To the Editor:
I hope that this message to Bar Harbor residents will be received in the best spirit because that is the spirit in which it was written. This is, perhaps, a message of some importance, and it’s about the town we all love.
For over seventy years, I have been in Bar Harbor, first because my two grandmothers were in Bar Harbor during the summer, and, of course, we grandchildren loved to visit them. Some time later, in 1989-90, I purchased a home to live in Bar Harbor year-round.
Bar Harbor has historically been the service center for much of the rest of the island. It’s where people have printing jobs done at First Express, shop for books at Sherman’s, purchase excellent outdoor gear at Cadillac Mountain Sports, find magnificent natural stones at Willis Rock Shop, pick up cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, have work done on their cars, find gardening supplies, and shop for beautiful hand-made island crafts.
This situation may change because Bar Harbor seems to be taking every possible action to turn away fellow islanders, including: the installation of parking meters so that we must pay to do our shopping, and allowing massive crowds of cruise ship passengers (as many as 5,500 visitors per day to a town of only 4,000-plus people).
For the residents of many other Mount Desert Island towns, Ellsworth is only an additional ten minutes drive, and more and more of us are doing it.
Wake up, Bar Harbor. Land-based visitors are finding other, less stressful places to visit, and fellow islanders are driving the additional ten minutes to a city which offers far more services and much less aggravation.
Nobody ever dreamed that the elegant summer colony of the 1920s and 30s would eventually disappear. But it did. Now nobody can imagine a time when Bar Harbor’s vibe will drive away the local island people, as well as many land-based visitors, but it can, and probably will.
Here’s a way to help solve one of our major challenges. Bar Harbor voters have a chance to finally set a reasonable limit on cruise ship visitation. Article 5 will prohibit berthing piers for large cruise ships anywhere in town. This common-sense prohibition will prevent the town from being even more overwhelmed by thousands more visitors. Please vote yes on Article 5.
Anne Marie V. Quin