Bar Harbor vanquished Middlebury to advance to next round of latest “best towns” ranking

In news that should come as no surprise to Mainers, people really like Bar Harbor. Between the lobster rolls, the access to Acadia National Park and its small-town appeal, Bar Harbor has a lot going for itself. Even more, apparently, than its New England rival, Middlebury, Vermont, according to Outside magazine’s annual Best Towns Competition.

The Downeast dynamo bested Middlebury last week to advance to the final four round of competition, which pits Bar Harbor against Chattanooga, Tennessee, Eau Clair, Wisconsin and Port Angeles, Washington. Bar Harbor won the last round with 52.82 percent of the vote (yes, Outside magazine is serious about its Best Towns and doesn’t do numeric rounding).

The ultimate winner “will be the kind of place with top-notch restaurants, vibrant farmers’ markets, friendly neighborhoods and unparalleled access to hiking and biking trails. In short, the perfect jumping-off point for adventure,” quoth the contest description.


Bar Harbor’s got great restaurants, some of which even stay open all year round. It has a vibrant farmers’ market on Sundays at the YMCA parking lot. It has charming neighborhoods, a popular village green — featuring free concerts by the town band —  ice cream shops, whale watch tours and so much more. And then there’s all the hiking, biking, swimming, rock climbing, sea kayak and other adventures that are just a hop, skip and jump away from town.

Can Bar Harbor triumph and become Outside’s official Best Town in all the land for 2015? As of Tuesday evening, it’s not a lock. Port Angeles is giving Bar Harbor a real run for its money, with 58.8 percent of the votes so far. This round will end at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, May 28. You can vote once per round per match-up, with the overall winner the town with the most votes on June 5.