Bar Harbor is perhaps best known as one of the top summer tourist destinations in Maine. However, it is also equally attractive as a year-round resort community. Fall, in particular, offers the dazzling vistas of trees undergoing seasonal change. One trip up Cadillac Mountain to take in the breathtaking view of autumnal colors and tourists are convinced that Bar Harbor has its own special post-summer magic.
Even winter has special charms in Bar Harbor. Acadia National Park's famous carriage roads, for instance, become thoroughfares for premier cross country skiing and snow shoeing. The abundance of pine trees with leaves delicately balancing snowfall transform the area into a winter wonderland. Off-season also features special rates and deals at hotels, bed and breakfast inns, and restaurants. And, of course, visitors come to quickly enjoy the significantly decreased population of tourists in spring, fall and winter. Summer will always see Bar Harbor at its best, but it is a place with year-round charm that should also be savored.
Bar Harbor was first established as one of many thriving fishing seaports that lined the mid-coast Maine region. It's proximity to rich sources of fish stocks in the nearby Gulf of Maine enriched the lives and fortunes of many seafaring families into the 19th century.
Later, as the fishing industry moved west and fish populations declined, Bar Harbor was discovered by an emerging American middle class who fell in love with the stark beauty of its shoreline. An entire tourist industry featuring hotels, boarding houses, restaurants and amusement arcades sprang up to cater to the tastes and growing pocketbooks of America's middle management class.
Later, with the advent of the automobile, Bar Harbor fell on hard times. Businesses that had once thrived on the free spending of summer visitors closed down or fell into glaring disrepair. However, with the establishment of Acadia National Park in the early 20th century, this mid-coast Maine community enjoyed a second turn around. Today, Bar Harbor caters to a new group of vacationers who immerse themselves in its quaint, old fashioned summer style hospitality after spending time hiking, biking, kayaking and camping among the natural wonders of Acadia.