To the Editor:
It is with disappointment and sadness we announce that Wild Iris Farm will no longer be offering downtown carriage service.
In the six years we have been operating in Bar Harbor, we have witnessed an exponential increase in the number of automobiles, delivery trucks, transportation vans and tour buses in the downtown core. This year, especially, our horses have had difficulty maneuvering around town due to all the traffic.
Zeke, our offside horse, has actually been swiped by a tour bus whose driver refused to share the road. We are thankful that the horse was not injured but shudder to think about what could have been a disastrous incident.
Two weeks ago, as our carriage was headed south on Main Street, a driver blew through the stop sign at the corner of Cottage and Main and made a left turn onto Main Street missing our horses by inches.
The reflexes of Marc Jaffrey, our driver, saved the horses from being hit. I am sure most of you reading this have had similar incidents while driving your cars through downtown during the summer months.
Tour buses are our worst nightmare, as some of them refuse to share the road, drive too fast, swing too wide while turning, back up directly into the horses faces and then leave their engines running so the horses are left to inhale diesel fumes. They literally push us off the road.
While we are blessed to own such unflappable horses, it is obvious to us that each year the horses have become more stressed by the downtown environment. They love to work, but they have lost some of their enthusiasm when in town.
When we started our downtown carriage service, our goal was to provide a classic carriage tour of Bar Harbor to folks living and visiting here, hoping to give each of them a feel of the Bar Harbor that existed in the early 1900s. We encouraged them to sit back and enjoy the peace and tranquility of traveling by carriage, to take the town in and relax.
Our carriages and horses have always been presented in immaculate condition, and it is not unusual for them attract large crowds of people wanting to photograph and touch them. We strongly feel that we have been an asset to the town. In spite of that, our horses are family members to us, and we cannot justify putting them into what is rapidly becoming a dangerous situation.
Both Marc and I want to thank all of the businesses that have been so supportive of our presence in downtown. We owe extra thanks to Eben Salvatore and Tom Walsh of Ocean Properties for allowing us a place to park and an office to run out of. We could have not have operated at all without them.
Our last scheduled day in town will be Oct. 17, weather depending. If you see us go by, please wave and wish us luck – we will miss you all!
on behalf of
Wild Iris Farm