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Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

New York City, New...
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Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

Hi. Thank you in advance for your advice. Hubby and I are planning a trip to Maine this summer from NY. We are going to fly into portland and are not sure if we should rent a car to go to Bar Harbor/Acadia or is Portland enough to visit. We have about a week to spend int he area. We have been reading about Casco bay Islands and that sounds awesome. We were contemplating 3 nights in the portland and 3 nights in the bar harbor area. Are B and B's a better option?? any suggestions? We are looking to explore, hike, relax and perhaps shop?! :)

Thanks again!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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1. Re: Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

Definitely spend at least half of your week in Bar Harbor. Not because of the village of Bar Harbor but because of Acadia National Park. The scenery and the hiking in Acadia is really not to be missed.

B&Bs are a good option in the Acadia region. A hotel in the Old Port section of Portland would be better there. I'd highly recommend The Portland Regency. http://www.theregency.com/ And I'd look around at http://www.sleepbarharbor.com/ for a B&B that appeals to you in the Acadia region.

Central Maine
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2. Re: Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

Portland and Bar Harbor/Acadia are both great, but totally diverse, destinations. Once gives you the ambiance of a small city (even though it's Maine's biggest city, it has more of a small-city feel), Bar Harbor/Acadia expose you to a more rural area with a coastline unduplicated anywhere else on the Atlantic seaboard.

I would strongly suggest you consider planning your trip in a way that allows you to experience both destinations, if only to see what a variety of lifestyles Maine has to offer. Depending on your flight schedules, you could do something like the following:

Day !: Fly into Portland - spend the afternoon settling into your accommodations (agree with Binniemaev that The Portland Regency would be a great choice -- not part of the international chain, but locally owned and operated in the heart of the Old Port District), checking out the Old Port, with dinner there. Day 2: Portland Head Light lighthouse and lunch at Two Lights Lobster Shack nearby. Afternoon trip to Peaks Island with dinner there before returning to Portland. Day Three -- head out mid-morning for Bar Harbor via I-295 to Topsham and US Rt 1 from Topsham to Ellsworth and Rt 3 from Ellsworth to Bar Harbor -- allow four hours or so driving time not counting stops along the way for lunch etc. Spend the rest of the afternoon visiting the Acadia National Park Official Visitors Center for maps,, brochures and help planning your visit to make the most of the time you'll have here and settling into your accommodations. Day 4: Explore Acadia National Park -- Park Loop Road, Cadillac Mountain etc. with any remaining time exploring Bar Harbor proper -- and maybe a sunset wagon ride in the Park if Wildwood Stables offers them again next year. Day 5: Maybe a morning cruise with Lulu Lobster Boat to see how Maine's most famous seafood is caught and an afternoon ride to Southwest, Northeast and Bass Harbors, with a lobster dinner at Thurston's Lobster Pound on that side of the island. Day 6: Spend the morning on anything you've missed or want to visit again, witha mid-day departure for Portland -- travel via Rt 3 to Ellsworth, US Rt 1A to Brewer, I-395 to Bangor, and I-95 to Portland (quicker than the coastal route you took on your way north) -- allow about three hours travel time. Spend the evening and next morning catching up or repeating anything in Portland you didn''t do earlier in the week. Afternoon or evening flight home.... after a totally memorable trip.

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3. Re: Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

MainerOnTheGo,

That's a very nice itinerary! Maybe I should do that too.

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4. Re: Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

FYI everyone. The Westin Portland Harborview is opening soon (next week?). If you book online at the hotel website and have an AAA membership, rates are really attractive and breakfast is included. It's also near Restaurant Five Fifty-Five and the Portland Museum of Art.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

Thanks Mainer! Love the itinerary. We were originally thinking of driving from NY and going as far as portland but we could easily fly into portland and rent a car too…. HOw far from portland to acadia??

Bar Harbor, Maine
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6. Re: Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

It is a three hour drive from Portland to Acadia National Park.

Central Maine
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7. Re: Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

You'll find a couple of different route choices from Portland to Bar Harbor, but, in general Bonniemaev's timing it about right. Keep in mind that while taking I-95 to Bangor, then I-395 to Brewer, US 1A to Ellsworth and ME Rt 3 to Bar Harbor may take you away from the coastline, that it's also usually the quickest route because it has the most miles of divided, limited-access highway driving, while US Rt 1 along the coast runs through the business district of various small towns, with the associated lower speed limits and increased local traffic. Also be aware that while you get some views of the coastline, US Rt 1 between Portland and Ellsworth does not truly "follow the coastline" -- it's usually half a mile to several miles inland, meaning you don't get the continuous coastal views some folks expect they will.... Some folks like to take I-95 in one direction and US Rt 1 in the other....

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8. Re: Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

My wife and I did a whirlwind tour of Maine and Portsmouth NH this past October.

We flew into Manchester and got into Portsmouth late the first night. Got up and spent the morning in Portsmouth. Lunch in Kennebunkport. Then worked our way up to Wiscasset for dinner at Reds Eats. We finished that night in Bangor after a brief stop at LL Bean. Day three we went down to Bar Harbor, explored Bar Island and a Day Mountain. Acadia was closed due to the government shutdown, but we still enjoyed what parts of it we could access. We had a lobster dinner in Bar Harbor, walked around downtown, and then spent the night in Ellsworth. On day four, we leisurely worked our way back down the coast to Portland stopping several times along the way and got into Portland by late afternoon. We went to Shipyard brewery and had dinner in Old Port. The last day we worked the rest of the way back to Manchester via lunch in Portsmouth and a brewery tour at Red Hook.

We had a great time, got to enjoy the peak foliage, and see a lot of a wonderful part of the country.

9. Re: Portland and Bar Harbor..too much?

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