Bar Harbor, Maine
If Bar Harbor seems like a scene out of a landscape painting, that’s because it is. The picturesque Maine fishing town attracted the Hudson River School painters in the mid-1800s. Today, it's a popular vacation spot and port for New England cruises (large ships anchor offshore, and passengers are tendered to port). The enchanting downtown is easily accessible by foot from the cruise port, or you can book a lighthouse cruise or a nature excursion to Acadia National Park.
What We Love
Galleries: Save some room in your suitcase for wares from Bar Harbor’s artisans: Handwoven baskets, stone pottery, and tourmaline jewelry count among the creations.
Abbe Museum: This alluring museum has a collection of more than 50,000 artifacts related to Maine’s Wabanaki tribes, ranging from stone tools and woodcarvings to birch-bark containers and glass trade beads.
Best Known For
Lobster: You can't leave Maine without dining on one of these crustaceans fresh from the sea. They are most often served with potatoes and corn on the cob with butter. Also on the menu: creamy bisques, chilled lobster tails, and lobster rolls.
Acadia National Park: Bar Harbor is the gateway to this 47,000-acre park encompassing granite peaks, rugged coasts, and wild gardens with pine-needle paths. There are more than a hundred miles of paths for hiking and biking as well.
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Who It's Best For
Souvenir Shoppers: Despite it's small size, Bar Harbor is brimming with unique shops and specialty stores, from teahouses to booksellers to craft peddlers.
Leaf Peepers: This is a major stop among Canada and New England cruises. If you sail during peak fall foliage time (mid-September to mid-October), you'll see the trees done up in vibrant golds, oranges, reds, and even purples.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Peak Season Can Be Crowded: June through October is the prettiest time of the year, but also the busiest. The town isn’t huge: Expect to bump into your fellow passengers.
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.