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  • Abbe MuseumAbbe Museum Bar Harbor, Maine
    The Abbe Museum sits inside the Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine, highlighting the culture and history of the Native American in the state, that includes the Wabanaki, or "people of the dawn" with members of the Passamaquoddy, MicMac, Penobscot and Mailseet tribes. It was started in 1927, by Dr. Robert Abbe, and opened in 1928 became one of the first museums constructed in the state, and is the only museum that is dedicated to the state's Native American heritage. It had originally been started as a trailside museum, and is today, one of the only two remaining private trailside museums in the national park system. The archaeological treasure contains over 50,000 objects that represent 10,000 years of history spanning the millennia until today. The items include stone based tools like knives, projectile points and fishing weights, axes, needles, fish hooks, combs and other objects shaped from bone, and one of the earliest known types of pottery in the state. One of the most spectacular pieces is a flute that was made from the bone of a swan, over 3000 years ago. Recent discoveries include jewelry, copper tools, beads, pipes and traditional arts and crafts like the woodcarvings and baskets. The Abbe Museum at the Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park opens on Memorial Weekend and closes in mid October and is nestled in a fabulous wooded area with many paths and trails that go through it and driving up onto it it doesn't seem like much until you get out of your vehicle and just breath in the pungent pine smells that permeate your senses, and you realize what a magical and special place this is. Just take a walk and let your senses discover all the wonderful attributes of the area and then walk into the museum to learn what your senses have found. In downtown Bar Harbor, the Abbe Museum has opened another gallery with marvelous exhibits, hands on learning lab and indoor and outdoor spaces fro the many wonderful programs that are held here and a circular gallery that is called "circle of the four winds".

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  • Bar HarborBar Harbor, Maine
    Situated on the island of Mount Desert Island, in Hancock County, Maine, Bar Harbor offers a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean surrounding the many islands that sit in Frenchman's Bay. It has been a port entry for the Bay Ferries going from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and back; and has been a famous summer colony in what is called, the "Down East" area of the state of Maine. Home to the College of the Atlantic, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, and Jackson Laboratory, the town is home to the biggest parts of the Acadia National Park that includes Cadillac Mountain, highest peak within 25 miles of the coastline of the eastern United States; and offshore, the Porcupine Islands. The quaint village of Bar Harbor was started on the eastern side of the island, which the Wabanaki Indians called Pemetic or "range of mountains", or "mountains seen at a distance". These early Native Americans came here to fish, hunt and gather berries, clams and other types of shellfish like lobster and mussels. In 1604, the French explorer Samuel de Champlain ran aground on a rocky ledge that he believed to be around the Otter Cliffs, but when he went ashore, he met the local natives and later called the island, Isles des Monts Deserts, or "island of barren mountains", which has become Mount Desert Island, the biggest one in Maine. The village was settled in 1763, by Israel Higgins and John Thomas and incorporated in 1796 as Eden, after Sir Richard Eden, an English statesman. Early industries included shipbuilding, lumbering and fishing. In the areas where the best soil was located, agriculture spring up, and in 1840, the rugged maritime scenery enticed the Hudson River School and Luminism artists Fitz Henry Lane, Thomas Cole, William Hart and Frederic Edwin Church. After viewing the magnificent paintings, sportsmen, journalists and rusticators came to the area, and in 1855, the Agamont House was constructed as the first hotel. In 1868, the first summer estate, called Birch Point, was constructed by Alpheus Hardy. By the year 1880, the village had sprouted 30 hotels, with tourists coming by train and ferry to the Gilded Age resort that rivaled those of Newport, Rhode Island. The rich and famous began to visit the area and soon there were rivalries between them to see who could build the most fabulous estate. Beatrix Farrand was brought in to do the landscaping designs, and their spectacular estates could be seen by walking along Shore Path. Soon there were enormous garden parties, yachting and carriage rides to Cadillac Mountain and around the island. Horse racing came to the Robin Hood Park-Morrell Park, and President William Howard Taft arrived in 1910 to play a round of golf at the Kebo Valley Golf Club. In 1918, March 3, the town was renamed Bar Harbor, after the fantastic gravel and sand bar that led out to Bar Island when the tide was low. The village was synonymous with the elite wealthy, and Vice-president Nelson Rockefeller was born there July 8, 1908. Even today, the Rockefeller estate is set in among the trees just on the edge of a small cliff that looks out into the harbor area and is seen only in the distance, since it is a private estate. Then, in mid-October of 1947, the state had a serious draught, and sparks began flying at a cranberry bog by Town Hill, and started a wildfire that continued to intensify over the next 10 days, and wasn't declared out until the middle of November. Almost half the island had been destroyed including 67 palatial summer estates on Millionaire's Row, 5 historic hotels, 170 permanent houses and more than 10,000 acres of pristine forests in Acadia National Park. Even today, there are numerous secluded areas in the park that still have the scares of that terrible and destructive month. Luckily, the business district was saved, including Mount Desert Street, where numerous summer homes in the historic district were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Bar Harbor is a world destination, with tourists coming here from all over the world, in planes, boats, ferries and autos. Cruise ships can be seen sitting in the harbor from the end of May until October, but mostly in early September, with 95 ships visiting in 2008. It is also the eastern end of the Adventure Cycling Association's Northern Tier bicycle route that ends in Anacortes, Washington and the northern end for the Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route with other end at Key West, Florida.

January 11, 2011