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Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

metropolitan Chicago
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Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

Would like to vacation for 5 days in Maine in August with grown daughter. Never been before. Interested in lobsters and maybe sailing/"whaling".

Acadia looked like the best bet until I read the guidebooks. There's only one way onto Mt Desert Island, and it sounds like a major traffic jam. Also sounds like a lot of water slide parks and fast food places.

Would like to experience New England somewhere, eat lobster, and swim in/sail on the sea a bit.

Appreciate your suggestions.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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1. Re: Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

In the first place, you read the wrong bloody guide books.

Yes, there is only one way onto the island. Traffic can be busy in August---of course being from metropolitan Chicago, you aren't accustomed to traffic. Our worst traffic day doesn't begin to compare with normal rush hour traffic near the Loop.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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2. Re: Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

To continue (I hit the wrong button):

We do have somewhat of a traffic problem owing to the reconstruction of Rt. 1A between Bangor and Ellsworth but again, Chicago it ain't.

The <is> a water slide---on the mainland, not on the island, The same goes for chain fast-food restaurants---on the mainland. (We may have a Subway this summer---it isn't looked upon with favor in many parts.)

You might or might not like Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, or the rest of Mount Desert Island. You need to know, however, that your guidebook-inspired impressions of the place are flat wrong.

Southern Maine
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3. Re: Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

Is there even a water slide park?

oops - we were typing at the same time.

As to Subway, I was completely disillusioned when I finally got to Paris, was leaving Notre Dame and found myself staring at a Subway.

Edited: 28 May 2010, 19:12
Bar Harbor, Maine
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4. Re: Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

Yes, there is a "fun park" on Rt.3 between Ellsworth and MDI---water slide, miniature golf, etc.

In Bergen, Norway, on the waterfront, there is a Cajun restaurant. (!)

Edited: 28 May 2010, 19:14
Lehigh Valley, PA
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5. Re: Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

Whoa! You have got to be kidding! yes there is only one way on to the island. So everyone comes across at the Trenton Bridge. Your guidebook got that right! And as cw stated heavy traffic is relative.

There are many opportunities for whale watching and other types of boat trips (nature cruises, lighthouse cruises and so on) including a ride on a 4-masted schooner. And lobster is served everywhere from the breakfast places (try a lobster omelete at Jeannie's or Two Cats; sorry NO Bob Evan's or IHOP or any chain places like that) to the ice cream shops (sit down outside Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium, NOT Ben and Jerry's, with a scoop of Lobster ice cream).

But there are NO water slide parks that I am aware of. And as far as fast food is concerned, there is one Subway on the island and that is a sore point. Otherwise, forget it. NO MickeyD's! No Burger King! Heck there isn't even a Dunkin' Donuts and NO stinkin' Starbucks! Taco Bell? Forget it! You'll have to run a lot further to get to the border! And I could go on and on.

With this being your first post, I have to ask myself, are you making this up or did your guidebook author make it all up on his/her own?

Bar Harbor, Maine
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6. Re: Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

That's utterly amazing that a guide book would say that. One wonders what is said about the one bridge unto truly crowded Cape Cod. Our little Trenton Bridge is certainly nothing like Boston pouring over the bridge onto the Cape.

One wonders what the guide books say about Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee -- the gateway to the Smokey Mountain National Park. No one bridge there, but, my god, what a snarl of outlet stores, chain hotels, water parks, and traffic.

MDI is downright rural and unpopulated compared to those two places. And, really, compared to much of the rest of the entire USA.

metropolitan Chicago
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7. Re: Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

Page 315 of the 2006 Moon Guide: : "If you head toward the Bar Harbor side here's what you'll first encounter (aside from a portion of the 19,999 other vehicles using Rte 3 the same day you are)".

And at page 311: "Unless you're arriving by boat, you can't get to Mount Desert Island without first going through Trenton, straddling Rte. 3 from Ellsworth southward. Restaurants, motels, amusements and gift shops line the congested six-mile strip ...."

Yes I'm sure Chicago is worse, but I rarely vacation there inasmuch as I have lived here all my life.

From the responses MDI doesn't seem to be bad. Thank you.

We're open to other parts of Maine as well, if anyone has any better suggestions. New England is the only part of the U.S. I have never been to.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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8. Re: Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

"through Trenton, straddling Rte. 3 from Ellsworth southward. Restaurants, motels, amusements and gift shops line the congested six-mile strip ...."

That's simply not true. First of all, Trenton is a small area just before the bridge to MDI. Ellsworth is the larger town, which is a market town for much of the Downeast area. It has a Home Depot, Super Wal-Mart, etc. That's as close as the chain stores get to MDI. Route 1 meets Route 3 in Ellsworth and the area is indeed congested. Then you leave Ellsworth and go through a rural area, passing a small airport, some housing, and a few shops before you come to Trenton, a wide spot in the two-lane highway, and then the bridge.

But you travel through that once on your way here and again when you leave. Once on the island, in Bar Harbor, and Acadia there is no strip development and no road-sides congested with tacky amusements. Bar Harbor itself is a village with sidewalks where you can stroll through two beautifully-planted village parks while consuming ice cream or coffee drinks.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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9. Re: Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

O.k. forum fans, here's what the Moon Guide says about Bar Harbor on its web page:

"It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate foil for the beauty of Acadia than this tacky tourist town perched on the right-hand shoulder of Mount Desert Island. Around a central town common are streets clogged with T-shirt shops, ice cream parlors, pizza places, and gift shops. (Need something with a moose, lobster, or blueberry on it? You’ve come to the right place.)

Then again, this is Maine after all, so nothing about the town is too garish. And if you’ve been traveling around the North Woods and craving action and nightlife, this just may be your oasis."

I think there might be a back-hand compliment to Acadia and to Maine in there some place. "streets clogged" eh? We actually have only four streets in the shopping area to clog: Mount Desert, Main, Cottage, and West. I can think of only one pizza place and only three ice cream stores. But, whatever.

Virginia
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10. Re: Mt Desert Island sounds like traffic and tourist perdition

I am getting ready for a trip out west and I am reading the Moon guide for the area. I hope its much more accurate than the Moon guide you read for Acadia.

Yes there is only one road onto the Island. I have vacationed on the Island during all seasons (except Winter) and its never been jammed with traffic. Yes, there is one water slide attraction on the way but it is distant from where you'll be. And finally, yes there is fast food but just the one place, Subway, mentioned already. The rest of the restaurants are all locally owned. And btw, the pizza place (Rosalie's) is fantastic.

Bar Harbor/Acadia is one of my favorite places in the world. There are places in Maine that are more remote but it is far from the zoo that the Moon guide describes.