We left Vermont excited to meet up with my family, who were flying in from Oklahoma to New Hampshire that morning. We hadn’t expected to see them until we arrived in Bar Harbor later in the evening, but luck was on our side and we happened to be passing through New Hampshire at around the same time. They were able to join us for lunch at Fisherman’s Catch in Wells, our first meal in Maine!
Although we allowed for a lot of spontaneity on this trip, one area where we had to plan ahead was food stops, since we had Ashton with us. We did a little research and found this adorable restaurant with a dog-friendly patio. I was hoping for an ocean view, but the charming seaside vibe and chill marsh scenery sufficed just fine. There are beaches located just a short walk away, making it a great stop off on your way to or from the sand.
It irks me that I didn’t take any photos of people during this meal, since that’s really what it was all about. It’s always wonderful to see my family, but seeing them while at the same time doing my favorite thing – traveling – is even better. I really need to get better at capturing moments like that, along with the food. But old habits die hard, I guess.
The food was good though. We hopped right on the fresh seafood train and stayed on it pretty much the entire trip. I had haddock tacos with tangy slaw and a delicious chipotle aioli.
I gave Tom a taco in exchange for a few bites of his lobster roll. Sadly, this wasn’t the best one we had on the trip. It was okay, but a little bland.
The rest of the food was pretty great though. My SIL enjoyed her crab salad, and several at the table raved about the incredibly creamy crab soup. The onion rings didn’t suck either.
If you choose to sit outside at Fisherman’s Catch, you have to both order your own food inside and go inside to retrieve it when it’s ready. It seemed like an odd policy to me, since the restaurant was not very busy and the walk to the outside area was very short, but only a minor annoyance. I definitely recommend checking this place out if you’re in Wells. Maybe sit inside if you don’t have a dog tagging along.
After lunch, we hit the road again to head to Bar Harbor (or Bah-Hah-Bah, as the locals say it) and our beds for the next two nights. We got lucky with traffic both days and had pretty easy drives the whole way. By the time we got there, we were all pretty worn out. After checking into our hotels, we made a stop at the local grocery store for water and an easy dinner, which we enjoyed at the inn where my parents and brother and SIL were staying.
We had to stay in different hotels due to the dog (he really is worth it, though). Both had their own charm, but I preferred the one my family stayed in, the Ullikana Inn. It was right on the water, and very charming. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Bar Harbor, I would definitely recommend it. The proprietor, Roy, was very helpful and accommodating during their stay, helped them arrange activities and was always available to answer a question. He even invited us to their wine and snack hour one afternoon, despite the fact that we weren’t staying there. It’s that kind of service that keeps people coming back.
Although dogs are not allowed in the inn, Ashton was welcome on the patio, with its lovely view of Frenchman Bay.
We met up there the morning of our only full day in Bar Harbor before us girls headed out for a hike up Cadillac Mountain. I’ll write about that later, but here’s a sneak peek of the gorgeousness we encountered. It was an incredible and heart-pumping hike.
Meanwhile, the men were living up the coastal life. The Ullikana offers a decadent three-course breakfast every morning, but our hotel did not, so Tom broke the fast at Paddy’s Irish Pub. He reports that although it was definitely a touristy restaurant, the view was excellent and the food was okay. He particularly enjoyed the coffee, which came with biscotti and a rock candy stirring stick.
Seadog Blueberry Ales are kind of a must at Stewman’s, with fresh blueberries floating on top – so very Maine.
They soaked up these peaceful views while waiting for us womenfolk to join them, which we later did after much-needed showers post-hike.
We had worked up quite an appetite and were ready to indulge in all of the seafood. First, perfectly cooked peel and eat shrimp. I almost never like shrimp unless they’re drenched in some sort of curry sauce, but these were delicious. Dipping them in a lemon butter bath didn’t hurt either.
Several at the table got and shared “The Downeast Lobster Experience” that came with a half ladle of New England clam chowder, a big steamed Maine lobster, local mussels, buttered sweet corn and potatoes with homemade blueberry pie. When in Maine!
Tom and I shared the grilled wild halibut with lobster and corn succotash, herb potatoes and lobster sauce that was good, but not great.
The flavors were nice, but the fish was dry and overcooked. We probably should have gone with the lobster. Tom said the claw meat that he tried was the best bite of food he had in Maine.
We all shared the blueberry pie at the end of the meal, a delicious treat with vanilla ice cream.
We spent the rest of the day wandering around Bar Harbor’s cute downtown area, doing a bit of shopping and bar hopping before heading back to the Ullikana for wine, snacks and chats.
For dinner, we walked over to Terrace Grill as the sun was setting. Bar Harbor is indeed a gorgeous place.
Before we knew it, the time had come to hit the road again. Before we left, Tom and I took one last stroll downtown to pick up breakfast burritos at Coffee Cup Diner. We took them down to the park for one more dose of Bar Harbor beauty.
The skies there are incredible. You really feel like you could reach up and touch the clouds.
While the town was definitely bustling due to summer tourism, the crowds in Bar Harbor were extremely manageable – even over a holiday weekend. I loved the slow-paced feel of the town and the lack of big restaurant chains and other major retailers. Everything felt very local and authentic, and the people were super nice. With its easy access to Acadia National Park and endless ocean views, it’s hard to find a more peaceful spot in Maine.
Our short time in Bar Harbor went by way too fast, and during the rest of our trip we kept commenting on how much we loved it and how we need to go back again as a family someday in the future for a longer stay. I hope we can make it happen!