• Debra Berry

Bar Harbor: July 8, 2021

I have been in Baa Haabor for a little over a week now. I am well settled into my little pod and quite comfortable. Within the “apartment” there are two pods, each pod has two living spaces, and both pods share a bathroom, and we all share a kitchenette. So in total there are four of us living in an “apartment.” I place the word “apartment” in quotes to emphasize it’s not what we think of as an apartment, however it’s livable and manageable.

I have three “apartment” mates. Robyn, from Missouri and probably in her mid 50s, shares a pod with me. She came here to be part of a missionary team that serves in Acadia. She works in a shop in the Southside, the quiet side of the island. We seem to pass each other and that’s about it. I think she is busy with work and her mission team. Carol is from Arkansas, a retired RN, and near my age. She works in the Southside also. Carol and I have connected the most, no surprise huh! We have been out walking and exploring around town and find lots to talk about. Nicole, is 39 and from Vermont via New Jersey. She also works at the same shop as me. We have a lot to share around our interest in spirituality and self-development. So far, we are finding our way of living together without too much drama. I am the recycle girl here. So, I haul the recycle when I start work at 8:00 AM, so I don’t have to drag it through the crowds.

I have discovered people do this lifestyle, working seasonally throughout the country and throughout the year. It’s pretty amazing. Nicole has done this for years. The manager, at the shop where I work, has also done so. She just settled in Bar Harbor a year ago. I am not sure I’m ready to commit to such a lifestyle. It sounds fun with opportunities to travel and lots of experiences, but let me tell you it’s work!

Let me tell you about the work. I work eight to nine hours a day. Eventually, I’ll have two days off together. I work hard! The Acadia Shop is the flag store for the eight shops under the umbrella of The Acadia Shops. My store is the biggest. It’s two stories and full of t-shirts, food products from Bar Harbor and Maine, art from local artists, all kinds of clothing, and lots of other tourist pleasing paraphernalia. Let me tell you, I have folded and refolded t-shirts and sweatshirts until my hands ache. I lift and haul cases of Blueberry soda, yes it’s a thing, and root beer. I expect I'll have “guns” when I return home. Working the cash register is interesting. Let me also tell you, people are spending lots of money. They don't even blink, when they pay $4.99 for a small pad of post-it like pads with something Bar Harbor on it. I was told the shops are running 160 percent over anticipated income.

Bar Harbor is busy! People and cars are everywhere. I have learned that the amount of people here at this time of year is way up. The stores are not usually this busy until August, and they have been like this almost from opening in April.

I must talk about parking, it’s unreal. You can mark at a meter, if you can find an open spot for two hour segments. I have a parking permit, so I have to park in one of the permit areas, which are side streets. Again, it’s a challenge to find a spot, but I am learning when “low tide” parking may exist. I am also required to move my car to a different spot every 72 hours. Once I find a spot to park, I still have, on average, a six to eight block walk to get to my apartment.

I walk everywhere. The shop is only two blocks away and the grocery store is six blocks. I have walked the shoreline, which is a beautiful walk about a half mile along the shore line. I am going to get in my car tomorrow and head to Ellsworth, the closest town off the island, to do some less expensive grocery shopping. I don’t mind walking, however I will also be shopping for more walking shoes. I thought I was good, however two pairs just doesn’t cut it when you are in them the number of hours a day I am. Even my shoes need a break.

Oh, a quick note about the 4th of July here. There was a parade in the morning even though it was cloudy and misting. Fireworks over Frenchman’s Bay were postponed until the following night, but it was worth the wait. It was a beautiful evening with clear skies and cool weather. There was a herd of people in the park by the bay, but I found myself a comfy spot on a bench and enjoyed them immensely.

Almost time to head out to work for the day. Stay tuned, I’ll share more with you as my time here continues.

Love from Baa Haabor xoxox!

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