We probably shouldn't be doing this, but we're going to spill a secret before we have second thoughts.

You know the road from Ellsworth to Mount Desert Island can be pretty darn crowded in the summer, right? Bumper-to-bumper, in fact.  Well, us locals know a better way.  A route to Eden with fewer folks from away on it applying the brakes every few minutes.

If you want to avoid the 11.7-mile stretch of Route 3 from Ellsworth to Trenton (and some of the road construction after that), there is a way.

Generally, if you take the regular route that we're all accustomed to, Google says it will take you 36 minutes to get from Ellsworth to Bar Harbor, a total of about 20 miles. But, as we all know, summer traffic presents its own challenges and delays. (Remember, this year there's the MDI/Bar Harbor Route 3 RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT).

Okay, we've made you wait long enough. Are you listening?  Here you go.

If you're traveling down Route 1A from the Bangor area, instead of going straight through Ellsworth on the Bar Harbor Road:

  • Take a right onto Main Street and into Downtown Ellsworth. (And you might as well stop and check it out. It's pretty cool.)
  • Then, take a left at the bottom of the hill on Water Street and that will lead you to Route 230 (otherwise known as the Bayside Road.)
  • Follow Route 230 until you get to the Goose Cove Road, take a left there and continue on until you come to the end of the road at the stop sign.  Then, take a left back onto Route 230, which will take you to Route 3 in Trenton.  Pretty cool, you're half-way there!

Then, once you get to Route 3 in Trenton, take a right and head across the bridge onto MDI. When you arrive at the head of Mount Desert Island -- you have another choice. Yes, you can bear left on Route 3 along the north end of the island all the way to Bar Harbor like you may usually do. (There is a bunch of construction scheduled for the summer of 2017.) Or, you could:

  • Bear right on Route 102
  • Take a left onto Route 3 cut across to Route 233, directly into Bar Harbor.

The traditional 20.1-mile route will get you there in about 33 minutes, so says Google. The "secret" way to Trenton and then Route 3? You'll get to Bar Harbor in 37 minutes. How about the "secret way" and the inland route (102) to Bar Harbor? That's just 38 minutes.

What's five extra minutes on vacation?