Lose the crowds


We visited Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park yesterday, meeting friends at the Jordan Pond House for lunch (the salad with apples and cranberries is fabulous, and my foodie friend E gives high marks to the lobster stew) on the lawn (with tea and popovers, of course). It was a spectacular September day, and Bar Harbor was jamming. Two huge cruise ships and the usual bus tours dumped what seemed like gazillions of folks onto the island.

Now I often hear folks complain about how crowded Bar Harbor and Acadia are—and if you only hang out downtown or in the park’s icon sites, that’s true. But after lunch we walked out onto the carriage trails. Within five minutes of easy strolling from Jordan Pond House, we were alone in the park. We passed a few hikers early on, but we walked in solitude for 20 minutes or so, accompanied only by birdsong and the music of a rushing stream. Heaven.

And I know from previous visits, that a short walk from downtown Bar Harbor, and one can be in equally quiet sections of the park. Compass Harbor, site of George Dorr’s home (just a foundation, now) is an easy mile jaunt via sidewalk edging Main St./Route 3 from downtown. Or follow the Jesup Path and the Great Meadow Loop. Really, it’s quite easy to escape the crowds, if you’re willing to take a few steps off the pavement.

One last note about Jordan Pond House: If you’re traveling with dogs, you’re welcome to sit on the lawn. The staff even brings a bowl of water for your pooch. While we lunched, there were at least a dozen dogs at the tables surrounding ours (in addition to our two). And as long as your pet is leashed, it’s welcome on the trails (just bring a plastic bag for clean up, if necessary).