Exploring Acadia National Park from the Acacia House Inn
A few years ago, on a very lucky Friday the 13th, we eloped to Maine, specifically to Northeast Harbor, a tiny village at the mouth of Somes Sound, where the ladies in the Town Clerk’s office were giddy and gracious in hosting an impromptu wedding for us on just a few days’ notice. They served as officiant, witnesses, photographer, and florist, presenting me with a bouquet of fresh-cut daffodils from outside the building. We spent the rest of the weekend exploring the island by bike and foot. When we arrived back home, we sent the Town Hall crew a thank you note with Portsmouth chocolates and our favorite picture from that day. And so began our May tradition of adventuring on Mount Desert Island.
This weekend, we arrived on Friday for four days of hiking, running, writing, sleeping, and eating. Acadia National Park is the frequent site of the first three activities, while the Acacia House Inn is our preferred site for the last two. We’ve written extensively about our national park adventures at Acadia, but we’ve been remiss in writing about our favorite B&B, the place we stayed that first spring and almost every year since. Let’s correct that right now!
The Acacia House Inn is a mid-sized bed-and-breakfast on High Street in Bar Harbor, a quiet one-way street just a few blocks from the waterfront and main drag of bars, restaurants, and shops. There are six rooms inside the main house, and three additional rooms in the cottage house. We’ve only stayed in Room 5 (because tradition), but we’ve peeked into several others, and they all have their own tidy, colorful charm. Room 5 has a king bed, while most of the others have queens. Two of the cottage house rooms offer an additional twin bed, making them great for families or groups of three. The Acacia House offers an early season special in May, when rooms are priced at a discounted rate before Memorial Day ($100 or less per night for the 2014 season).
Besides friendly hosts (Anna and Ralph), comfy beds, and a great location, the highlight of our stay is always the food. Anna and Ralph used to own a bakery, and Anna is a magician in the kitchen. Every morning, breakfast is cooked to order. Think veggie omelets with fresh, toasted bread; scratch pancakes topped with wild Maine blueberries; and daily specials, like this morning’s frittata with asparagus, chives, and smoked cheddar.
And breakfast is not just a one-course pony. There is always some sort of sweet pastry set out by the coffee, like today’s scones with raspberry jam or the chocolate croissants served two springs ago that I still dream about. And there is a formal first course at breakfast. Yesterday, it was fresh sliced strawberries with whipped vanilla cream; today was baked pears with cranberries, hazelnuts, and a dollop of goat cheese. It’s insanely good.
Then, each afternoon, a tasty, fresh-baked treat is set out for guests coming back in from a day of adventuring. Chocolate chip cookies (traditional and triple-chocolate), blueberry muffins, and apple upside-down cake are just some of the bites of heaven we’ve enjoyed so far this weekend. It’s the perfect tide-me-over until dinner, especially when paired with a cup of coffee or tea.
Some guests also took advantage of a packed lunch option offered at the inn, heading out with sandwiches and snacks to fuel their day, but we found ourselves so stuffed from breakfast that we just needed a few of our own packed snacks to get us to dinner. In the off season, if you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of the inn, they open on weekends as a breakfast and brunch restaurant. Check their Facebook page for winter menu updates.
Random other things to know: The inn has wireless, which is strongest on the main level and barely perceptible on the third floor (where our room is). That’s easily remedied with a trip to the comfy sitting area off the dining room. Also, cellular signal strength varies widely around MDI, but the signals are strong right in town, so you might not need to connect to their wireless anyway. The gravel parking lot outside the inn is small, but there’s plenty of on-street parking to accommodate everyone. Lastly, Anna and Ralph have lived in the area for more than 30 years and are quick to offer recommendations on places to go and things to do, especially all things related to biking and hiking around the island and the park…just ask!
So if you’re like us–equal parts national park junkies and fresh foodies–consider making Acacia House Inn your home base when exploring Acadia. The weather is fickle in May, but the inn is warm and the coffee is hot. -J.