Ice Cream, Cocktails, and Brunch: The Best of Bar Harbor

June 25, 2018

No matter where you are traveling, you will always need to eat. However, the era of fast food and convenience (otherwise known as laziness…not that I’m judging) has demonstrated that not all food needs to be the greatest of quality. Now, while I am certainly no foodie myself, I can tell you that three of the things I appreciate very much in life consist of ice cream, cocktails, and brunch.

So despite only being in Bar Harbor for a couple of days, I managed to consume all of these things, and I have absolutely no complaints! On the first day of my arrival, my family and I took a trip to see downtown Bar Harbor. We visited a shop where everything was made out of wood, a beautiful art gallery where I purchased a gift for my father’s birthday, and an array of other local businesses. The weather was pleasant and the sun was out, so none of us minded very much as several of my family members purchased caramel corn and visited stores with sparkly suncatchers that glimmered enticingly.

But it would naturally follow that after a little while out in the sun, ice cream would become a necessity. This brings me to Stop Number One: CJ’s Big Dipper.  From the outside, the ice cream shop looks like a cute, standard, and local eatery.

But from the inside, you can quickly see that this locally owned ice cream shop is full of a WIDE variety of flavors, including everything from blueberry soft serve to Peanut Butter Iditarod (pictured below). As a self-admitted peanut butter addict, I could not have fathomed a more suitable or delicious ice cream flavor if I tried. My family and I sat outside to enjoy our ice creams and ate everything from ice cream cups to cones to milkshakes. There was not one family member who was dissatisfied. If the opportunity presents itself, I would highly recommend going to CJ’s.

But alas, as our outdoor walk carried on, and the town exploration continued, it was not long before my family decided that we needed something else…this time, something more adult-friendly.  So based on a recommendation from a friend, we sauntered on over to The Veranda Bar at Balance Rock Inn.  There wasn’t really a large sign outside advertising the bar, so I have to admit, when we first walked in, I simply felt as though I was walking into a fancy shmancy mansion of sorts. However, after walking through the doorway, I quickly saw the Veranda Bar and realized that we had, in fact, made it to the right location.

Personally, I think the Veranda Bar is most special for its outdoor seating and views. After purchasing a beverage, you can take your drink outside. The outdoor view features the swimming pool of the inn, which I thought was rather unique, in addition to a plain view of the harbor.  Again, due to the large size of my family, the restaurant allowed us to take the gazebo seating, and we leisurely enjoyed our drinks. I ordered a Dark and Stormy (a less fancy option, but a classic), and my family was a tad more adventurous in their drink selection.  You can see two of our beverages, in addition to our view, below.

The daughter of two non-drinkers, my father provided comic relief and asserted, repeatedly, that he has drinking the classiest drink of all: Coca Cola with a lemon wedge. I warned him to be careful, as I would hate for him to feel unwell the following day, but he assured me that he would drink responsibly.

None of us ordered food, so I can’t comment on its quality, although I will say that there were several cheese plates on the menu that caught my eye. The drinks were a tad bit pricy, but I think that is to be expected when the location is so ideal, and I did appreciate the unique selection of cocktails the restaurant had to offer. If you are walking around Bar Harbor and looking for a drink in the late afternoon or evening, check out The Veranda Bar.

Which brings us to, last but not least, brunch! On our final morning in Bar Harbor, my brother and his wife suggested that we get brunch in town before our long 12-hour drive back home (they were actually headed in the opposite direction, up north, to explore Canada). So, we went into town and ordered brunch at 2 Cats. Advertised on Google Maps as “Homey B&B with an on-site cafė,” 2 Cats absolutely delivered!

I was a wee bit too hungry and forgot to take a picture of my meal, but my mushroom, swiss, and bacon omelette with potatoes, a home-made biscuit, and strawberry jam was just what I needed before hitting the road. Prior to going to the restaurant, my sister had been to the café earlier in the week and had brought home fresh-baked blueberry muffins, which I also found to be divine. We were seated outside and it was quite crowded, but rightfully so, due to the quantity and the quality of the food it provided. Also a self-admitted coffee addict, it makes sense that the only pictures I managed to take were of two of the coffees we ordered (Can you guess which one is mine)?

To conclude, if you are a lover of ice cream, cocktails, or brunch, there are certainly options for you in Bar Harbor, Maine.

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