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MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

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Mountain View...
posts: 216
reviews: 10
MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

It is just 2 weeks until I am flying out to Bar Harbor, Maine (from California) to join a friend on her new sailboat. I have 5 full days with her. I am hoping we spend most of our time sailing, but my friend mentioned hiking too.

So, are there any easy hikes (I recently had surgery so can't do anything too hard) that are great enough to spend the time hiking vs. sailing?

I told my friend my eating plan is Lobster, lobster and more lobster. What places/foods should be on my short list? Which need reservations? And yes, I am willing to consider non-lobster foods since even I would get sick of Lobster if I ate it for 15 meals straight.

What other sightseeing/shopping/dining should be on my short list. The only other time I have been to Maine was a weekend in Kennebunkport, so I want to do some typical Maine tourist things as long as they don't pull me away from sailing for too long.

Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
posts: 5,220
reviews: 112
1. Re: MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

Thurston's Lobster Pound in Bernard, ME (near Bass Harbor) should be a "must" stop -- the absolute classic lobster-pound dinner experience. Google them for photos, menu, etc.

Don't do a lot of Bar Harbor area "hiking" so am hoping some fo the local experts will chime in with their favorite routes, but just parking along Ocean Drive and walking along the roadside/sidewalk can provide some great views. Then there;s the path around the pond at the Jordan Pond House....great views and excellent pop-overs as a reward at the end!

Bar Harbor, Maine
Destination Expert
for Bar Harbor
posts: 1,008
reviews: 8
2. Re: MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

There are tons of great hikes and walks here in Acadia for all fitness levels. An easy hike with stunning views is Flying Mountain, but you would need to drive to take the Island Explorer bus (not even sure if it goes to the start point).

If you won't have a car, consider taking the Island Explorer bus and hiking the North Face Trail of Cadillac Mountain up and back and then finishing the Loop Road on the bus. You can get off and on as much as you want. The buses are free and come every 30 minutes. The North Face Trail is rated Moderate but it's the easiest of the hikes up Cadillac Mountain. And yes, it is most definitely worth getting off of the boat to hike and tour around Acadia National Park. Also, if you won't have a car you can rent bikes in Bar Harbor and bike right into the carriage roads for amazing biking - moderate to difficult.

If the sail boat will be in the harbor in Bar Harbor, for lobster dinners, I would eat at Poor Boy's Gourmet and Galyn's. For lunch, I would try Thirsty Whale and Side Street Cafe for lobster rolls and good lobster stew or clam chowder.

Mountain View...
posts: 216
reviews: 10
3. Re: MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

I will have a rental car and her boat is moored in Northeast Harbor. I am not sure how hard "moderate" is. I had lung surgery 7 weeks ago and everything makes me breathe harder than prior to that. I think I am doing great but I am not ready to hike up a mountain.

My friend mentioned the carriage roads. Are they only for biking? What is parking like in Acadia National Park? How much of the park can be seen from a car + easy walks from parking lots?

Bar Harbor, Maine
posts: 3,364
reviews: 7
4. Re: MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

The carriage roads are also for walking. But none of them are all that flat. There always seems to be hill lurking around the next bend.

Quite a bit of Acadia National Park can be seen by car and easy walks. There are lots of parking areas, although you will be here at the most popular time of year. You can always catch a bus from the harbor in Northeast Harbor to Jordan Pond House, where popovers on the lawn are a fun thing to do. There are gentle walks in that area also. You can walk along the east side of the Pond until you get tired and just retrace your steps. It's a very pretty walk and pretty flat.

You could also take that free shuttle bus from Northeast Harbor into Bar Harbor where you could book yourself on Oli's Trolley. They give you a three hour tour of the village and Acadia, stopping at several spots, including the top of Cadillac Mountain. Lots of good information is imparted during the Trolley drive. http://www.acadiaislandtours.com/

Taking the free shuttle buses and Oli's Trolley eliminates any parking hassles in the Park or in Bar Harbor.

Mountain View...
posts: 216
reviews: 10
5. Re: MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

So, I looked at Oli's trolly and a carriage tour, and am wondering how important it is to do an organized tour. I am not much for organized tours and prefer to do things on my own at my own pace.

Does anybody know how much of those tours could be done by car? What about parking? Or the public bus, or potentially bike rentals?

How much of what the tours cover can be covered that way?

Is it possible to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain? Is there parking up there? Is there parking at Jordan Pond House?

Bar Harbor, Maine
posts: 3,364
reviews: 7
6. Re: MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

You can do all of it, minus the narrative, by private car. You can't do it by the free shuttle buses, The Island Explorer, because the propane buses cannot make it up Cadillac Mountain. Yes, there is parking at the top of Cadillac, at Sand Beach, at Schooner Head, at Thunder Hole, and at Jordan Pond House. Generally, there is adequate parking, except maybe mid-afternoon on a very pretty day in July or August when you might have to cruise for awhile to find a free parking spot. You can also rent a bike and do all of that, depending on how fit you are.

And, in fact, you can even do the narrative, by buying a self-guided CD from the Park Service at the Visitor's Center. Or a book.

Mountain View...
posts: 216
reviews: 10
7. Re: MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

Thanks Bonnie. I downloaded the Chimani Guide App for Acadia to my iPad. It has an auto tour and lots of other information that I hope will be helpful for my visit. Hopefully that will partially replace a guided tour. I am still a bit confused about the carriage roads. Obviously the Oli's trolley wouldn't have been able to show them to me. How high should they be on my to do list? I worry that 5 days are going to fly by, especially with a beautiful sailboat at our disposal.

Bar Harbor, Maine
posts: 3,364
reviews: 7
8. Re: MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

The carriage roads are nice. When you do the Loop Road, you will see one of the carriage road houses. It's very near Jordan Pond. Before or after popovers one day, you can walk down the tea lawn and to the left of the Pond. You'll see a carriage road there. You can walk it for aways, just to get the idea of how nice they are. It's not a very long walk from Jordan Pond to the Cobblestone Bridge on the carriage road. Rockefeller built the roads and the bridges. Each bridge is unique.

Of course, you can't do everything.

9. Re: MDI Sailing Vacation - new to Maine - recommendations???

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