My ideal vacation is some version of exhilarating (and sweaty) hiking, biking, and kayaking...coupled with the luxury of a stay in a beautiful inn. Throw in a massage, then a gin and tonic in an Adirondack chair, and that's bliss.
Acadia National Park certainly ranks high in outdoor excitement. And the villages of Mount Desert Island offer a wide variety of excellent lodging, ranging from charming bed and breakfasts to historic inns close to Acadia National Park. Whether it's a crossword puzzle on the porch or a poolside nap, you'll find perfect ways to relax after hiking to the top of Cadillac or biking Acadia's carriage roads and historic bridges.
Renting is another popular option on Mount Desert Island. It's great for families who want to stretch their vacation budgets on a trip to Acadia National Park. For example, we've rented a sunny condo overlooking Bass Harbor and a comfortable cottage close enough to walk to Southwest Harbor's restaurants and shops.
Location may be more of a factor as to where to stay on Mount Desert Island than on some other favorite New England island resorts.
For example, both Mount Desert Island and Martha's Vineyard are roughly 100 square miles and comprised of several towns and villages. However, Mount Desert Island is divided by Somes Sound, widely referenced as the only fiord on the East Coast, and half of the island is national park. Circumnavigating these areas can take extra driving time. Therefore, if you choose a more remote area of the island for its solitude and views, the trade-off will be extra time in the car to get to restaurants, shopping, and the most popular parts of Acadia National Park.
The villages of Mount Desert Island have very different personalities, so explore your options and look at some maps to make the best choice for your vacation.
410 Main Street, Southwest Harbor, 207-244-5388
My friends Carol and Reiner had planned to camp with their two boys when they visited Acadia, but then opted to rent one of these cottages. They were very happy. Located on the “quietside,” Acadia Cottages offers privacy and convenience. It's within easy walking distance of charming Southwest Harbor, which has some terrific restaurants, bakeries, and ice cream shops, as well as a food market, gourmet wine shop, and boutiques. Carol highly recommended the “rustic king suite,” which gave them “plenty of room,” plus the benefits of a full kitchen. Acadia Cottages also gets high marks for being “immaculately clean” and well-equipped. Guests rave about everything from the quiet to the welcoming owners to the laundry cabin with free detergent. A great choice for families with kids.
Ann's Point Inn
Ann's Point Road, Bass Harbor, 207-244-9595
Even pampered business travelers will find this 4-room inn a delight. Sitting on a peninsula that juts out into Bass Harbor, you’re rarely out of sight of water, spruce trees, lawn, and birdlife. The inn boasts huge new bathrooms, wireless Internet service, exquisite breakfasts that alternate sweet and savory, comfortable public rooms, and an indoor pool and sauna. Featuring gas fireplaces, the rooms are all newly renovated with sleigh beds or four posters and upholstered chairs with simple lines. I didn’t spot a single fussy Victorian wreath or lace pillow anywhere. And you can sleep with an easier conscience because this is “luxury with a low-carbon footprint.” In addition to recently adding new decks and patios, the owner installed a solar pool heater and 3500 watts of electricity generation using solar panels.
MDI Vacation Homes
11 Seal Cove Road, Southwest Harbor, 207- 244-0607
Looking for an oceanfront rental or one on a lake? Do you prefer to be able to walk to town? Need a cottage that’s pet-friendly or that can accommodate a wedding party or family reunion? MDI Vacation Homes has organized and simplified the options for you. Andy Pooler manages a terrific portfolio of vacation rentals in Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor and Tremont. Plus you know you are dealing with a company led by a 25-year veteran of MDI real estate, Jane Pooler. In addition to vacation rentals, MDI Vacation Homes lists and sells residential and commercial real estate throughout Mount Desert Island.