If you are on your way to Acadia National Park for a family vacation, you may be wondering what are the best restaurants to keep the kids happy…and let you partake in all of the lobster, blueberry pie, steamers, and chowder you want.
In my research for OUR ACADIA – which is devoted to exploring, eating, and relaxing in Maine , I’ve reviewed restaurants in all of the villages on Mount Desert Island. Here are my votes for the top five that are both kid-friendly and serve the best Maine has to offer.
Enjoying tea and popovers on the lawn at Jordan Pond House has been a Mount Desert Island tradition since 1870. Located on a hill overlooking Jordan Pond and the Bubble mountains, the restaurant serves lunch, tea, and dinner. At the cross roads of hiking, biking, and sightseeing trails, the lawn is a hub of activity, so let the kids run around while your waitress puts in your order for lobster stew, Maine crab cakes, popovers, lemonade, and homemade strawberry icecream.
Thurston’s Lobster Pound is the real thing, serving steamed lobster, chowder, and ales from local micro-breweries in a casual setting overlooking the working lobster boats of Bass Harbor. The folks who own Thurston’s are smart. They keep parents happy with steamers and lobster, kids thrilled with burgers, hot dogs, and peanut butter and jelly. A sophisticated teen who scorns seafood? How about a grilled chicken sandwich with Boursin cheese? And everyone will love their special blueberry spice cake.
After days of seafood, some families want something different. Pat’s may be the place because of its varied menu. I love their deliciously crisp pizza, but it also comes in “double dough” and gluten-free styles. Your teenager may want a chicken caesar salad, while the little kids go for a traditional Italian dinner of baked ziti or lasagna. Nachos and burgers are options, too. There are so many tempting options for pizza that you may end up coming back a second time to take out.
If it’s going to rain, schedule a day exploring Bar Harbor that starts with a special breakfast at Café This Way. Parents can choose among six different ways to have their Eggs Benedict or create their own omelets. Kids love the blueberry pancakes, French toast, waffles, and Big Breakfast Sandwiches. My husband couldn’t decide between eggs or French toast so he chose the Monte Cristo, a French toast sandwich filled with a fried egg, ham, and cheddar cheese, served with home fries and maple syrup.
Summertime and candy shops just go together. Taffy? Lobster icecream? From the traditional to the, well, innovative, Ben & Bill’s has it all. You can get buttercrunch, chocolates, gummi candies, jelly beans, and homemade fudge made from a 100-year-old recipe. If you prefer icecream, they stock 64 hard-serve flavors in summer, along with 12 flavors of gelato — all made at the shop on Main Street in Bar Harbor. No one leaves unhappy, including the family hound, who can get a Yellow Dog Special, a baby scoop of vanilla icecream with two dog bones.