The First Month On The Island

It’s after work on a Friday. I just got off work. The day is fading away, the streets are full of people from away. There’s a cool breeze flowing into our windows bringing the smell of the different restaurants with it some nights, other nights it switches and blows the smell of the ocean in, but every night I get a beautiful view of the sun setting over Main Street and Frenchman Bay. This morning I climbed in one of the Northeast’s finest climbing spots, tomorrow I’m going to hike a few mountains before work. The next day… well we don’t really ever plan that far ahead. What are we, adults?

I’ve been living on Mount Desert Island for close to a month now. Every single day I have to wake up and remind myself where we are. This is real. This is where I live. I visited the Island a good amount earlier in my life, but this new familiarity I have with it makes every little detail fresh and exciting.

The thing about places with a lot of visitors, such as Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, and even my old home of Old Orchard Beach to a smaller extent, is that anyone who stays around longer than a week is already more of a “local” then 90% of the people you run into. People stop in the shop a dozen times a day in search of a “local’s recommendation” on everything from restaurants to hikes as they try to squeeze everything the Island has to offer in their short weekend vacation. And although I am more “local” than most of my fellow employees, as I’m actually the only native Mainer out of the new staff members (even calling myself a “native Mainer” is a stretch for some), I can tell them where to get a decent lobster roll or a hike that requires little effort for good views and a solid Instagram post, and some of the other “secrets” of the Island I’ve stumbled on since getting here. Before long I start to feel like a grizzled old Island lifer, with a long salt and pepper beard and an old lobster boat named after my terrible wife.

Then I remind myself I’m not the guy from the Gorton’s Fish Sticks box, I can’t even grow a beard, and I’ve been here less than two months.

But just the sensation of feeling like a permanent person in a place that is very temporary for almost everyone, including myself until recently, is a wildly unique feeling that makes this all new and exciting while also feeling like I know what’s going on around here and have a more intimate relationship with the Island than most.

As for the fun stuff we’ve done, I’ll try to stick to chronological order but it’s been a whirlwind of a month.

I moved here a few weeks ago. In the beginning, it was just myself and two other workers in our shops, which meant we spent a lot of time just looking at each other as the clock slowly ticked off time and we slightly less slowly descended into madness. It rained just about nonstop for the first two weeks I was here, so I decided to take it easy and not get into any big hikes or anything too cool in an effort to save it for brighter days.

So I ran around the Island finding all the climbing spots, scouting out routes to climb, repeated some old hikes, and generally gave myself full blown cabin fever.

I moved into our apartment right on Main Street in Bar Harbor, which is something I’m still getting used to. I’ve never had the front of my house featured on the front of postcards, but it’s still cool to see every time. I’ve also never been able to see cruise ships or massive tour buses from my window, which is slightly less cool, but equally fascinating.

Since then I’ve done a handful of hikes around the park; The Bubbles, The Beehive, The Great Head, Cadillac Mountain, Gorham Mountain, and Dorr Mountain. I’ve eaten at some excellent restaurants, including the world-famous and shockingly expensive Jordan Pond House where I really flexed my financial muscle and treated myself to a post-hike lunch of a single popover and two cups of hot tea.

But what it’s been about for me is the climbing. Boy… the climbing!

I loved indoor rock climbing (and still do for what it is) but there’s nothing like climbing outside. I’ve made it my goal to dispatch all the classic Acadia routes before the end of summer and I’ve made some decent progress in a few short weeks. I won’t go into a ton of details since I know a lot of folks who read this are less than climbing literate (which is fine) and it won’t be very interesting. But soon I’ll write out an intro to climbing post so we’re all on the same page since I feel like they’ll be a lot more climbing based trips in my future.

Now that the craziness of moving and settling in is finished, I’ll get back to giving the love it needs. We’re headed out to the Cutler Coast tomorrow for some camping on Maine’s Bold Coast, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Thanks to the awesome company I work for, I have the same days off every week and can plan on getting into some pretty wild stuff.

Thanks for reading, and as always, live deliberately.

Until next time,





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2 Comments Add yours

  1. lulu says:

    Since you like climbing you should meet Eli Simon who has Atlantic Climbing School in Bar Harbor.


  2. Allyson Estes says:

    I lived and worked in Bar Harbor many, MANY years ago. I loved it at the beginning of the season, but by August…man, oh man, was I sick of it. Too many people, too many stupid questions, etc. I was always thankful to get back to teaching when it was time for the school year to start!


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