Bar Harbor dining and lodging with a view

IMG_3420Views! Views! Views! I spent the last few days at the Bluenose, in Bar Harbor. While there may be a few other places that can compete for such lofty, panoramic views over Bar Harbor, the Porcupine Islands, and Frenchman Bay, I don’t think any come close for comfort and service. This is a four-diamond property with all the whistles and bells that come with it.

Rooms are divided between two buildings, an older one with more modest accommodations and outside corridors, and the newer Mizzentop, which rises four stories and has rooms and suites with private balconies (and many with fireplaces, too). All have those gulls-eye views.

Downstairs in the Mizzentop is The Great Room, an expansive¬† lounge where pianist Bill Trowell plays from 7 to 11 nightly. Anyone can attend these free concerts and savor the views along with the music. Although there’s a bar here, guests tend to honor Trowell with rapt attention, creating a concert hall atmosphere.

Side note: I’m guessing the folks sitting by the fireplace, which was cranking, must have been from Florida, Texas, or similar parts, given the temps and humidity during my visit.

IMG_3422The Eden Spa, at the Bluenose is a boutique day spa, which is open to the general public by reservation. Come for a massage (if you’re staying elsewhere, ask about discount coupons), and spend the afternoon enjoying the pool, whirlpool, steam room, and fitness center. And views. Stick around for a drink in The Great Room , then dinner.

There’s no restaurant at the Bluenose, but a short walk takes you to the glass-walled Looking Glass Restaurant at the adjacent sister property, Wonder View Inn and Suites. Previously known as the Rhinehart Pavillion, the Looking Glass is sporting a new look and new menus crafted by Chef Arturo Montes (if you’re from Bangor, you’re probably familiar with his cafe and catering services). Montes has an Old World style that favors sauces and strong flavors: his oysters Rockefeller are alone worth the visit. The menu ranges from lighter fare to lobster diners, and there’s a children’s menu, too. One caveat: desserts are pricey, at $9.95 each, but there’s ice cream, if you request it.

Here’s another idea: If you’re rising to catch sunrise from Cadillac, come here afterward for breakfast and continue to feast on the views.

By the way, if the rates at the Bluenose give pause, the Wonder View is a reasonable alternative with many of the advantages, but far fewer frills. It comprises four older motels tiered up the hill on estate-like grounds with grassy lawns and mature shade trees, and there’s an outdoor pool. You can always sample the good life by taking in that nightly concert at the Blue Nose.


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