No, there is no motor coach or any other easy way to get from Manchester to Bar Harbor by public transportation. It will be about a four and a half hour drive. Perhaps you could get as far as Portland while it is still daylight and spend the night there before you continue on up to Bar Harbor the next morning.
On the other hand, the sun doesn't set in Bar Harbor on July 2nd until 8 p.m. and there should still be some light in the sky until almost 9.
As Bonnie says, Manchester to Bar Harbor is about four and one half hours, so unlikely you could make Bar Harbor before dark. But Bangor is about three and one half hours, so might be do-able if you could get right on the road -- leaving you only an hour to Bar Harbor the next morning.... But I like her iea of getting to Portland (only about an hour and a half from Manchester) -- it's a nice little city with lots of great restaurants in the Old Port District, and you could definitely get there well before dark. Even if there were a good public transportation connection (which there is not), you'll still find a car more handy once you get to Bar Harbor.
Thanks peeps for the great info - we have a reservation for the 2nd-9th at Eden Village. My hubby doesn't have great night vision and I'm really not too keen on driving an unfamiliar car in unfamiliar territory in the dark! Any recommendations as to where would be a good place to stay (B&B or Inn) for 1 night on the road between Manchester, NH & Bar Harbor?
Think you're wise to find somewhere to overnight on the way from Manchester to Bar Harbor... unfortunately, we're not inn or b&b folks (couple of bad experiences outside Maine several years ago), so I really don't have any meaningful recommendations to offer... but in general, you could look at Kennebunk/Kennebunkport or Portland, ME as good target destinations easily reachable before dark on the night you fly in...
You don't want to leave too much of the driving until July 3rd because that's going to be a mad-busy day for traveling. On July 2nd after 5pm might not be any picnic getting up into Maine and through the toll booths, either.
Holiday Inn Express just past Freeport might be a good idea........about 2 hrs from Manchester and it will position you near the freeway in the morning yet past the busy Portland area traffic. Free quick breakfast is a plus, too. Don't forget to tell Eden Village if you're going to be a day late!
I agree with the Freeport suggestion. Lodging there will definitely be cheaper than in Portland. If you like B&Bs, I could recommend The Kendall Tavern Inn: http://www.kendalltavern.com/ It's been awhile since I stayed there. But it was very nice. I would definitely recommend dinner that night at Azure Care in Freeport: http://www.azurecafe.com/ Yummy. You could walk the few blocks from the inn to the café. You might even stop in and tour L.L. Bean's flagship store after dinner before walking back to your B&B. The store itself is beautiful.Edited: 9:17 am, May 23, 2013
Any special "doings" for 4th of July in Bar Harbor? We will be staying a week and want as much of the local flavor as possible - local eateries would also be helpful...
Lots and lots of doings in Bar Harbor on the 4th of July starting with a blueberry pancake breakfast on the athletic field, where the parade will be organizing. A real small town parade with tricycles, Shriner cars, rescue greyhounds, fire trucks, and all the traditional stuff. Then, back at the athletic field there is a huge lobster feed, with a dozen or more oil drums turned into cookers and bright red lobsters getting dumped onto the serving tables by the laundry basketful.
Lobster races, face painting, antique stalls, music in the two town parks. And finally fireworks over Frenchman Bay.
Wow! Sounds like it will be a busy day, but we're DEFINITELY up for it! I'm so excited! Thanks for the great info! Are you a local with the lowdown? LOL
We are planning on staying there ourselves in a few weeks. After reading the reviews, we are looking forward to it. It is easy off and on the Interstate, which is nice too.