Located on Mount Desert Island, the city of Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park share a storied history as an inspiring vacation destination. Several Native American tribes, including the coastal Abnaki Indians, had been fishing and hunting in the Acadian region for thousands of years before Champlain happened upon the island in 1604. Europeans began settling in the town of "Eden" in the late 1700s; and by the mid-1800s, Mount Desert Island became widely known through artist renderings of its majestic mountains and tranquil seascapes, enticing society's elite to build palatial summer mansions along its enchanting coastline. Notable residents during this time include some of most famous names of the Gilded Age from Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller to JP Morgan and the Astors.
In 1918, the town of Eden was officially renamed Bar Harbor, and a year later Acadia National Park
was established by the federal government, ensuring the protection of over 47,000 acres of this beautiful region. On October 17, 1947, an island-wide wildfire began that would last for over four weeks and destroy 18,000 acres of countryside as well as many of Bar Harbor's prized summer mansions. While most of the island’s permanent residents rebuilt their homes, the scarred landscape many kept visitors from returning and most of the grand summer cottages were not replaced.
Fortunately, Bar Harbor, Maine entered a restoration period in the years following this tragic event, which included the building of new shops and hotels near Acadia National Park. One of these hotels, The Golden Anchor Inn, would later go onto become the Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina. The site of the hotel, which dates back to the early 1900s, was originally known as "Peanut Row", due to the group of quaint shops that once lined the street.
More than 50 years after the devastating fire, Bar Harbor, Maine is once again a popular summer vacation destination known for its coastal beauty and colorful downtown filled with eclectic retail shops, restaurants, and family-friendly activities. Acadia National Park has also returned to its former glory, and continues to inspire visitors with its pristine waters and fantastic hiking trails. History buffs will also enjoy exploring the miles of carriage trails originally created by John D. Rockefeller back in the 1920s.
Previously the town's exclusive Victorian-style vacation resort, the Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina is better than ever and ready to welcome you and your loved ones to beautiful Bar Harbor.