Thursday August 19, 2010
September 18 is Open Lighthouse Day in Maine
Tall lighthouses on the rocky coast have long captured the imagination of visitors to Maine, bringing to mind an era of sail and steam-driven sea trade that is long gone now.
The U.S. Coast Guard, the State of Maine and the American Lighthouse Foundation are pleased to announce the second annual Maine lighthouse open house.
Last year, hundreds of people visited lighthouses along the Maine coast in the largest effort of its kind in the nation. This year we expect another fun event.
The following are lighthouses near The Bass Cottage Inn that will be participating.
Downeast and Acadia Region
* Bass Harbor Head Light
* Burnt Coat Harbor Light
* Dice Head Light
* Deer Island Thorofare
* Eagle Island Light
* West Quoddy Head Light
For more details visit:
Open Lighthouse Day 2010
Thursday August 12, 2010
Meet this season's staff
We had a little fun during staff lunch this week -- in the middle of a very busy season it's a good management tactic to keep the staff laughing. So, we spoofed the recently developed Bass Cottage Inn print ad creative to focus on our international student workers.
Every year we profile our student workers in this blog. Guests appreciate the great job they do and are interested in where they come from. This year our seasonal crew is 100% from Bulgaria and is one of our best groups ever! So, let's meet these lovely ladies (from left to right).
Aneliya is the sportswoman of the group. She likes to play tennis and also likes music and dancing. She always has a smile on her face.
Donika appreciates the local food...especially Chef Chris's cookies and blueberry pie. She's also a tennis player and enjoys visiting Carmen Verandah to go dancing (how do they have the energy after their housekeeping shift??? ah, youth).
Manuela is the serious one....but with a great sense of humor under the surface. She has enjoyed airplane rides over MDI, McDonald's cheeseburgers and believes she should have 365 pairs of shoes.
Velina helps us at breakfast and in the kitchen. She's studying for her Master's degree in Finance and brings a quiet, angelic nature to work.
The whole team amazes me -- they look as pretty and composed at the end of their shift as they do at the beginning (there's that 'youth' thing again....). They appreciate meeting Americans on holiday and also socializing with the many other international student workers here in Bar Harbor.
But they want to let you all know they do NOT like lobster. So, more for us!
Monday August 9, 2010
Acadia Night Sky Festival
One of the great things about living or vacationing on the Down East Maine coast is the pristine environment -- lush forests, the blue Atlantic, craggy shoreline. But nothing is more awe-inspiring than the dazzling night sky. Unlike in heavily-populated areas with lots of light pollution, Mount Desert Island's night-time sky is a wonder to behold. Every star twinkles in high definition. Last night, we saw a few shooting stars while letting the dog out for his poorly scheduled 'constitutional'.
The Acadia night sky will be explored and feted at the upcoming Acadia Night Sky Festival which runs from September 9 - 13. This unique event, now in its second year, features educational events and seminars, night photography workshops and exhibitions, organized star viewing on the beach and a night sky cruise on Frenchman Bay. It would be a holiday with unique beauty and purpose!
The Bass Cottage Inn still has some good room availability during this event, so if you're interested book sooner than later.
For more details on the Acadia Night Sky Festival visit their website
Saturday July 31, 2010
Innkeeper Ramble: Sunset Island Cruise out of Bass Harbor
After hearing glowing reviews of Island Cruise's nature trip out of Bass Harbor, your intrepid innkeepers moseyed over to see what the fuss was all about. After a few lobsters across the harbor at Thurston's we boarded the tour boat R.L Gott and set out of Bass Harbor under the command of Capt. Eli Strauss.
An island native, Eli gave us a great tour and an education. The coast of Maine has seen its share of boom and bust industries. As we cruised out past the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse we headed into Blue Hill Bay on a crystal clear and perfect Friday evening. We then cruised around Gotts Island (definitely a relation to the boat's namesake), Placentia Island and Black Island. Traces of islanders, once far more numerous than today, abounded. We saw remnants of the once-vibrant granite quarrying business on Black Island, it's pink granite shores glowing in the setting sun. After the introduction of reinforced concrete stifled the viability of granite, many of the Norwegian stone-cutters moved over to Swan Island and took up fishing.
Off the east coast of Black Island we saw salmon farming pens. Hundreds of 6 inch baby salmon danced inside. On quiet and foreboding Plancentia Island, once the home of just one married couple, we were watched by a male Bald Eagle as water trickled like silver coins off the rocks on shore.
We also saw dozens of harbor seals and a few lumbering gray seals hauled up on the rocks (see above) and harbor porpoises out fishing for dinner.
Gotts Island (actually Great Gott Island and Little Gott Island) was the ancestral home of the Gott family - still very prominent here on Mount Desert Island. Attracted by the then-lucrative cod fishery the Gott's moved up in the late 1700s from Massachusetts. Today, a small colony of mostly summer homes and a few lobster fisherman live part of the year on Gotts Island, enjoying blissful quiet and no electricity.
Heading back into Bass Harbor (with the third largest lobster fleet on the Maine coast), we watched the sun sink into the ocean and counted ourselves blessed to live in such a place.
Island Cruises, Bass Harbor
Monday July 26, 2010
Quick Hits: Recognizing Excellence
TRAVEL AND LEISURE NAMES MDI TOP ISLAND DESTINATION
... in the continental US and Canada by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Here's the top 5:
1 Mount Desert Island, Maine
2 Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
3 Vancouver Island
4 San Juan Islands, Washington
5 Prince Edward Island, Canada
With its comparative ease of accessibility (you can drive onto the island), its pristine, authentic nature (no chain stores or fast food joints) and the wild beauty of Acadia National Park, we're certainly not surprised that MDI is tops!
BASS COTTAGE INN NAMED BOSTON MAGAZINE'S EDITOR'S CHOICE FOR SECOND YEAR RUNNING
We're pleased to note that The Bass Cottage Inn was named the Editor's Choice in Bar Harbor in their 2010 New England Travel Planner publication. This is the second year in a row we've received this recognition - the only property so designated in Bar Harbor.
Sunday July 18, 2010
The First Family visits "one of America's most spectacular places"
Early last week we started to hear the buzz around town: President Obama was coming with his family for a weekend visit. Where would he stay? What would he do? How would it impact the vacations of other folks?
On Friday, the Obama's landed at Bar Harbor Airport and began a holiday in what NBC News called "one of America's most spectacular places...a picturesque playground". With characteristic reserve, our local residents kept it cool...no signs or banners and little hub-bub. We've hosted the rich and famous for over a century we know that folks of all stripes come to Bar Harbor to relax.
While the President did not stay here at The Bass Cottage Inn (we were full, but would have loved him to visit!), he and his family (including First Pooch, Bo 'Bama) enjoyed many of the same things our guests enjoy: hiking in Acadia, lobster by the harbor, shopping in nearby Northeast Harbor, a visit to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, ice cream at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream and dinner at Havana.
While some politicos tried to make political hay criticizing his visit to Bar Harbor, we were proud to have him and proud to see that locals and visitors alike treated Mr. Obama and his family with respect and consideration. After all, who doesn't need a couple of days in downeast Maine??
You may ask: did we see him? Well, driving from the Inn on late Friday afternoon past the Cadillac Mountain entrance to the Park Loop Road, a motorcade appeared just as I went past. Police cars with lights flashing and a number of white government SUVs. I waved...don't think the President saw me but maybe he did.
You may also ask: is this kind of news coverage good for business in Bar Harbor? The phone's been ringing off the hook. Thank you, Mr. President!
Monday July 12, 2010
Bar Harbor named Top Ten by Huffington Post
The Huffington Post, a smart political and social blog site with a large online following, has named Bar Harbor as Top Ten Great Adventure Destination. With mountains, forests and the great Atlantic coast all cheek by jowl, we're certainly not surprised to be so recognized. To quote columnist Kraig Becker:
"Bar Harbor is one of those destinations that seems to have it all. It sits on a small island along the coast of Maine, offering up fantastic sea kayaking, complete with whale watching and spectacular sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean. The nearby granite cliffs are great for rock climbing, and the town sits on the edge of Acadia National Park, which has miles of spectacular road cycling routes. Crowds are small, even in the height of the tourist season, but in the winter they are practically non-existent, offering unfettered access to snowmobile trails, remote cross country ski paths, and ice climbing routes. One visit, and you'll understand why Bar Harbor's original name was Eden."
Of course, Bar Harbor offers fine dining, great shopping and arts activities...not to mention a great place to relax after your Acadian adventure at The Bass Cottage Inn.
Saturday July 10, 2010
The heat of summer is upon us! Yesterday we got out of the Inn in late afternoon for a cool dip. Ahhh! Nothing like floating on your back and watching the clouds skate across the blue Acadia sky.
If you're visiting Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island there are some great places to go for a swim. You just need to know where to look. Herewith are our top places to cool off with a swim on MDI:
1. Echo Lake Beach (shown at left) - in Acadia National Park, this well maintained lake beach has changing facilities and a life guard on duty. With plenty of parking and a sandy beach, it's great for families and those who want to grab a towel and jump on the Island Explorer shuttle. The waters are shallow and there is often a family of ducks swimming about. It can get crowded, however, and there is not much shade.
2. Echo Lake Ledges - just off Rt 102 on the way to Southwest Harbor, you'll walk down a path to sloping rocky ledges where you can sun-bathe and also jump off into the cool waters of Echo Lake. Not for young kids or adults with mobility issues.
3, Long Pond (off the Long Pond Fire Road) - enter off Rt 102 near the Pretty Marsh Picnic area, you'll follow a fire road about 1.5 miles deep into the Park until you reach a little cove with a moderately rocky shore. Folks often put kayaks in here but you can swim easily and even set a couple of chairs under the pines. Not crowded, but hard to find.
4. Somes Pond - in Somesville, on Oak Hill Rd. off Rt 102. This is a large, pretty pond with some nice swimming (if you don't mind a mucky bottom)
5. Sand Beach - the only really sandy beach on the island, it's a frequent stop for most visitors to Acadia. But, it offers a great sand beach with usually gentle surf. Swimming is not for the faint of heart, as the ocean temperatures rarely rise about 50F.
6. Seal Harbor Beach - along Rt. 3 in Seal Harbor is a lovely south-facing beach with views of the Cranberry Island. Water temperature caveats also apply here.
7. Compass Harbor - walkable from downtown Bar Harbor, it's a nice sheltered harbor with water access and swimming...
Sunday July 4, 2010
Innkeepers' Rambles: Ship Harbor/Acadia National Park
It's July 4th here in Bar Harbor and the 'season', as they say, is in full swing. Tonight there will be our annual town fireworks display close to The Bass Cottage Inn at the Bar Harbor Town Pier. For a small town with limited budget they sure do an excellent job.
Yesterday we had our Independence Day parade just up the lane on Main St. I had forgotten about it until I noticed that the staff had disappeared around 10am for a look-see. Productivity took a hit, but it was great fun. Also yesterday, we sponsored a lobster in the annual benefit Lobster Race. Our lobster was christened "Frank Zappa" (an indulgence for Chef Chris). Word is he sat still at the starting pistol until someone put some drawn butter behind him.
While the weather is sweltering in much of the country, it's pretty balmy here in Bar Harbor. Last week we took a little ramble with Riley the inn dog (see photo) over to the Ship Harbor trail near Bass Harbor. The day on land was warm, but a cool, refreshing fog bank rolled in making for some atmospheric photo ops.
Ship Harbor is a short hike and visually stunning as well, offering lots of pink granite shoreline and dark evergreens. If you like to explore tidal pools, Ship Harbor trail is a good choice.
Come on up to Bar Harbor! In the words of our guests this past week, it's restfully quiet and the salt air is fresh and the scenery is unparalleled..
Lobster's cheaper than where you live, as well.
Sunday June 20, 2010
How to plan the best vacation EVER!
Science Has Finally Studied How We Should Take Vacations
Just in time for this summer season, the Boston Globe today reports on findings by experts in "hedonic psychology" (or the science of human pleasure....hmmm - no comment).
It seems that what makes for a really enjoyable vacation is not what you'd necessarily think. Some key findings in this report:
- We get a great deal of enjoyment from planning vacations and remembering them after the fact.
- Taking a shorter trip (with fewer logistical headaches) often leaves us happier than taking a long trip
- We get used to long periods of time in the same holiday place. Want more vacation excitement? Breaking up a trip is the best way to inoculate a vacationer against the 'deadening power of adaption".
- People are often prone to procrastinate their holiday planning unless compelled to act.
So, what does this mean for you, dear reader?
1. Visit our website and start planning your holiday to Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park and The Bass Cottage Inn. Remember...anticipation is fun!
2. 3-4 days in down east Maine at The Bass Cottage Inn will make you happier than a 3 week trip to China to see The Great Wall. Think about it...how is the lobster in China? Really?
3. Break up your trip by visiting some other great destinations along Coastal Maine. Or, we can help break up your trip by letting you inn-sit for a day while we take a brief holiday ;-)
4. Be sure to take lots of pictures to share with your friends. Remembering is fun!
5. Consider yourself compelled. Act now. July is almost completely sold out but there is still good availability in August and September.
Our new motto: Better getaways through science!