Hiking is not an activity I list on my online dating profiles (if I had one), but I do own a great pair of Merrill hiking shoes and put them to good use at Acadia National Park.
Before my trip, I did a Baxter State Park versus Acadia National Park Google and decided ANP was best for me and my dad.
1. Easy trails
We woke early, stopped at a Hannaford Market for snacks and then hit the road for the hour (+) drive to ANP.
Our first stop was Hulls Cove Visitor Center – we paid the $25 vehicle fee (the pass is good for 7 days), used the restroom, and grabbed a map. Our main stop was Jordan Pond. It’s the clearest lake in Maine. No lie. It’s gorgeous!
There’s a typical New England style house near the pond (The Jordan House), that was built in the 1880s! The original house burned down but the rebuilt house is now a rest stop and restaurant (I didn’t eat there but it is the only food option inthe park).
There’s a beautiful 1 mile-ish trail around Jordan Pond for Insta pics! There’s a couple points where the trail is literally a plank-board walk. If you run into people heading the opposite direction of you, it requires a little dance around or someone has to jump off the path to let you pass. Kids were running along the path, so it’s definitely easy and do able. Arrive early because the Jordan Pond House and trail are jam packed with people! We got to the Pond around 9:30 am and headed out on some of the Carriage Roads. Now, I’m not sure if I chose the best path (cue Robert Frost quotes).
We definitely walked on some private roads…but we were not prosecuted for our actions and turned around when we realized what we’d done. We did get to a look out point and saw some great views of Northeast Harbor. The woods and trails were beautiful and paved so perfectly.
John D Rockefeller built these beautiful Carriage Roads with covered bridges and all. They are a sight to see and you’ll definitely want to put them on your list!
The other big stop was Cadillac Mountain. Now, I had planned to do Cadillac Mountain at sunrise. If you know me at all, you know I’m not a morning person. So, waking up at 2 am to drive to Cadillac Mountain was a lofty goal. As luck would have it, it was forecasted to rain. I set the alarm for 6 am instead of 2 am and I’m so glad I did. I still loved the views on Cadillac Mountain – you can see out to Bar Harbor and out over other lakes in the park. It was reminiscent of my hike in Norway! Unfortunately it was still slightly foggy/overcast but I did manage to get some awkward pics of myself standing on Cadillac Mountain.
There’s a small gift shop at Cadillac Mountain with cute Maine made products and park posters and tees. Plus there’s a restroom and bottled water and beverages for purchase.
The natural thing to do after Acadia National Park is to stop in the town of Bar Harbor. It’s a seaport town and full of quaint New England feels.
There’s a ton of small inns that look like something out of a movie. When it’s low tide, you can walk out on the bar!
Pick a shop, any shop, and Bar Harbor’s got it. I definitely made a few purchases and saw a few other Christmas list items! One of my favorite shops was the Bar Harbor Tea Company. Please note, I don’t drink a lot of tea. But for some reason I kept seeing tea – tea saucers, loose leaf tea, tea towels, and tea spoons. And I just couldn’t resist. I bought a build-your-own set of single serve loose leaf Bar Harbor teas! Including their Downeast Breakfast blend, and am planning to gift them to friends!
A fun, teen-kid friendly store is Cool As A Moose (I’m not a kid or a teen–just observing the vibe!). The store has cute tees and sweatshirts – they carry Life Is Good brand, Portland, ME based Sea Bags, and Cool As A Moose items. Oh and maybe some Hatley, too (every store carries Hatley!). I almost bought a Vineyard Vines-Ish long sleeve tee but found another one I liked a little bit better. The guys selection was maybe my favorite. They had Acadia National Park tees and long sleeve hoodie tees that looked very Patagonia like!
We ate dinner at Side Street Cafe, which is literally on a side street. I had fish tacos and they were delish. The place was packed. Very noisy, family friendly place. Traditional lobster dinner was on the menu, as well as creative dishes for all tastes!
Bar Harbor has no shortage on ice cream. There’s a cute candy/ice cream shop on every corner! Old fashioned general stores and ice cream parlours with ice cream, candy, fudge, whoopie pies and other treats! I grabbed a yummy sea salt caramel ice cream cup (gigantic portion) at Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium – ice cream heaven.
Bar Harbor is a great family-friendly stop! It was packed the day we were there – a cruise ship was in port and a few tour buses were also there. And I’m pretty sure I only saw 1/3 of the shops and town! It’s definitely worth another stop after another Acadia National Park day!