What is Bar Harbor like in the winter and do you get a lot of snow?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions – and it’s the hardest to answer, as our winter weather can vary tremendously from year to year. We may have snow – or we may not. Quiet often it snows a few inches, then turns to rain, and then freezes. Ice is the result and we do have a lot of ice. The ocean moderates our winter climate, keeping it warmer, just as it moderates our summer climate, keeping it cooler. It gets dark very early in the winter. In the summer, we are the first place in the United States to see the sun each morning (4:30 AM in June), and the first place to get dark in the winter (3:55 PM in December). “When the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen” an old Maine saying – and it’s usually true. It can go to zero in January at night, but rarely does so. The average daytime temperature in the shade is 32 degrees and the average night-time temperature is 14 degrees. We do get a fair amount of wind off the ocean, which can make the “real feel” temperature much colder than it actually is (wind chill). By February, the days are longer, the sun is higher and the back of winter is breaking. We are the same latitude as southern France, and if you look at a globe, you’ll see that we are not as far North as five northern states. We are not as cold as Chicago or upstate New York for instance. We are in USDA plant zone 5 or 6A – the same as Missouri or Taos, New Mexico.