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Mid May Maine help

pittsburgh
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Mid May Maine help

Two adults/toddler traveling to Portland for a conference in May. We want to spend 3 nights in the Acadia National Park area. Is Bass Harbor/ Blue Hill Bay a good area, if we want to both see the park and hit Bar Harbor, too? We are looking for a cottage, as we will be stuck in a hotel room for 4 nights in Portland, and have choices in Bar Harbor, on Blue Hill Bay (on a hill above the water - looks remote, from the pictures) and in Bass Harbor (a house called Homeport, right on the bay, next to a marina). As we have never been in this area, it is kind of hard to picture, but it sounds like we can't really go wrong. Maybe we have TOO many choices!!! Any thoughts, suggestions??

Brunswick, Maine
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1. Re: Mid May Maine help

I live in Brunswick and can only comment on my experience. It would be hard for you to go wrong. The Acadia area is very heavily tourist oriented and in May many facilities will still not be open but that should be good news because the crowds will be down and those that are available should be focused on providing good service to consumers, with off season rates. You should know that Acadia is a good 3-4 hour trip north of Portland. Hope this helps.

pittsburgh
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2. Re: Mid May Maine help

Thanks so much. I really appreciate it. One more thing - for those out there - What about those black flies?? I 'm told that when you are right on the harbor, not a big deal, but go inland and it may be a problem. Anyone have any helpful suggestions? We were hoping to spend time in Acadia National Park, hiking, etc.

Rockland, Maine
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3. Re: Mid May Maine help

Black flies don't come out until July...you won't have any problems (even if it WAS black fly season). I've been to Acadia many times and flies were never an issue. Different story if you were going to spend some time in, say, Baxter State Park.

Bass Harbor is nice, but you might also want to consider Southwest Harbor or Northeast Harbor. Northeast Harbor is definitely closer to the main attractions of Acadia...and closer to Bar Harbor. Bass Harbor is way down on the other side of the island, separated by a large sound. Since you're going in May, I wouldn't factor the crowds into your decision....they don't start in full swing until probably around mid to late June. So if you chose Bass Harbor to get away from the crowds, it'll be pretty much as crowdless in Bar Harbor or Northeast Harbor (is crowdless a word?).

By the way, if you've never been to Portland...it is an AWESOME town. If you need Portland recommendations (dining, etc) let us know!

Have fun!

pittsburgh
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4. Re: Mid May Maine help

Thanks! I appreciate the assurance about the black flies. Any suggestions about Portland would be great. We have a one year old, so places we can walk to (from the Holiday on the Bay,where the conference is) would be appreciated. Dining suggestions would be most welcome. )

Bass Harbor, Maine
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5. Re: Mid May Maine help

Hi. You'll really like Portland and the Holiday Inn by the Bay is very nice. The pool is terrific and the hotel is close to Old Port. As I recall, there is a Children's Museum as well. In terms of Acadia and Bass Harbor - there are many sections of the Park and some great, child friendly trails near Bass Harbor - like Flying Mountain, Wonderland and Ship Harbor Nature Trail. There are playgrounds at Harbor House and at Tremont School (the village of Bass Harbor is part of Tremont). Regardless of where you stay on Mount Desert, you'll be close to the Park - Bass Harbor is five minutes from the trails that I mentioned. There are many lodging choices - the Southwest Harbor/Tremont Chamber of Commerce (acadiachamber.com) will have lots of options. Most go to Bar Harbor because it has name recognition (and your friends won't know where you went if you say Bass Harbor) but I am always amazed at those who never visit the 'quiet side.' We have everything that Bar Harbor has - just less of it. Enjoy your time with your toddler.

Rockland, Maine
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6. Re: Mid May Maine help

Holiday Inn by the Bay is in a good spot...very close to the Old Port (lots of restaurants, quaint shops, etc). For fine dining, try Fore Street (its wildly popular). My favorite is Bibo's Madd Apple Cafe close to the intersection of Forest St and Congress St (probably a couple hundred yards from your location). Street and Company in the Old Port is also very good, especially for seafood. For a cheap lunch, try Granny's Burritos on Fore Street in the Old Port. For breakfast, head down to Beckys on the waterfront...you may actually run into a real live lobsterman. You probably won't be doing alot of bar hopping...so I won't get into that.

I'm not dissing the quiet side of Mount Desert Island, it definitely has its own charm...I'm just saying don't let the crowds factor into your decision. Bar Harbor has alot more "stuff"....and you may want more "stuff" (greater selection of restaurants, bars, stores, etc etc). And the eastern side of MDI, around Bar Harbor, is closer to the "typical" attractions like Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, etc. It would just be my personal preference to be closer to Bar Harbor for all of those reasons. If it was July, i'd opt for the quiet side. Bass Harbor is a good 17 miles from Bar Harbor...at least 30-40 minutes driving time.

Denmark
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7. Re: Mid May Maine help

When our kids were really little, they enjoyed the Children's Museum. The museum has a usefully well-padded and gated central play area for toddlers with this air-cone device which causes a ball to levitate. I think your one year old might enjoy pushing the ball on the air funnel. Heck, I know I enjoyed it. It also has a lot of tactile interaction things on the first floor made of large chunky pieces of wood and plastic. There's also a lobster boat mock up for baby to step onto and peek out through the window while dad makes the boat rock. Nice going, Dad.

The other thing is, Portland is about one-plus hours drive from the coastal town/city of Portsmouth, NH, and about 2.5 hours drive from Boston. Your one year old may really like the New England Aquarium on the Boston waterfront -- especially the Tidal Pool "petting tank". Portsmouth isn't necessarily one-year old friendly, but it is a small enough town that you parents can reach most areas of it on foot. There's lots of historical nooks and crannies. Portsmouth has Strawberry Banke which is very picturesque and lacks that somewhat skanky quality that the Old Port and downtown Portland have. In May the tulips are in bloom in Prescott Park in Portmouth. Mom may like that.

www.portsmouthnh.com/visitors/banke.html

And in May Boston has the Swan Boats in the Public Garden which babies seem to love to ride.

I'm kind of steering you south from Portland because I remember driving up to Bar Harbor in May and the places north of Augusta were pretty much deserted by Mid Atlantic standards. That isn't so bad, but at night, and on some days, it gets pretty darn cold as well, sometimes into the 40's. You are pretty far north, and adjacent to where there's lots of forest cover, there is a desire for winter gear or to stay only briefly in the cold dusk. Not that bad for parents but a 1 year old may not enjoy it that much. And the blackflies aren't that bad but the Maine State Bird, Mosquitus Giganticus, may prove to be a damper on hikes into boggy woodland areas or a picnic at the edge of the lake. Boston is beautiful in May. In May, Downeast Maine is just thawed out. We're just spittin' distance from Canada, ay.

While staying in Portland, you could also go to Wolfe's Neck Park just outside of Freeport which is about a 30 minute drive from downtown Portland -- it has not too difficult nature trails along a rocky peninsula shoreline overlooking the ocean. And if you get bored, you can go shopping in Freeport (!!!!). Baby LL Bean clothing!!!! Yay!!!! Hidden away along Rte 1 Freeport is Winslow Park. Have a nice picnic with baby right on Casco Bay. Or eat a lovely supper at the romantic Muddy Rudder!!!

South of Portland about a half hour there's the children's rides at Old Orchard Beach. And further south around York there is York's Wild Kingdom which has quite a few animals and a kid's rides area!! Yay!!!! Anyway, hope this helped. And don't forget the Portland Head Light -- lots of crashing surf and giant rolling lawns and a couple of playgrounds. Roll on the grass with Baby next to the ocean!!! Yay!!!! (Etc.)