Year round life in Bar Harbor Maine (Bangor, Ellsworth: rentals, hotels)
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Thank you in advance for your responses. Any and all information is greatly appreciated. We are looking to fulfill a long standing dream to move to the state of Maine. We are a family of four with two young children under the age of 5. Both my husband and I have either lived or vacationed throughout our beautiful country, but no place has ever had the feeling of "home", quite like Maine. It seems like the kind the place I want our children to grow up in. I have been trying very hard to remain open minded as to where we live, especially after my husband completed his service to the Navy. Finding work for him has been difficult, as for so many. For me, not so much, as I work in Physical Therapy, and I am very grateful for it. Have vacationed in Maine, mostly in Bar Harbor, on and off during the spring, summer and fall months. Wondering if anyone can describe what it is like to live year round as a resident, not as a vacationer, and as a family with young children. Again, thank you all for taking the time to respond.
Location: 3.5 sq mile island ant nest next to Canada
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Welcome to the forum but mostly, thanks for your service to both of you. I'm retired AF and am greatful to the folks who picked up the torch after I left. Bar Harbor is a nice town as is MDI just filled to the brim most of the year except winter. There are a few on here to let you know what it's like maybe even a new "local" from last fall. There are some great towns around that don't get so crowded.
Winter in Bar Harbor is wonderful. On November 1st almost all the lodging places close. All those big hotels on the way into town, are shuttered and shut down. Only Atlantic Oakes and a few B&Bs stay open. Many of the restaurants close also, although a few stay open on weekends. Lately McKay's has stayed open seven nights a week. And there is always Geddy's for a good lunch. The t-shirt shops close but the drug stores, book store, and grocery stores stay open. A few businesses start making Christmas wreaths for mail order.
The whole town seems to breath a sigh of relief and, once again, people have time to smile at each other on the street and even stop to chat in the grocery store. Women once again start up their stitching groups and get together once a week to knit and chat. People get back on their exercise program and the YMCA offers a Walks and Talks program all winter.
November is usually a fairly mild month, weather-wise. But everyone looks forward to that first nice snowfall. Cadillac Mountain Sports puts out their rental snowshoes and cross country skies. We always fear rain on top of snow so that when there is a good snowfall people rush out to ski the carriage roads while conditions stay good for that.
Every winter seems to have different weather than the winter before. But, generally, we have snow on the ground by mid-December. The lakes are frozen by January and sometimes the ocean freezes at the bridge. In the very depth of winter, days are usually in the 20s and nights in the low teens.
Acadia National Park closes the Loop Road except for a small section that includes Sand Beach and Thunder Hole. Some of the trail head parking lots are kept plowed and you can also park at the gates that close the Loop Road. Hiking is popular all winter long.
Unlike some other parts of the USA, it's quite sunny here on the coast of Maine in the winter. Granted, the sun doesn't rise very high or for very long in the winter. But it lights up the snow and birch trees and the ice flows on some of the rock outcroppings. It's really quite pretty.
We have two or three days each winter when a storm closes school for the day. When that happens the fire whistle in town blows a signal at 6:30, 7:00, and 7:30. Waking up to that sound and the sound of the snow plow going through your neighborhood makes you feel like a little kid again. Yippee!! A day to play in the snow! We seldom lose power in storms and the roads are quickly plowed and salted.
Athough there are very few tourists in town, there are still quite a few people and a nice mix: There are the College of the Atlantic students who resemble the hippies of the 1960s. There are the scientists and support staff at Jackson Lab. There are the business owners who stay in town for the winters -- some do leave. There are young people in their 20s who saved enough by working three jobs in the summer to be able to spend the winter here. There are retired folks. There are the lobstermen, who refit their boats in the winter to do shrimping. And the plumbers and electricians and builders and people who sell things to each other. You don't know everyone in town. But you do begin to see the same faces and know if someone is "one of us hardy winter folk" who belong here.
As a teen and 20 something I found bar harbor to be dreadfully boring during the winter months. I worked there awhile but eventually moved to Bangor and just commuted. Its not a fun commute made even worse by the storm season... growing up on the, island or enjoying small town activities might make it more bearable for your children... having grown up a military brat traveling the world and experiencing such diversity of race and culture i found bar harbor a bit backwards....of course remember I was a much different age when I faced living there year round and didn't grow up on the island.. all experiences. Vary from person to person.. I eventually quit my job and
resolved to enjoy the island as a retreat as opposed to a place to make a home. To this day when I go home to visit my family in Maine I always go to Acadia and look out over the ocean. My experience does not change my opinion that it is one of the.most beautiful places in the world... but I wouldn't want to live there. :-)
There used to be a poster that came to this board - Zarathu - who made the move to Bar Harbor from out of state, I think it may have been PA I don't see him here much now but he could give you some perspective. I believe he may have been here less than a year so far.
Bar Harbor is a beautiful place that i`ve vacationed many times, only downside i could see is the commute traffic if your jobs require you to be traveling off the island via rt3 every day..
Bar Harbor is definitely a beautiful place. There's not a lot going on from November-June, but some prefer and/or look forward to that time of year. Regarding a commute off the island to work, the volume of traffic on Rt. 3 is a challenge during July and August and the weather can slow things down during a snowy Maine winter. Other than smv's, a commute is not that big of a deal the rest of the year....well, factor in your gas mileage and price of gas.
Have you looked at the job opportunities in Hancock County, Maine lately? There are some but I wouldn't use the word abundant...the healthcare field seems to have the most openings... Finding a job that pays enough to support a family of four living year round in Bar Harbor would be a concern to me....maybe even a challenge.
For the benefit of this thread, I decided to see what I could find for rentals. I saw one year round house rental for $800 a month in Manset. I saw several WINTER house rentals in Bar Harbor from $450-$950 a month which would involve finding another place to live during the summer months.
I met a woman who told me that the only reason she could afford to buy a house/home on the island was because of the job her husband had had previously out-of-state. She went on to say that the pay from his current job (in Ellsworth) was equal to what he had previously paid in annual income tax. Not always, but more often than one may realize those who own property on MDI have it because it's been in their family for many generations or they moved in from out-of-state after making a significant amount of money outside of Maine. Some wait until retirement age, sell their out-of-state property and buy property in Maine. At that point, they may be in a position to work part-time, seasonally, or not at all.
Last edited by mainegrl2011; 02-26-2012 at 11:03 AM..
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