Thursday, July 05, 2007


Ottawa to Bar Harbor Part 4: Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home

We chose Bar Harbor randomly. I'd just finished booking our annual Free Camping Weekend through the KOA in the 1000 Islands, and was futzing about with the KOA website, idly thinking in the March chill of sunny summer days. So when we chose Bar Harbor, we already had camping - cabin camping, that is - in mind. And when we saw that the cabins had ocean views, that sealed the deal. When we decided to add a third night in Bar Harbor, it was cheaper and easier to simply book a hotel room in town, so we did.

In retrospect, I might have cut the camping part out of the vacation and just gone with the Bar Harbor Motel for all three nights. We liked the "Kamping Lodge", as the KOA called it, because it was spotlessly clean, right on the water, had a separate bed and living space, and a small kitchen including range-top, fridge and microwave. The campground itself had all the usual amenities, but the pool was in a second campground a five minute drive away, so we never got around to using it.

The KOA itself was easy to find, as it was literally the first thing we saw once we crossed off the mainland onto Mount Desert Island (Bar Harbor and maybe half a dozen other small towns populate the island, along with Acadia National Park.) So close were we to the highway that we could see the tail-lights of the cars waiting at the stoplight as they crossed the bridge from our campsite. But we had to bring our own sleeping bags, pillows and towels, which took up a LOT of room in the car. And sleeping in four places over five nights made us feel a little too nomadic and homeless.

No real regrets, but if I had to do it all over again, I think I'd stick with the motel. It too was spotlessly clean, and we happened to score a room directly across from the small playground and a pool that we never had a chance to enjoy. It also had a small fridge in the room, and the employees could give lessons in hospitality to the KOA folks. It was also half the price per night of the KOA - but of course, without the ocean (well, Western Bay) view.

The biggest plus about the motel was that it was actually in town, instead of a 10 mile drive. They have a wonderful shuttle system set up in Bar Harbor called the Island Explorer, and we could hop on the shuttle from our motel and be in the Village Green within 10 minutes. They run every half hour in the early part of the day and every 15 minutes in the afternoon and evening. The best part? Free.

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