Monday, August 11, 2008

Had a Great Time at Acadia National Park, Maine

We spent two days up in Acadia National Park, near Bar Harbor, Maine. Even though the weather wasn't good, we still enjoyed it - instead of a beautiful bright-and-sunny Chamber of Commerce day, we had rain and mist the whole time we were there - and we loved it.

It didn't stop the crowds. People were everywhere, crawling up and down the granite ledges at the shoreline, packing the visitor centers, bicycling up the long winding road to the top of Mt. Cadillac. (Wonder how many of them wished they had never started that bike tour?? It's a really long windy road with a very steep incline; many of the bikers we saw were in their 50s and showing some serious stress.)

We spent a few hours the first day just before dark up on Mt. Cadillac. No pretty sunset for us - just clouds and mist. It didn't matter - we had a great time. We returned the next day to the mountain and then a spin around the park. The photo above is from half-way up Cadillac during the middle of the day, and shows Eagle Lake with a mist in the mountains above. It was beautiful, despite the inclement weather.

That's Tom on the right, with camera and tripod, mugging for me. We spent quite a bit of time shooting, but the results were less than spectacular. In fact, few photos turned out acceptably, but it didn't matter - we still had a wonderful time.

We even did the dumb tourist thing and after dinner spent the evening in Bar Harbor. The town was packed, even though it was after 9 pm. The stores count on tourists for their sales, and all of them were open until 11 pm every night. We skipped most of the kitschy-merchandise shops - Bar Harbor tee shirts, refrigerator magnets and other cutesy stuff was everywhere, typical of a tourist town.

But there were several interesting art galleries open late, and we wandered through a few. One was a photography gallery owned by a woman who was just getting into the business, using her older Pentax film camera as her only camera. Her inventory was primarily local material - scenery, wildlife, etc - which was simply matted. Her prices were quite reasonable, running from $15 for a matted 5x7 to $25 for an 8x10. She also offered larger framed art photos at higher prices.

She sure had to sell a lot of photos to cover her overhead - rent in Bar Harbor is extremely expensive. And then there's insurance, employees, utilities, etc. Unfortunately, there were few customers in her shop, which was down a side street and not easily visible from the main street. She also had serious competition by other photographers' galleries just around the corner. Her business plan definitely needed some tweaking.

We were surprised she hadn't yet moved into digital photography, but she explained that she'd been using her Pentax for a long time and had a lot of investment in her lenses. She was hoping to buy a digital Pentax soon, planning to match it to her lenses.

We didn't last in Bar Harbor long - it was so commercial, and way too crowded. Fun experience for a very short period of time (we stayed the length of time it took to eat an ice cream cone!), but not a place we'd go back to soon. Acadia was the place for us, and we spent the majority of our time wandering both the shoreline and the mountains, sucking in good salt air and enjoying the mist. We even picked wild blueberries on Mt. Cadillac!

1 comment:

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I'm glad to have found the inside scoop about Bar Harbor......I hope to plan a trip to Maine in the near future, and this is good to know.