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Destination: September 2002

Bar Harbor, Maine: Fall Foliage and Fido

One of the main focuses of this waterfront vacation town of Bar Harbor is the nearby dog-friendly Acadia National Park. And what better time to visit then the fall foliage season in mid-September through October. Fall foliage is when the leaves on the trees change from green to brilliant colors including yellow, orange, brown, and red. The colorful leaves usually peak in the first few weeks of October. But you will not be the only one enjoying the area. Your pooch will most likely have an exciting time here with all of the hiking trails, the surrounding mountains, lakes and ponds.

Bar Harbor offers a variety of dog-friendly lodging, from motels and inns, to vacation rentals. If you are looking for an oceanfront inn located in downtown Bar Harbor that allows pets, look no further than the Balance Rock Inn. The inn is within walking distance of many restaurants and shops in downtown Bar Harbor. You can park the car here and leave it parked for the entire stay, with the exception of driving it to the Acadia National Park for a hike or two. Choose from fourteen individually decorated rooms at the inn, many of which offer an ocean view and private balcony. They also offer a heated outdoor pool and fitness room. But your pooch will probably appreciate hikes in the park instead. Room rates for this inn average $200 to $300 per night but can start at $95 and go up to almost $600 per night. There is also a $30 per day pet fee. If you are looking for something a little less pricey, try Hanscom's Motel and Cottages. They are located just 3 miles from downtown Bar Harbor. Rates for the motel range from $54 to $120 per night, with an extra $8 per pet. If you do go during the fall foliage season, make reservations early for lodging, as rooms fill up fast.

For some exercise, relaxation or just to enjoy the outdoors, head over to the Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor is actually surrounded by the park, so you will not have very far to drive. There is a $10 entrance fee into the park, which is good for 7 days. You can also purchase an audio tape tour of the Park Loop Road which is a self-guided auto tour. The driving tour is about 27 miles and takes 3 to 4 hours including stops. Audio tapes are available at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. You can even take a Wildwood Stables horse and carriage tour of the park with your pooch. The ride is along carriage roads which do not allow cars. But this can be expensive because they only allow dogs on the private tours which cost $180 ($90 per hour, 2 hour minimum, holds up to 6 people including dogs). If you are looking to go for a hike or a walk, Acadia is one of the best national parks in the country for canines. They actually allow dogs on most hiking trails, which is unusual for a national park. Dogs on leash are welcome on miles of hiking trails, carriage roads, campgrounds, and picnic areas. The only places they are not allowed are on the sand beaches, on steep hiking trails and inside public buildings. You might want to first pick up a trail map from the Park Headquarters, located on Route 233, just east of Bar Harbor. You will be able to see plenty of fall foliage at this park if you come during the season.

If your dog is itching to run leash-free, then head on over to Little Long Pond, near Seal Harbor. There is a privately owned piece of land within the national park where your pooch can throw off his or her leash and play. While in this area of the park, be sure to visit the Jordon Pond House Restaurant where you can dine outdoors at the tables on the lawn with your leashed pooch. The outdoor seating area offers a beautiful view of the pond and mountains. They are open for lunch, afternoon tea and popovers, and dinner. Enjoy entrees like the Grilled Maine Salmon, Steamed Lobster, and Maine Crab Cakes. The restaurant also offers salads, beef, chicken, desserts and a children's menu.

Speaking of restaurants, there are at least two more in Bar Harbor worth mentioning. Jack Russell's BrewPub, serves a variety of beer as well as food. They allow dogs at the outdoor tables. And yes, they do have a Jack Russell Terrier as their mascot. The other place, George's Restaurant, is located in downtown Bar Harbor and allows your dog to dine with you at the outside tables. This Mediterranean restaurant offers nice patio seating which overlooks a garden. Enjoy dinner entrees like the Lobster Strudel, Whole Maine Lobster, Filet of Beef and more.

Since Bar Harbor is a waterfront town, you might get the urge to view the land from the water, or just go fishing. Acadia Outfitters allows dogs on their lake canoes. Rent a tandem canoe for $35. Just make sure your pooch does not rock the canoe enough to tip it over and send everyone into the water! If you prefer to cruise on a boat with your dog, the Masako Queen Fishing Company, located in nearby Southwest Harbor, offers five hour deep sea fishing trips. Prices are about $39 per person for a half day, and a little less for children and seniors. The boat goes out eight to twelve miles from the shore to fish for mackerel, codfish and more. You will even be able to bring back your own lobster.

Whether you come to Bar Harbor for the fall foliage or just plain fun, definitely bring your pooch. Bar Harbor is located about a 6 hour drive from Boston, and a 10 hour drive from New York City.

For more information:

Lodging:
Balance Rock Inn, 21 Albert Meadow, Bar Harbor, ME, 207-288-2610
Hanscom's Motel and Cottages, Route 3, Bar Harbor, ME, 207-288-3744/288-0039
For more dog-friendly lodging in Bar Harbor, look here

Restaurants:
George's Restaurant, 7 Stephens Lane, Bar Harbor, ME, 207-288-4505
Jack Russell's BrewPub, 102 Eden St. Bar Harbor, ME, 207-288-5214
Jordon Pond House Restaurant, Route 3, Bar Harbor, ME, 207-276-3316

Attractions:
Acadia National Park, Eagle Lake Road, Bar Harbor, ME, 207-288-3338
Acadia Outfitters, 106 Cottage Street, Bar Harbor, ME, 207-288-8118
Masako Queen Fishing Company, Beal's Wharf, Southwest Harbor, ME, 207-244-5385
Wildwood Stables, Route 3, Bar Harbor, ME, 207-276-3622



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