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Bar Harbor, Maine

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Bar Harbor sunrise

The town of Bar Harbor sits at the edge of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Incorporated in 1796, Bar Harbor was originally called Eden. In 1918, the name of the town was changed to Bar Harbor.

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From the top of Cadillac Mountain, a view of Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay, the five Porcupine Islands (foreground), and a cruise ship in port.
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Street view. Hotels and restaurants across from the waterfront.
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The beautiful Bar Harbor Inn sits right on the water.
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Early evening downtown. The shops stay open later for the tourists.

Traditionally a home for the East Coast wealthy, Bar Harbor has some beautiful old mansions, and gorgeous newer homes. Shopping ranges from fun and cheap to funky to expensive. Parking is limited and every public parking space that we saw had a parking meter. There are many restaurants and bars, too. We had lunch at a cute place called Side Street Cafe where the service and food was very good, and we didn’t have to wait to be seated!

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On the waterfront   

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Stewman’s was our top pick for dinner on our first night in Bar Harbor, and we were not disappointed. Lobster roll, anyone? How about a crab roll? This place had great food and great service, plus they played seventies music, so we’re giving them a big shout-out for all of the above! We highly recommend Stewman’s if you’re in Bar Harbor. Did we mention that they have indoor and outdoor dining? So there’s that.

Bar Harbor offers something for everyone in the way of entertainment. There are walking history tours, whale watching tours, guided tours to Acadia National Park, culinary tours, a beautiful golf course, and cruises on Frenchman Bay, just to name a few.

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This is the Four-Masted Schooner, Margaret Todd, out for an evening cruise.

While walking around Bar Harbor, bits of history can be found at every turn. The town’s historical society has done a great job of erecting “Museum in the Streets” signs describing the many points of interest. We enjoyed walking Shore Path which is a half mile trail that runs atop the cliffs along the edge of the water. There were stories about the old mansions tucked away behind tall hedges and gorgeous flowers to enjoy on our after dinner stroll, as well as watching the boats on the bay.

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Beach roses aka dune roses can be found all along the coast of Maine. This large shrub is full of rose hips left over after the blooms played out. We thought these were pretty and interesting.
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We were lucky to find a few beach roses still blooming so late in the season.
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Pink and white hydrangeas in front of a home

We were especially fascinated by the beautiful churches, not only in Bar Harbor, but everywhere we went. The white churches with their steeples looming high above the trees are typically Congregational churches, and we found them everywhere in New England. These beautiful churches epitomized New England for us. So unassuming and welcoming, don’t you just want to go on in?

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Congregational Church in Bar Harbor

Another Bar Harbor church caught our attention, too. Saint Saviour’s Episcopal Church was first completed in 1877 and over the years has undergone several expansions to accommodate its large congregation.

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Saint Saviour’s Episcopal Church, built between 1877 and 1938, has several Tiffany Studio glass windows, and sits next to the historic Village Burying Ground.
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Village Burying Ground
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Interesting history about the Village Burying Ground
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Monument to Union Soldiers in the Village Burying Ground

Thank you for joining us on our tour of Bar Harbor, Maine. We hope that you will come back to our site again to catch up with us on our New England road trip. You never know where we’re going, so check back often. We will have more national parks, great camping spots, Quick Stops, and other exciting posts for you in the coming months, too. If you’re not already a follower become one so you never miss a post.

We will close this post with a picture of some exquisite dahlias we found in Bar Harbor.

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Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Strawbery Banke Museum and Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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  • Website link: Strawbery Banke Museum
  • Where is it: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • What is it: it is a restored neighborhood in South Portsmouth’s historic district
  • Cost: varies, see website
  • One restaurant is located on the property, along with a cafe in the visitor center
  • Hours: May through October, open daily from 10:00 – 5:00 for self-guided tours 

Strawbery Banke was first settled in 1630, and was centered around an inlet or waterway called Puddle Dock, which was filled in in the early 1900s. Today Strawbery Banke is a collection of original buildings – homes and businesses – some of which were occupied until the 1950s. When the neighborhood was destined for demolition, preservationists jumped in to save it, and Strawbery Banke opened as this wonderful museum in 1965.

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The Sherburne House, built between 1695 and 1703 by Captain John Sherburne. We thought the construction of this house was interesting, and the windows really grabbed our attention.
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Wheelwright House. Built during the time of the American Revolution by Captain John Wheelwright, it is a fine example of a middle class home of the time.
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The Dinsmore Shop. The 1800 cooper’s shop was moved to Strawbery Banke in 1985 and is where the museum’s resident master cooper demonstrates the art of barrel making.
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Thomas Bailey Aldrich House. For at time during his youth, Aldrich lived in this home with his grandfather. Years later, the house was repurchased by his widow, and restored to its original condition as a memorial to her late husband. During the 1880s the house served as Portsmouth’s first hospital. Aldrich’s claim to fame was his book The Story of a Bad Boy, which is significant because it was based on his life while living in this house with his grandfather, and it was the first time that a boy’s life had been depicted in American literature. His friend, Mark Twain, would follow Aldrich’s lead a few years later, writing about The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
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The Goodwin Mansion (1872). This house was the home of Ichabod Goodwin, who was a governor of New Hampshire from 1859-1860. The Goodwin Mansion is the only house at Strawbery Banke that does not sit on its original foundation. It was rescued from demolition in another section of Portsmouth and moved to this site in 1963.

Our favorite part of the Strawbery Banke Museum was the Marden-Abbott House and Store. The house was built during the 1720s by a local mast maker named John Marden. Walter and Bertha Abbott purchased the home in 1919 and opened the store, which Bertha operated up into the 1950s.

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Marden-Abbott House and The Little Corner Store
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World War II era grocery items line the shelves of the store
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We were fascinated by the products and the prices
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World War II rationing poster displayed in the store

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At the time of our visit, the store was occupied by a costumed role player, presumably portraying Bertha Abbott, who pointed at our camera and told us that if we went across the street to the harbor we might be arrested for taking pictures (in other words, being spies). “The navy doesn’t want any of those German U-boats getting into our harbor,” she said. She then went on to talk about war rations. “Bertha” and the store were absolutely delightful.

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This house is not on the museum’s grounds but sits across the street from the Goodwin Mansion. We though it was a beautiful example of New England architecture.
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The North Church of Portsmouth. This is a Congregational Church, originally built in 1657, and rebuilt in 1854. The church was restored in 1978. Isn’t it stunning?
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The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, established in 1800, as seen from Prescott Park across the street from the Strawbery Banke Museum. Interestingly, the shipyard, which sits on the banks of the Piscataqua River, is actually in Kittery, Maine, as the result of a boundary dispute that was resolved in 2006. This is the oldest continually operating US naval shipyard.
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World War I Memorial Bridge. This is a vertical lift bridge that carries US 1 across the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME. Built in 2013, this bridge replaced a previous bridge that was built in 1923.
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This plaque from the original Memorial Bridge sits atop the new bridge on the New Hampshire side. We took this picture while driving by. Sometimes we get lucky!
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This is the Piscataqua River Bridge which carries I-95 over the river from New Hampshire to Maine. IMG_5732

Coastguard Cutters anchored near the naval shipyard. The large beige building in the background is the old Navy Yard Prison that was built between 1903 and 1908. During World War II the prison saw its highest population of nearly 3,000 men. The prison was permanently closed in 1974 because it didn’t meet modern day prison standards.

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The Sheafe Warehouse. Built in the early to mid 1700s, the warehouse was moved to this location in Prescott Park for preservation and public enjoyment. Art and other exhibitions now take place in this historic building, but it wasn’t open on the day we visited Portsmouth.

For information about the Sheafe Warehouse, here is a link to a great blog site: Sheafe Warehouse.

Honestly, with the history of Portsmouth, the river, the harbor, the bridges, etc., we could continue this post for days. However, we’re going to wrap it up here. We appreciate your visit to our site, and we hope that you will return again for more great destinations. You never know where we’re going to take you next! If you’re not a follower, become one so you never miss a post, and tell your friends about us, too.

We are going to close with a picture of the beautiful New Hampshire State House in Concord.

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Built between 1816 and 1819, the New Hampshire State House is the oldest state house in the US where the legislature still occupies the original building.  The gilded dome is topped by a gold peace eagle, erected in 1957. The land upon which the state house sits was sold to the state of New Hampshire by Quakers whose meeting house once sat on the site. The city of Concord funded the construction of the state house.

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019