Maine Weekend Guide
48 Hours of Fun in Bar Harbor
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Get to know Maine's wild and rugged beauty during a weekend excursion to Bar Harbor. Explore 35,000-acre Acadia National Park as well as the seaside beauty in the quaint downtown area. Fill your belly with the state's best delicacies including lobster and fresh blueberries.
Where to Stay
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Bar Harbor Inn & Spa
The Bar Harbor Inn & Spa is a luxurious waterfront hotel overlooking serene Frenchmen Bay. The inn's guest rooms are in 3 buildings spread out over 8 lush acres. The elegant Main Inn features rooms with fireplaces while the Oceanfront Lodge has 64 rooms with oceanfront views from private balconies. While you will save some money, you're certainly not settling when staying at the Newport Building. While these rooms don't offer the same spectacular views, they're just as comfortable and include the same amenities. Take advantage of the complimentary continental breakfast buffet.
Bar Harbor Grand Hotel
Kids are welcome at the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel, making it a good choice for a family vacation. Children under 5 stay free while you pay just $10 extra per night for kids between the ages of 6 and 17. The hotel's 70 rooms provide basic accommodations with a few frills like high-speed internet, a DVD player and hair dryer. The real draw is the location just a few blocks to town and a short drive to Acadia National Park. From mid-June through October, leave your car at the hotel and enjoy the complimentary shuttle to many spots around Acadia.
The Primrose Inn is a bed and breakfast with a rich history. Built in 1878, the house is a classic example of "Stick Style" Victorian architecture with crisscrossing lines and patterns as well as some ornamental trusses, braces and overhanging eaves. Despite this grand inn's age, the accommodations are comfortably modern with gas fireplaces and deep spa tubs in many rooms. All rooms have private bathrooms, central air, luxurious linens, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Borrow a Garmin to explore the area, or take advantage of the guest wine chiller to cool down your bottle before dinner. Breakfasts include sweet and savory entrees while Afternoon Tea is a smorgasbord of sweet treats, fresh coffee and lemonade.
Bar Harbor KOA Campground
There are 2 campgrounds inside Acadia National Park, but the KOA outside of the park's entrance offers a variety of sites from wooded spots to waterfront campgrounds. If tent camping is not your thing, opt for a rustic cabin or rent a 4-person Airstream RV with a view of the ocean. The campground has a private beach and a heated pool. It offers a variety of activities for kids, from a ride on the KOA Express train to events like campfire story times, make-your-own sundaes or outdoor films. Shuttles are available to get around the camping village and the town beyond.
Where to Eat
Cafe This Way
Linger over a long breakfast at the cozy Cafe This Way. Breakfast staples gain depth with touches like homemade hollandaise sauce alongside corned beef hash and poached eggs. Eggs Benedict is available with the standard ingredients or smoked trout, and omelet specials include the Green Eggs and Sam with spinach, kalamata olives, artichokes and feta cheese. Even vegetarians can indulge with veggie bacon and sausage or a vegan scramble with tofu, mushrooms, broccoli, potatoes and peppers. Round out the meal with a spicy Bloody Mary or carafe of Mimosas.
Mache Bistro is an unassuming foodie favorite with classic French bistro-style cooking. A locavore's delight, the menu changes daily or weekly depending on the availability of local fresh produce, fish and meats. Start with a grilled flatbread topped with a mushroom confit or a filling salad of Provencal-style grilled calamari tossed with aioli, olive tapenade and baby arugula. Entrees might include duck breast over cassoulet or a pan-roasted pumpkin seed cod served over garlic mashed potatoes with a lemon brown butter sauce.
Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound
Located on Route 3 right before the bridge to Mt. Desert Island, Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound beckons locals and tourists with a large sign on the roof proclaiming "Lobsters." There's no need to say more -- the succulent shellfish take care of the rest. Bring an appetite and some patience as both indoor and outdoor tables at this outdoor seasonal spot fill up quickly. Choose your own lobster to be boiled gently in seawater and served alongside a pot of steamed clams, cole slaw and potato salad. Save room for a slice of fresh blueberry pie.
Reel Pizza Cinerama
Combine dinner and a movie at Reel Pizza Cinerama. The theater screens movies from Hollywood blockbusters to indie hits, art-house flicks and foreign films. Forgo the traditional theater seat for a cozy couch or recliner and enjoy the big screen with all of the comforts of home. You can have a popcorn and soda or order a freshly made pizza with cinematic flair: The Manchurian Candidate is topped with broccoli, carrots and chicken or tofu with peanut sauce while the Mussel Beach Party has smoked mussels and goat cheese.
What to See & Do
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Acadia National Park
A day goes by quickly with all of the opportunities for fun and outdoor adventure at Acadia National Park. To make the most of a short trip to the park, start with a scenic drive around the 20-mile Park Loop Road and up the mountain road to the park's peak at Cadillac Mountain. If you'd prefer to stick to 2 wheels, rent a bike to explore the 27-mile paved carriage road system. Ranger programs enlighten guests on the park's history, geography and resident plants, animals, birds and sea life. If you prefer to stay by the sea, explore the tide pools at Sand Beach; while there's a lifeguard on duty, the sea's frigid temperatures -- averaging 55 degrees Fahrenheit -- are not for the faint-hearted.
Bar Harbor Whale Watching Company
The Bar Harbor Whale Watching Company sets sail in the Gulf of Maine in search of whales, puffins, seals, dolphins and porpoises. Throughout the trip, a naturalist provides an overview of the wildlife and points out sights. This outfitter has the fastest boats in town, which makes for a quick ride out to sea and a faster response time when tracking sea life. Embark on an evening sunset cruise to watch the whales enjoy their dinner of herring and plankton or learn more about the sea's crustaceans during a lobster-fishing and seal-watching adventure. Tours are available from June through October.
With no fewer than 8 televisions, Little Anthony's is the sports bar in town to catch a Red Sox game. Order a beer and a plate of fried ravioli or wings and enjoy the camaraderie or competition, depending on your team of choice.
Carmen Verandah has the largest dance floor in town with nightly entertainment ranging from live bands or DJs to karaoke. Come early and fuel up for your dance party with a meal on the expansive verandah overlooking the Town Green. From noon until 9 p.m., the restaurant serves sandwiches, burgers and plenty of lobster, including lobster rolls, lobster pie and lobster mac and cheese.
Travel Channel Insider's Tip
With miles of flat, paved road and rocky mountain-bike trails, having a bike is a bonus in Bar Harbor. If you can't bring along yours for the trip, stop by the Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop to rent a bike and all of the necessary accoutrements, including helmets, locks and trailers for little ones.
Cole Land Transportation MuseumTransport geeks will find themselves close to mecca at Bangor's Cole Land Transportation Museum. This quirky ode to vehicles preserves the history of land transportation equipment in Maine. Take a look-see at the fascinating collection of relic snowplows, logging vehicles and antique fire trucks while gazing at photographs depicting historic Maine. There's even a nifty exhibit of farm equipment used throughout past decades. 960 1280
Get Spooked on a Stephen King-Themed TourIt's only appropriate to pay homage to the Grand Poobah of horror novelists, Stephen King, when visiting his hometown of Bangor. The Greater Bangor Convention & Visitors Bureau offers the "Tommyknockers and More Tour" -- a literary bus tour through town that features spots in Bangor connected to King's writings. 960 1280
Maine Discovery MuseumA visit to the Maine Discovery Museum is a must-do for tourists with tots. This kid-focused museum is Maine's largest museum, and features 3 floors of interactive exhibits and drop-in activities. Children come face-to-face with amazing creatures like geckos, stick bugs and turtles; explore the inner body by crawling through a giant intestine; and pump a heart to watch the circulatory system work. It's even possible to dig and identify fossils while learning about dinosaurs in Maine. 960 1280
Catch a Show at Darling's Waterfront PavilionSet alongside -- you guessed it -- the waterfront, Darling?s Waterfront Pavilion is a scenic spot to catch a concert or settle in to watch a music festival. Music lovers will find that an array of artists perform on the stage at the Pavilion, including Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley and Phish. Other major events held at the venue include a "Tap Into Summer" beer festival, as well as the annual American Folk Festival and the Kahbang Music, Art & Film Festival. 960 1280
Orono Bog BoardwalkBogs are little-heralded but very fascinating environments and Bangor's Orono Bog is no exception. This 600-acre bog is a haven for birdwatchers, and is home to dozens of species, including the double-crested cormorant, white-breasted nuthatch and ospreys. A 1-mile-long boardwalk winds through the bog, allowing visitors to admire the setting while keeping an eye out for wildlife and plant species. 960 1280
Bangor City ForestExplore the great outdoors in Bangor City Forest, a 650-acre spread that includes nearly 10 miles of trails ideal for cross-country skiing, running, snowshoeing, cycling and hiking. Most trails are family-friendly, like the Rabbit Trail or East Trail, but some are more difficult and require skills to maneuver around roots or rocks, like the Bear Trail or Grouse Trail. 960 1280
Tap Your Inner Farmer on Open Farm DayCity slickers and country dwellers alike will find much to enjoy during Maine's annual Open Farm Day, when dozens of farms across the state open their doors to visitors. Try your hand at milking a cow; take a barn tour to see the inner workings of a farm; climb aboard a tractor for a hayride; pet cuddly sheep at a petting zoo; and purchase farm-grown products like beef and produce. 960 1280
Bangor State FairThe Bangor State Fair -- the largest state fair in Maine -- promises 10 days of down-home food, fireworks, amusement rides and agricultural competitions like the oxen and steer show. If farm animals aren't your thing, stop by one of the other family-friendly competitions like the lobster roll eating contest or demolition derby. Plan to stay for the evening concert, which has included acts like Grammy Award-winner, John Fogerty. 960 1280
Visit the Bangor Historical SocietyMaine's second oldest cultural institution, the Bangor Historical Society, collects, preserves and interprets the state's storied history. Discover the stories of Civil War soldiers from Maine, or take a society-organized walking tour to discover the town's historic architecture. Other tours include a walk through the Mount Hope Cemetery to learn about Bangor's legendary residents of days gone by, as well as a tour that commemorates the devastating Great Fire of 1911. 960 1280
Snap a Picture With Paul BunyanOne of Maine's -- and America's -- quirkier attractions, Bangor's 31-foot-tall, 3,700-lb. statue of Paul Bunyan wielding a double-sided axe pays homage to the mythical character who, as it?s rumored, was born here. Indeed, Bangor also claims to be the birthplace of the lumber industry, which was once the town's industry mainstay. Sure, Minnesota also claims to be Bunyan's hometown, but while in Bangor, why not pay your respects to the gentle lumber giant? 960 1280
Things to Do in Bangor 10 Photos
Hit the BeachWhile Maine's epically scenic coast is often noted for its craggy, rock-strewn shores, Kennebunkport has been gifted with multiple stretches of soft, white sand. Surfers flock to Goose Rocks Beach (pictured), a nearly 3-mile stretch of shore. You'll find families relaxing in beach chairs and on blankets under umbrellas. Another excellent stretch of Kennebunkport coast is found at Gooch's Beach, a striking swath of sand filled with sunbathers, beachcombers, families and swimmers. 960 1280
Hop Aboard the Intown Trolley TourLearn the lay of Kennebunkport's land (and give your legs a break) aboard the informative Intown Trolley Tour. These trolleys have been rolling through Kennebunkport for more than 30 years, and point out the town's major sights to visitors, including the Bush compound, a local Franciscan monastery, and the so-called "spouting rock" along the coast. Tours also include colorful commentary highlighting the town's history. 960 1280
Schooner Eleanor Boat CruiseYou'll be forgiven for romanticizing the seafaring history of southern Maine. The dreamy tales you envision become reality aboard the Schooner Eleanor, a contemporary boat built to the specifications of a traditional gaff rigged schooner, complete with spruce poles, mahogany surfaces and hand-carved boards. Hop aboard for a two-hour sail around the region's craggy shores, admiring a new perspective of Kennebunkport. 960 1280
Explore the LighthousesMake like a professional photographer and snap classic shots of the looming lighthouses that rise above Maine's rocky coast. Five lights can be found within a 20-mile radius of Kennebunkport. Drive to Cape Porpoise to see the Goat Island Light, and take time to explore the Wood Island Light, Nubble Light (pictured), Whaleback Light and Boon Island Light. Be warned: not all the lights can be directly accessed, but they are visible from the road and offer ample photo opps. 960 1280
Explore Dock SquareThe heart of Kennebunkport, Dock Square is filled with boutiques, book stores, artisan ice cream parlors and candy shops. Spend an afternoon strolling the tiny town center, which is chock full of high-end retailers, bric-a-brac stores, restaurants and more. It's here that you'll also find a hub for boat tours and whale watching trips. Make sure to indulge in a lobster roll at The Clam Shack before leaving -- though don't arrive hungry; lines can be long. 960 1280
Kennebunkport Food and Wine FestivalFoodies in the know flock to the multi-day Kennebunkport Food and Wine Festival held each June. See and be seen alongside the festival's well-heeled visitors at tasting events that include the Pop the Kennebunks gala party, Art of Dining dinners prepared by acclaimed chefs in exquisite local homes and a Grand Tapas party featuring small plates prepared by award-winning chefs. Tickets to the festival's events sell out well in advance; play it smart and book well in advance. 960 1280
Shop at the Kittery OutletsOn a rainy day in Kennebunkport (and let's face it, this is Maine -- there's gonna be a rainy day), take the short drive from Kennebunkport and exercise your wallet at the Kittery Outlets. You'll find all manner of goods here, from sportswear at Eddie Bauer and lululemon to new kicks at Adidas and Under Armour outlets, and even high-end kitchenware at Le Creuset. Be a smart shopper: check the Kittery Outlets website before shopping to find coupons and discounts for many shops. 960 1280
The Eastern TrailBring your bicycles to Kennebunkport or rent them in town and explore the 65-mile Eastern Trail, a stretch of the East Coast Greenway that connects Kittery to Casco Bay. The trail includes idyllic country roads, as well as off-road trails and is perfect for cyclists of all ages and skill levels. A new 6.2-mile portion of the trail can be easily accessed from town, connecting Kennebunk with the towns of Arundel and Biddeford. 960 1280
Charter a Fishing or Lobster Boat TourWith a shipbuilding and seafaring history that dates back to the 17th century, Kennebunkport is a logical jumping-off point for hitting the open sea. Bait your hook and line and book a fishing charter with Striker Charters, which offers inshore and offshore charters (trips target mackerel, herring, bluefin tuna and mako). Kids (and grownups!) will love a trip with Rugosa Lobster Tours aboard a classic, wooden, New England lobster boat. Watch your crew haul lobster traps, and even get up close and personal with the catch. 960 1280
Pamper Yourself in the TreesIf your muscles have grown sore from beach walks and bicycling, or you simply want to treat yourself to extreme pampering, book a treatment at the Tree Spa at Hidden Pond. Literally tucked into the treetops 8 feet above the ground, three private treatment rooms are connected by a wooden boardwalk, completing the spa's Swiss Family Robinson-gone-luxe appeal. Let your aches and cares disintegrate during a Muscle Melt Massage or Herbal Garden Body Exfoliation. 960 1280
Things to Do in Kennebunkport 10 Photos
Ogunquit PlayhouseWith more than 80 years of musical productions under its belt, the Ogunquit Playhouse is one of the town's cultural icons. The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and today the Playhouse produces 5 shows during its 21-week season. Throughout its history, the theater has attracted the likes of Bette Davis and Sally Struthers, and theater-goers are likely to see talent from TV, Broadway and film perform in shows like ?Grease,? ?Mary Poppins? and ?Billy Elliot.? 960 1280
Walk the Marginal WayOne of the prettiest strolls you'll take in southern Maine is the mile-long Marginal Way, which stretches from downtown Ogunquit's Shore Road to the docks at Perkins Cove. The paved pathway winds alongside coastal Maine's spectacular shoreline, with views of the sprawling beach and sea in one direction, and Ogunquit's scenic cottages and shops in the other. Breathe in the salty air and note the distant lighthouse which serves as the scene's perfect exclamation point. 960 1280
Ogunquit BeachesCoastal Maine is often -- and rightly -- associated with its craggy coastline, but Ogunquit is one of the lucky towns that boasts 2 wide, sandy stretches: Ogunquit Beach and Footbridge Beach. The 3.5-mile-long swath of Ogunquit Beach is typically filled with families, sunbathers, swimmers and even surfers and boogie boarders who pay no heed to chilly ocean temperatures. For a bit of respite, head to Footbridge Beach. Its smaller, quieter shore offers a peaceful, scenic spot to enjoy the coastal scenery. 960 1280
Visit Perkins CoveThe little village of Perkins Cove lies adjacent to Ogunquit and embodies all the charm one would expect in a waterfront town. This former fishing village is filled with independent boutiques and seafood restaurants. Visitors will find plenty to explore, like toy shops, bric-a-brac stores and shellfish-centric restaurants like the Perkins Cove Lobster Pound. Be sure to stroll across the town's manually operated drawbridge -- it's the perfect place for a photo opp. 960 1280
Hike Mount AgamenticusSeek out unique views of Maine?s coast while burning off the lobster rolls you've been enjoying with a hike up Mount Agamenticus. Numerous trails, including the popular Ring Trail and Blueberry Bluff hike, twist through the area and range from moderate to difficult in ability. Views from the mountain top -- it's one of the highest points in the surrounding region -- are spectacular with sweeping vistas of land and sea. 960 1280
Ogunquit Museum of ArtNot your average museum experience, the small but powerful Ogunquit Museum of Art is dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of American art. The museum sits on a cliff with magnificent views overlooking the Narrow Cove and the Atlantic Ocean; thankfully, the museum?s exhibits take advantage of this exceptionally scenic outdoor space. More than 2,000 works of art include pieces by artists such as John Marin, Rockwell Kent and Mark Tobey, and celebrate the heritage of Ogunquit's art colonies. 960 1280
Rachel Carson National Wildlife RefugeThis sprawling 5,400-acre preserve offers visitors relief from holiday crowds that flock to Ogunquit during the popular summer months. The refuge was established to protect salt marshes, barrier beaches, dunes and estuaries, and is a popular retreat for birders hoping to spy the endangered piping plover. Wildlife watchers may also witness white-tailed deer, moose, snakes, frogs and turtles. 960 1280
Hit the Seas with Finestkind Scenic CruisesWhen you visit the coast, the natural thing to do is hop aboard a boat, right? Book an excursion with Finestkind Scenic Cruises, and see the shoreline from an entirely new perspective. Visitors will learn about lobster fishing (and maybe even see lobsters caught onboard), view the iconic Cape Neddick (Nubble) Lighthouse and catch a glimpse of harbor seals. Wake up early to enjoy the outfitter's breakfast cruise, or book a late afternoon cocktail or sunset cruise to explore Perkins Cove, Bald Head Cliff and Ogunquit Beach. 960 1280
Eat at Barnacle Billy'sAn Ogunquit legend for more than half a century, Barnacle Billy's has played host to US presidents, politicians, celebrities and NFL superstars. This landmark seafood haunt is known for its lobster (this is Maine, after all!). Order it boiled and buttered in its shell, in a stew or as a lobster roll. Other popular menu options include clam chowder and steamed clams. 960 1280
Take the Ogunquit TrolleyIf you like to kick back, relax and let someone do the exploring for you, take a spin on the Ogunquit Trolley. While the trolley serves as a legitimate means of transportation throughout town (and allows visitors to leave their cars at hotels since parking in town can be difficult), the trolley's loop route is a fabulous means of exploring Ogunquit's sights and learning the lay of the land. 960 1280
Things to Do in Ogunquit 10 Photos