To get to Winter Harbor, Maine, a small fishing town in the DownEast & Acadia region, you have to take the scenic route. Literally.
The Schoodic National Scenic Byway meanders along the rockbound coast from the town of Hancock to the village of Birch Harbor and, along the way, it passes right through Winter Harbor. The town fits right in, as it’s small, charming and beautiful.
Not a scenic enough journey for you? Take the ferry from larger Bar Harbor to the west. This is a way for folks staying in Bar Harbor to avoid car traffic and arrive for hiking, bicycling and just enjoying Winter Harbor. Voyage on the Bar Harbor Ferry.
Things to Do in Winter Harbor
Once in town, engage in the town’s fun arts and music culture at Schoodic Arts for All. This local arts organization organizes a lively calendar of theater and music performances. You can also visit galleries like Whopaints, the studio of painter Wendilee Heath O'Brien and U.S. Bells, in neighboring Prospect Harbor, a foundry creating hand-cast bells and sculpture by Richard Fisher.
Much of the fun in the Winter Harbor area is outdoors. That’s no surprise, since it’s on the doorstep of Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Peninsula area. This quieter side of the park offers hiking, bicycling, terrific ocean views and camping away from the congestion sometimes seen in the Mount Desert Island section. Schoodic Point is a favorite destination. During the summer, Island Explorer buses offer free transportation in the Peninsula.
Grindstone Neck, another pretty section of town, offers wonderful views of Mount Desert Island and Bar Harbor.
Cyclists and kayakers looking to rent should contact Sea Schoodic Kayak & Bike. You can use the bikes for tours of the Schoodic Peninsula and the boats on calm, inland waters in the surrounding area.
Visiting in August? That’s perfect timing for lobster lovers. The Winter Harbor Lobster Festival happens every August and celebrates the local crustacean and the lobstering industry.
Restaurants in Winter Harbor
Feeling adventurous? Travel to neighboring Birch Harbor and to The Pickled Wrinkle and sample its namesake. These are pickled sea snails (you read that right) and are a local delicacy. The Fisherman’s Galley serves lobster rolls, fried seafood and delicious pies. For more suggestions, check out the list of regional businesses below or click here for some Winter Harbor restaurants.
Where to Stay in Winter Harbor
How about where to stay in Winter Harbor and the surrounding area? Check out the Bluff House Inn and Elsa's Inn on the Harbor. Epic camping is available here, too, at the Schoodic Woods Campground, part of Acadia National Park. For more, scroll down the list of businesses below or check out these lodgings around the Winter Harbor area.