Bar Harbor Culture & Traditions: Local History, Customs, Festivals

Bar Harbor Culture & Traditions: Local History, Customs, Festivals

Bar Harbor Culture & Traditions

Bar Harbor, located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, is a charming coastal town known for its rich history, unique customs, and lively festivals. Understanding the local culture will enhance your travel experience and allow you to fully immerse yourself in the traditions of this picturesque town.

Local History

Bar Harbor has a fascinating history dating back to the 18th century when it was originally inhabited by the Wabanaki people. The town's development as a summer resort destination began in the 19th century, attracting wealthy families seeking to escape the heat of the cities. Today, remnants of this Gilded Age can still be seen in the stunning architecture and grand estates that line the streets of Bar Harbor.


The people of Bar Harbor take pride in their close-knit community and strong sense of tradition. One custom that is deeply rooted in the town's culture is the practice of preserving and protecting the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Residents and visitors alike participate in environmental conservation efforts to maintain the pristine wilderness that defines the area.

Another cherished custom in Bar Harbor is the tradition of "porching," where locals gather on their front porches to socialize and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. This informal gathering fosters a sense of camaraderie among neighbors and adds to the town's friendly atmosphere.


Throughout the year, Bar Harbor hosts a variety of festivals and events that celebrate its unique heritage and vibrant community. One of the most popular festivals is the Bar Harbor Music Festival, which showcases a diverse range of musical performances from classical to contemporary genres.

The Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival is another highlight on the town's event calendar, offering stargazing opportunities, night sky photography workshops, and guided tours of the night sky. This festival celebrates the pristine night skies of Acadia National Park, located just a short drive from Bar Harbor.

Local Cuisine

No visit to Bar Harbor would be complete without sampling the local cuisine, which is influenced by the town's coastal location and New England heritage. Indulge in fresh seafood dishes like lobster rolls, clam chowder, and fried clams, which are staples of the region's culinary tradition.

For those with a sweet tooth, be sure to try a slice of blueberry pie, a quintessential Maine dessert made with wild blueberries harvested from the nearby fields. Pair your meal with a locally brewed craft beer or a glass of crisp apple cider for a true taste of Bar Harbor.

Experience the Rich Culture of Bar Harbor

Immerse yourself in the history, customs, and traditions of Bar Harbor to truly appreciate the unique charm of this coastal town. Whether you're exploring the grand mansions of the past, joining locals for a porch gathering, or indulging in fresh seafood by the sea, Bar Harbor offers a rich tapestry of experiences that will leave a lasting impression.