Our final, and favorite, Maine stop in 2016 was Bar Harbor near Acadia National Park. There we stayed for three days at Mt Desert Narrows Resort at the Passport America 50% off rate, and then a week at the first come, first serve Bar Harbor Campground up the road. In planning our trip this year we resolved to spend a full 30 days in Bar Harbor, which would allows us to take advantage of the somewhat discounted monthly rate offered by Mt Desert Narrows. It would still be one of our most expensive campground fees for the year, but bringing the daily total cost down from nearly $70 (for a power and water only site) to less than $47 (for a full hook up spot) made it feasible.
After working with the front desk regarding site options, we went with a full hook up site with a limited view of the harbor. It is not quite as attractive as what we were assigned in 2016, but has turned out to be very pleasant, particularly since we enjoyed extra space on one or both sides due to the lack of neighbors during much of our stay.
The view out of our front window.
One of the reasons we enjoyed this part of Maine, and thus one of the things that brought us back for such a long stay, was our experience with the nearby Ellsworth Moose Lodge. In the years since Gloria introduced us to the Venice Moose we have had the opportunity to visit more than a score lodges. And while many have been fun, none gave us a welcome like Ellsworth. It really was like being long lost members of the family.
So the Ellsworth Lodge was at the top of our priority list for places to visit once we settled in at Mt Desert Narrows. Rose has kept in touch with a couple of the members, and many others remembered us from 2016. My membership having lapsed sometime last year, and having no real connection to the Venice location, I signed up here in Maine. Though we may not see this place more than one month every two years, it is still the best lodge for us, and we are happy to be connected to the people here despite the infrequent nature of our visits.
You can’t beat the drink prices in these membership type places, and when you find one as welcoming as Ellsworth, it makes the $60 annual fee that much more reasonable.
Other than a friendly nearby Moose Lodge, why a full month in Bar Harbor? Two maine (heh) reasons: We correctly predicted that our pace of travel in April and May with multiple family visits would leave us tired and ready for a long stay. And second, we really like this location and the variety of things it offers, starting with the large national park.
Pad Kee Meow has been bolting out the door on us with alarming frequency. Fortunately she usually just wants to roll in the warm sand.
Every few days we would load up a picnic basket and make a day trip in Loki to one section of Acadia or another. Most people don’t hear Maine and think of beaches, but Acadia has an excellent small option to satisfy all but the most severe critic. The imaginatively named Sand Beach hosted our first Acadia picnic, on Rosemarie’s birthday, and provided us with some decent beach glass and even a small sand dollar.
Before our RV lifestyle Rosemarie typically enjoyed big celebrations on her birthday. Since we are rarely around friends and family in June now, we have to think about other ways to make it special. Happy B-Day, my wonderful wife, and may the journey long continue!
We have been quite fortunate weather wise during these first couple of weeks in Bar Harbor. Other campers reported that they had only a couple of warm, rain free days during the entire month before our arrival. Our streak of good weather allowed us frequent pleasant outings to Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, and Seal Cove.
While downtown Bar Harbor is the most well known, other nearby towns and villages hold a lot of charm, and far fewer tourists. We found ourselves returning to South West Harbor during our frequent outings, but also enjoyed North East Harbor, Bass Harbor, and Seal Harbor as well. The nice shops, bars, and cafes are a draw, and both South West and North East Harbors have small, once a week farmers markets as well.
How much you figure these ocean front cottages go for?
Speaking of markets: we had hopes that Bar Harbor would be profitable for us and thus offset the cost of our campground. Unfortunately we were completely blocked out of the three markets in the area; either they only allow produce and food, or they don’t allow drop in vendors. This started to put a real crimp on our lifestyle as we sought to get back on budget after an expensive start to the month.
Bass Harbor Lighthouse.
We even approached the managers of Mt Desert Narrows Resort about selling the jewelry in their store. We put together a single rack heavy on camping, travel, and RV oriented items, complete with “Mt Desert Narrows” stamped display cards. After giving us a bit of a run around over the the course of three days, they eventually told us no, that they had tried jewelry in the past and it did not sell enough to be worth the trouble.
Given that we sold items to three of the seven people in the campground that saw Rose’s stuff, I think they are missing out, but it was a good experience for us trying to pitch it. Those sales, by the way, included earrings for two of their employee work campers, and a trade of two pair of earings for a delicious Blueberry Pie from “The Pie Guy,” a gent that drives through the resort every few days selling his baked goods.
Fortunately, our favorite Moose Lodge came through for us. Without us asking, merely having brought up the subject of Rose’s jewelry with members, the governor (Moose Lodges have governors rather than presidents) invited us to set up and sell at the upcoming North East Moose Association gathering that Ellsworth was hosting. And so we did, clearing enough to make us happy during one Saturday afternoon, with affordable drinks and good company to boot.
Unlike last post, you might have noticed the absence of any mention of lobster in this one until now. Despite being surrounded by dozens of lobster pounds, I have resisted the urge. We have been clawing our way back towards breaking even on the budget this month, so it just hasn’t been on the menu. I think I am going to have to buy them live and give cooking them a go myself; I’m going a bit nuts seeing them advertised every half mile and yet unable to splurge.
Pad Kee Meow’s new tube, which she doesn’t seem to keen on sharing.
With two more weeks to go in Bar Harbor, we are still enjoying the place immensely, though we have resolved that in our next trip to Maine, we will likely not stay a full month in one campground, but rather spread out our stay across a few more locations and sites, perhaps revisiting the first come, first serve option up the road, or one of the many other campgrounds in the region.