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January 1 - March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Somes Pond

Slowly but surely the ice is melting on island lakes and ponds. It still will be a few days until official "ice out", but we are definitely getting there. You take considerable risk if you venture out onto the remaining ice right now.

We have had a rainy but mild weekend, and the showers are continuing through today. Sun returns tomorrow and Wednesday with more unsettled weather later in the week. Typical for spring around here! It always seems to take forever to arrive while folks to our south are enjoying daffodils and cherry blossoms!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Criterion Theatre

On Wednesday the new marquee was installed on the historic Criterion Theatre and Arts Center in Bar Harbor after an absence of about a year. While not an exact replica of the original, it is very close and is a fine example of art deco styling that is wonderfully compatible with the ornate interior of this special building. As we reported many months ago, the Criterion is now a non-profit performing arts center that screens many first-run movies but also hosts a wide variety of live entertainment. As beautiful as it is, much restoration work remains to be done. Tax deductible contributions are welcome. There will be a dedication and official unveiling of the new marquee later this spring.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Helping us all feel a little more festive about the upcoming warm weather, we now have the schedule for this year's cruise ship visits to Bar Harbor. The first one arrives on May 14 - just a little over six weeks from now - and the last will be here on November 1! There are 96 total visits on the calendar, about the same number as 2008. The huge Queen Mary 2 will call twice this season, on October 5 and November 1. Also, the brand new Queen Victoria will drop anchor for her maiden visit on September 30. Bar Harbor is always very active on cruise ship days, and it's fun to think about that being just around the corner! The town pier won't be lonely or quiet for much longer!

As usual, we will carry the complete list of cruise ship visits on our Happenings page about two weeks in advance so that you can make plans to see any ship in which you may be especially interested.

Monday, March 23, 2009

B H Pier
Early spring on the Bar Harbor town pier.

Not much activity around here yet, but it won't be long now! The Bar Harbor Inn just opened for the season, and many others will be following shortly.

It's unseasonably cold again this morning with a north wind right off the ice sheet in Greenland! We should warm up nicely later in the week, however. The warm spring sun cannot be denied!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Daffodils After what has seemed like a very long winter, spring arrives this morning at 7:44 a.m. local time! Most of us would shout an enthusiastic "Welcome"! Now comes mud season, so dig around and find your muck boots!

Activity is picking up a little in our Happenings calendar. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


With all of the sunshine we have been enjoying lately, many folks around the island are getting spring fever! The sun is much higher in the sky now, and we have gained over 3 hours of daylight since December 21. Another milestone is coming up on Friday - the Vernal Equinox which occurs at 11:44 UT. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ocean Drive Ice Ocean Drive Ice
More signs of spring - snow and ice melting along the ledges at Ocean Drive.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our weather roller coaster continues its wild ride. After a couple of days with temperatures in the upper 40's, we had some snow yesterday morning that quickly changed to sleet and then rain. Now the front has passed and it is cold and windy once again. Highs today should be only in the 20's and lows tonight will drop to around 12 even here on the immediate coast!.
Get all the gory details on our Weather page.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Seal Cove

Subtle signs of spring are showing up each day. The weekend was in the 50's both Saturday and Sunday, giving us all a little taste of what is to come! Our longer day is causing the birds to be more active now as well, and some of them are starting to be heard early in the morning - especially the chickadees. Spring comes slowly here, usually by fits and starts, but it is coming nonetheless!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Well, what do you know? A warm and (hopefully) sunny day is on tap for us today. That should produce lots of snow melt and lift everyone's spirits. Even the most die-hard snow lovers are about ready to see some signs of spring this year! Daily high temperatures may finally have turned the corner and look to be in the 40's for most of next week.

If you have time this afternoon and evening, check out the Maine Drama Festival at MDI High School. Get details on our Happenings page.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Seal Cove
Seal Cove in early March

The scenery continues to look rather frosty around the island, and only the most optimistic among us can claim to see signs of spring! It is a little early yet, however. As the old-timers are fond of saying: "we still have to climb March hill".

It's cold this morning - back down in the single numbers. At least the sun is out, so it doesn't look as cold as it feels!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Br-r-Roar-r-r! That would be March coming in like a very cold lion! The low pressure systems just keep on tracking up the east coast bringing Mount Desert Island plenty of precipitation, mostly in the form of snow and sleet. Our forecast predicts more snow, sleet and freezing rain tonight and tomorrow - totalling anywhere from 3 to 12 inches depending upon the meteorologist. But March is also a spring-like month in many parts of the country, so we can take hope. And the Bar Harbor Inn opens for the season in less than 3 weeks!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Winter Sunrise

Many visitors think that the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets happen in the summer, but those of us who live here all year know that is not necessarily true. The photo above was the scene this morning across a snowy landscape.

Things appear to be warming up a little over the next couple of days, and that should reduce the amount of snow and ice still hanging on the trees. Winter is not over though - some more snow may arrive on Sunday!

Don't forget the jazz festival tomorrow afternoon at Mount Desert Island High School!

Monday, February 23, 2009     4:00 p.m.

Wet Snow

Wow, did we ever get a snowstorm last night and into this morning. It totaled at least 12 inches of heavy, wet snow that, combined with a strong wind, brought down tree limbs and power lines all across the island! There even were some flashes of lightning during the wee hours to make things more interesting. Here at MDI.Net, we were without electricity from 4:00 a.m. until early afternoon, joining about 150,000 others in southern and coastal Maine who are still in a similar situation. We said Saturday that there was already a lot of snow on the ground. Well, it's now deeper than we have seen for many years.

ANOTHER NOTE FOR THOSE WHO ARE "AWAY" FOR THE WINTER: you might want to check with your caretaker to be sure private power lines are not down and rural driveways are not blocked with fallen trees.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

If you enjoy good jazz, you might want to check out our Happenings page for two listings next week. Friday afternoon is the State District 6 Jazz Festival at MDI High School. These kids are great, so we know you'll have a good time!. To get a preview of our own local entries, there will be a warm-up for all MDI middle and high school groups on Tuesday evening - again at MDI High School. The cost is nominal and all proceeds go to support the first class music programs on the island.

SNOW UPDATE: for those of you who may be "away" but still want to keep up with what's going on around here - we received a total of 10 inches of new snow over the past two days, and another 6-10 inches is forecast for tomorrow night and Monday. It's safe to say there is a lot of snow on the ground right now with more coming!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thompson Island
Picnic tables on the shore at Thompson Island.

We have more snow in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow - 6 to 10 inches here along the immediate coast! When spring finally comes, it will be interesting to see how our snow total for the entire season compares to recent years. While we got off to a slow start in November and early December, there sure seem to have been a lot of big storms since then!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sea Ice

In mid-February you have to look pretty hard to find signs of impending spring, but slabs of sea ice left high on the shore by the outgoing tide are an indication that the cold weather may be moderating. This example was found Saturday in Pretty Marsh inner harbor.

This is school vacation week and also the week of the Maine state high school basketball tournament in Bangor. Lots of folks have planned a winter getaway, while others always look forward to the basketball tournament that is a tradition deeply ingrained in our culture. Unfortunately, both the Mount Desert Island boys and girls teams lost in their first round games over the weekend. Nevertheless, many on the island will still enjoy watching other talented kids from all over eastern Maine. Maine Public Television is broadcasting the semi-finals and finals live starting Wednesday and concluding Saturday evening. These games usually are quite exciting - so gather around the wood stove and have some winter fun!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Precipice

The very popular Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park is another lonely place in the middle of winter. This trail is the most exciting and most challenging of all park trails, because it is an almost vertical ascent of approximately 1,000 ft. to the summit of Champlain Mountain using iron rungs and ladders. Ice and snow make the Precipice virtually impossible for all but experienced winter climbers who have special equipment.

The Precipice is also Acadia's prime nesting site for peregrine falcons. These acrobatic birds of prey were once close to extinction around here, but were reintroduced to the park several years ago. They have returned to the island each spring to nest and raise young. When nesting falcons are present, the Precipice Trail is closed. This usually happens from April until early August when the chicks fledge. During the summer months, Park Rangers are frequently stationed at the bottom of the Precipice with telescopes, so that visitors can see and learn more about these interesting raptors.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Egg Rock Light

Egg Rock Lighthouse in the middle of Frenchman's Bay is a pretty lonely place this time of year. In stark contrast to warmer months, there are no ferries or cruise ships and very few lobster boats passing by. The light is automated today, so the buildings are uninhabited. However, this must have been a hard, albeit beautiful, place for a family to live during the winters in years past.

If you want to check out a distant view of the light from the other side of the bay (Schoodic Peninsula), take a look at our webcam page and click on the Frenchman's Bay camera. You can zoom in to get a bit closer. Click zoomed images, then on the view to the northwest, zoom #2. Of course, this will only be an option if the weather here is clear.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lines and Shadows

We are in the middle of winter, but there continue to be beautiful and interesting things to see. Among them are the lines and shadows created in the snowy woods and fields. Even though they are photographed in color, they almost give the appearance of being black and white.

It's cold again this morning (what's new?), but that is forecast to end tomorrow with more seasonable temperatures coming up for the rest of the week. Hang in there!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Buddy Holly - In Memoriam
The day the music died - 50 years ago!

Musicians of the first degree
Were the men, those fated three.
They helped rock along the track,
Trying to look forward, never looking back.
Aboard a plane, their destination
Changed in a moment of brief hesitation.
The pilot's signs changed from "Go" to "Yield".
Still they crashed deep into a field.
Many people died that day,
So the news reported into the fray.
But the three who people remember most:
Rock's "Father, Son and Holy Ghost",
Left to play for a different crowd,
One who could not cheer aloud.
We remember when we hear
Their music, tunes familiar and clear.
What happened? How the people cried
Upon the day the music died.

Jane Louise Pappas, age 12.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bar Harbor Pier
Where have all the tourists gone?

Normally the Bar Harbor town pier is teeming with activity, and all parking spaces are full of cars and trucks. Yesterday things looked very different.

Temperatures this morning are back down around zero, but we are supposed to get a brief reprieve from the extreme cold starting tomorrow. And it is a good thing too, because we need some melting to get rid of the 5-6 foot high snowbanks lining most island roads. Seeing oncoming traffc at many intersections has become quite difficult.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We sure are having a good ol' fashioned winter this year with lots of snow - another 4 inches last night. While we don't have exact figures for the island, a good guess would be that snowfall totals so far are running 30% - 40% above average, and way above the amounts of just a couple of years ago. That probably gives global warming skeptics something to talk about, but more likely it is just a blip in a longer term warming trend. One thing seems certain though - we appear to be having more frequent and more heavy precipitation - sometimes snow, but often rain!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog It's Groundhog Day, and at least around here there is not much chance that he will see his shadow. In fact, he would have to work pretty hard to dig through the ice and snow before even looking for a shadow. However, temperatures today are milder than they have been for several weeks, and it appears that we may have turned a corner in the weather department. Another good sign - we now have gained over an hour of daylight since December 21.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

L    I    B,       M    R    Ducks!

These ducks, mostly mallards, were hunkered down against the cold earlier this week near what little open water remains on the Somesville Mill Pond. It was not a day that we would have wanted to be in or near the water - but you know ducks!

The island got another big dose of snow yesterday afternoon and last night, followed by lots of sleet and then freezing rain. What a mess this morning, despite the fact that it is clear and sunny! Roads and driveways are very difficult to clean when you have an ice sandwich - ice crust on top, snow in the middle, and ice on the bottom!
The only thing missing is a cherry! UGH!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Shack

There are ice fishing shacks, and then....there are ice fishing shacks! This one appears to be a fully equipped travel trailer, and it has been far out on the ice at Round Pond for several days! Someone is taking ice fishing comfort to a whole new level; but we can't help wondering if they cut a hole in the floor of the trailer to get to the ice, thereby eliminating the need to venture outside at all! Let's hope there will be no sudden thaw in the middle of the night!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Frost Patterns

It's cold again this morning - below zero almost everywhere, including here on the island where our thermometer registers -5 F as the sun rises. It could be much worse though: Bangor is -22 F, and northern Maine is even colder than that! We should keep this cold weather in perspective, however, because as we have said before, usually the coldest days of the winter occur during the week or two around January 20. Things should moderate as we go forward.

Among the benefits of such extreme cold are the beautiful, feathery patterns that Jack Frost paints on many windows. Another is that there is no mud - although mud season will be here before long!
Now where did we put those muck boots?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bar Harbor Winter
Waiting for Godot...uh, we mean summer!
(Unlike Godot, summer actually is coming!)

This photo was taken yesterday during a light snowfall. In just a few short months, the scene will be vastly different.
We can't wait!.

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? There was another big fire on Main Street in Northeast Harbor last night! The Tan Turtle restaurant burned and has been declared a total loss. It was just a couple of doors down the street from the tragic fire in July that gutted three other long time businesses. The Tan Turtle was closed for the winter, but was undergoing some renovations.

Friday, January 23, 2009

We are having a seasonably cold mid-winter day today with some sun early followed by a slight chance of light snow before another Arctic blast arrives for the weekend! It appears that this may be the last bitter cold snap for awhile, and if we're lucky, perhaps the last for this season. The jet stream may be shifting more to the north, keeping the coldest air bottled up in Hudson Bay.Check out the forecast right here.

Things are picking up a little on our Happenings page. That is a sure sign that the seasons will be changing before too long! We also have the new cruise ship schedule for Bar Harbor this summer and will be posting that regularly as we have in past years. The first one arrives in May!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Otter Point
Otter Point in winter

Our temperatures have moderated quite a bit over the past few days, but we did get a big snowfall on Sunday afternoon into Monday. Finally the cross country skiers have something to cheer about! It appears that things will remain rather tranquil but seasonably cold over the next week or so.

The big transition of power captured almost everyone's attention yesterday. Whatever our political views may be, we can all be very proud of the fundamental strength of our democracy and the fact that this strength was demonstrated so dramatically to the rest of the world. As we look to the future, perhaps we can resolve to take better care of our remarkable democratic system by participating in it more fully as individual citizens!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sea Smoke
Arctic sea smoke at Otter Cliffs.

No, we don't live in the Arctic - although it felt like we might have been living in that region during the past 3 days! The extreme cold air does, however, produce an interesting and beautiful phenomenon known as Arctic sea smoke. This occurs when the air temperature is substantially colder than the ocean water. The ocean actually evaporates into the air creating "smoke" that resembles steam rising from a hot bath! Yesterday morning provided just these conditions. It was a beautiful and clear, but very cold day with air temperatures about -5 F and an ocean temperature of somewhere in the mid to upper 30's F. The sea smoke was so thick that it formed clouds within a couple of hundred feet of the ocean surface and significantly filtered the bright sun. The cloud banks were especially thick just offshore, almost giving the impression of a stormy day!

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's cold outside! -9 F right now at 8:00 a.m.; plenty cold but not quite as bad as the -15 F forecast! Things should start to warm up a little today and be back to what passes for normal by Sunday. Fortunately there has been no wind, so here on the island wind chill is not a big factor. Inland and up north is a different story with air temperatures as low as -40 F and up to 20 knots of wind! Stay in and stay warm!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ice Patterns
Ice Patterns

Wind and tide can stir the ocean waters in interesting and sometimes dangerous ways. Here is a benign and beautiful example of that effect. These patterns were created by a northwest wind moving thin pieces of sea ice at Seal Cove last Saturday afternoon.

Brace yourselves, because the bottom is dropping out of the thermometer over the next few days! We should easily break our low temperatures recorded here on the island over the past couple of years. (-1 or -2F). At least there probably will be no storms to contend with. Like some pundits say, it will be too cold to snow!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Winter Sunrise
Winter Sunrise

A few more inches of light, fluffy snow fell yesterday, making everything look quite wintry. If the past is any indicator, the next two weeks or so should bring us the coldest temperatures we will see this season. In recent years that cold has not been too bad - perhaps just one or two degrees below zero. That's a far cry from the 20 below readings that used to be relatively common around the third week in January. We'll just have to wait and see what happens this time! In any case, bundle up and stay warm! There is light at the end of the tunnel! The days are 18 minutes longer than on December 21!

Friday, January 9, 2009

After lots of sleet and ice on Wednesday, things have calmed down somewhat in the weather department. It's sunny but cold now and predicted to be even colder tonight. Temperatures are not as dramatic as they might be for this time of year, however, so we can be thankful for small favors!

Lots of people are still looking for some good cross country skiing snow. Cabin fever is setting in, and we need to get out on the carriage roads for some much needed exercise after the holidays!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mill Cove
Ice on Mill Cove

Most folks who live near the ocean know that salt water requires colder temperatures to freeze than does fresh water. The process is further complicated by tide and wave action. Even so, many years ago the bays and harbors around Mount Desert and other islands used to freeze over regularly during the winter. The ice had to be broken by the Coast Guard so that fuel and supplies could be delivered by sea. With warmer winters in the past decade, the ocean doesn't freeze up like it used to, but the calmer, shallower bays and coves will freeze when nightime temperatures drop into the single numbers or below for several days.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

B H Inn Sign

Now that the new year is well underway, it might be time to start thinking about the new season coming up in just a few weeks. While there is still plenty of winter left, this sign at the Bar Harbor Inn is both cheerful and full of promise!

Thursday, January 1, 2009



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