“Maine is a joy in the summer. But the soul of Maine is more apparent in the winter.” ~ Paul Theroux
Winter in Bar Harbor
Hello friends! Here is Part THREE of my Adventures in Bar harbor. Honestly, I wasn’t going to do a Part Three, but I shockingly had so much fun when I visited in the winter, that I just had to do a part three. You can read about my summer adventures in part one here and my fall adventures in part two here. It might seem like there isn’t much to do in Bar Harbor in the Winter, but if you seek it, you will find it and I certainly did. While it does shut down, and it is freezing, I actually feel like this is a pretty magical time to go. I know, I know, I keep saying that, but it is true! It is so magical this time of year, and it has nothing to do with Christmas decorations. Though for a beach town, the decorations are gorgeous!
There is an utter peacefulness, and I am not talking winter wonderland peacefulness, because I ventured there between snow storms and the snow had melted. No, I am talking about an overall bliss that took over the town after an insanely busy season. It was like they had taken a great big giant inhale and then decided to finally exhale. It was almost similar to that Southern energy I love so much. (mostly because I NEED to relax.) Everyone was relaxed, and insanely nice and friendly. It also felt like I had the island to myself. I loved it!
Atlantic Harborside Hotel
Most of the hotels and resorts do close for a couple months whether it is late December or January. The Atlantic Harborside Resort is the only one in Bar Harbor (aside from a couple smaller inns) that stays open, and they stay open year round. It is a resort as well as an events place, and they are known for holding conferences since they are right next to the college. It is a huge complex and is quite modern while still having that New England charm. It is also right on the water which I love, and something I always look for when staying in a coastal town. Atlantic Harborside has ALL the amenities. They not only have several restaurants which are open year round and offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they also have multiple pools, as well as a gym (which many of the other hotels in the area do not have) which I loved. Though I didn’t get to use it, as I decided to go for a run. They also have balconies that look out onto the grounds and water, and while it was chilly, I couldn’t help but take in the views, bundled up of course! And much like the Bar Harbor Inn, they also provided a list of open restaurants in the area and the staff were insanely helpful and friendly.
For a coastal New England town, Bar Harbor is a food Mecca with tons of variety, and different cuisines, and that includes Havana which is an American Cuban restaurant and so darn yummy! They are open year round, and located right on Main Street. They source local food to create a menu that is chalked full of flavor while mixing together Cuban and New England spices and foods. It is a culinary delight. Their drinks and desserts are especially yummy!
As the only coffee place open during the chilly winter months, I went back to Choco-latte which was no hardship, as it was just as yummy as the last time I was there! I got a maple latte (yes they have them too!) as well as a breakfast sandwhich that was delicious. They have seating inside, (as well as outside, but who wants to sit outside right now?!) so you can hang out, get work done, or just sip and savor your coffee. I did end up taking it back to my hotel, where I did sit on the balcony (bundled up!) and looked out at the ocean.
Okay, technically this isn’t in Bar Harbor, but a neighboring town on the island called Somesville. I had to stop by the bridge, especially as it was decorated with a wreathe for the holidays. It is usually insanely busy in the summer, as it is the most photographed bridge in Maine, but since it was the winter no one was there. There weren’t even a ton of cars driving past. It was so quiet and peaceful. The water was half frozen, causing the prettiest reflections and I could not resist having a mini photo shoot! It is one of my favorite places on the whole island.
Outdoor Ice Rink
Friends! They have an outdoor ice rink! Oh be still my heart! It wasn’t up and running or I would have taken a spin (especially since I did have my ice skates!) It is right before you enter the down town area and was ust the cutest thing ever. Who doesn’t want to skate by the water?
Warm up with soup at Bella Vita
Bella Vita has become a tradition for my mer-twin and I. Every chance we get, we go here. They are open year round, and one of the few places you can get breakfast in the winter. But it is their lobster bisque soup which has stolen my heart and is some of the best I have ever had. I also love how the restaurant and hotel are laid out. I feel like I am transported back to the 1900s, and I love it especially in the winter time.
The Shore Path
I know you are probably sick of me mentioning it, but friends it really is magical. Especially since I saw the most stunning sunrise I have ever seen on it. Winter sunrises (and sunsets) are the best and the views from the Shore Path are second to none. Not going to lie, it was FREEZING and I was so happy to have my winter jacket and all the layers on. But honestly it was worth it for the sunrise. It was a magical moment and honestly made the trip there and the bitter cold all so worth it.
I hope you enjoyed this little series! Bar Harbor is such a special place, as is the whole of Mount Desert Island. Whether you just want to savor some ocean time, do some hiking, embrace history, enjoy Maine’s one of a kind rocky coast, practice some photography, or just need to escape for some R&R this is the place to do it in. It has so much to offer irregardless of seasons and it has definitely stolen my heart, yes even in the cold winter months!
Have you been to Bar Harbor or Mount Desert Island? Do you go to the beach in the winter? Would you visit a beach town in the off season?