Maine exceeded my expectations. It’s charming, quaint and magical and offers a lifestyle close to nature! Maine’s mountains and ocean landscapes were breathtaking! It is definitely the ideal spot for couples and families to take a long weekend for relaxation, delicious seafood, endless hiking terrain, pretty beaches and unforgettable scenery.
Maine is known for lobsters (Maine harvests 90% of lobsters) wild blueberries (they are the largest producer in the U.S), pine forests (they have a national park) and rocky coasts speckled with lighthouses. (65+ lighthouses!)
We started our trip on a Thursday evening around 4:45pm. The drive from New York to Portland took about 5 hours with 3 stop offs. This trip usually averages about 6 hours depending on traffic before the COVID Pandemic. We stayed in Portland for 2 nights and on Saturday evening we headed to Bar Harbor, which took 3 hours. The plan was to stay in Bar Harbor for 3 nights, but we fell in love with the town and extended our stay another night. Bar Harbor was our favorite part of our stay.
After speaking with a few locals, they mentioned that Bar Harbor is usually packed and they’ve never seen it this way. There were a suitable amount of people, but a comforting amount that it didn’t feel like a ghost town. It was perfect for us because we were able to breeze through tons of must-see spots without crowds. Hotels, restaurants, locals and tourists followed strict precautions with wearing masks, sanitizing and washing hands.
After our 4 nights in Bar Harbor, we drove back to Portland to stay overnight for our drive back to NY the next day.
WHERE WE STAYED
Hyatt Place Old Port (first 2 nights) – 4/5 stars – GREAT
The Press Hotel (our last night) – 5/5 stars – HIGHLY RECOMMEND
My fiance and I are Marriott fans, and whenever we travel, it’s the first place we look for. This hotel is beautiful and very artsy, which I loved! The rooms were super clean, and the bed was comfortable.
NOTE: Old Port is considered the beating heart of Portland. It is also famous for its old cobblestone streets, fishing piers and buildings, not to mention the amazing foodie scene!
WHAT WE ATE + DRANK
The Lobster Shack at Two Lights – We had such an amazing time by the water here after visiting Portland Head Lighthouse. The lobster rolls were delicious!
The Gelato Fiasco, Old Port – Amazing gelato!
Union Restaurant at the Press Hotel – We enjoyed breakfast here twice because it was that good. Lobster rolls, juice and other breakfast items were well-made.
Mami Japanese- We had the best chicken sandwich EVER here. It’s called “Chicken Katsu Sando”
The Honey Paw- Asian Inspired Bistro
Bards Coffee- a really good coffee shop with in-house beans.
Duckfat- famous for its fries cooked in duck fat. They’re crisp, with fluffy centers.
The Holy Donut- 30 different flavors of amazing potato donuts.
Two Fats Cat Bakery- Brought back home a huge blueberry pie that was amazing! Tip: Warm it up and put a scoop of icecream on top and you’ll be in heaven.
Portland Hunt + Alpine Club- Scandanavian plates and cocktails
WHAT WE DID
- Portland Head Lighthouse – The oldest lighthouse in Portland, built in 1791. The lighthouse you see on postcards!
- Fort Williams Park
- Two Lights State Park
- Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse
- LL Bean Flagship store – a huge complex and a major attraction. Don’t worry if you forgot anything because its open 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year. We ended up buying clothes for hiking!
- Explored the foodie scene in Fore Street & Wharf Street. I was amazed at Portland for its spectacular restaurants. (Choose wisely!)
WHERE WE STAYED
West Street Hotel, Bar Harbor, Maine – 5/5 stars – HIGHLY RECOMMEND
I always notice and appreciate attention to detail when travelling. As soon as we arrived at West Street Hotel, I was in love with the nautical theme. Decor was spot on with excellent attention to detail, carried throughout the hotel and showing in surprising ways in the various sitting areas and hallways. We loved the pantry with well-stocked waters, coffees, teas, and other treats. The view out of our balcony was perfect!
NOTE: I chose these 3 hotels because it kept us close to many restaurants, bars, a variety of shops but still a reasonable driving distance to sightseeing spots and other activities we wanted to do.*
Bar Harbor serves as the gateway for Acadia National Park, everything is within a short driving distance.
WHERE WE ATE + DRANK
Reading room Restaurant- A must go! Amazing Views and food
Testa’s Bar & Grill
La Bella Vita- Freshly made Italian food
The Looking Glass Restaurant- breakfast with stunning views of Bar Harbor
Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound
Bar Harbor Cheesecake Company – a nice day activity for wine and cheesecake tasting, everything was delicious!
Jordan’s Restaurant- Great food. Family owned breakfast place, open at 5am. We came right after viewing the sunrise.
Veranda Bar at Balance Rock Inn- Another beautiful place with great food and views!
Great Maine Breakfast- The name of the place says it all. Loved their breakfast! So many choices.
Stewman’s Lobster Pound- right across from our hotel with beautiful views and food.
WHAT WE DID
Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park:
- Woke up at 4am to drive to Cadillac Mountain for the amazing Sunrise (Best part of our trip!)
- Hiked 3.2 miles around the beautiful Jordan pond (make sure to start counter clockwise for a aesthetically pleasing experience)
- Thunderhole – Natural rock inlet where waves crash with a thunderous boom & high-flying foam when tide is getting high.
- Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
- Otter Cliff – one of the most amazing sights ever along the North Atlantic Seaboard!
- Sand Beach
- Walked the sandbar to Bar Island and did an easy hike (we got a bit stranded after our hike, the high tide was coming in!