Saturday August 28, 2010
Just when you think you know everything...
For seven seasons we've told guests the history of the Inn. You know, Mr. Bass built the house for his family's summer holidays and to entertain his more famous and more wealthy summer contemporaries during the Golden Age of Bar Harbor society in the late 1800s.
Did anyone ever add onto the original house? "No, we don't think so....this is the original floor plan..."
Instead of believing the real estate agent's 'history' we should have done a little more digging on our own.
At left you see one of the earliest known photos of what was to become the Bass Cottage. Note than = ahem - the front porch used to be open at one time. And, I believe that the wing that houses our Inn kitchen and Rooms 5 and 6 was yet to be added in this photo.
It's time to correct the record (thanks to guests Tom and Julia who gave us a great book called "Bar Harbor's Gilded Century 1950-1950" by Lydia Bodman Vandenburgh).
Fact: Joseph Parker Bass, after whom the Inn is named, commissioned modifications to the original house after purchasing it from local resident George Higgins in 1893. He did not build the building orginally.
Fact: In 1932 (not 1928!!) this summer home was converted into an Inn after its purchase by Mrs. Ana Murch and Mrs. Fred Moore. The price back then - during the great Depression no less -- was $15,000. (We paid a little more back in 2003.)
In the photo you see Mr. Bass and some of his guests loading up some buckboard wagons for a trip to Havana Restaurant. Mr. Bass loved their Lobster Paella.
Friday August 20, 2010
A Bass Cottage Inn guest shares her experience with the Obama's in Bar Harbor
Long Island Herald columnist Randi Kreiss and her husband Don stayed at the Inn during the Obama's short visit to Bar Harbor and Acadia recently. Her well-crafted observations make for interesting reading so we share them with you.
Notes from Bar Harbor, with the Obamas
Thursday August 19, 2010
Bar Harbor Jazzfest August 18-22
It's time for our annual Jazzfest here in Bar Harbor. Some guests in the past have called concerned that the throngs of thousands of jazz aficionados would ruin there stay. No worries...this is a small musical festival held at various venues in Bar Harbor such as the art-deco Criterion Theatre, the Village Green gazebo, and, bars and cafes throughout town.
Plenty of good music available to help you enjoy a balmy summer's evening in Downeast Maine.
For details visit:
Bar Harbor Jazzfest 2010r
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.