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Enjoy the best of Maine's winter recreation


Come See Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park 

Sparkle in Winter


BAR HARBOR, Maine - While summer and autumn often steal the spotlight, Bar Harbor sparkles in the winter. With the throng of summer visitors gone, the town is quieter and ready for winter fun, and though Acadia National Park is lovely in the summer and fall, imagine it blanketed in snow, awaiting eager winter explorers. 

Acadia National Park is a cross-country skier's paradise. Photo Credit: Earl Brechlin, Mount Desert Islander
Acadia is one of America's most treasured national parks recently taking the top spot for Good Morning America's Favorite Place in America, and it must be seen in the winter to fully appreciate its beauty. Most of the Park Loop Road is closed to vehicles for winter, but those on skis, snowshoes, sleds or snowmobiles will find plenty of fun and adventure.

● The 45 miles (72 km) of Acadia's charming carriage roads throughout the park are a cross-country skier or snowshoer's dream - all but two miles of the carriage roads are dedicated to XC skiers, snowshoers and hikers. Ski tracks are sometimes laid down by volunteers on sections of the carriage roads when there's more than four inches (10 cm) of snowfall, and nearly 32 miles (51 km) are designated for grooming when conditions and time permit. 

● Bring your snowmobile and head to the park! Snowmobiles are welcome on the 27-mile Park Loop Road system (including the road up Cadillac Mountain) and most fire roads. Only two miles of carriage roads are open to snowmobilers as connector trails, so be sure to review the park's regulations and maps.

● For an ideal way to spend some truly contemplative quiet time in the park, try ice fishing. Popular on the larger lakes and ponds in the park once the waters freeze, usually from January to March, there's no better way to just sit and enjoy winter's beauty.

● For those seeking a challenge, there is thrilling ice climbing available, too. Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School offers courses for all levels of experience, from beginner to expert, to enjoy climbing frozen waterfalls in Acadia National Park.

● No leaves on the trees mean one thing for birders: perfect birdwatching conditions. Whether on skis, foot or snowshoe, the park is a wonderful place to seek out the many varieties of birds who winter in Maine.

The town of Bar Harbor, a peaceful retreat from the world's hustle and bustle, has a variety of businesses open, such as the renowned Abbe Museum. Although closed from Dec. 21, 2014 to Feb. 4, 2015, the Abbe Museum offers visitors a look into Bar Harbor's past with exhibits and events focusing on the history and culture of the Wabanaki Indians. 

Visit the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History to learn more about the region's incredible natural science. The museum's exhibits are designed and produced by students at College of the Atlantic and the wonderful gift shop has something for everyone.

After a day of adventure, it will be time to relax and there's no better place than in one of Bar Harbor's inns, or bed and breakfasts. Although many of the large hotels and inns are closed in the winter, there are a few choice options in which to find complete comfort. Some accommodations that are open year-round include:

● The Saltair Inn offers panoramic ocean views from the privacy of intimate suites. Low tide reveals a sand bar connecting the Saltair Inn to Bar Island, from which Bar Harbor adopted its name.


● Aysgarth Station offers New England hospitality and comfort in a uniquely casual atmosphere within a short stroll of the harbor, shops, eateries, the Shore Path ocean-front walk, and Acadia National Park.


● Canterbury Cottage B&B boasts charming accommodations in a 1900 cottage located within easy walking distance to downtown shops and restaurants. 


● Coach Stop Inn was built c. 1804, and is Bar Harbor's oldest inn dating back to the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. Down East magazine says Coach Stop Inn is "Where to Stay in Bar Harbor." 


● The Atlantic Oceanside is a full-service hotel situated on 12 acres of oceanfront property overlooking gorgeous Frenchman Bay. 
With plenty of cozy accommodations, an entire park to explore and the best of snowy fun and adventure, there is no better place than Bar Harbor to make the most of the winter season.

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