TO SEE 2016 WINTER FESTIVAL EVENTS, SEE UPDATE.
UPDATED 5/16/15: Schoodic Woods campground opening moved to Sept. 1
(See Acadia on My Mind’s new page for Schoodic Peninsula year-round lodging, restaurants, shopping)
But increasingly, the only section of the park on the mainland is becoming a four-season draw for educators, students, citizen scientists, researchers, birders, families with young children, artists and others.
Among the reasons for the growth of activity:
- A full calendar of events by the Schoodic Institute, a non-profit that partners with Acadia National Park to manage the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC) campus, including its first-ever Winter Festival, Feb. 19 – Feb. 22; regular birding tours; scientific conferences; and continuing education courses. Something is going on nearly every month of the year.
- A conference center with dining facilities and overnight lodging for more than 100, available for scientific, educational or corporate gatherings on the SERC campus
- An in-season transportation network that lets visitors take a ferry from Bar Harbor, and then the fare-free Island Explorer around the Schoodic section of the park, and to Winter Harbor, Birch Harbor and Prospect Harbor.
New Schoodic Woods campground opening Aug. 1
And things promise to get even busier, as a result of the following:
- A new privately owned but park-run Schoodic Woods campground with 96 tent and RV sites is opening Aug. 1 on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to www.recreation.gov. Once construction is complete, there will be a day-use parking lot for about 100 cars, bike paths, hiking trails, a welcome center, amphitheater, picnic pavilions and limited staff housing.
- Park officials have expressed an interest in seeing expanded Bar-Harbor-to-Schoodic ferry service and Island Explorer routes on the peninsula, to help accommodate increased visitation expected with the Acadia Centennial in 2016, and growing cruise ship traffic letting off passengers on Mount Desert Island.
Once all the plans are in place, hopefully Schoodic Peninsula will still have that sense of being far removed from the hustle and bustle of Bar Harbor or, as the Schoodic Chamber of Commerce describes it, “Uncrowded. Unspoiled. Savor the Unexpected.”
And hopefully, the local economy will get a boost from the additional activity.
Schoodic Peninsula the quieter side of Acadia National Park
Several years ago, during the July weekend that President Barack Obama and his family visited Acadia, we stayed in Winter Harbor to avoid the crowds, doing the reverse commute on the Schoodic-to-Bar-Harbor ferry, and taking the Island Explorer to the hiking trails at Sieur de Monts.
It’s a route that few others have travelled, and a quieter side of Acadia that the crowds don’t know about.
From our room at the MainStay, we had a view of the harbor and lobster boats at work, and were just steps away from the ferry to Bar Harbor and the Island Explorer. Down the street was fresh seafood at Chase’s Restaurant. And a short ride away was the Schoodic section of the park.
That same Schoodic small-town feel is what Arthur Frommer – yes, that Frommer, of Frommer’s travel guides – appreciated when he and his wife rented the Captain Bickford House for 9 days in Winter Harbor last summer, according to the Schoodic Chamber’s Web site.
Summer, winter, spring or fall, Schoodic is a special place. May it always be far from the madding crowd, even as more visitors discover it with this week’s Winter Carnival, the new Schoodic Woods campground opening Aug. 1, and other year-round happenings.
New blog page to feature year-round Schoodic businesses
In appreciation of Schoodic, and as a public service to visitors and local businesses, we here at Acadia on My Mind are working on the next addition to our page, Acadia National Park Year-Round Lodging, Restaurants, to feature businesses in the Schoodic area.
So stay tuned!