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Bar Harbor area and North

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Bar Harbor area and North

We have previous leisurely driven the coast of Maine from Portsmouth to Bar Harbor. In August we plan to fly into Bar Harbor and spend a few days on Desert Island. What is the drive like from Bar Harbor to Lubec? Is it worth it? We have a rental car and won't be going into Canada. Are there nice places to stay along the way. We want something comparable to Bar Harbor Inn. Any suggests for towns to visit and places to stay? also restaurants.

Thanks in advance

Bar Harbor, Maine
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1. Re: Bar Harbor area and North

If you are looking for waterfront hotels and a choice of good dining, then no the drive from Bar Harbor to Lubec is not worth it. I know of nothing comparable to the Bar Harbor Inn anywhere in that area. Lubec, Eastport, and Machias are the largest towns. You will have to get off of Highway 1 to see any coastal scenery. There are state parks along the ocean and some dramatic hiking trails. But there are very few tourist amenities. Mostly it is a drive through very rural Maine with all its charm and quirkiness.

You might take a day trip from Bar Harbor to the Schoodic Peninsula, a detached part of Acadia National Park. Have lunch in Winter Harbor at one of the two or three restaurants there. You'll get a feel for what the area and the scenery are like.

Lunenburg, Canada
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for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
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2. Re: Bar Harbor area and North

Hi Phillie!

We think Route 9 between Amherst, ME and Calais is more scenic than US-1, the coastal highway. It's not marine scenery, but then neither is most of Route 1.

The Maine coast is deeply indented, and a main highway can't swing down to the tip of every promontory, or people would never get where they're going. Local roads do go down, but after you've explored Mount Desert Island, every fishing port eastward is going to start looking the same: same public wharf, same fishing boats, same buoys and lobster traps strewn around.

Route 9 runs through the interior of Washington County and offers a slice of rustic Maine that you don't find in other places. It's not quaint, but austere. You'll see small hamlet with a roadside diner here and there. There's steep hills, old houses, blueberry fields, lots of streams and the occasional lake, and of course Maine woods. We find that it's like a by-gone era in places. It's also a fast route because there's little traffic.

You could easily make a circuit. From Ellsworth, the mainland city near Mount Desert Island, take Route 179 north to Aurora. (Don't go all the way back to Bangor on US-1A.) Follow Route 9 east toward Calais.

East of Aurora, stop atop the Whaleback, a glacial esker high above the surrounding marsh. The Whaleback has stopping bays. The stopping bay on the north side of the road has an outstanding view of the marsh and stream below. I can almost see the moose standing in the midst of it! (Eskers formed during the Wisconsin Ice Age when a river ran through the middle of the ice. Rivers deposit sediments. When the glacier melted 8,000 years ago, the stream bed it had built up now towered above its surroundings.)

From Calais, you could continue around by US-1, or as an alternate route, turn at the signs for Moosehorn Wildlife Refuge and continue through the park on the paved highway toward Machias. There, you join Route 1 west toward Ellsworth again.

If it's swank restaurants you're looking for, Bar Harbor is the end of the line in Maine. Downeast has plenty of diners and roadside mom-and-pop eateries, the kind I prefer over the fancier places. Like the World's Largest Blueberry at Columbia Falls. It's a bakery built to look like ... the World's Largest Blueberry. It all depends on what you like, doesn't it!

Happy travels!



3. Re: Bar Harbor area and North

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