Bar Harbor Glamping
I’m back with part two of our road trip recap! Part one left off with our stop in Camden, Maine on the drive from Portland to Bar Harbor, located on Mount Desert Island, Maine. We split our Bar Harbor visit into two chunks: two nights at the KOA-owned glamping resort Terramor, then five nights at a hotel. In this post, I’ll talk about a hike in Acadia National Park as well as our time at Terramor—my first time glamping!
A Luxury Outdoor Resort
Sooooo, I am more indoorsy than outdoorsy. I enjoy the comforts of temperature control, a bed, a bathroom with running water. Shocking, I know. 😛 And I do understand that these are privileges I’ve had access to my entire life. I have only camped ONE night in 43 years. When I was in eighth grade, my class did a trip to a homestead in Missouri; the first night, we went on a float trip down a river and camped in tents overnight on a sandbar. That was my one night of camping—quite literally 30 years ago—and I don’t remember particularly enjoying it.
I say all of this to illustrate the fact that a two-night stay at a glamping resort is still on the verge of roughing it for me. When I was researching lodging for our trip, I came across Terramor and it sounded intriguing. The resort has tents with luxury accommodations, including king sized beds and private bathrooms. And I thought it sounded great! I’m not into a shared bathroom situation to begin with…much less so during a pandemic. Surprisingly, our glamping adventure was actually the portion of our trip that I was most excited about.
We had booked a two-night stay in a Bayberry tent. When we checked in they gave us the tent pictured below, which I believe has a bigger deck than some of the other types of tents? I’m not 100% sure.
Here’s the well-appointed interior of our tent:
The tent had a king bed, clothing rack, coffee-and-tea station, robes, overhead fan, Pendleton blankets, and a space heater. Plus the in-tent bathroom, which I’ll get to. The tent has a cooler in lieu of a fridge, and you can get bagged ice from the lodge. There’s no TV or phone, but the property offers complimentary WiFi. Each tent is provided with an electric lantern for navigating around the property after dark; to prevent light pollution, they have minimal path lighting. Stargazing is a very popular activity in the area and you can check out telescopes from the lodge.
The double-deck situation offered us a screened-in porch with seating as well as an outside deck with more chairs and a private fire pit (firewood, a fire starter, and matches are provided). I was very happy to see there was a screen to help keep bugs and critters out. And the “windows” inside the tent also had screens.
I was super curious what the bathroom would look like, because the website didn’t really have photos of the tents’ facilites. Some of the tents have connected bathrooms or a private outdoor shower, but all elements of our bathroom were fully contained inside our tent and comprised almost half of the tent’s square footage. Here was our very spacious double-head shower:
Shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel dispensers were mounted on the shower wall (which you can’t see in the photo). The toilet was located behind that wooden swinging door pictured in the above photo. I appreciated that the tent had a double sink station:
I was a little worried about the fact that, unlike a hotel room, the tents don’t lock. How you would even go about securing a tent, I have no idea. Having lived in major cities where you always lock doors and windows, I didn’t love the idea of leaving all of our stuff unsecured in the tent. Fortunately it felt safe enough to leave the tent unattended (though, of course, we zipped it and closed the screen every time we left, to keep critters out).
Terramor has a main lodge that functions as the check-in lobby. Additionally, the lodge contains a gift shop, kitchen, and bar, plus lawn games and a fire pit out front. The resort also offers organized activities including yoga, live music, stargazing sessions, and more, but there was nothing scheduled while we were there, beyond a yoga class that got canceled.
After we checked in and brought all of our stuff to our tent, we headed to the lodge for dinner. We arrived on a Monday, and Mondays are pizza and pint night at the lodge. Inside, there’s a large main room with a fireplace, plus a screened-in porch and a couple decks with seating. We chose to eat outside on the deck. We ordered cocktails and flatbreads from the bar and went outside to wait for our food.
The flatbread pizza was delicious! It was exactly what I needed after another stretch of several hours in the car.
Fire Pit Relaxation
After dinner, we returned to our tent and John got a fire going in our fire pit. We bundled up and sat out there, enjoying a sparkling wine we had brought with us. There was a private event taking place on the main lawn of the property, and we could hear a guitar player performing 70’s tunes for the group (which I loved). Once that event wrapped up, it was very quiet and peaceful.
It was also cold! I ended up wearing about four layers of clothing, plus a hat and gloves, and was still chilly. While we were in Bar Harbor the temperature was in the low 50’s at night and would rise into the low 70’s during the day. So the space heater and Pendleton blankets really came in handy, especially at night. I also cozied up in the provided robe for daytime lounging.
A Difficult but Worthwhile Hike
On John’s Cliff Walk in Portland, he chatted with a woman who recommended hiking Acadia Mountain in Acadia National Park. So the morning after our arrival at Terramor, we grabbed breakfast from the complimentary breakfast bar in the lodge (a welcome, tasty offering), ate it at our tent, then drove ten minutes to the small parking area at the Acadia Mountain trailhead.
Note: from May through October, Acadia National Park requires visitors to buy a park pass that must be displayed on the dashboard of your vehicle. Certain park entry roads require the pass to be scanned by a ranger. A seven-day pass for a private vehicle costs $30; you can purchase one online and print it out in advance.
The trailhead had signs for two divergent trails: Acadia Mountain and St. Sauveur Mountain. We got confused about which one the woman John met had recommended, and decided to take the St. Sauveur Mountain trail. The weather was perfect for a hike: clear, cool, sunny, and dry. I wore plenty of layers that I had to strip off as we went along and warmed up.
This hike had an elevation gain of around 650 feet. So it involved plenty of rock scrambling to reach the 679-foot mountain summit…which was SO worth it for the stunning, sweeping views of Somes Sound. We crossed paths with another couple at the summit and chatted with them for a few minutes as we enjoyed the view. One of them spotted a bald eagle flying by! So that was pretty amazing too.
The hike up was definitely not easy. I haven’t hiked in so long that I forgot that descending is even harder than ascending. Oh, how difficult this hike down was. You engage different muscles walking down rocks, tree roots, and hills. So it took us quite awhile to get back down. John gave me a hand much of the way, otherwise I probably would have gone tumbling down the mountain. So a big thanks to him for saving my ass. 😛
We had expected a 60 to 90 minute hike, but the trail we accidentally hiked took us two and a half hours. And we didn’t even complete the full loop! There was a gravel path shortcut that you could take back to the trailhead, and by the time we reached it we were so tired that we walked the gravel path about a mile back to our car. Needless to say, I needed a lot of rest once we got back to our tent! But I was VERY proud of myself for successfully completing such a difficult hike and actually enjoying myself along the way, even though it was not easy.
Later in the afternoon, we went to the pool for some sunshine and a soak. We had a nice time chatting with some other guests in the hot tub. We liked that the resort didn’t seem to be fully booked, but it also would have been a little creepy had there been fewer guests.
Grill and Chill
Terramor offers grill packages that must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance (they only have a few grilling stations). Food prep and cooking in or around tents is prohibited, so if you want to grill you have to buy a grill package from the lodge. Then the kitchen preps everything for you. So when we checked in, we reserved a grill for our second night. That evening, we picked up our grill package (as well as cocktails from the bar) and headed to our assigned grill station:
We got the Impossible Burger package, which included two patties, buns, cheese, and fixins. The package also included pre-cooked asparagus and baked potatoes that just needed warming up on the grill. The food was just okay, and I think had we eaten dinner at the lodge it would have been better. But it was still fun to grill for ourselves.
After grilling, we headed back to our tent and repeated the previous night by the fire pit, then crashed after a tiring hike day.
The Master of Horror’s House
The next morning after our grab-and-go breakfast from the lodge, John went off to hike the Acadia Mountain trail, which is the one we originally meant to do the day before. He said it was easier than St. Sauveur and had amazing views as well.
I stayed behind and prepared to check out of the tent. I was also going to walk the trail at the resort, but it started pouring the minute John left (oddly, it didn’t rain where he was hiking just a short drive away). So I skipped the trail, but I absolutely loved being inside the tent while it rained. Listening to raindrops falling on the tent was incredibly soothing.
Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at Terramor. The resort totally lived up to my expectations. These luxury tents are certainly nothing like true camping, but glamping was a good middle ground for my first time “roughing it” (LOL) as an adult. I could have stayed a third night, but after two pretty chilly nights I was also very happy to make the move to a hotel room.
We checked out of our Bayberry tent mid-morning. Because it was rainy and we had three hours to kill before check-in time at our hotel, we decided to drive an hour to Bangor to see Stephen King’s house.
That’s right: you can drive right up to Stephen King’s house and take photos outside of it. Like so:
Stephen King apparently no longer lives here. But it’s still super cool to be able to go see the place that he called home! The house is a really pretty red Victorian with a custom iron fence and gates. Upon our arrival, there were about a dozen people already outside the gates, posing for pictures. When there was a lull in visitors, we were able to snap some shots without anyone else around. And when we got in the car to leave, a young gray-and-white cat appeared on the inside of the fence, rubbing its body along the bars. I was about to start driving so I couldn’t get any photos of the cat, but it was such a perfect vibe for the setting.
OH! How did I forget to include this detail in Part One: when we arrived in Old Saybrook, I drove down a road called Pennywise Lane. I looked it up on Google Maps to confirm that it’s a real street and not just a joke sign for spooky season. Folks, Pennywise Lane is legit:
How fitting for a vacation on which we would go on to see the home of Pennywise’s creator.
I’ve gotten countless hours of entertainment out of Stephen King’s massive body of work (and even dressed up as Pennywise for Halloween last year), so it was truly awesome to peek at his former home. This side trip was 100% worth it. It was the perfect way to kill time on a rainy day when we didn’t have anywhere to go and didn’t feel okay doing an indoor activity. If you do go see the house, please remember to be respectful, as it’s on a residential street and there are neighbors just trying to live their lives.
And with that, I’ll end this post! Stay tuned for the third and final post recapping the remainder of our pandemic road trip.