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Bar Harbor Tour (Bar Harbor, Maine)

Written by Mark McElroy

How many guides would witness the birth of their first daughters on Saturday … and still turn up on Sunday to take you on a tour?

At least one: Craig “Woody” Wood of Bar Harbor Coastal Cab and Tours.

Woody looks like a lighter, brighter, friendlier version of actor James Wood. He grew up in nearby Bangor, Maine, but he’s played in Acadia his whole life. He’s got the easy-going, gregarious, chatty personality of the best bartenders (perhaps because he used to be one). And because his significant other is a park ranger, he knows all the ins, outs, and secrets of Acadia National Park.

Despite the fact that today was Woody’s first daughter’s first full day on the planet, he showed up right on time and in great spirits to show us the island he calls home. Thanks to his generosity of spirit, in just over three hours, we were able to:

– sneak glimpses of the houses of Bar Harbor’s super-rich residents (and hear true tales about the rest)
– hike around Jordan pond, savoring the scent of evergreen in the air and the sparkle of sunlight on the water

– immerse ourselves in the Zen ambiance of the Asticou Azalea Garden

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– feel the spray of the surf at Sand Beach and hear the rumbling, sucking growl of Thunder Hole

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– take in the best views of Acadia National Park, including jaw-dropping vistas from Cadillac Mountain.

Because the morning air was thick with fog, Woody shuffled our itinerary around, hitting coves, gardens, and beaches until the fog lifted. Meantime, friends back on Holland America’s cattle-call bus tours were forced to spend three hours being driven along socked-in mountain roads, seeing nothing more than dense clouds of water vapor condensing on motor coach windows.

Our private tour — just the two of us and Woody — cost us exactly what other cruisers paid to be herded through the fog bank on someone else’s schedule.

Whether you’re here on your own or as part of a ship’s tour, you’ll miss out on the best of what Bar Harbor and Acadia have to offer if you don’t hire Woody to take you around. Highly recommended.

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Mark McElroy

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