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Bar Harbor lodging/paddling recommendations


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Just spent a couple days in Bar Harbor, and are looking to go back for a week long stay in late August.

Would prefer a place on the water, so we don't have to cartop the boats to a putin - it's nice to be able to just jump in the boats & go. Kinda looking for something towards the east end of MDI, as it would be closer to more of the islands, but not a major requirement.

Any favorite places to stay?

Favorite paddles?

Anyone going to be in the area at the end of August looking for paddling buddies?


Don & Gayla

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Favorite paddles?

Personally I would not concern myself with a place to stay with a launch site since there are nice paddles are on all sides of MDI and might need to travel to find decent conditions as well.

Anyway, there is a nice guidebook to MDI by Jennifer Paigen and Mel and Mark, uncommonly nice folks, of Carpe Diem would be a good source for paddles and more as well.

Three paddles I have enjoyed at MDI:

1. The Porcupines which is a great/spectacular afternoon or morning paddle.

2. From Seal Harbor circumnavigate Bartlett I. by way of Moose and Hardwood.

3. From Seal Cove to Baker with a stop on Little Cranberry/Isleford to visit museum and general store. Baker has a lighthouse in the middle of the island which is fun to visit.

These are quite different paddles and each is rewarding/lovely in its own way.

Ed Lawson

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I did MDI the first week of June (remember the good weather?) I stayed at Seawall campground since I don't like to spend money on a room I'm just going to sleep in, but Seawall doesn't have showers, something to consider if being there for a week. Easy access to the south, west, and Somes. Getting to the east is a drive since there aren't any bridges over Somes. Hardly anyone at the cg then, and free firewood so I was loving it. I second the comment about not worrying about being on the water since there are places to try all over the island.

I did Seal Cove up Bartlett. Tours do that so you will probably see other kayakers. Wind was fierce on the way back, coming up from the south with little to block it or the waves it generated. Not many places to get out of it either, but you can land on Bartlett. Pretty Marsh is an option too. I didn't circumnavigate due to the afternoon wind.

I also did Hadley Point in the narrows down to Bar Is and Sheep Porky. Porpoise surfacing near me, and TONS of jellyfish in parts of the narrows and Frenchman. Longer trip but generally protected although Frenchman is wide and could potentially get big wind and waves. The ovens are along the narrows so that's something to see along the way. Nobody was at MDI but some seniors so no real boat traffic at that time. Probably much different now.

I only did the two paddles since I was there to hike and bike too. I was alone so I didn't do the southern islands. It was a scouting trip so I was trying to sample it all. I put some of the pics up in galleries if you are interested. My avatar is Frenchman looking south at Sheep, I think. I have pics of the launches I can email you if I didn't put them in the gallery. Hadley is a beach while Seal Cove is a ramp but you can use the shore too. There's a place to launch just north of Bar Harbor but I didn't use it this time. Closer to the islands in the bay if you don't want the jaunt from the narrows.

I used Kayaking the Maine Coast and AMC's Discover Acadia National Park (kayak, bike, hike) to plan my trips. The AMC guide has a map - topo not chart - which is decent for near-MDI paddles. It has the launches on it and many of the islands.

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Don't miss the Porcupines: you launch from downtown to access these fine islands, which can't not be noticed on a clear day. Many options from short trips to epic. You can launch from the gravel bar (a causeway to Bar Island at low tide) close to downtown, maybe park there or down the street away from town. There's a boat launch right downtown too, which works well: best to park, again, out of downtown, maybe a ten minute walk.

If you want to camp, Mt. Desert Campground is a favorite( book early) up at the top of Somes Sound., and across the Sound is a campgrond at Halls Quarry, probably easier to get a spot there.

Too many hotels to name: a favorite for kayakers are Llangolin and Rose Eden Cottages on Rte 3 right at the turnoff of Hadley Point , maybe halfway between the Narrows and downtown. Modest but nice.

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Thanks for the info.

We figure that if we have a place on the water we'll be more likely to get in paddle time. I'd like to spend more time paddling than Gayla will, so it'd be nice for me to be able to jump in for a bit whenever I feel like it, without having to load & unload.

In that respect, I guess it doesn't matter a whole lot where it is - for any significant trips we'll probably have to drive to a put-in anyway.

Last weekend we stayed at the Bar Harbor Cottages & Suites, which aren't far from Hadley Pt., so that's where we put in for the 1 short paddle we did.

Hopefully we'll be able to hook up with someone else in the area to do a group paddle.


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My favorite is the Harborview Cottages, down in Southwest Harbor.

That is the quiet end of the island, away from the hustle of Bah Habah.

The Harborview has some motel rooms and some cottages. A bit funky, but that also makes them a bit affordable. The cottages have fair kitchen, sort of minimal, but quite nice for a paddling vacation. Several good resteraunts in walking distance, mostly veggie organic healthy crap.

You can put-in from the beach right below the Harborview, but it is a little bit of a steep drop down the bank, and the mud-flat is a bit extended -- not the nicest put-in, but I've done it. Easier to drive for about 5 minutes around the corner to the boat ramp at Manset.

It is a perfect place to put in for trips up the sound, across to the Cranberries, or around the corner for the rest of the world.

Disclaimer - I haven't been there for a few years - it may have changed a bit.

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