AREA GUIDE and LINKS
Acadia Park Kayak Tours
 

Here you will find links to and descriptions of some of the best places to visit in Bar Harbor and the immediate and greater Downeast Maine area including restaurants, shops, and activities from the perspective of a local who knows the area well and has done it all.

Unlike most website guides for the area no one is paying me to be listed here and the recommendations are based solely on merit.

If you choose to patronize any of these organizations please let them know you found their information on my website.

With the possible exception of the reciprocal links section at the bottom nobody gets on these pages unless they are excellent at what they do and I can recommend them without reservation.

Activities, Attractions and Services
On Mount Desert Island
Native American Festival
Free and open to the public, this popular event draws a wide variety of enthusiastic visitors year after year ranging from professional basket collectors to vacationers to local residents. Co-hosted by the Abbe Museum, the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, and the College of the Atlantic, the festival is considered Maine's largest annual gathering of Native American artists. Meet the artists while learning about and purchasing Wabanaki baskets, carvings, beadwork, dolls and other of handmade items. The day-long event includes Native music, dance, storytelling, craft demonstrations and food.

Native American Festival

Free and open to the public, this popular event draws a wide variety of enthusiastic visitors year after year ranging from professional basket collectors to vacationers to local residents. Co-hosted by the Abbe Museum, the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, and the College of the Atlantic, the festival is considered Maine's largest annual gathering of Native American artists. Meet the artists while learning about and purchasing Wabanaki baskets, carvings, beadwork, dolls and other of handmade items. The day-long event includes Native music, dance, storytelling, craft demonstrations and food.

Common Ground Country Fair
The Fair allows fairgoers to make connections with a rapidly expanding base of organic farms in the state of Maine. Hundreds of vendors, exhibitors and demonstrators, more than 1,000 volunteers, and tens of thousands of fairgoers will gather to: share knowledge about sustainable living; eat delicious, organic, Maine-grown food; buy and sell beautiful Maine crafts and useful agricultural products; compete in various activities; dance; sing and have a great time.

For many Mainers the trip to the fair is like a yearly pilgrimage to Mecca.  One of the only days I take off all season is to attend the fair.

Common Ground Country Fair

The Fair allows fairgoers to make connections with a rapidly expanding base of organic farms in the state of Maine. Hundreds of vendors, exhibitors and demonstrators, more than 1,000 volunteers, and tens of thousands of fairgoers will gather to: share knowledge about sustainable living; eat delicious, organic, Maine-grown food; buy and sell beautiful Maine crafts and useful agricultural products; compete in various activities; dance; sing and have a great time.


For many Mainers the trip to the fair is like a yearly pilgrimage to Mecca.  One of the only days I take off all season is to attend the fair.

Where should you hike?   Where should you hike?  
The most frequent question I get out side of kayaking questions.

Before we get to the answer to that question I would ask you to please be sure to support the park by buying your day or your week pass.  You can get away with hiking into much of the park without the pass but you are supposed to have one and it is not expensive.

If you have some specific criteria in mind I will be happy to make suggestions for you either during your tour or even over the phone when you make your reservation.
My one constant suggestion for a hike would be to hike up to the top of one the mountains that overlooks Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands because this is where we most often paddle.  It will give you a greater sense of the the location and the beauty of the area you will be paddling in.  My first suggestion for this hike would be to hike up Mt. Champlain but if that hike is too steep for you, you could always hike up Cadillac, which is longer but not as steep, or even drive to the top of Cadillac if you have difficulty hiking.

If you are going to hike in Acadia for even one day A Walk in The Park is the book you want to have.
The book covers many of the best hikes and gives not only maps but detailed descriptions of the difficulty levels and the scenery you can expect along the way.   It is written by a local.
This is one book I am not going to give you the amazon.com link for.  There are many stores in town that sell it including Cadillac Mountain Sports and Sherman’s Books among others and I encourage you to buy it here and support those local businesses.

Where should you hike?   Where should you hike? 

The most frequent question I get out side of kayaking questions.


Before we get to the answer to that question I would ask you to please be sure to support the park by buying your day or your week pass.  You can get away with hiking into much of the park without the pass but you are supposed to have one and it is not expensive.


If you have some specific criteria in mind I will be happy to make suggestions for you either during your tour or even over the phone when you make your reservation.

My one constant suggestion for a hike would be to hike up to the top of one the mountains that overlooks Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands because this is where we most often paddle.  It will give you a greater sense of the the location and the beauty of the area you will be paddling in.  My first suggestion for this hike would be to hike up Mt. Champlain but if that hike is too steep for you, you could always hike up Cadillac, which is longer but not as steep, or even drive to the top of Cadillac if you have difficulty hiking.


If you are going to hike in Acadia for even one day A Walk in The Park is the book you want to have.

The book covers many of the best hikes and gives not only maps but detailed descriptions of the difficulty levels and the scenery you can expect along the way.   It is written by a local.

This is one book I am not going to give you the amazon.com link for.  There are many stores in town that sell it including Cadillac Mountain Sports and Sherman’s Books among others and I encourage you to buy it here and support those local businesses.

Outside of  Mount Desert Island from nearest to farthest
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Abbe Museum
The Mission of the Abbe Museum is to promote the understanding and appreciation of Maine's Native American culture, history, and archaeology. The Museum's collections, exhibitions, and programs focus on Native American traditions in Maine Harbor.  Located in downtown Bar Harbor.

Abbe Museum

The Mission of the Abbe Museum is to promote the understanding and appreciation of Maine's Native American culture, history, and archaeology. The Museum's collections, exhibitions, and programs focus on Native American traditions in Maine Harbor.  Located in downtown Bar Harbor.

Mt. Agamenticus Conservation Region
The Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region contains 10,000 acres of land and is located within an additional 30,000 acre expanse of conservation land and is one of the largest remaining expanses of undeveloped forests in coastal New England. The region is known for its abundance of vernal pools, rich biodiversity, and unique trail system and is home to many of Maine’s rare plants and animals.  There are an abundance of hiking and biking trails along with great summit views and a nature center.  There are regularly scheduled programs such as nature walks and many resources for teachers and youth groups.
Unlike most organizations on this page this region is located in southern Maine near the New Hampshire border but if you drove here from out of state you will get close to to it on your drive to and your drive back from Mount Desert Island.

Mt. Agamenticus Conservation Region

The Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region contains 10,000 acres of land and is located within an additional 30,000 acre expanse of conservation land and is one of the largest remaining expanses of undeveloped forests in coastal New England. The region is known for its abundance of vernal pools, rich biodiversity, and unique trail system and is home to many of Maine’s rare plants and animals.  There are an abundance of hiking and biking trails along with great summit views and a nature center.  There are regularly scheduled programs such as nature walks and many resources for teachers and youth groups.

Unlike most organizations on this page this region is located in southern Maine near the New Hampshire border but if you drove here from out of state you will get close to to it on your drive to and your drive back from Mount Desert Island.

Valley of the Stars Farm ,Tinder Hearth Bakery, and The Living Daylight-
Located in Brooksville they offer tasty organic vegetables, vibrant sunday open mic and arts community gatherings on the first and third sundays of the month, occasional workshops, and the best bread in the entire universe.  
They make their traditional sour dough and spelt breads in an outdoor wood fired clay oven.  You can buy their bread at the Blue Hill food co-op and at the saturday farmer’s market in Blue Hill or right at the farm at 1472 coastal road Brooksville, Maine.  
If you are planning a wedding or any other event they also have one of the best bands for hire in Maine, The Living Daylight.
The was a great article published about them in DownEast magazine titled Some Kind of wonderful.
(207) 326-9266

Valley of the Stars Farm ,Tinder Hearth Bakery, and The Living Daylight-

Located in Brooksville they offer tasty organic vegetables, vibrant sunday open mic and arts community gatherings on the first and third sundays of the month, occasional workshops, and the best bread in the entire universe. 

They make their traditional sour dough and spelt breads in an outdoor wood fired clay oven.  You can buy their bread at the Blue Hill food co-op and at the saturday farmer’s market in Blue Hill or right at the farm at 1472 coastal road Brooksville, Maine. 

If you are planning a wedding or any other event they also have one of the best bands for hire in Maine, The Living Daylight.

The was a great article published about them in DownEast magazine titled Some Kind of wonderful.

(207) 326-9266

Contra Dancing
Contra dancing happens both on Mount Desert Island and off island in other towns.  Contra dancing is not square dancing.  It comes from English folk dancing and but has evolved to be uniquely American.  Here is the Wikipedia description http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contra_dance . If you have the chance I highly suggest you try it and get there early so you can participate in the beginners lesson. 
All contra dances will start out with a half hour instruction session for beginners and the steps are simple and easy to learn.
Contra dances are held at the Trenton grange in Trenton, the town just before you get onto the island, every third saturday of the month and sometimes at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor every fourth saturday of the month and in Blue Hill at the town hall every first Saturday of the month.
We are fortunate to have both great bands and callers in this area.

Contra Dancing

Contra dancing happens both on Mount Desert Island and off island in other towns.  Contra dancing is not square dancing.  It comes from English folk dancing and but has evolved to be uniquely American.  Here is the Wikipedia description http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contra_dance . If you have the chance I highly suggest you try it and get there early so you can participate in the beginners lesson.

All contra dances will start out with a half hour instruction session for beginners and the steps are simple and easy to learn.

Contra dances are held at the Trenton grange in Trenton, the town just before you get onto the island, every third saturday of the month and sometimes at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor every fourth saturday of the month and in Blue Hill at the town hall every first Saturday of the month.

We are fortunate to have both great bands and callers in this area. 

The Whole Health Center
Located in the Town Hill section of Bar Harbor.  Offering a wide variety of counseling and alternative health care services along with regular classes and retreats.  A great place to help you track down that elusive inner peace

The Whole Health Center

Located in the Town Hill section of Bar Harbor.  Offering a wide variety of counseling and alternative health care services along with regular classes and retreats.  A great place to help you track down that elusive inner peace

St.Savior’s Episcopal Church
One of the most beautiful examples of historic architecture on the island.  It has several large antique Tiffany stained glass windows.  The church host many different concerts throughout the summer.  It holds regular sunday services year round.

St.Savior’s Episcopal Church

One of the most beautiful examples of historic architecture on the island.  It has several large antique Tiffany stained glass windows.  The church host many different concerts throughout the summer.  It holds regular sunday services year round.

Morgan Bay Zendo-
Located in Surry it is the only Zendo in Maine.  The Zendo is built in a traditional Japanese style and is indescribably beautiful.  They have sunday morning meditations and several retreats spring through fall and people of all faiths can attend.

Morgan Bay Zendo-

Located in Surry it is the only Zendo in Maine.  The Zendo is built in a traditional Japanese style and is indescribably beautiful.  They have sunday morning meditations and several retreats spring through fall and people of all faiths can attend.

Birdsacre
This sanctuary is located in Ellsworth towards the bottom of the long hill on route 3 at the top of which sits the large China Hill restaurant.  I highly encourage a visit to this sanctuary since driving by it is unavoidable  on your way to or from Mount Desert Island, and don’t forget to leave at least a small donation.  Here is a description from the website-
The 200 acre Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the home and vision of pioneer, ornithologist-photographer CORDELIA J. STANWOOD, as a living memorial to her achievements in Ornithology and life.
Cordie’s spirit continues to guide Birdsacre in its role in educating and encouraging conservation. Shelters for non-releasable birds are located around the Stanwood orchard, which surrounds Cordelia’s 19th century Homestead Museum and gardens, and a modern Nature Center that showcases a fine art and nature collection, along with an extra-ordinary gift area. Owl programs are conducted on site and may visit schools, clubs, and events upon request.  The Sanctuary is open, supported by donation, seven days a week, twelve months a year during daylight hours.  The Homestead Museum and Nature Center are seasonal, running from June through September, 10 to 4 p.m., dependent on volunteers..

Birdsacre

This sanctuary is located in Ellsworth towards the bottom of the long hill on route 3 at the top of which sits the large China Hill restaurant.  I highly encourage a visit to this sanctuary since driving by it is unavoidable  on your way to or from Mount Desert Island, and don’t forget to leave at least a small donation.  Here is a description from the website-

The 200 acre Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the home and vision of pioneer, ornithologist-photographer CORDELIA J. STANWOOD, as a living memorial to her achievements in Ornithology and life.

Cordie’s spirit continues to guide Birdsacre in its role in educating and encouraging conservation. Shelters for non-releasable birds are located around the Stanwood orchard, which surrounds Cordelia’s 19th century Homestead Museum and gardens, and a modern Nature Center that showcases a fine art and nature collection, along with an extra-ordinary gift area. Owl programs are conducted on site and may visit schools, clubs, and events upon request.  The Sanctuary is open, supported by donation, seven days a week, twelve months a year during daylight hours.  The Homestead Museum and Nature Center are seasonal, running from June through September, 10 to 4 p.m., dependent on volunteers..

Atlantic Brewing Company
The Atlantic Brewing company makes the best beer on the island and in my opinion is one of the best in the entire state.  They have a brewery on the island where they give free tours and tastings.
There is also a small restaurant attached to the brewery with their beers on tap that is run by Mainely Meat Barbeque which has good barbeque but as you can imagine is low on vegetarian options.  Saturday night is the all you can eat cook out at the restaurant.
To get to the brewery drive out of town on route 3 as if you were head off of the island and take a right onto the Crooked road across the street from the Chart House restaurant and just after the gas station in the Hulls Cove section of town.  Drive to the end of the Crooked road and go right at the stop sign.  The road will soon fork and you will stay to the right and will see the sign for the brewery shortly after that.

Atlantic Brewing Company

The Atlantic Brewing company makes the best beer on the island and in my opinion is one of the best in the entire state.  They have a brewery on the island where they give free tours and tastings.

There is also a small restaurant attached to the brewery with their beers on tap that is run by Mainely Meat Barbeque which has good barbeque but as you can imagine is low on vegetarian options.  Saturday night is the all you can eat cook out at the restaurant.

To get to the brewery drive out of town on route 3 as if you were head off of the island and take a right onto the Crooked road across the street from the Chart House restaurant and just after the gas station in the Hulls Cove section of town.  Drive to the end of the Crooked road and go right at the stop sign.  The road will soon fork and you will stay to the right and will see the sign for the brewery shortly after that.

Acadia Night Sky Festival
A community celebration to promote the protection and enjoyment of Downeast/Acadia’s stellar night sky as a valuable natural resource through education, science, and the arts.

Acadia Night Sky Festival

A community celebration to promote the protection and enjoyment of Downeast/Acadia’s stellar night sky as a valuable natural resource through education, science, and the arts.

Mount Desert Island Marathon

The MDI marathon is one of the most scenic Marathons in the country.  The Marathon partners with many charitable organizations most of which provide services on MDI and some throughout the entire state.

Mount Desert Island Marathon


The MDI marathon is one of the most scenic Marathons in the country.  The Marathon partners with many charitable organizations most of which provide services on MDI and some throughout the entire state.

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Reciprocal LinksReciprocal.htmlReciprocal.htmlshapeimage_24_link_0

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Mount Desert Summer Chorale
“Since 1968, summer visitors and the people of Mount Desert Island have joined with professional soloists and instrumentalists to present choral masterworks in annual concerts.
Whether you're a singer, a listener, or a contributor, we welcome you. We rehearse and perform in historic St. Saviour's Episcopal Church in downtown Bar Harbor.”
The chorus typically performs in early August.  If you attend the concert you may get to see your professional sea kayak guide engaged in one of his amateur pursuits.

Mount Desert Summer Chorale

“Since 1968, summer visitors and the people of Mount Desert Island have joined with professional soloists and instrumentalists to present choral masterworks in annual concerts.

Whether you're a singer, a listener, or a contributor, we welcome you. We rehearse and perform in historic St. Saviour's Episcopal Church in downtown Bar Harbor.”

The chorus typically performs in early August.  If you attend the concert you may get to see your professional sea kayak guide engaged in one of his amateur pursuits.

Acadia Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Acadia SUP's main focus is on providing top notch instruction with the added benefit of a guided tour-like environment. Our lessons and tours take place on calm protected waters in both the lakes and ocean. We provide all the necessary equipment (including wet suits if going on the ocean) to assure that you will have a fun, memorable, and safe experience. SUP is great for all ages and anyone of average physical shape can successfully learn to paddleboard.

Acadia Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Acadia SUP's main focus is on providing top notch instruction with the added benefit of a guided tour-like environment. Our lessons and tours take place on calm protected waters in both the lakes and ocean. We provide all the necessary equipment (including wet suits if going on the ocean) to assure that you will have a fun, memorable, and safe experience. SUP is great for all ages and anyone of average physical shape can successfully learn to paddleboard.

Rainy Day Activities

Sorry about your vacation getting rained on.  We get a lot of short light burst of rain here on the island which shouldn’t deter you from getting outdoors but sometimes when it rain it pours so here are some things to do on those days.  Of course you can always come kayaking in the rain.  Many people have had great fun kayaking when it was raining.  It really depends on your attitude and sense of adventure.

Mount Desert Oceanarium

"I found Mount Desert Oceanarium the best teaching aquarium I've ever seen, including the great public aquariums up and down the East and West coasts as well as the Pacific rim." —W.H.A., Noted Audubon Field Guide and National Geographic author.

The oceanarium is a great attraction for families and children.  You will drive by it on your way to Bar Harbor.

Mount Desert Oceanarium


"I found Mount Desert Oceanarium the best teaching aquarium I've ever seen, including the great public aquariums up and down the East and West coasts as well as the Pacific rim." —W.H.A., Noted Audubon Field Guide and National Geographic author.


The oceanarium is a great attraction for families and children.  You will drive by it on your way to Bar Harbor.

Reel Pizza Cinerama

There couldn’t be much better consolation for getting rained on then getting to go to a movie theater where you can can sit in loungers and sofas while you eat pizza and nachos and drink beer.
There are always two movies to choose from and the cinema does a great job of mixing in blockbusters with smaller indie films.

Reel Pizza Cinerama


There couldn’t be much better consolation for getting rained on then getting to go to a movie theater where you can can sit in loungers and sofas while you eat pizza and nachos and drink beer.

There are always two movies to choose from and the cinema does a great job of mixing in blockbusters with smaller indie films.

The Opera House Internet Cafe

This cafe could have also gone in the restaurant section but its allure is more than the delicious food and drinks it serves.  The interior is spacious and homey with plenty of tables and chairs but also couches and rocking chairs to lounge on.

A great place to get on the internet, grab a coffee or tea, or sit around with friends and play a board game.

The Opera House Internet Cafe


This cafe could have also gone in the restaurant section but its allure is more than the delicious food and drinks it serves.  The interior is spacious and homey with plenty of tables and chairs but also couches and rocking chairs to lounge on.


A great place to get on the internet, grab a coffee or tea, or sit around with friends and play a board game.

Abbe Museum

You will notice this is the second time I am listing this great museum.

The Mission of the Abbe Museum is to promote the understanding and appreciation of Maine's Native American culture, history, and archaeology. The Museum's collections, exhibitions, and programs focus on Native American traditions in Maine Harbor.  Located in downtown Bar Harbor.

Abbe Museum


You will notice this is the second time I am listing this great museum.


The Mission of the Abbe Museum is to promote the understanding and appreciation of Maine's Native American culture, history, and archaeology. The Museum's collections, exhibitions, and programs focus on Native American traditions in Maine Harbor.  Located in downtown Bar Harbor.

After Hours Activities
Improv Acadia

“Making people laugh since 2004, ImprovAcadia is a great thing to do at night in Bar Harbor.
Creating spontaneous comedy inspired by audience suggestions, our professional actors from Chicago, New York, and LA are sure to make you laugh! We have a full bar, snacks, and desserts.”

On most nights they have an earlier family friendly themed show and a later adult themed show

Improv Acadia


“Making people laugh since 2004, ImprovAcadia is a great thing to do at night in Bar Harbor.

Creating spontaneous comedy inspired by audience suggestions, our professional actors from Chicago, New York, and LA are sure to make you laugh! We have a full bar, snacks, and desserts.”


On most nights they have an earlier family friendly themed show and a later adult themed show


NIGHTTIME KAYAKING
Acadia Park Kayak Tours
You didn’t think I wasn’t going to list my own tours did you?  Notice that my activity listing also gets the large special font.
These are two hour or more astronomy or moonlight tours.  According to the two Boyscout troops I have taken out on these tours it was  “the best thing they have ever done” so I couldn’t ask for a better recommendation than that.
Click on the link to learn more about them.

NIGHTTIME KAYAKING

Acadia Park Kayak Tours

You didn’t think I wasn’t going to list my own tours did you?  Notice that my activity listing also gets the large special font.

These are two hour or more astronomy or moonlight tours.  According to the two Boyscout troops I have taken out on these tours it was  “the best thing they have ever done” so I couldn’t ask for a better recommendation than that.

Click on the link to learn more about them.

Reel Pizza Cinerama

This activity is listed above in more detail in the rainy day activities section but it would obviously also fit well into this section

Reel Pizza Cinerama


This activity is listed above in more detail in the rainy day activities section but it would obviously also fit well into this section