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A Prairie Home Cruise: Bar Harbor Excursions

A Walk in the Park—Ocean Trail Hike
DURATION: Approximately 2 hours
PRICE: $49 Adult $29 Child

Discover the spectacular natural beauty and fascinating history of one of the most gorgeous islands in America. This walk along the rockbound coast provides the perfect setting for your guide/naturalist to introduce you to all the wonders of Acadia National Park. As waves crash against granite, you'll learn about the powerful glacial activity that gave the Maine coast its unique identity, the variety of wildlife that abounds, and the flora and fauna that make this such an island paradise. Learn the role that barons such as John D. Rockefeller played in forming the park. You'll also learn about the fishing industry and the "golden age" of Bar Harbor, when Mount Desert Island was the playground of America's fabulously wealthy.

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Acadia National Park
DURATION: Approximately 2 1/2 hours
PRICE: $29 Adult $19 Child

Visit Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. Mountains, lakes, streams and ponds make up the landscape here, along with Somes Sound—a splendid glacier-carved fjord. The park is home to moose, black bear and white-tailed deer, plus more than 300 species of birds. Watch for hand-cut stone bridges and other evidence of the elaborate carriage trails built by the Rockefeller family at the turn of the century, and stop at Thunder Hole, where ocean swells converge against the granite cliffs to create a thunderous roar.

Drive by the Jordan Pond House and, weather permitting, to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Drive through Bar Harbor, an exclusive resort community, with opulent mansions owned by some of the country's most prominent citizens, many of which have now been converted to elegant bed-and-breakfast inns.

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Acadia National Park and Carriage Ride
DURATION: Approximately 3 hours
PRICE: $59 Adult $39 Child

Visit a portion of beautiful Acadia National Park and, weather permitting, ride to the top of Cadillac Mountain—the highest point on the east coast of the United States. Also participate in a wonderful turn-of-the-century island tradition—a horse drawn carriage ride over carriage roads constructed by the Rockefeller family. To this day, motorized vehicles are not allowed on these roads. As you ride through the park, your guide will explain the history of Acadia National Park and the carriage roads that wind their way through the park. You'll also hear a history of the famous families that have made the park possible.

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Acadia National Park and Rustic Lobster Bake
DURATION: Approximately 4 hours
PRICE: $89 Adult $59 Child

Discover the rich natural beauty of Maine's "Downeast" coast and Acadia National Park, a 35,000-acre preserve boasting coastal mountains, five large lakes, and hundreds of streams and ponds. The park is home to more than 50 species of mammals, including moose, black bear and white tail deer, as well as more than 300 species of birds. Your tour will include several stops, including Thunder Hole, where ocean swells converge against the granite cliffs to create a thunderous roar.

Weather permitting, ride to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the east coast. Then enjoy a Maine lobster bake consisting of a whole Maine lobster, mussels, chowder, side dishes and a Maine dessert. Returning to Bar Harbor, pass by many opulent "summer cottages."

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Bar Harbor Guided Bicycle Tour
DURATION: Approximately 2 1/2 hours
PRICE: $49 Adult $39 Child

Experience the famous carriage trails of Acadia, recently refurbished and in excellent condition. You'll be custom-fitted with a 24-speed mountain bike, designed specifically for hard-packed gravel such as you'll find on the carriage trails. Your professional guide will stop often to tell you about the island's history and lore. Anyone in average physical condition can take part in this tour.

NOTES: The minimum age for participation on this excursion is 12 years old.

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Best of Both Worlds
DURATION: Approximately 4 hours
PRICE: $59 Adult $39 Child

This tour offers the best of Mount Desert Island, covering the 22-mile Park Loop Road of Acadia National Park. Stop to view Thunder Hole, where the right tidal conditions can send flumes of ocean spray high into the air, and visit the summit of Cadillac Mountain to marvel at the 360-degree view of the coast. Pass High Seas—the stately cottage built for an English bride who booked passage on the Titanic and never saw her dream home. See Sand Beach, Otter Cliffs and Jordon Pond House—the famous restaurant where tea on the lawn has been a tradition for more than a century. Eagle Lake holds a wealth of secrets and the open ocean and crashing surf give Acadia its personality. At a viewing area, a lobster expert will demonstrate, using authentic traps and live lobsters, how succulent creatures are caught; handle one of the crustaceans and see one being "hypnotized." After visiting the park, tour the elegant La Rochelle mansion, one of Bar Harbor's most prized structures. Take in its intricate details, fireplaces, moldings, period flooring and seaside porches. Visit St. Saviour's Episcopal Church to see its Tiffany stained-glass windows. Finally, tour Bar Harbor's municipal burying ground, where centuries of history will speak to you.

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Cadillac Mountain and Lunch at Jordan Pond House
DURATION: Approximately 3 hours
PRICE: $79 Adult $39 Child

Visit a portion of beautiful Acadia National Park and, weather permitting, ride to the top of Cadillac Mountain—the highest point on the east coast of the United States—where you'll have magnificent views of Frenchman's Bay and the Town of Bar Harbor. Participate in a unique tradition established in the early 1870s: tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House, including New England clam chowder and homemade ice cream. The picturesque location provides you with photo and shopping opportunities, Bring your camera!

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Coastal Sea Kayaking
DURATION: Approximately 3 hours
PRICE: $59 per person

Join naturalists (and your shipmates on the Prairie Home Cruise) Natalie Springuel and Rich MacDonald on a sea kayaking tour, for a unique perspective of Acadia's natural beauty. Natalie and Rich will lead you on a 2 3/4-hour journey to Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands, where you're likely to see a variety of marine life. Each stable kayak is designed for two persons and is rudder equipped for easy steering. No experience is necessary, and anyone of average physical condition can find this sport fun and exciting. A dry bag is provided, so bring along your camera to record the spectacular views of Mount Desert Island.

NOTES: We recommend you wear shorts and a T-shirt, and it is advisable to bring along an extra layer in case it gets cool on the water. Please see the on-board Shore Excursions office for advice on how to dress for this tour. Guests weighing more than 250 pounds may experience difficulties getting into and out of the kayaks.

The minimum age for participation on this excursion is 12 years old.

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Highlights of Bar Harbor
DURATION: Approximately 1 and 1/2 hours
PRICE: $29 Adult $29 Child

Discover the history, beauty and charm of Bar Harbor—a vibrant and historic community nestled between the mountains of Acadia National Park and the Atlantic Ocean, located on Mount Desert Island, the third largest island on the eastern seaboard. Your guide will point out and discuss major highlights such as College of the Atlantic, devoted to marine biology with an emphasis on whale management, identification and preservation. See Jackson Laboratory, a unique medical research facility working with hospitals around the world to solve some of our most urgent medical challenges. Continue past some of the beautiful "summer cottages" of wealthy Victorian-era residents, now converted into Bed & Breakfast facilities. The Churches of Mount Desert Street are also a must-see, and of course no visit to Bar Harbor is complete without a trip to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the jewel of Acadia National Park. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the eastern seaboard north of Brazil; it is where the sun first rises in the U.S. and offers spectacular views of Frenchman's Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding mountains. After your tour, you will have ample free time to further explore this lovely community.

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Penobscot Marine Museum
DURATION: Approximately 5 hours
PRICE: $64 per person

Join your on-board maritime historian John Arrison for an in-depth visit to the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, where he is the Director of Library and Education.

Spend time exploring our 19th century seafaring village with 13 buildings—including eight on the National Register of Historical Places. Visit the Fowler-True Rose House—the longtime home of sea captain's families which is furnished in typical 19th century style. View the renowned collection of marine paintings, including may by Thomas and James Buttersworth. Learn about the Penobscot Bay's maritime history and economic development in the "Working the Bay" exhibit. Investigate the past at the Stephen Philips Memorial Library, with its extensive holdings of books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, charts and genealogical records.

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Spectacular Gardens of Acadia
DURATION: Approximately 2 1/2 hours
PRICE: $59 Adult $39 Child

Visit the two most stunning public gardens on Mount Desert Island and find out why the Maine Coast—with a growing season and climate similar to England's—produces a variety of flowers and plants that are breathtakingly spectacular. Your horticulturist/guide will introduce you to the terraced Thuya Gardens—partially designed by the famed Beatrix Farrand—where time stands still behind the magnificent hand-carved wooden entrance gates. A colorful burst of flowers will greet you there, and you'll also be treated to a tour of the garden's rustic and charming lodge. Move on to Asticou Azalea Gardens and their winding paths, babbling brooks and Japanese motif. If you're a gardener, you'll discover why Thuya and Asticou draw visitors from around the world. Also visit the Northeast Harbor Marina, jammed with dazzling yachts, before driving slowly through one of the exclusive "summer colonies" of that storied village. Finally, enjoy the incomparable beauty of Sargent Drive, which borders Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast of North America.

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Step Back in Time: A Victorian Walking Tour
DURATION: Approximately 1 1/2 hours
PRICE: $29 Adult $19 Child

Step back in time to the turn of the century, when Bar Harbor was the world's most exclusive and illustrious resort, and stately Victorian mansions belonged to fabulously wealthy summer residents trying to outdo each other with lavish parties. Your costumed guide—perhaps he is the Vanderbilt's carriage driver, or perhaps a maid from the nearby Rockefeller estate—will share tales of a magnificent time. Learn of the society matron who ordered imported crystal champagne glasses by the case so her guests could toss them against the oceanside boulders of Frenchman's Bay, and the insecure couple who thought they could impress others by giving away priceless diamonds and jewels.

Find out how the truly wealthy lived among grand parties, superbly manicured estates, and mansions that seemed to stretch forever. You'll especially enjoy seeing the magnificent Tiffany stained-glass windows of St. Saviour's Church. The tour is conducted at a leisurely pace that's suitable for everyone.

NOTES: Total walking distance is approximately one mile.

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