Planning A Maine Vacation With A Dog
We often think that our third founder of the food tour is our dog, Maddie. When we are exhausted from running a mile a minute to try to get the word out about our tours, it's Maddie who reminds us the importance of getting out of the house and taking a walk to clear our minds, stay curious, and have new perspective. Maddie's becoming a dignified old lady, at 6.5 years old, and so we wanted to give her a memorable summer trip. It was a lot harder to figure out large dog-friendly adventures than we originally thought. Here's some snippets from our recent May 2018 fun trip to Bar Harbor, Maine!
Balance Rock Inn
We cannot recommend this Inn highly enough! Right on the shore walking path, this gorgeous mansion was just the perfect place to feel pampered, and they couldn't have been more welcoming to us and our great dane. When we arrived, we were given a tour of the place and they had left a wonderful gift bag for Maddie on our bed with two doggie blankets and a lobster shaped doggie treat which she absolutely loved! Our room was spacious (#105 is highly recommended) and had a wonderful fireplace that all of us enjoyed, a gorgeous view of the pool and water, easy access to a lawn and outdoor patio, and even a jacuzzi and sauna inside which were quite a treat. The folks there were tremendous and so friendly. The home cooked breakfasts each morning were delicious, and we especially enjoyed the piano music and homemade chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon as well as the bowl of apples that were so helpful as we returned exhausted from our hikes. The bed was incredibly comfortable, and our dog was extremely happy in this new environment. We cannot wait to return next year! Highly recommended for all visitors, dogs or no dogs, this is a fantastic place to stay. 5+ stars!!
Hiking Acadia National Park
Before you enter the park, make sure you have enough water and snacks and also gas for your car! We had stopped by the Welcome Center in Bar Harbor to get some information about hiking with our dog, but the folks inside the Park had more detailed maps for us. So we'd recommend going straight to the Acadia National Park Info Center and purchasing your parking pass ($25 for 7-days in the minimum). Unfortunately they do not let dogs into the building, so one of us waited outside with Maddie. Our favorite hikes were two trails behind the Wild Gardens (although we had a weird wild turkey encounter!) and the Ocean Path from Sand Beach to Oyster Point. Dogs are always on leash and not allowed in certain areas including the water, so definitely note their restrictions. Definitely our collapsible water bowl and a separate water bottle came in handy for Maddie who was extremely thirsty. We walked about 4 miles a day with her, and she would come back to the hotel after and rest for a while, so happy!
A Sweet Treat at MDI Ice Cream!
Our hotel had given us a list of dog-friendly places that was put together by a great pet store in town called Bark Harbor which was really helpful. Not every place in town was on the list, and so we had to ask at every spot before we entered. For the most part, shops were very dog friendly, and we had quite a shopper on our hands.
I'd say the happiest stop for Maddie was at MDI Ice Cream where they treated her like a queen. She got to eat three scoops of their dog-friendly sweet cream ice cream in a wide bowl just for her. Maddie's first ice cream experience was A+! And Obama loves this place, too. You can't go wrong with their incredible flavors and high quality.
Walking To Bar Island
If you're looking for a less strenuous hike that's a blast to do right around 5-7pm (check the tides), check out the walk to bar island from Bar Harbor town. There's a sand bar here that's quite extensive, and it takes about 20 minutes to walk across or more if you're very leisurely. As you can see, you can walk across with anything on your feet from flip flops to shoes because there's more gravel than water, and you can also drive but I think that is a bit silly! We enjoyed watching kayakers and other families on our stroll, and smelling that ocean air is just divine.
Besides shopping, Bar Harbor has some delicious eats, and lucky for us there were lots of dog-friendly places. One night we just got calzones delivered to our room because we were too tired to venture out, but we did enjoy some memorable meals with Maddie.
Notable Eats: Stewman's Lobster Pound had the best virgin cape codders that were a huge highlight (thanks for the refills!) as we were super parched coming back from Bar Island. They also had delicious eats! Across the street they own Paddy's Pub which has a wide patio that's great for dogs. There we munched on a yummy lobster roll and reuben sandwich. Over by MDI Ice Cream, we really loved Peekytoe Provisions where the haddock sandwich was a stand out. Unfortunately the patio at Jordan Pond House was closed for renovations this month, but we do imagine that their yummy (albeit small and $4!) popovers would be fun to eat alongside your pup. We also noticed a fun Maine Foodie Tour happening and visited Bar Harbor Popcorn, which was delicious, but Maddie couldn't go in. Delicious fudge was also found and quickly eaten on Bar Harbor's Main Streets. So much fun shopping and eating!
Date Night Sans Dog at the Reading Room Restaurant
On the same shore path as The Balance Rock Inn is the famous Bar Harbor Inn that's known for its yellow umbrellas. I had stayed there years ago and was dismayed to learn that they don't allow large dogs like Maddie. But clearly we were happy at The Balance Rock Inn, and I would be so happy there even if we didn't have a dog with us. That said, the Reading Room at the Bar Harbor Inn is incredibly worth it if you can leave your doggie alone for a few hours. We greatly enjoyed the views, surf and turf (they let me do lobster claws instead of tail thank you!), and scrumptious blueberry pie for dessert. A must try if you're in the area for a special night out.
What other places would you recommend to visit with your dog? We'd love to hear from you!
Have a wonderful summer!
Lizzie, Sam, and Maddie
Our Boston Neighborhood Food Tours and Chocolate Tours run year-round. Visit www.offthebeatenpathfoodtours.com for more information and to book a tour today.