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Bar Harbor - Canada

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Pearl River, NY
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Bar Harbor - Canada

Hello...thinking of driving from Rockland County NY to Bar Harbor and maybe taking the 2 hour ferry(?) into Canada before taking a windy way home...will probably have a total of 6 days to use...any suggestions for route and places to visit? It will be me, wife, 10 yr old daughter and 8 yr old son...thanks

New Haven...
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1. Re: Bar Harbor - Canada

Where is Rockland County NY? Are you looking for things to do from there to Maine? Or on your windy drive back home? Where are you taking the ferry to?

Bar Harbor, Maine
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2. Re: Bar Harbor - Canada

Wow. Not a good idea, I'd say. It would be a very long day of driving from NY to Bar Harbor. Two days would be more reasonable. The Cat ferry, yes two to three hours depending on fog, would take you into Yarmouth, the tip of Nova Scotia. To drive home from there you would have to get around the Bay of Fundy, first through almost the entire length of Nova Scotia and then all of New Brunswick. That alone would take two days. They you would still be well north of Bar Harbor and have a two day drive home. You'd spend the entire six days in the car!!

I'd save Canada for another trip and just come on up to Bar Harbor and spend your time exploring, hiking, and touring Acadia National Park. If you want a boat ride, you could do fun things like the Lulu Lobster boat here in Bar Harbor or a sunset sail on the four-masted schooner where you get to help raise the sails. Kids and adults both love the Lulu boat. You get to see a lobster trap pulled up and all the wonderful bird and fish life hereabouts.

Central Maine
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3. Re: Bar Harbor - Canada

You don't say "When" you're coming, but Cat Ferry doesn't begin operation until May 31st, so keep that in mind.

Ferry website lists it as a 3-hour crossing if that matters....and bear it mind, it's a high-speed catamaran type ferry -- can be very bumpy (like an airplane in turbulence) depending on seas, wind and weather -- very unlikely you'll get a stroll-the-decks-and-lounge-on-the-rail type ride.

Have done the drive from Bangor, Maine to Halifax, Nova Scotia straight through in my younger days when I was in college and my girlfriend was going to school in Nova Scotia -- figure it at 9 to 10 hours of straight, never-get-out-of-the-car driving time....meaning that if you really want to stop and see anything, you'll need at least two days.... Also allow at least a couple of hours to get from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where the ferry docks, to Halifax (on the Atlantic Shore) or Wolfville (the equivalent on the Bay of Fundy side).

Nova Scotia is a great province -- spent many good times there when I was younger....but just driving through it (which is about all you'd have time to do) doesn't do it justice.... And with the amount of total time you have, you really won't be able to do justice to some great Maine destinations either.

Unless you're dead set on getting to Nova Scotia this trip, I'd spend the extra days in Maine -- around Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park or somewhere else....and leave Nova Scotia to a future trip when you have more time to really enjoy some of what it has to offer.

Pearl River, NY
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4. Re: Bar Harbor - Canada

Thanks for the feedback everyone...I probably should clarify...will be heading out in the evening of a July Saturday...my thought is to drive 4 hours north so I can arrive in Bar harbor early Sunday, I could spend Sunday, Monday, and part of Tues in and around Bar Harbor...I would then venture toward Nova Scotia, I figure the 3 hr ferry is the way to go...I could take it easy Tues night, spend Wed and Thur in and around Nova Scotia...then if it makes sense take the ferry back to bar Harbor, stay the night there or drive a few hours south...and start heading back or visit someplace south for a day or so setting up a Sunday evening return to home in Rockland ( 15 minutes from NYC)...so...thoughts on the destinations or tweaking? Add a day in Nova Scotia or a day in Maine or?

Bar Harbor, Maine
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5. Re: Bar Harbor - Canada

Your further explanation is much better. Be aware that The Cat ferry doesn't always go between Bar Harbor and Nova Scotia. Some days it leaves from Bar Harbor but then returns to Portland from Nova Scotia. It cannot travel between Portland and Bar Harbor because of the law that forbids foreign-flagged ships to travel between US ports. The Cat is owned by a Canadian company.

Syracuse, New York
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6. Re: Bar Harbor - Canada

If I had just a couple of days in Nova Scotia, I would consider doing a loop from Yarmouth to Halifax (3.5 hrs), Halifax to Digby/Annapolis Royal area (2.5 hrs) and then Digby back to Yarmouth (little over 1 hr). There would be plenty to see and do and it really depends on what interests your family.

Between Yarmouth and Halifax is Lunenburg an old fishing village. Beautiful old buildings. Fishing museum. The Bluenose II (replica of the original) sails from Lunenburg. I believe you can sail on The Bluenose. Lunenburg is a world heritage site.

Peggy's Cove is also on the route to Halifax and is a great visit. Another small fishing village. When I was there, didn't seem like a lot to do other than climbing on the rocks surrounding the lighthouse but it is beautiful. I love the landscape from Peggy's Cove to Halifax. I recall it being treeless with this huge bolders left by retreating glaciers giving it an other-worldly appearance.

Annapolis Royal is another beautiful little village. AR has Fort Anne and (within a short drive) Port Royal (recreation of French fort built in the early part of the 17th century).

If you are interested in whale watching this is the area (google for Digby neck and Brier Island).

Pearl River, NY
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7. Re: Bar Harbor - Canada

Great stuff...revised thought, arrive in Bar Harbor Sunday...tues a.m ferry to Yarmouth and then drive the inner coast over the next few days and hook back down into Maine...suggestions for towns to stay in and places to visit?

Central Maine
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8. Re: Bar Harbor - Canada

It's been a while (10 years plus) since we last had a chance to get to Nova Scotia....but, that said, if by the "inner coast" you mean the Bay of Fundy side of Nova Scotia, then on into New Brunswick and back into Maine, I'd suggest:

-- Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Nice historic site that's part of the history of the province. Directly on your route and a great excuse to get out of the car and stretch a bit.

-- Any of the small harbors west of the Centreville or Kentville area (Hall's Harbor, Baxter Harbor) if you can get there at low tide.....really will show you just how much the tide fluctuates in that part of the country -- we used to see fishing boats resting on the bottom of the harbor next to their wharves just because the tide had gone out!

-- In New Brunswick, make the short detour down to St Andrew's -- nice little seaside town and home to the famous Hotel Alegonquin.

-- Back in Maine, you'll have two choices once you cross the border at Calais -- Rt 9 to Bangor, or US Rt 1 throug Machias and Ellsworth. What you do here will be partially determined by the time still available. Rt 9 is the most direct route from Calais to Bangoe and is well maintained because it carries most of the commercial traffic between Bangor and maritime Canada. Except for a few small villages along the way, posted speed limits are usually 50 or 55 and the road is in good condition.

US 1 on the other hand, winds through the center of many more villages, has deteriorated badly over the past several years and is just plain rough in spots. It's longer time-wise than going Rt 9, but does offer access to several interesting things to see or do if you decide to go that way.

In Pembroke, watch for signs to Reversing Falls, another great place to see the power of the tides.

Just east of Whiting, Cobscook Bay State Park offers another great chance to see the downeast Maine coast.

In Whiting, follow signs to Lubec and West Quoddy Head lighthouse, the easternmost lighthouse in the United States.

From Lubec, you can cross the bridge back into Canada's Campobello Island and visit the summer home of President Franklin Delanore Roosevelt.

Many of the above can be Google'd as Coobscook Bay State Park, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Campobelle Island etc for more detailed information.

As far as lodging -- it's been too long since I was in Canade to make recommendations. In Maine, your best bets for lodging will be in Calais, Machias, Ellsworth or Bangor....can't remember when you're coming, but if it's anytime between now and mid-September, I'd make my reservations ASAP. Places can fill up quickly this time of year.

Pearl River, NY
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9. Re: Bar Harbor - Canada

plan b - kinda down on the cat ferry price and logistical issues after that - new plan is driving from bar harbor to st andrews or st stephens...when there any suggestions for where to stay? I figure one day ther, then on to st Johns, then moncton, then fredericton

New Brunswick
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10. Re: Bar Harbor - Canada

St-Andrews is worth the trip and I would stay at least one night there. From there its an easy drive to St-John with lots to do in St-John (check out the reversing falls). Leaving you can go through route 111 to St-Martins, then Sussex, Fundy park is a nice drive through on route 114 through Alma and stop in to hopewell cape to see The Rocks. Then on to Moncton. Lots to do in Moncton but I would spend a day in Shediac, nice little town with beautiful beaches. From there Fredericton is about two hours away.

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