Bar Harbor


Our County goes Green

Hancock County, Maine, containing Bar Harbor and Lamoine just got a lot greener. According to census figures we have 23,300 households. Eighteen thousand, or 77% of those household’s electricity needs are now matched by the new 34 megawatt Bull Hill Wind Project just 30 miles away from SeaCat’s Rest, atop 600 foot Bull Hill. Of course, the power is fed into the grid so the power goes everywhere, but it still means Hancock County is now a significant energy producer. It only happens when the wind blows, but the engineers at First Wind have done their research and picked a site where there is dependable wind. The success of a wind site can be expressed as the capacity factor, the percentage of rated output that an array produces over time. It’s too soon to know Bull Hill’s, but another First Wind array in Maine, Mars Hill, has achieved 35% according to here.

The substation where voltage is matched to the grid.

On the fourteenth of November, 2012 I traveled to Bull Hill to see this project for myself. It’s a little remote and requires driving over gravel roads for a while, but the site is accessible to all and I recommend that everyone take a look. The land is owned by H. C. Haynes Inc, a timber company and leased to First Wind. Haynes has a policy of allowing access to its lands for recreational purposes, and so the extensive roads servicing the installation are available for visitors at any time. Standing under a 300 foot tower with slowly spinning 150 foot blades is an awesome experience.  Seeing nineteen of them spinning together is humbling. Actually, seeing all nineteen at once is not easy, since each tower is about 1500 feet away from its closest neighbor.

The blades above my head spun at about 12 RPM, a blade swishing by about every 2 seconds at 128 miles per hour at the tip.  I wanted to ask someone what the turbine’s output was at that speed and soon after I was speaking with a young First Wind worker at the facility’s substation who was kind enough to answer my questions. At 12 RPM he said, the generation was “at rated output” or about 1.8 megawatts. The wind was not that strong on the ground, about 12 MPH here at home, so I was surprised to hear that. The young man, who decided not to have his name mentioned, explained that the site is chosen after several years of monitoring wind speeds and that the model of the turbine is chosen to match the wind resource. The Vesta V100-1.8 MW is a model fitted to lower wind speed sites, reaching rated output at 27 miles per hour. I don’t think the wind was that strong even 300 feet up. At 15 miles per hour the output is 600 kilowatts.

Investment in a wind installation is not a casual affair. Not only does the local population have to be on board ($340,000 per year in taxes and community benefit payments helps), but the project needs to be near an existing power grid so that the overall project cost can be kept reasonable. And then the wind too. Being on top of a hill is a big help. There are other, windier sites in Hancock County, but many are close to the coast and off limits for aesthetic and political reasons. Finally, the young man reported that most people don’t realize that the new wind economy has already pumped a billion dollars into the Maine economy.

The Bull Hill project in some ways resembles a housing development in that there are winding streets and flattened build sites with good drainage and planted grass.  All the power from the turbines goes through buried conduits, so like a fancy development there are no wires overhead. Each turbine sends out its maximum 1.8 megawatt at 34,500 volts. It joins with the output of other turbines and heads to the substation, all underground. At the substation the collected power is boosted to 115,000 volts and joins the grid. The substation is staffed 24 hours a day and so the facility is an ongoing employer, keeping watch of the 19 turbines. I asked about the maintenance of the turbines, specifically if the three hundred foot climb was by ladder. The answer was yes, but there is a “power assist” which is basically a lifting cable clipped onto a harness which makes the climb a little less tiring. I would hate to get to the top and realize I forgot my wrench. Tasks at the top include greasing the gearbox, tightening bolts and checking power connections and output. I was hoping to get an invitation to the top but it was not to be. It’s probably a good thing, I’m not crazy about heights.

Wind power is still controversial. Some people hate the way turbines look and others object because they are supposed to kill bats and birds. Still others claim they are an unreliable and expensive source of power.  I like the way they look and hope the source proves to be viable. I am no expert when it comes to giving an intelligent assessment of this power source, but when I look at those big turbines I know there is wind energy being converted to electricity and I see no smoke. As someone who lives 15 feet above high tide, I need to make sure the Greenland ice sheet doesn’t melt, and it’s certain that humans producing CO2 are not helping. That’s my opinion!

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Salt Water Fishing in Acadia

Mackerel: great for kids

One of my best fishing memories was from around 1990 when I went fishing near Belfast, Maine with my two brothers-in-law for mackerel. One mackerel rig, available anywhere around here, consists of several hooks all tied to a stout central leader. I thought it odd that the design of this rig was so optimistic; after all, how likely would you be to have more than one fish on at a time? I was to find out. The fishing was great, and we did indeed get more than one on at a time. Mackerel are splendid fighters and they are beautiful too. Their streamline shape and iridescent coloring are however, better than their performance on the dinner plate. Many recipes attempt to improve upon the sad reward for your fishing effort. Figure on one meal per year, and keep them alive or as cold as possible. Mackerel are a little mushy, fishy and oily. They can be caught at mid summer right from the dock at Lamoine State Park, a mile away from here.

There are other options for the Acadia visitor to experience salt water fishing. Right from Bar Harbor you can take a 4 hour fishing trip aboard the fifty foot Tiger Shark. According to their website you might catch one or more of the following:  “cod, cusk, pollock, mackerel, cunner, sculpin, black sea bass, red fish, and the occasional wolf fish.” All tackle is provided. Presented as fun for the whole family, a half day of fishing aboard the Tiger Shark will set you back $45 for adults or $35 for children or non-fishing adults.

One anonymous board poster recommends avoiding Bar Harbor’s Tiger Shark in favor of Southwest Harbor’s Vagabond. (207.244.5385). The prices are a little higher but apparently there is greater likelihood of fishing success, and they haul lobster traps too. Their fish: “cod, cusk, cunner, school pollock, mackerel, sculpin, redfish and occasionally a wolf fish or a mako shark”. One fun part of this trip is a trap lottery, where you are given a number corresponding to a lobster trap, and you get to keep any legal lobsters in that trap when it’s hauled. Find out more here.

Neither of these options are the white-knuckled alpha male versus man-eater fishing experience you might be used to in other places. But don’t despair! If that’s your thing, how does shark or tuna fishing sound? To “tussle with the bad boys” (not my words), you need to shell out bigger bucks for private charters. Try,,,, or All of these charters are outside of the Acadia area but within a few hours’ drive.

Finally, if you just want to get an educational cruise with sight seeing and contact with sea life, consider the following options. Island Cruises leaves from Bass Harbor and for $29/$18 offers sight seeing and trap hauling. Find out about hauling lobster aboard  Lulu here and especially for kids, check out Diver Ed’s story here. There are many more opportunities for experiencing nature, but if it’s saltwater fishing you want these are the choices. Two other fish should be mentioned, bluefish and striped bass. Stripers are tightly regulated and deserve a post of their own. It is against the law to catch them beyond 3 miles from shore and so they are thought of more as a river fish, where they spawn.

Bluefish from

Bluefish seem to be usually further south. I have fished for them out of Rockland and can attest to the fun of catching them, but like mackerel, they are not a tasty fish. In fact they’re even less tasty! Do not associate Bar Harbor’s Cafe Bluefish with bad tasting fish. It’s just a name!

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Acadia’s Top Ten Things to Do

Bar Harbor from the Cadillac summit

Vacation season is almost here! The sunny weather and warm late winter temperatures remind us that Acadia adventure awaits. This is one of those posts I’ve been meaning to write for a long time since it is an attempt to answer the question I hear most often from our guests here at SeaCat’s Rest.  I will try to list the Top Ten in reverse priority (#10 first) and give alternatives when possible. Some choices are weather-related and so should be shuffled in the priority as necessary.

10.  A visit off island. It’s important to see the “real” Maine, away from the remarkable beauty of Mt. Desert Island. Two of my recommended off-island trips are to Stonington on Deer Isle (1-1/2 hours, 58 miles), a real fishing village and former granite quarry. Stonington is Maine’s most valuable lobster fishing port. The 2010 lobster landings figure released by the DMR for Stonington is 13,785,437 pounds of lobster valued at $44,259,982.  Also, see Kathleen’s post about the Settlement Quarry and the Crockett Cove Woods. The second choice is Castine (1-1/2 hours, 53 miles). Castine is great for history buffs. You can see remains of old Fort George built by the Brits. Castine is interesting because it was claimed at various time by the  French, British, Dutch and finally the Americans. There is also a lighthouse and the Mane Maritime Academy.

9.   Shopping, Brewery, Museums. I would love to claim we have perfect weather in the summer, but if you find the outdoors soggy, you should have some indoor options. Go here to see museums associated with College of the Atlantic. Try the Abbe Museum, 26 Mt. Desert, open 10 AM to 4 PM, Thursday to Saturday from late May through early November for Maine’s Native American story.  Southwest Harbor’s Oceanarium is a hit with kids.  A brewery tour is on tap at Atlantic Brewing at Town Hill while shopping is always an option in downtown Bar Harbor.

8.   Beach Time. Finding a place to stretch out in the sand or swim is not that easy on the rocky shore. There are two great options. The first is Sand Beach, the first  stop on the Park Loop Road after the pay gate  ($20 per week per vehicle). This is on the ocean so taking a dip may involve pain. For a warmer option try Echo Lake Beach on Rt. 102 just north of Southwest Harbor. This is a great place for kids. For a walk on a stony ocean shore, try Seawall, on Rt 102A just south of Southwest Harbor.

7.   Explore Anenome Cave. This is a little known place and you need me to tell  you where it is.  It is also a little dangerous; the rocks are slippery and it is possible to get trapped in the cave if the tide is on the move or the waves are high. Visit at low tide in calm seas. Drive to the Schooner Head parking lot, the last stop before the pay gate on the Park Loop Road.  The trail will lead to the shore and the cave is ten minutes or so away along the shore (follow the shore south, to the right). Inside are tide pools with pink anenomes and other interesting sea creatures and plants, some which seem to be adapted to low light conditions. Please be gentle with this fragile and rare environment. There’s a reason it is not a popular spot.

6. Dinner at a Lobster Pound. Our two favorites are at Beal’s Pier at the end of Clark Point Rd in Southwest Harbor and Abel’s Lobster Pound on Abel’s Lane off Rt. 198 on the way to Northeast Harbor at the top of Somes Sound.   Any place can boil a lobster. What you want is the real Maine experience that goes with it. Don’t expect elegance. An occasional whiff of bait may be in the air, but the views are awesome.

5.  Hike, hike, hike. You need to work off the lobster, right? What better place than Acadia National Park. There are so many to choose from and the right one can be found for all fitness levels. Try to pick one with a mountain top like Bubble Rock so you can be rewarded with a stunning view. South Bubble is pretty easy (400 feet). Read about hiking preparations here.

4.  Get out on the water! This can range a bit in expense. At the low end you can borrow our kayaks when you stay at SeaCat’s Rest. Our water is fairly protected, at the sheltered end of Frenchman Bay. There are also guided kayak trips leaving from Bar Harbor. If I were to recommend a more expensive outing I would include a whale watch trip. You will see a fair amount of open ocean and be rewarded with a close encounter with ocean leviathans! For even more options go here.

3.  Luncheon at Jordan Pond House. This is just mandatory, that’s all there is to it.  Read all about it here.

2. Bike, walk or (horseback) ride the carriage trails. This is the Rockefeller family’s  gift to America representing an ideal of pre-automobile road and stone craft set in the beauty of Acadia. Don’t miss it. More here.

1. Drive the Park Loop Road and to the top of Cadillac Mountain. This is how most people start their trip here and it is a good way. Pick a clear day for the Cadillac summit and take your camera. Don’t forget the free Island Explorer bus which can take you just about anywhere. Try to time your Thunder Hole visit to middle to high tide and good waves are a plus. This is a good time to buy your week-long park pass.

Thunder Hole on the Park Loop Road

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Whales of the Acadia Coast

Humpback whale, from C. O. A.

One of our recent guests to SeaCat’s Rest wanted to come in early October, but was concerned that the whale watching cruises would be over by then. I contacted Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. and they told me that the usual end point for whale trips was anytime after the middle of  October, and the reason is that the whales pack up and leave, and arrive again in May (cruises start in June).

The twenty-first century “whaling industry” is much different from the 19th century, when whales were hunted for their fat content in pre-petroleum America. Besides the whale watch trips, which are not as disruptive and invasive as you may think, College of the Atlantic has a major program of whale study, including the  Adopt-A-Whale program and stranding rescue. Both these programs are done by Allied Whale, and more can be learned by visiting the Bar Harbor Whale Museum. Whale adoption helps to fund research and is quite affordable. For $30 you can adopt a finback or humpback whale and for $40, a mother and calf pair. You get adoption papers too! A great Christmas gift idea.

You may think the whale watch boats chase down the whales and bother them. Actually, once the boat is in the area, the whales like to come by for a visit. They like to roll around and show off, seeming to enjoy the encounter. Whales are very intelligent animals, a finback’s brain weighs 6.9 kilograms, five times a human’s. If the boats were bothering them I think they’d let us know, and the College of the Atlantic (C.O.A.) and Allied Whale would not accept funding donations from the cruise operators.

Besides smaller marine mammals and birds, the whales you are likely to see on the whale watch boats leaving from Bar Harbor are finback, humpback and minke. Occasionally the endangered northern right whale is sighted. At 130 tons and a length of up to 89 feet, the finback is the biggest in the area, second only to the blue whale. Humpbacks come in second with a length of 56 feet and a weight of 45 tons, but they’re the most athletic, as the above sequence of pictures reveals. Finally, the minkes weigh 5-10 tons and are up to 35 feet long.

The trip out to the whale habitat is long, about to the middle of the Gulf of Maine, or halfway to Nova Scotia. This is serious ocean out here and the waves are often big swells. Until the new catamarans (twin hulls) were adopted, the journey was unpleasant for folks with sensitive stomachs. Now it’s much better, but the motion can still be a factor. The twin hulls also mean a faster trip so more time is available for watching and less for getting there.

Most of the activities in and around Acadia National Park are environmentally benign and the whale watch cruises are no exception. At around $62 for adults ($11 for kids under 6 and $31 for older kids) the price for a trip is not cheap but also not outrageous. Spend the following day on a hike for free (scroll down for one) and the daily cost averages lower. Thanks to youtube poster Richard for this fine video:

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Stress Relief in Acadia

It’s been a tough winter. The economy, war, disasters and brutal weather. The news shows seem to all be paid for by drug companies as ailment after ailment roll by in commercial messages.  Are we really that sick? What we need is a vacation!

Consider the benefits of a relaxing trip to the Bar Harbor area. You will find the cool sea air charged with negative ions which some claim have beneficial health effects. The ions surround dust particles and bacteria and cause them to drop out. Hospitals use ion generators to sterilize the air in operating rooms. From

At the New York State Psychiatric Institute, researchers found that negative ion therapy helped to alleviate the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of winter depression. During a trial, people were exposed to high and low rate flows of negative ions while they slept. Many of the patients that were exposed to a higher density of negative ions showed an improvement in their symptoms.

Admittedly, there are more important health reasons to come here than negative ions. Acadia National Park will get you outdoors and moving. Exercise is a life-extender, and within these pages are ideas for hundreds of physical activities, all in beautiful pristine surroundings. There are 120 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads throughout Acadia National Park.

Let’s not neglect the importance of fresh food in the health arena. From the Environment News Service:

Eating a small amount of seafood high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as shrimp, tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish daily can cut the risk of death due to heart disease by 20 percent, according to studies released at the Seafood and Health conference in Washington this week.

You won’t find fresher seafood than what’s available here in Acadia. So to recap: Our cool ocean breezes deliver ion-charged air and relief from the heat of the South or stale air-conditioned buildings. Our ample trails and shoreline offer unlimited opportunities for healthy exercise. And the seafood is fresh and healthy. Once you cross that Maine border your stress will lift like the morning fog. You will find that people are more easygoing and the noise level drops.  We’re close, we’re affordable. What are you waiting for?

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Winter Reprise for Bar Harbor

A nice, fresh blanket of snow. It’s enough to make you….tear your hair out! Enough already! It’s April!

April 2, 2011. No April fooling

Lou McNally, now living in Florida!

I have often said that the coast of Maine does not fit into the image of Maine as a place of arctic whiteness, but with this winter’s six months of the stuff I have to eat my words. Lou McNally, longtime Maine weatherguy and former host of MPBN TV’s Made in Maine spoke recently on the subject. He  holds a PHD in meteorology and when asked what effect global warming will have in Maine, said that we will probably have more storms and abrupt season changes. No mention of higher temperatures or less precipitation. Maine is known for having the most winter sunshine, second on the East coast only to Florida, as moist clouds get wringed out by mountains or the coast further south.  We may end up with Boston winters, lots of wet show and little sun. Another few winters like this and I’ll be a believer. Lou is now a professor of meteorology at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University… Florida!

Crocuses in the snow, 4/2/11

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Why Maine and Lobster go Together

Why do people think of lobster when they think of the State of Maine? Our Atlantic or American lobster, Homarus americanus, ranges as far south as North Carolina, but the greatest abundance is in the cold waters of Maine and Atlantic Canada. In Maine, our 2009 harvest was 78 million pounds, valued at $228.6 million. Second in the U. S. was Massachusetts with 11.6 million pounds. Maine and Massachusetts account together for 92% of the lobster landings in the U.S.A. and of that, Maine’s share is 80%.

People watching the Discovery Channel’s Lobstermen or the earlier Lobster Wars may have been surprised to find an occupation similar to Alaska’s severe Deadliest Catch. But this type of fishing is not typical. Most lobster landings are closer to shore and from much smaller boats in the summer months. These familiar boats are what visitors see when they visit Maine. The TV show would probably have been a dismal failure without rough weather and boats big enough and out at sea long enough to host gossip and bitter quarrels.

Why do lobster landings keep going up in Maine? We keep hearing about overfishing and crashing stocks but lobsters continue to thrive…for now.

Rare colorful lobster caught in Maine

There are a few reasons why our lobster fishery is bucking the trend. First, lobsters are bottom feeders. They are able to thrive on a varied diet–whatever falls to the bottom or lives there. Crabs, starfish, dead fish. For a while, cowhide was being sold as a bait for traps! Secondly, the lobster’s main predator, cod has been overfished and essentially removed as a threat especially in shallow waters. Third, the growth of the urchin fishery has taken the pressure off the urchin’s food, kelp. It is thought that kelp beds are great nurseries for larval lobsters. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the fishers and their equipment and methods preserve the resource better than just about all other fisheries. Think about it: The lobster is only taken when 1) it enters the trap looking for food, 2) it fails to figure out how to get out 3) the trap is hauled before a biodegradable link allows an escape hatch to open, 4) the lobster is between a certain size range, and 5) not a “v” notched or egg bearing female. These conservative measures make it almost impossible to overfish and return by some estimates, over 80% of trapped lobsters to the sea.  Compare this to massive trawlers pulling miles of nets or draggers pulling up everything from the bottom. Our lobster fishers deserve much credit for this inspired management!

How did lobster fishing  start? Before the arrival of Europeans, the Native Americans used the plentiful lobster as fertilizer and bait. The first lobster landing was reported in 1605 by James Rosier, a member of  Captain George Weymouth’s crew. Still, in colonial times lobster was considered “poverty food”, served to prisoners and indentured servants. In Massachusetts, servants even rebelled, demanding that they not be forced to eat lobster more than three times per week! After 1840, when canning became common, the lobster industry finally took off. At that time it was common to use over 5 pound lobsters, discarding anything under 2 pounds as not worth the effort. Nowadays in Maine, any lobster over 5 inches on the body shell (carapace) or about 4-1/2 lbs must be returned to the water.

Captain John Nicolai

How can I experience Maine lobstering? The first and most important thing to know is that it is extremely illegal to tamper with traps or gear in the water! Even an abandoned trap on shore is off limits. The way to experience the Maine lobster is first, have one for dinner. You may approach a lobster fisher at a public pier and he or she may be glad to sell you one or more, or visit one of our plentiful pounds. Secondly, visit the Maine Lobster Museum at the Mount Desert Oceanarium, and the nearby lobster hatchery. Finally, take a trip out on the water with a working lobster fisherman, Captain John Nicolai aboard his Lulu, setting off from Bar Harbor.

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Take the Presidential Tour of Acadia

Now that the Obama family has ended their brief visit to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, a good question is, “What did they do and where did they go?”  Flying for the first family is not nearly as exhausting as it is for the rest of us, so they hit the ground running as soon as their plane touched down at noon on Friday, July 16. They started with a bike ride on the Witch Hole Pond carriage trail in the park. Next, the obligatory trip to the top of Cadillac Mountain by motorcade. They got out and circled the top on foot like most visitors. The weather cooperated. Next stop was  to  Mount Desert Island Ice Cream in Bar Harbor, reputed to have the best.

After checking his family into their rooms at the Bar Harbor Regency Hotel, the president used his federal connections to secure a private boat tour of Frenchman Bay aboard a Park Service boat. The tour ended at the private dock of the Stewman’s Lobster Pound, where they had dinner (lobster, no doubt!). The pound is conveniently adjoining the Regency.

Bass Harbor Light in the fog

On Saturday the Obamas began their day at the nearby Bar Harbor Club for a swim or fitness session. Here they also walked the sand bar towards Bar Island. Low tide was at 9:52.  Next, they decided to visit the “quiet side” of the island. Their third  known appearance of the day was at the Claremont Hotel  in Southwest Harbor for lunch. From there they drove through the Seawall area towards Bass Harbor and the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. Here they were given a tour of the lighthouse and later took a walk on the rocky shore on the Ship Harbor Trail.

After arriving back at the hotel around 7 Barak and Michelle went out for a kid-free dinner at the Havana. Michelle had lobster thermidor and the president had saffron paella.

Now the big question is,  did the president follow our advice for the Top Ten Things to do in Acadia? Let’s review the list. We’ll put the presidential seal on the ones he did:

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President Obama Visits Acadia!

Not since William Howard Taft visited the island nearly 100 years ago has a sitting president visited our island. Word has it that they cannot land a Boeing 747 at the Bar Harbor airport, so the president and his family will either come by chopper or smaller jet from Bangor. We are on the approach pattern for the airport, so there’s a good chance the flying limo will be a few hundred feet right over SeaCat’s Rest sometime around noon. For some reason we were not contacted to provide lodgings for the first family, but neither are they staying at a wealthy estate. They will be at The Bar Harbor Regency, a local hotel; at least according to rumor.

The visit will shut down some routes on the island temporarily as the family moves about during their visit. Airspace will be restricted, but our reserved business community is not going gaga over this event; we are quite accustomed to the famous among us. The late Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Martha Stewart, David Rockefeller, Pulitzers, Vanderbilts and Morgans are no big deal. I think that’s why they’re here; their privacy is respected. Hopefully the president will feel the same.

We can speculate on the presidential choice for his weekend vacation. Any weather map will show how the Acadia area is one of the coolest places in the country, with temperatures topping out in the 80s this weekend while the rest of the country struggles to stay out of triple digits. The views are dramatic, the security is manageable and President Obama will be able to play golf at Kebo Valley, the same course Taft navigated his ample frame around one hundred years ago.

We welcome our president and his family. We wish he could stay longer. Three days doesn’t begin to offer a glimpse at what’s here. Wouldn’t it be cool if they came here to buy a summer retreat? The place next door is for sale….

UPDATE: at 12:05 PM Air Force One (a shrunken version) touched down safely at Bar Harbor Airport. And yes, it did fly right over SeaCat’s Rest.

Obamas Arrive at Bar Harbor 7/16/2010

The motorcade route was lined with excited camps of spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of the first family on their way to the Regency. Security was present, but relaxed. How much will the visit inconvenience other tourists? That remains to be seen. In the long run it can’t help but be a boost for Acadia’s popularity as people around the world share their short vacation on the nightly news.

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High Summer and Beyond

Perfect temperatures, stunning aqua-vistas and sweet birdsongs make Acadia the destination of dreams for America. We’re a little far away from major cities. Come here and we’ll make you forget the effort. There are still places to stay and things to do that won’t require lottery winners.  You’ve all heard about the attractions of “the Island” , Mount Desert Island, aka Acadia National Park. Do you know that lodgings on the island are about 30 percent more expensive than places about 20 miles away? Do the math and seek out the bargains. This website was created to feature our property but many more in the area can be seen through and These places are rented by others like us who have excess capacity. Right now we are booked up for the summer except for July 10-14 and August 1-7.

Consider the autumn for a less harried visit. You may not need to escape the heat where you are but there will be lots to see and do and the weather will be fine. Our bookings calendar is wide open for much of September and beyond. Late summer starts with Hawkwatch on Cadillac Mountain with the Bar Harbor Jazz Festival running the third week in August. The 2010 Bar Harbor Fine Arts Festival starts August 20. Rounding out August is the wildly successful and free American Folk Festival in Bangor, August 27-29.

The Acadia Night Sky Festival is a celebration of the unique darkness of our night sky and runs from September 9-12. Bucksport’s 8th Annual Medieval Tournament is scheduled for September 11 at Fort Knox. Read about last year’s event here. The quirky MDI Garlic Festival happens this year on September 18 at the Smuggler’s Den campground in Southwest Harbor.  Though it’s a bit of a drive, the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine is an organic mega-event on September 24-26. Art in the Park will take place rain or shine on the Village Green in Bar Harbor September 25-26, 2010.  My favorite fall event is Acadia’s Oktoberfest & Food Festival, also located at Smuggler’s Den campground in Southwest Harbor, October 10, 2010. Last year’s fest was covered here.

Even if you attend no special events, fall in Acadia is a great time. Crisp air, thinning traffic, turning leaves and the annual cranberry crop are worth a visit.

Northeast Harbor's Asticou Gardens

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