Start your Acadia National Park day by stopping at this Bar Harbor bastion of great baked goods.
story & photos by Bakery Boy
Each involved a fresh-baked bagel with an organic egg, spicy sausage, and white cheddar layered inside plus poppy seeds and sesame seeds baked on top. They were sublime. And they did a fine job of getting me going for a long and happy day of hiking rocky trails in Acadia National Park, the beginning of a vacation that would also include kayaking offshore from Mount Desert Island and bicycling on old-fashioned “carriage roads” where motorized vehicles aren’t allowed.
So I made the egg-bagel breakfast at Morning Glory Bakery a daily ritual the whole time I was there, once substituting a bacon-scallion-cream-cheese bagel instead just for variety. I never had a bad one, and none of the other baked goods I tried failed to impress either.
I wasn’t alone in my loyalty to the Morning Glory, I soon learned. Every day, I’d see a lot of the same people there, passing through a blooming front-yard flower garden and a doorway completely framed in leafy morning glory vines en route to get their bakery fix, sweet or savory.
Locals already familiar with the bakery and visitors like me who either stumble upon it by accident or hear about it through word-of-mouth all seem to gravitate to the place. I’d see the person who signed me in for a kayak outing or a bike rental, the person who drove the shuttle bus to kayak launching sites kayaks or bike pickup spots, the person who guided one trip or another, and some fellow travelers who paddled or biked alongside me.
I’d also see waiters and waitresses from other establishment around town where I’d eat dinner, getting their morning jolt of coffee (from Maine’s own Carpe Diem Coffee Roasting Company in North Berwick) at Morning Glory along with a pastry or an egg bagel, just like me. One day, while hiking to an ocean-side cliff on the opposite end of the island, I met two Morning Glory employees who’d been behind the bakery counter just hours earlier. They joined me at an overlook, watching waves crash against the rocks below and sailboats skip across the horizon as we ate Morning Glory blueberry muffins and chocolate-chips-and-almonds cookies from paper sacks.
It being Maine in late summer, when the state’s crop of famously tasty and tiny blueberries comes in, I made a point of sampling everything I could find that contained blueberries, whether at a bakery or a brewery or a café or a corner market.
At Morning Glory Bakery, I had a moist blueberry muffin loaded with the blue fruit, a flaky-outside gooey-inside blueberry-and-cream-cheese croissant, and a big multi-layered square of the bakery’s signature blueberry streusel.
I also had a dense “blondie” (a light-hued variation of a brownie loaded with walnuts and chocolate chips); a very satisfying rhubarb-and-raspberry fruit bar; and a seriously sticky and gleaming cinnamon roll so big that if I got my face down close enough to its swirling pattern I’m sure it could have hypnotized me instead of just putting me into a pleasant little sugar daze like it did.
During lunchtime swings through the town of Bar Harbor between outdoor adventures all around Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island, I hit Morning Glory to sample from the savory side of its menu. I had a couple of nicely flaky spinach-artichoke pockets (puff dough folded into triangular pillows filled with the namesake ingredients and baked to a crispy golden brown); a sandwich named the Ralphy (curried chicken salad, cucumbers, and local greens on sourdough bread; and another sandwich named the Lavalle (pulled, barbecued, organically grown turkey with pickles, cabbage, and honey sauce on a challah bun).
When the supply hadn’t run out for the day, I washed these down with another Morning Glory signature: lavender lemonade.
Judging by a take-out menu on the counter, Morning Glory Bakery makes a wide variety of cakes too, including chocolate, raspberry, lemon, carrot, red velvet, Boston cream, and one called the Almond Joy (isn’t that name taken?) involving layers of chocolate cake filled with almond mousse, coated with butter cream, and topped with toasted almonds. Nothing about my exploring-the-outdoors vacation in Acadia involved showing up anywhere with a cake, so I didn’t have occasion to try those. I was told the bakers always make cupcake versions of each type they produce, so if you’re up that way and are a cake eater, consider giving the small servings a try before you commit to ordering an entire cake.
One of the Bar Harbor guides I went kayaking with told me the correct way to pronounce the middle name of Mount Desert Island is not like “desert” (dry, sandy, barren land) but with the accent at the end like “dessert” (the sweet course served at the end of a meal). For that pronunciation, thank the French. Anyway, the name seems to give us, while we’re there, carte blanche (again, the French) to eat all the sweets we want at a place like Morning Glory Bakery. Bon appetit!
39 Rodick Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
For more information :
Bar Harbor, Maine: www.barharborinfo.com
Acadia National Park: www.nps.gov/acad
Mount Desert Island: www.acadiamagic.com
Maine Tourism: www.visitmaine.com or 888-624-6345