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April 1 - June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Birdfoot Trefoil Birdfoot Trefoil
Birdsfoot Trefoil in bloom beside a road in Pretty Marsh.

It's hard to believe, but here we are approaching the 4th of July! Time sure flies at this time of the year - even if it continues to rain! Hopefully, the weather will clear by later in the week.

Several long-running summer activities also begin in earnest this week. The Bar Harbor Music Festival starts on Wednesday and continues through most of July. The Acadia Repertory Theatre opens Friday evening and will present a total of four plays through the end of August. There are lots of tourists around right now as well, so the island is very crowded! Take the Island Explorer if you can, but try to get out and enjoy all of the action.

Our recent rain has provided us an opportunity to post some of the pages we promised for the Island Heritage section of our website. Check them out when you get a few minutes. If you are interested in MDI, you probably will be interested in reading some of that material. We plan to get the remaining pages up soon!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Island Explorer

We neglected to mention yesterday that the Island Explorer, our popular and free island-wide bus service, started its runs for the season this week. You can get the full schedule by going to the Island Explorer website. While you are there, you might be interested in their unique, online satellite tracking system showing the current location of each bus on its route.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Friendship sloops
Friendship sloops off Northeast Harbor last week.

Rain, rain and more rain! This has been a long stretch of damp, cool weather thanks to a stalled low pressure system off Nantucket. Hopefully, we'll clear a little over the next couple of days. Would-be sailors are getting restless!

Brass Week in Bar Harbor began yesterday, and along with the ongoing Legacy of the Arts Festival, there are a lot of great music concerts available over the next few days to take your mind off the weather. The entire list is at your fingertips on our Happenings page.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rugosa Rose
Rosa Rugosa

As it turned out, we had a lot more than "showers" over the weekend. There was heavy rain at times with almost 4" coming down Friday evening and early Saturday causing washouts in many places around the island. Clouds and drizzle are still hanging around and should continue for most of the week.

One good thing about all of this rain is that the grass and flowers love it. Our beautiful beach roses (Rosa Rugosa) are in bloom now. They are common in shorefront areas just above the high tide line. Because they like the salt, they also can be found near roadsides where salt is used to melt ice during the winter months.

After a long hiatus, there is a new post on MDI Blog, along with a new design for the blog page. Check it out, and we'll try to post there more frequently in the future.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bear Island Light
Passing Bear Island lighthouse under sail on Wednesday afternoon.

As predicted, the showers have arrived and likely will hang on through Sunday, so today and tomorrow probably will not be great sailing weather. Nevertheless, there are several events of note coming up. Tomorrow, Legacy of the Arts week in Bar Harbor kicks off with a two day art show on the Village Green. Also, Saturday and Sunday are the National Park Service's first of three fee-free weekends planned for Acadia National Park this summer. The other two are scheduled for July 18-19 and August 15-16. To top it all off, Sunday will mark the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, with sunrise here around 4:45 a.m. and sunset after 8:20 p.m. For a complete list of all activities, go to our Happenings page. Don't let a few raindrops keep you from enjoying our beautiful island at this busy time of the year!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


We have a beautiful day coming up today so take advantage of it before more clouds and showers return for the weekend. Those involved in the local schools are excited, because Friday is the last day before summer vacation. Also, Bar Harbor's Legacy of the Arts week starts on Saturday with an art show on the Village Green. In addition, there will be lots of live music, so check it all out on our Happenings page.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Raindrops on lupine leaves

Our recent rain showers have left everything looking lush and green. Lupine is blooming now in fields and along roadsides, and wild iris can be found near many wet areas. The sun should return tomorrow, so this week will offer plenty of opportunity to be out and about!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Duck Brook Marsh
Duck Brook Marsh

A rainy day today should give way to sun again for tomorrow, although the weather likely will continue to be unsettled until early next week.

More and more visitors are showing up each day, and the Cadillac Mountain Road in Acadia Park should be reopened this morning to buses and RV's after its brief closure for paving. Also, graduation at Mount Desert Island High School is Sunday, and another cruise ship is in town - so there is lots going on despite the weather!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June Sunset
Sunset over Bartlett's Island

We have enjoyed beautiful late spring/early summer weather lately, but we are overdue for some clouds and showers. They may be coming our way for the next few days starting today!

The Acadia Birding Festival begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday. Many folks are surprised to learn that Mount Desert Island is one of the best places in North America for bird watching. We are on the Atlantic Flyway, and we are at the northern end of the range for many southern birds while also being situated at the southern end of the range for many northern species. Audubon found this area perfect for much of his research. For information call 288-8128 or check it out online.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Blessing of the Fleet

Yesterday was a beautiful day for the Blessing of the Fleet in Bar Harbor as a part of our "Working Waterfront" celebration. The Maine Seacoast Mission boat "Sunbeam" served as a floating chapel for this annual service that is so meaningful to many from our island "who go down to the sea in ships".

We have one more day (today) of sunny weather before showers return for mid-week. Still, summer is almost upon us and there is lots to do, both around the house and for pure entertainment. The full "Strawberry Moon" was last night and will repeat tonight, so take a look if the clouds hold off.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Cat
"The Cat" at her pier in Bar Harbor on Wednesday morning

"The Cat" is back!
Our high speed ferry arrived in Bar Harbor on Sunday evening and made her first runs of the season on Monday. Until July, "The Cat" will depart Bar Harbor for Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. More detailed information is available on her website.

After some locally dense fog this morning, our weather looks pretty nice for the upcoming weekend. Don't forget National Trails Day tomorrow and the Working Waterfront celebrations on Sunday!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Duck Brook
Duck Brook

Unlike many parts of the country, schools are still in session here on Mount Desert Island, and they will be until around June 19 - so drive carefully early in the morning and around mid-afternoon when school buses are on the roads. Once the kids are finally out, they don't have to go back until after Labor Day!

Many adults would probably like to be spending the day in school right now - or at least inside a building of some kind - because the mosquitoes and black flies are fierce at the moment. Fortunately, they are probably at their peak of peskiness, and conditions should improve considerably by the middle of June.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Apple Blossoms
Apple blossoms beside an old stone wall.

Welcome to June - our first real month of summer!

After the passage of a cold front last night that sparked some severe storms inland, we have lots of clear, cool air and sunny skies this morning. If you have been planning to take in the views from the summit of Cadillac Mountain over the next few days, be advised that the National Park Service will be repaving the road up the mountain starting today and continuing through June 11. Tour buses and RV's are not allowed during this period, and passenger cars should expect delays.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yellow Lady's-slipper

Despite our cool, wet weather the past few days, this is the perfect time of the year to look for wildflowers along the roadsides and in the woods all over Mount Desert Island. Above are some rare, yellow Lady's Slippers in bloom at the Wild Gardens of Acadia earlier this week.

Another cruise ship visit is on tap for Bar Harbor today. Also, the Happenings calendar is picking up significantly and will stay busy throughout the next four or five months, so check it out and take full advantage of this wonderful time of year!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wild Gardens of Acadia

Wild Gardens of Acadia

If you have never visited the Wild Gardens of Acadia at the Sieur de Monts Nature Center, or if you haven't been there in a long time, now would be a great opportunity to go and check it out. The garden is in beautiful condition and lots of the wildflowers are in bloom.

After about two weeks of warm, dry weather, we appear to be in for a few rainy days . Things should start to improve by the weekend.

Monday, May 25, 2009

U.S. Flag


Remember and honor their sacrifice.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Margaret Todd
(photo courtesy of Downeast Windjammer Cruises)

The four-masted schooner "Margaret Todd" is a familiar sight in the water off the town pier in Bar Harbor, but it is quite unusual to see her hard aground on the gravel bar that connects MDI to Bar Island. Not to worry, however. This grounding was intentional. In the manner of sailing vessels many years ago, Captain Steve Pagels brought her onto the bar at high tide last Tuesday so that regular maintence work could be accomplished on the hull below the waterline as our normal 12 ft. tide receeded. Just a few hours after this photo was taken, the "Margaret Todd" was afloat again and back to the business of offering cruises under sail on Frenchman's Bay.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Long Pond
A tranquil Thursday afternoon along the shore of Long Pond.

Many spots around Maine saw record high temperatures yesterday as the thermometer soared to near 90. Here on the island things were not quite so hot, but we are definitely having a great start to the Memorial Day weekend. Lots of tourists are showing up, and it may be that the uncertain economy will cause folks to vacation closer to home this summer, bringing us a strong influx from the heavily populated northeast!

In addition to tourists, this warm weather has brought out hordes of mosquitoes and black flies. If you are out and about right now (and you should be), don't forget to cover up exposed skin and use plenty of a good insect repellent. Other options would be to stick close to the shoreline or breezy mountain summits.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cruise Ship Tour Buses
Tour buses await cruise ship passengers on lower Main Street in Bar Harbor.

It's hard to believe that we are now less than one week from Memorial Day! Our spring weather continues to be quite volatile with some warm days, some cool rain, some high winds, and even some patchy frost away from the immediate coastline last night. It looks like the old-timers knew what they were talking about when they warned about planting outdoors too early in May.

More and more tourists are showing up on the island every day, and this coming weekend should bring another heavy influx. Some would say that Memorial Day is the official start of our summer like it is in other parts of the country. Others around here, more steeped in local tradition, prefer to think of July 4 as the beginning of "the season". Either way, we have a lot of fine days to look forward to, so take full advantage of them because we all know that summer seems to pass around here in the blink of an eye!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Maasdam", Bar Harbor's first cruise ship of the season, at anchor in Frenchman's Bay on Thursday.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Jordan Pond House Jordan Pond House

The Jordan Pond House opens for the season at 11:30 this morning. When you visit, you will immediately notice that a lot of work was done over the winter reconfiguring the driveway system to better accommodate the Island Explorer and cruise ship tour buses. Now, what used to be the main entrance will be limited to automobiles only, and a new entrance has been established slightly to the north for buses only. There is a separate bus drop-off area near the front of the Pond House. The original automobile parking area and the north parking lot are unchanged. This new system should significantly improve traffic flow, especially during the peak of the season.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Flowering Shad Flowering Shad

What a beautiful spring day we enjoyed yesterday - bright sunshine from dawn 'til dusk and afternoon temps around 65 degrees F! Local parks were full of people enjoying the newly green grass and warm sun.

The beautiful and delicate wild shad (or wild pear) is blooming right now along roadsides and in open woods all over the island. Get out and see it soon, because the fragrant blossoms only last a couple of days. Shad is our equivalent of redbud which is so prevalent in early spring throughout the mid-atlantic and southern parts of the country.

It's another nice morning and everything should be prefect for the arrival of our first cruise ship, although some clouds may show up later in the day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Flower

More and more woodland wildflowers are emerging every day now. Above are some delicate Star Flowers just breaking through the leaf mold on the forest floor.

This week, things on the tourism front really start to break loose with the arrival of our first two cruise ships of the season on Thursday. All in Bar Harbor seems ready for them. After a few unsettled weather days, the sun should return on Wednesday.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rhododendron just beginning to bloom on a rainy Thursday afternoon.

As predicted, we have had some moderate but badly needed rain over the past two days. While that has kept us indoors more than we would like at this time of year, it also has given a strong boost to both wild and cultivated flowers all over the island.

Don't forget that this Sunday is Mother's Day. Any local restaurants not already open for the season certainly will be open by Sunday to take advantage of the expected crowds. Nurseries and garden shops also traditionally see lots of business on Mother's Day. Be careful planting tender flowers early this year, however, because the full moon is tonight. Old-timers say that it is not safe to plant until after the full moon in May, but if that date falls too early in the month, you might have to wait until the full moon in June! With our warmer weather over the past several years, waiting until June probably is not necessary, but keep an eye on the nighttime temperature forecasts just in case.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yesterday was a beautiful, mild and sunny day. More tourists are around now, and that means more and more seasonal businesses are opening. The local trolley tour company opened Friday, Harbor Place opens today, and the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company opens next Monday. Most retail shops and restaurants in Bar Harbor are now open as well. Some folks were enjoying lunch outdoors along Main Street and others found a seat in Agamont Park.

The weather forecast does not look so promising for the next few days. Still, it is not supposed to be a washout, so there should be opportunities to get out and about.

A note about trails in Acadia National Park: everything has dried out considerably in the past two or three weeks, but some trail repair work continues in a few spots where there was winter damage. Also, there are at least two trail closings where the endangered peregrine falcons are nesting - the Precipice Trail, and the trails above Valley Cove. The East Face Trail remains closed due to damage, and the carriage roads remain closed to horses and carriages but are open for walking and bicycles. The Park Entrance Station on Ocean Drive opened for the season on Friday.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

St. Saviours

A few light showers are around this morning, but they should give way to sun later today. We actually need some rain now because it has been quite dry recently, and the fire danger is very high. No outdoor burning permits are being issued anywhere in our area.

Spring continues to "bust out all over", bringing with it a host of flowering shrubs and trees like this one in the St. Saviour's churchyard in Bar Harbor.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Here we are at the end of April already! Tomorrow the "season" should be getting underway in earnest. The days are noticeably long now and will be even longer over the next few weeks, and our sunny weather continues -
at least through today.

The first cruise ship arrives in Bar Harbor on May 14, and most businesses are either already open or preparing to open very soon. While it can be slow coming, spring is a wonderful time of the year when you can take advantage of all this beautiful island has to offer before the crowds arrive.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Trailing Arbutus

An unusually warm and sunny weekend brought out many signs of early summer. Ice cream stands had long lines, bicycles and motorcycles seemed to be everywhere, shorts and tee shirts were common attire, and the smiles were unmistakable! The good weather should continue for most of the week, although perhaps a little cooler. Get out and enjoy it as you get the chance!

The sun is starting to bring out some early wildflowers here and there. Pictured above is a rare trailing arbutus beginning to bloom. It was spotted a couple of days ago along a carriage road in Acadia National Park.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

April showers bring April flowers

After a few rainy days mid-week, we are looking at some really warm weather for the upcoming weekend. The forecast suggests temperatures in the 70's even here along the immediate coast! And it's only April - go figure! But we'll take it!

Businesses in Bar Harbor and other communities around the island are sprucing up their properties and getting ready to open any day now. Some already have, although their hours can vary dramatically depending on the weather and how many folks are strolling the streets. It looks more and more like the "season" is about to start!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cadillac Summit
Bar Harbor from the summit of Cadillac Mountain on Saturday.

With more sunshine and low humidity levels over the weekend, the park carriage roads have now dried out enough that they have been opened to pedestrians. Bikes and horses still need to wait a little longer.

We have one more day of sun today before rainy weather arrives for the next two or three days. Don't forget the school vacation week programs at College of the Atlantic's Dorr Museum. You can get the full schedule on
our Happenings page.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ocean Drive

What beautiful weather we have been enjoying this week! Cool nights and warm, sunny days are a welcome change from our seemingly long winter. More of the same is on tap for today when the thermometer actually might reach the upper 60's for the first time this year!

There will be special Earth Day celebrations tomorrow, Acadia National Park facilities are now open for the season (except the carriage roads), and next week is school vacation week! Check out our Happenings page for a list of fun things to do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Sunset

With all the moisture in the air around here recently, the sunsets often have taken on a hazy, almost ethereal appearance. It's just one more sign of spring!

We are supposed to have several days of beautiful, sunny and warmer weather for the rest of this week. Just think - one month from today the first cruise ship of the season will drop anchor in Bar Harbor! Already a number of out-of-state-license plates can be spotted around the island, and the Acadia Park Visitor Center opens tomorrow along with the Park Loop Road! Spring may be slow coming, but when it does finally arrive, it seems to happen very suddenly!

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Bunnies


Friday, April 10, 2009

Lobster Traps

In early April some intrepid lobster fishermen (and women) launch their boats and start setting traps in preparation for the new season. With the ocean water still quite cold (upper 30's F.), lobsters are far offshore, so fishing this time of year involves considerable work under sometimes difficult conditions. Over the next few weeks, more and more boats will go back in the water and lobsters will gradually move inshore as the water warms. By mid-summer you will see lots of colorful lobster buoys scattered all around coves and ledges near the coastline.

The lobster boat shown above was loading traps at the Bar Harbor pier yesterday morning.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Runoff

All of our recent heavy rains combined with snow melt has caused water to run out of every crack and crevice. Normally dry areas are filled with water, and waterfalls have appeared over many rock ledges around Acadia National Park. Some of this is typical for early spring, but it seems more dramatic this year because our precipitation totals so far appear to be significantly above average.

If you like good jazz and also like to dance, you will not want to miss this. On Friday evening the MDI High School jazz band will host a dance and fundraiser at the beautiful Bar Harbor Club. Last year was the first time this event was held at the Bar Harbor Club, and everyone had a wonderful time. The $20 admission price includes great music, hors d'oeuvres and dessert.
Details on our Happenings page.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Beavers Beavers Beavers

As spring continues to develop, the birds and beavers are becoming much more active around the island. You can see from the photos above that beavers have been very busy in the marsh behind Sand Beach. In fact, they bit off more than they could chew in many cases - felling large trees that they were unable to move!

We have sun this morning but it is not expected to last. More rain is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. The good news is that most of the snow is gone now, so we are getting there, slowly but surely!

Friday, April 3, 2009

They say that April showers bring May flowers. Well, if so, we should have fields full of flowers popping out in about four weeks! Actually, because we are so close to the cold ocean, it will probably be early June before that happens, but it's nice to dream! Check out our Weather page for the latest details.

An update on the breaking story posted Wednesday. If you are among those who have enjoyed seeing the QE2 in Bar Harbor once or twice in the summer, but are stressed out about the prospect of looking at her all year 'round from Agamont Park - not to fret. Sometimes things are said or written on April 1st that may not meet the straight-face test. Now that the idea is on the table, however, it is always possible that an enterprising, well-heeled individual or corporation could actually try to make it happen. Meanwhile, we appear to be safe for the moment.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Queen Elizabeth 2
The QE2 in Bar Harbor last year.


We have just learned that the famous cruise ship "Queen Elizabeth 2" will be returning to Bar Harbor this summer after all. She is being purchased from the government of Dubai by a local summer resident and investor who prefers to remain anonymous for now, and she will be permanantly moored off Bar Island for use as a floating hotel! Dubai has fallen on hard times recently with the sharp decline in oil prices, so the government of that country has been looking for a way out of their deal with Cunard Lines to purchase the "QE2". The new "floatel" will offer all of the amenities normally found in a luxury resort, and also will house a major interpretive center staffed by rangers from Acadia National Park. A key feature of the center will be several viewing ports that are to be inserted in the hull of the ship below the waterline so that guests and visitors can learn more about the wide variety of marine life below the surface of Frenchman's Bay.

In an exclusive interview with MountDesertIsland.Net, the new developer explained: "This was the perfect fit. We need more hotel rooms in Bar Harbor, and suitable land comes at a severe premium. A floating hotel is the way to go. In addition, we need more competition in the local hotel industry, because most of the high end properties have been acquired by one of two large companies. And finally, this project should add dramatic new excitement to Bar Harbor's tourism appeal"

There is an interesting and highly unusual twist to this important story. Because of the strange way in which town lines were drawn many years ago, the new "floatel" will actually be located in the Town of Gouldsboro, despite the fact that it will be less than 200 yards off the Bar Harbor town pier. This means that the Bar Harbor Planning Board will not be involved in the approval process for the project, and that all property tax revenues generated will flow to the Town of Gouldsboro.



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