The economy today makes folks with a job begin to think of how they might save some money on this year’s vacation. Those with downsized or part time jobs might want to think of vacations closer to home. Either situation might make a vacation in Maine just right for you. People in Maine are very careful with their money. That means if you know where to look, you too can save much money.
- Acadia’s bare granite, rounded and gouged by glaciers
There are lots of things to do here that are free or low cost.
Start with muscle-powered sports. Hiking and walking have the dual benefit of exercise and enjoyment in and around Bar Harbor and Acadia. The carriage trails were designed for horses, but that means they are smooth and excellent walking paths. There are no automobiles, only bicycles, an occasional horse drawn carriage or rider on horseback and other people on the path. The most popular path is around Eagle lake. However, one of my favorite walks is closer to Northeast Harbor. Park at the Upper Hadlock Pond Parking area and cross the road. Here is a link to the map of the carriage trails.
Take advantage of the free ranger lead talks and walks. From the visitor center you can get the schedule of talks. Be sure and arrive a bit early, because there can be quite a crowd that gathers in July and August. Here are descriptions of one such walk.
Otter Point Walk (2 hours; easy to moderate 2-mile hike) Daily, Tue in French. Discover stories of history and nature along the strikingly scenic Ocean Path. Gorham Mountain parking area – Park Loop Road south of Thunder Hole.or join the night sky program or the Acadia at night program, where you learn to see like the nighttime animals do. This link to the website has the schedules. Some programs like the sailing adventures have a cost associated with them, but the majority are free.
This area that we live in has the best of both the sea and the woods for you to enjoy in one package. You can combine camping out and staying at a vacation home here at Sea Cat’s Rest. Our rental comes with kayaks included! If your looking for a bargain yet this year, look about 10 miles away from Mount Desert Island. The rates are lower, and you only spend about 10 minutes more in the car. The town names to search for are: Lamoine, Trenton, Hancock and Surry.
Bring your own bicycle and you now have doubled the distance you can go with just a twirl of your pedals. Bicycling is actually the most efficient way to get from point A to point B, plus you can put your bike right on those Island Explorer buses when you don’t want to bike uphill.
Like to read? Don’t forget our small local libraries. Read the local paper for free, read Downeast Magazine for free at the library in Ellsworth. Read a local book, get internet access free at the library in the middle of the day. Libraries on the island are many, and I will feature them in a future blog. I especially like the Southwest Harbor Library, right across from the school. You can cool off on the occasional hot day by spending an hour or two in the comfy reading rooms – and all of our libraries have internet access free – free wifi or on their computers. Places in Ellsworth that offer free internet include the local coffeeshop The Maine Grind on Main Street, the library and MacDonalds. In addition our town office here in Lamoine is a free WiFi spot. Our house of course has free internet for our guests too.
SAVE MORE ON MEALS – cook for yourself. By staying in a house instead of hotel, you can cook your own great meals, perhaps treating yourself to one or two days of great fresh seafood from cold Maine waters. We can’t think of anything better than watching the lobster boats out in front of our place, and then enjoying lobsters from your own pot for dinner. At different times in the year you can pick the fruit that is in season: blueberries, strawberries and apples. If you are our guest, we share our garden bounty with our renters. See our wild food blog for some other tasty treats.
Also for the frugal, coordinate your visit with music and art festivals. Bar Harbor Brass Week offers free concerts at the park in Bar Harbor, or wander the free art fairs in the summer. The Belfast Maine Celtic Festival on July 17-18 and the Bangor American Folk Festival August 27,28,29, (free – but donate what you can afford) and The North Atlantic Blues Festival July 10th, 11th in Rockland are some of those in our area.
Didn’t bring the right clothes to wear? It’s cool here, cooler than most places If you forgot that fact, you can pick up some bargains at the resale shops in the area. Jalysa’s attic in Ellsworth on Water Street or our new Goodwill Store in Ellsworth both offer fleece jackets at under $10.00 for those colder than they expected. Need more long pants? They are there too. You can also find Maine themed clothing there if you are lucky. We locals often purchase Maine themed clothing when it is on sale in the fall, and we recycle the clothes when they get too small or we don’t find ourselves needing them any longer.
Go with a larger group. Find a friend to stay with on the way. Vacation where you can stay with relatives. Going with a larger group, you can go in on lodgings and food. It’s often cheaper to rent a larger house, and vacation with another family or group of friends. Instead of having to bring along a friend for our daughter, we brought along another family, so that the kids had someone to do stuff with – and we had adults to hang around with. Have Grandma and Grandpa take the grand kids (along with you) on vacation. They are bound to help out with treats and special adventures (plus you get to share the childcare and get off by yourself for a while). Borrow items you need for the trip. Perhaps you can borrow bicycles, or some camping equipment instead of purchasing new items.
Trade adventures, if you live in a nice place for others to vacation, perhaps you can exchange visits with old friends. Have friends living in New York while you’re out in the country, perhaps you can each visit each others’ destinations for a bargain vacation for both of you.