By now, you may have heard that the National Park Service will implementing a “timed reservation system” for many of the popular attractions in Acadia National Park, including Cadillac Peak, Jordan Pond, Sand Beach and Eagle Lake. Though originally envisioned to begin in summer of this year, the Park Service has announced that reservations will not be needed through the spring and summer seasons of 2020. A trial system will be tested in the fall, with roll out throughout the park scheduled to begin in the 2021 season. For the time being, you needn’t worry about reserving your place in line or paying additional reservation fees. Of course, we always encourage guests to use the island’s free shuttle service during the summer in order to minimize congestion on the roads. Shuttles meet at the village green, within easy walking distance from the Mira Monte.
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We’ve already told you about the Pajama Days as a fun day of activities and sale prices, but did you know we have one final day of sales and events to close the year out? Midnight Madness in 2018 in Bar Harbor is on Friday, Dec 7. It starts at 8pm and runs until midnight, with many shops offering free snacks, wine, and warm drinks. There’s some caroling that usually goes on at the Village Green as well with free cocoa and cookies. Santa comes in to light the tree at about 5pm, and then he reads Twas the Night Before Christmas before heading off to the YMCA for some family crafts fun, so kids are definitely welcome for this event.
So that’s 5pm for Santa and Twas the Night Before Christmas on the Village Green. After that head to the Y for Christmas crafts, and come back into town at 8pm for the sales, drinks, and fun around town!
To book with us for that event, go to www.miramonte.com. Please remember that our winter rates do not include breakfast or daily housekeeping.
Of course Mount Desert Island is famous for Acadia National Park, but would you believe that not everyone comes to the island for the park? Well, it’s true, and while it may seem a bit funny to ignore the park as a destination, there are plenty of other things to do and places to see. There are three gardens in particular that bring many tourists to the island each year. Two of them are in Northeast Harbor and owned by the Land and Garden Preserve while one is near Bar Harbor and is in the park itself. You can do all three in a convenient loop. It doesn’t matter which way go, but stopping for lunch at the Asticou Inn is a wonderful idea, especially if you can get out on the terrace.
- Asticou Azalea Gardens: Part of the Land and Garden Preserve set up by the Rockefellers, the Azalea Gardens are small but quite tranquil despite being right off Rt. 198. If you’re going to Northeast Harbor, there’s a turnoff to the left before you get into town. This turnoff goes to the Asticou Inn. You can park there if you’re going to the restaurant after the garden (or before), but the parking for the garden itself is right before that intersection on the left-hand side. Many people who can’t get into the small parking lot end up parking on the road. My favorite part is the sand garden, but there are some wonderful ponds, stone bridges, benches, and plenty to admire plant-wise, of course.
- Thuya Gardens: Also part of the Land and Garden Preserve, the Thuya Gardens are on Rt. 3 between Northeast Harbor and Seal Harbor, and they’re right around the corner from the Azalea Garden as well. At the turnoff for the Asticou Inn, before you arrive in downtown Northeast Harbor, turn left and drive past the Asticou Inn for a minute or so. Down the road a bit you’ll see the path that ascends up the left-hand side of the road. There is a small dirt parking lot right across the street from that path on the right. It only holds about 10 cars, so if that’s full, or if you don’t fancy the hike up (not long and worth it), drive a minute down the road and find Thuya Drive on the left. Drive up the hill and find maybe another 10 parking spaces closer to the garden. My favorite thing here is the smells. All those flowers lined up that way really challenges the senses.
- Wild Gardens of Acadia: These are on Rt. 3 just outside of Bar Harbor (between the Jackson Lab and the parking area for Dorr Mtn.and Champlain Mtn.) at the Sieur du Mont Springs section of the park. You can get here either off Rt. 3 or via the Park Loop Road as well. These gardens are famous for having a sample of all the native species on the island. There are also plenty of hikes in the area, and not all of them go up mountains, such as the Jesup, Stratheden, and Hemlock trails, which all form loops off the Great Meadow Trail. These hikes can be accessed on foot straight from the Mira Monte, too.
To get directions to any of these, check out our availability calendar and we’ll set you up right: www.miramonte.com.
Bass Harbor Head Light is the only lighthouse located on Mount Desert Island, but there’s several others nearby and within and easy drive from the Inn. All these great old lighthouses can be viewed and photographed on boat tours that tell of their incredible histories.
Bass Harbor Head Light, located within Acadia National Park in the southwest portion of Mount Desert Island, Maine, marking the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay. Today, the house is a private residence for a local Coast Guard member and his family. Tourists can get close to the bell and light via a concrete path, but most of the grounds are private. There’s a short walk which takes you to wooden steps that lead down granite boulders that allow views of the harbor side.
Mount Desert Rock Light is owned by the College of the Atlantic, whose students study whales and nesting seabirds. Mount Desert Rock is a small island about 18 nautical miles south of Mount Desert Island. The light station was established in 1830; the current lighthouse was built in 1847 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Great Duck Island Light is also owned by the College of the Atlantic and is located on Great Duck Island, a small 237 acres island in the Gulf of Maine about 9 miles south of Mount Desert Island. The light station is on 11-acres at the southern tip of the island.
Bear Island Light is a lighthouse on Bear Island near Mt. Desert Island at the entrance to Northeast Harbor. It was first established in 1839 with the present structure built in 1889. It was deactivated in 1981 and lit as a private aid to navigation by the Friends of Acadia National Park in 1989. Bear Island Light is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Egg Rock light was constructed in 1876 and was automated by the United States Coast Guard in 1976, at which time its ancillary structures except the fog station were torn down. The lantern house was removed and the light was replaced by the present aerobeacon. After public protest, a lantern house was installed in 1986. The light continues to be managed by the Coast Guard, and is not open to the public; the island and buildings are owned by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Baker Island Light (1828), is the oldest light in the area and has been replaced with lighted offshore buoys. Established in 1828, it was the first along Maine’s coast located near Mount Desert Island. The light is an aid to navigation for reaching that island’s major ports, including Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor. The buildings of the station are now owned and administered by Acadia National Park with the light itself being maintained by the United States Coast Guard.
Winter Harbor Light is a lighthouse in Winter Harbor, Maine on Mark Island, a small island between the Schoodic Peninsula and Turtle Island. The light was built in 1856 and was deactivated in 1933; it is no longer an aid to navigation, and is privately owned.
The Bar Harbor 4th of July has been voted the #1 Fourth of July celebration in America by the Today Show and as one of the top ten in the U.S by National Geographic. There’s a full day of events and so many ways to enjoy Maine’s Bar Harbor 4th of July.
Bar Harbor 4th of July Schedule of Events
6AM-10AM Blueberry Pancake Breakfast – Bar Harbor Rotary Club, Bar Harbor Athletic Field, Park Street. A morning feast for the whole family, more info.
6AM-9AM Start Times – Around Mount Desert Island Relay, Crow Athletics – 100-kilometer relay route around Mount Desert Island, more info.
7:30AM-2:30PM Bar Harbor Nonprofit Showcase – Bar Harbor Rotary Club, Bar Harbor Athletic Field, Park Street. A variety of Maine nonprofits sell goods, raffle items and provide info about their organizations.
9AM-3PM Craft Fair Marketplace at the YMCA, 21 Park Street, a wonderful selection of local crafted goods, for more info or call the YWCA at 207-288-5008.
10AM Independence Day Parade – The community shows off its patriotism and good humor, the parade route winds through downtown Bar Harbor from Main Street to Cottage Street to Eden Street to Mt. Desert Street to Ledgelawn Avenue. DOWNLOAD A PARADE MAP!
11AM-2PM Seafood Festival – Bar Harbor Rotary Club, Bar Harbor Athletic Field, Park Street. Lobster, mussels, corn, strawberry shortcake and more at the area’s largest seafood festival, more info.
After the Parade, MDI YMCA Annual Lobster Races – Bar Harbor Athletic Field, Park Street. Watch local businesses put their lobsters to the test. For more information contact the YMCA at 207-288-3511 click here for more info.
11:30AM-2PM MDI Seafood Festival Entertainment – Free live concert during the Seafood Fesitval. Family-friendly
3:30PM-9PM Live Music @ Harborside Concert Series – Free concert series in Agamont Park leading up to the fireworks.Performers are: Tricia Mason Band at 3:30pm, Blake Rosso Band at 5:30pm, and The Crown Vic are on at 7:30pm.
7:30PM-8:30PM Bar Harbor Town Band – Free concert on the Bar Harbor Village Green, Main & Mt. Desert Streets. For over 100 years the Town Band, comprised of amateur musicians from around the region, has entertained thousands of locals and visitors.
9:15PM (approx.) Fireworks Over Frenchman Bay – Enjoy the spectacular display on the waterfront, downtown Bar Harbor. Sponsored by Ocean Properties and the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.