Author Archives: Nancy Leary

Reflecting On The Season: Bar Harbor 2013

Reflecting On The Season: Bar Harbor 2013

Innkeeper taking down the flag

This time of year brings an odd mix of melancholy and anticipation for me. At the end of October, I close Maples Inn for the season and embark on myriad activities to wind down the season before retreating to my winter life in Chicago. Each year is a bit different here in Bar Harbor, based the weather, the economic climate, new businesses in town, and of course, our mix of guests. As innkeeper, my role is to be sure that my guests have all their needs taken care of in order to enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating stay. The B&B experience is very different from a hotel, and our guests appreciate the personal touches. In fact, this season we had more repeat visitors than ever — some returning for their 10th or 11th time!

Food is love, it’s said, and we do love our guests, so we feed them well. We introduced a new different breakfast this year, a 3 Cheese Soufflé, that’s become a crowd favorite. It’s topped with fresh local tomatoes and basil and accompanied by an English muffin and sausage to provide plenty of energy for the day’s activities. Repeat guests always ask for our famous Blueberry French Toast, so we serve it every week — at least once.

The weather: While overall the season was slightly cooler than average, we had superb weather to enjoy the outdoors once the season got going … after a rainy May and early June, July and August had lower-than-average rainfall. While some visitors needed an umbrella to enjoy the Carriage Roads in September (>6″ compared with 4.45″ average), a stunningly bright and very dry October required only sunglasses and energy to make the most of the spectacular weather.

The guests: We enjoyed both new and returning guests this season, from across the US as well as Canada, the U.K, Switzerland and Germany. We celebrated two candlelit weddings in our living room and another is planned for our front porch next week. Honeymooners and returning brides and grooms also allowed us to share their joy this season; many couples returned to the Inn to celebrate anniversaries, often booking the Red Oak Room with its private balcony.

The town: While it’s rare to have a guest not ask about the best places for lobster, after several days I’m often asked for restaurant suggestions featuring specialties that don’t come from the sea. I’m happy to recommend Opa, a new Greek/Mediterranean restaurant that opened this season and offers fabulous food in an intimate space on Cottage Street. The menu offers some traditional Greek dishes (including my favorites, the spanakopita and the moussaka, recipes from the owner’s mother) and a provides a Mediterranean spin on other dishes (including the delectable marinated New Zealand lamb chops accompanied by locally sourced roasted vegetables and potatoes). The decor is charming, with paintings and signage designed by the owner’s mother and comfortable tables and banquettes hand crafted by the owner himself.

We’re booked solid through the weekend but do have a few vacancies before we batten down the hatches and take down the flag on October 27. Call us to reserve your room for next week or next season … our reservation book is set up for 2014. And hint, hint — a gift certificate for a future stay is a great holiday gift. We’d love to see you next season.

Warm regards,
Mark

Savor Bar Harbor’s Autumn Riches: 10 Ideas To Keep You Happily Occupied

Savor Bar Harbor’s Autumn Riches: 10 Ideas To Keep You Happily Occupied

Acadia in AutumnOnce the initial bustle of Labor Day wanes, we’re often left with a sense of loss; summer is past, the days are getting shorter, and we’re focused on commitments and task lists rather than carefree summer jaunts.

But autumn in Bar Harbor is a treasure, with sunny days, smaller crowds, and plenty of activities to keep you happily occupied.

Find a few of our suggestions below. Continue reading

Celebrate the Night Sky at Acadia

Celebrate the Night Sky at Acadia

Acadia Night Sky Festival

Whether you favor astronomy or prefer the glow of the city, a star-filled sky is an awe-inspiring sight. Far from city lights, the Milky Way, comets, satellites and a myriad of stars become visible. Bar Harbor is committed to preserving this precious natural resource and even passed an ordinance several years ago to avoid the light pollution which would encroach on the spectacular view of the night sky. Continue reading

Bar Harbor, Maine – A Foodie Paradise?

Bar Harbor, Maine – A Foodie Paradise
lobster dinner

Maine: Lobster. Of course there’s a natural connection, and we highly recommend taking in your share of lobster when you visit these parts. This time of year, the lobster is sweet and the shells are not quite as hard, making it a bit easier for lobster rookies to find their way to the good stuff. And as lobsters are prevalent, prices are down.

Bar Harbor restaurants offer lobster in as many ways as you can think of: tossed with pasta, on your pizza, in a frittata or a lobster pie. It can be baked stuffed, grilled, swimming in butter (lazy style) or in a toasted bun with a touch of mayo or melted butter. Or, for the purist, it can be steamed ’til tender and sweet and served with a bib and perhaps an ear of corn, cup of chowder, steamers and a bib: shore dinner style. You’ll find lobster specials for twin or even triple lobsters at many restaurants in town. We especially recommend Thurston’s Lobster Pound near the light house in Bass Harbor and Poor Boy’s Gourmet – pick one of their dozen or more preparations — but you can’t go wrong at any of the pounds who’ll cook and crack your crustacean for you.

While some of us consider lobster a part of our daily diet, if you prefer to change it up a bit, Bar Harbor’s 100 or so restaurants will not disappoint. With a menu of rustic bistro cuisine that is constantly changing and presentation that appeals to the artist in us, Mache Bistro is one of our favorite restaurants in town. Havana has a Latin flair and features an extensive wine selection; you can even dine in their wine room. 

If you’re seeking a bit of variety, consider Paddy’s Irish Pub. While the chef hails from Key West rather than Ireland, the wait staff does boast Irish brogues. They claim the best interior in town, but we’re partial to eating on the deck overlooking the bay. Along with local twists on world cuisines, Fathom has their own bit of creative whimsy, with live fish bowls on each table. If you’re a clumsy type, you may want to skip this stop as the fish happen to be attack fish!  Café This Way is another terrific spot, offering innovative and artfully prepared food served by a gracious and friendly wait staff. It’s housed in a converted garage.

For a small town, Bar Harbor offers a good variety of specialty eateries as well, including numerous ice cream and sweets shops, several wineries offering daily tastings, and locally handcrafted ales (with tours and samplings daily) at Atlantic Brewing Company. There’s Eden, boasting worldwide flavors for vegans and Jordan Pond House for spectacular popovers and stellar views.  

Hungry yet? Pack up your appetite and c’mon up to Bar Harbor. But be sure to save room for breakfast!