Sparky had to get a new senior pass because she lost her old one, so we stopped at the Acadia Park Welcome Center to get new hike info and a new pass. If you lose your old pass, all you have to do is show a driver's license at the park and get a new one for 10.00, just like the original. You can also do it online but there's an additional fee to do that, if you are not anywhere near a national park or preserve, Sparky thinks the additional administrative fee on top of the card fee was 10.00.
We decided to explore places to stay when and if we come back to Acadia. Sparky says, we will! Since we no longer have the motorhome, we would have to stay at a motel or hotel, bed and breakfast, or cottage, of which there are MANY! We stopped at the Chamber of Commerce in downtown Acadia at Cottage and Main, where we got some information about rentals in the area. There are about 400 places to rent on Mount Desert Island alone, one of the chamber volunteers mentioned. (Bar Harbor is on Mount Desert Island). There are houses to rent, lots and lots of antiquated cottages, and cute little bed and breakfast places, take your pick! You can find places from less than 100.00 a night, to upwards of 300-400 dollars a night and depending upon whether it's "season" or not. Season, in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, gets going in mid June. That's when rates really start to climb, as soon as the kids get out of school. This year, 2015, they were still having to make up snow days and were in school till the middle of June! So things were very quiet in downtown Bar Harbor, and in the restaurants and shops the week we were there, the first week of June.
We drove around and basically drove into places we thought looked interesting, there were cabin signs for rent EVERYWHERE!....Here is what we found...Unfortunately, Sparky did not take photos of the interiors...She just wasn't thinking about the blog at that time! In a nutshell, if you don't mind rustic, VERY dated cottages, MOST of them are just that...Very old, they haven't been updated in years and years, old gas stoves, showers and no tubs, tiny spaces, and no AC. The bedrooms are so tiny, the bed takes up most of the bedroom. Many did not have any separation between sleeping quarters and a tiny little galley kitchenette. Sparky even laid down on some mattresses to test them out, and oh, boy...back troubles probably were guaranteed. BUT--Several of them had wonderful views of the inlets and bays....That makes up for the quaintness and musty cabin smells of the interiors, we suppose....Sparky actually was ready to reserve a cabin on Frenchman's Bay, despite how old the interiors were, the view was that fantastic! There were kayaks and canoes and a dock available at this one place. Prices for a week for these vintage cabins ranged from $700 and up. Then we decided what about a HOUSE for rent? We found a wonderful one in town, a duplex, with a super nice lady living in the other half. We met with her and just really enjoyed her and the house, right smack in the middle of town. But the house was too much house for us. We wouldn't need it unless we had family or friends coming for a visit, and at this point, we didn't know if that would happen or not....We checked out an upstairs apartment near the seafood restaurant called the Charter House. It was nice and modern, but zero views and no place to sit outside that you could call your own. So, for now...we are on hold on a place to stay for next year...There are many, many places to rent all over Mount Desert Island and in Southwest Harbor, but if you don't check them out ahead of time, you might be disappointed. Photos on the web of some of these cabins were all about views, (many of them), and not so much about the actual accommodations. Seeing them in person, gave us an eye opener about what you pay for long term stays in Bar Harbor. You don't get a lot of modern conveniences for your money, but that's because it's a tourist town that needs to make money in the summer! If you love the memory of staying in a little cabin up north when you were a kid, then these kitschy cabins would be perfect for you! We didn't check out bed and breakfasts...Eldy is not as fond of them as Sparky is....
Thirsty Whale for lunch...right in town...GREAT chowder! Is there any place in Bar Harbor that DOESN'T have good chowder? It's all good here....The atmosphere is really cozy, too....We decided to drive around the island heading on the way to Southwest Harbor, Bass Harbor, and ended up near the Asticou Gardens...The last time we were here, Sparky climbed all the stairs to the Thuyla Gardens at the top, where there were AMAZING displays of all kinds of flowers and LOTS of hummingbirds, but this time we stayed at the bottom...What a beautiful place! The azaleas were in full bloom, many different kinds and colors...This garden was created in 1958 by Charles Savage, a long time resident of Northeast Harbor, who was inspired by Japanese gardening and his desire to save the plant collection of Beatrix Farrand, a famous American landscape designer and pioneer for women in the profession. Mr. Savage built the the azalea garden at the bottom of the terraced landscape, and the Thuyla Gardens, a semi formal herbaceous garden, is at the top. Both are at the intersection of Rte. 198 and Rte. 3 in Northeast Harbor. Asticou is a strolling garden with a meandering pathway and is truly beautiful in late spring....
While she was out on the fringes of the rocks moving VERY carefully around on the rocks, (that woman is going to give me a heart attack one of these days!) Eldo remained further back, talking to some RVers. It turns out the guy was wearing a Sarasota shirt, so Eldo just HAD to strike up a conversation. They are part timers, heading out of the heat during the summers from FL and there we were, two couples from the same town with the same idea. Only Sparky and Eldo had one week to enjoy the cool temps, and they had all summer planned in Maine and other New England states.
And time to head back, Sparky is getting hungry! Looks like tomorrow is a bike ride on the carriage roads!
See you there!