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Located on Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor is a popular tourist destination and home to the largest area of Acadia National Park including Cadillac Mountain. Once an elite summer hideaway for the affluent, it is a small town with about 5,000 residents. Historically it was home to the Wabanaki Indians who fished and hunted the local area. Europeans first settled Bar Harbor in 1763, despite being discovered by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1604. Built on an economy of lumbering, shipbuilding, agriculture and fishing, by 1880 there were 30 hotels including the historic Mira Monte Inn. Notables such as the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Carnegies flocked to the natural beauty of the island where they constructed elegant estates that they ironically called "cottages".
There is a spectacular 27-mile scenic drive around the island on the Park Loop Road that will take you through the Acadia National Park where you can gape in awe at soaring cliffs, beaches strewn with cobblestones, lush verdant forests and staggering granite mountains. It is an outdoor wonderland with old carriage roads to jump on a bike or to grab the hiking boots and explore. For the water lover there is everything you can imagine such as sailing, boating, whale watching and deep-sea fishing. You can even try and snare yourself a lobster if you are in hunter-gatherer mode or if not, head to one of the many cute cafes and have it delivered on a plate to your table. For the adventurous few it is possible to have a ride in a glider or the soft option is to take a scenic flight. There is rock climbing in the national park for those that like to get the adrenalin pumping or if you just want to sit on your rear end and be taken for a ride, then grab a horse drawn carriage for a sight seeing tour. If you desire a bit of culture, there is a local live theater or a museum for the history buffs to meander around.
Whatever you wish to do in the wild or in comfort, you can find it in Bar Harbor without any fuss whatsoever, which is why it became a rich man's paradise.
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