Summer always seems to fly by. Whether it is back to your childhood when you rejoiced at being out of school or a hard-working adult enjoying a well-needed vacation from the office. Our summer in Maine has certainly been moving at warp speed.
We arrived in Trenton, Maine (just a few miles up the road from Bar Harbor) in mid-May, which happens to be a wonderful time to be here. The trees are just starting to bust out of their long winter dormancy, the slew of tourists have not arrived, and the lobstermen (and women) have traps in the water and are pulling the sweet lobster from the cold ocean water. We are back at Narrows Too Camping Resort where we have spent the last two summers. There is something (actually, a lot) about the area that keeps pulling us back and it is hard to believe that we are already mid-way through the summer.
Just seven miles down the road from the campground is Acadia National Park and a huge draw for us. With over 40,000 acres to explore through hundreds of miles of hiking trails, ponds and lakes to kayak, and 47 miles of carriage roads to enjoy leisurely walks the park seems to be part of our daily life here. Acadia NP consistently ranks as one of America’s Top 10 National Parks and with 2016 marking the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, crowds of eager onlookers and outdoor enthusiasts are sure to be flocking in.
Our secret for beating the crowds . . . go early. With sunrise just before 5 am we try and hit the park around 6 or 6:30 to enjoy it all to ourselves. Which then leaves plenty of the afternoon to hang out on the deck of our favorite lobster pound or take Spirit for a swim in the ocean.
But, mind you we are working girls so not everyday is for leisure. Betsy is working in the campground office and store handling reservations and day-to-day operations of the campground. With over 200 RV sites, 10 cabins, three cottages, and an event line up that keeps the marque lit up, the office stays busy (and open to 7 pm). One of Betsys’ ideas from last year was to offer a “Lobster Experience” event. With two years working in the office under her belt she realized that a common theme of new campers to the area was lobster. How to eat it, what is the best way to cook it, where should they buy it, what is the difference between hard and soft shells, etc. So she stepped in and decided to offer a “Lobster Experience.” She partnered with the Lulu Lobster Boat in Bar Harbor who offers famously entertaining and informative boat tours where you haul traps, talk about the lobster fishery, learn their life history, and coast around some amazing Maine scenery.
Afterwards, participants stop at Downeast Lobster Pound where they get to see how lobsters are housed and pick out their dinner. In the evening, we all gather (lobsters too) in our activities building where we have pots of boiling water ready to show them how to cook them. After quick pictures, in the pot they go. The campground provides corn, potatoes, butter, and blueberry ice cream so all leave pretty happy and with the confidence of how to cook and eat lobster. Something tells me Betsy is the largest advocate and promoter of the Maine Lobster Industry and should be on the marketing department’s payroll!
This summer, I headed in a different direction opting for an apron and knife with a catering company instead of lawn mower and weed wacker at the campground. I work for Bar Harbor Catering Company as an Event Chef which is in full swing during the busy summer wedding season. The job has been a wonderful opportunity to work with an amazingly talented culinary team, sharpen my kitchen skills, and has taken me to some beautiful scenic Maine locations. Events range from a private chef lobster dinner for a dozen guests in a rental cottage to a pig roast for 50 in a back yard to a 250-person formal wedding overlooking the ocean.
Our plans are to stay in Maine until mid to late – September, but if this year is anything like the last two summers, we will be hanging around until mid – October. We have a hard time leaving our Downeast paradise and love that that time of year brings cooler temperatures, post card fall scenery, less people, and, of course for Betsy, a continuous source of lobster!