Welcome to Insider Out Travel, a blog about LGBT travel written by LGBT tourism professionals. Travel the globe and gain insight into the tourism industry (with a gay twist), brought to you by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bar Harbor, Maine

by Sheryl Kay, Freelance Writer, and Contributing Editor at CURVE Magazine

You won’t find any rainbow flags hanging on Main Street here.
But ask around and everyone in Bar Harbor, Maine will tell you its all about street maintenance (no flags may fly other than four representing the seasons which show which stores are open during what times of the year).
In fact the small coastal town that lies within the boundaries of Acadia National Park is not only gay-friendly—its just plain friendly.
“Actually we have zero tolerance for bigotry,” says Shawn Robinette, who owns Café Milagro (www.milagrocoffee.com) with his partner Brian White. The café offers everything from skinny lattes to mouthwatering, icy whipped specialties
The season opens in Bar Harbor on Memorial Day weekend with a grand burst of flora all around, and goes well into October. Given the small town feel, its amazing how much there is to do. Consistently listed as one of the top ten national parks in the United States by numerous organizations, Acadia has something for everyone—hiking (for novice through experts), biking, geocaching, horseback riding, sheer cliff rock climbing, museums, and breathtaking scenic overlooks where mountains end in jagged boulders and ever-crashing ocean waves.
The area is also well known for its seals, puffins, and whale watching (see www.barharborwhales.com ). While there’s no guarantee, just this past Memorial Day weekend a 30 foot juvenile humpback whale delighted tourists for half an hour, often frolicking within ten yards of the boat.
If nature is not your thing, fear not—there are boutiques lining Main and Cottage Streets. Some sell the kitschy fudge, t-shirts and lobster gummies while others carry top line sports equipment, high fashion, and exclusive home décor items. There’s even Sherman’s Book Store that’s been in town for decades, and managed by long time resident (and yes, she’s gay) Debbie Taylor.
There’s no dearth for good food either—only the tables to seat everyone. Whether you dine at Poor Boy’s Gourmet, McKay’s Public House, Rupununi’s, Route 66, or any of the other well known haunts, call ahead for reservations. And for the carnivores (and omnivores) among us, be absolutely sure to have fresh Maine lobster at least once, best experienced at the Bar Harbor Lobster Pound (414 State Highway 3, across the street from the huge totem pole, 207-288-2225). Owners Charlotte Gill and Dalton Dalzell (who is also the fisherman) steam the fresh crustaceans you pick from a tank and serve up an amazing dinner with a wide selection of sides, including “bah habah clam chowdah.” The lobster, possibly the most reasonably priced in town, is by the pound ($9.99) and it’s a true lobster in the rough experience (bib included).
After dinner, check out the Criterion Theater (on the National Registry of Historic Places) or ImprovAcadia (a stellar hysterical audience generated performance) and then crash in any one of numerous hotels, motels, cottages, bed and breakfasts, or camp grounds (although we didn’t stay at either, Maples Inn and Aysgarth Station are both lovely bed and breakfasts that welcome the LGBT community).
It may not be a P-town or Key West quite yet, but given Maine’s recent vote to legalize gay marriage, this just might be the last chance to say “I went to Bah Habah way back when.”

1 comment:

  1. This is a great write-up. I am looking to move to Maine. Could you tell me if there is any work there for a pastor?