM) at Cafe This Way:
This was another very popular spot. We were there at 10:00 AM on a Monday and there was a wait and no shortage of people streaming in. I will say they were very efficient getting through the wait, and when we got inside they were really quick about getting us in and out.
- Tracy: French Toast Egg Sandwich – This was an egg sandwich with full on french toast as the bread. Calorie splurge for sure but it was delicious and basically filled me up all day.
- Josh: Corned beef hash with poached eggs.
Notable Bars/Snack Stops:
- Atlantic Brewing Midtown: Stopped here to kill some time slash sample a few beers.
- Side Street Cafe: Watched the Patriots Game Here. They had an apple cider margarita which was a highlight! As well as an excellent Bloody Mary mix.
- McKays: Stopped for a drink here. They had really good outdoor heated lamps which allowed us to sit outside with a drink.
- MDI Ice Cream: Had only unique Ice Cream Flavors. I had some sort of cranberry white chocolate situation which was tasty. Not for the vanilla ice cream seekers.
Holiday Inn 3 Nights: $642.66
Standard hotel in terms of the room. Highlights were the heated pool & hot tub overlooking the water. Also a tennis court with lights & a restaurant on site. We just got a drink and desert there which was good. Also witnessed them making brick oven pie which looked delicious. The hotel was close enough to everything. There was a shuttle that took you to town that ran every 30 minutes until around 8:00.
During the day we drove places, then for dinner both nights we took the shuttle from the hotel into town. The shuttle stopped running somewhere around 8:00 PM at night. Sunday night we had to get an uber home which was easy enough but there appeared to be very few of them. We heard cabs were an option as well.
Next Time/If I had to do it again:
I would definitely like to bike on the Carriage Roads and do more hiking. I would probably everything we did over again, there was nothing that wasn’t great.
Cost of a Long Fall Weekend in Bar Harbor for a Couple
- Activities – Luckily when you are somewhere outdoorsy, there are a majority of activities such as hiking that are free. – $74
- National Park Entry: $30
- Mini Golf: $20
- Winery: $24
- Food – ~$675
- Lodging – $642.66