Among the late, great Yogi Berra’s unwitting witticisms is the statement that “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Time was when the tourist season on Mount Desert Island came to a screeching halt on Labor Day. A favorite pastime was to head up to Thompson Island late on Monday afternoon to catch a glimpse of the last recreational vehicle departing with the obligatory wooden lobster trap on the roof.
Over the past decade or so, the season has lengthened steadily. First staying strong to Columbus Day, it now, thanks to events such as the Night Sky Festival, MDI Marathon, numerous cruise ship visits and the Chamber of Commerce’s Pajama Sale and Bed Races, stays strong right through early November.
As busy as it has been this summer, it is reasonable to expect that there will be time to catch our collective breaths now that area schools have reopened and the last major three-day weekend of the year has passed. But if there is one thing this record season should have taught us by now, it is that we should not expect any lulls until much later in the year.
Because of robust national promotional and marketing efforts in recent years, coupled with the extra attention of Acadia National Park and the National Park Service’s centennials, this year undoubtedly will go down as the best ever.
Sure, the nature and disposition of the typical visitor shifts with the seasons. Often autumn is characterized by a quieter, more contemplative crowd. “Help wanted” signs have reappeared in shop and restaurant windows as college students have returned to school and positions go unfilled. Those with a keen eye may notice spots of colored foliage beginning to appear on area hillsides. But we’re not done yet.
The pattern this year is a long, long way from the days of rolling up the sidewalks, shuttering the shops and turning off the streetlights on Main Street after Labor Day.