Why fight the crowds for a run-of-the-shopping-mall present, when you could surprise that special someone with an out-of-the-ordinary Maine or Acadia holiday gift?
Whether you want to support local business, help raise funds for charity, or bring memories of Maine and Acadia home for the holidays, here are some of our favorite ideas.
And as we’re sponsoring the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, to help raise funds for charity and provide a virtual tour of the 26 peaks of Acadia and the real-life course of the MDI Marathon & Half and Millinocket Marathon & Half (being held Dec. 2 this year), we also include that in this round-up of Maine-themed gift ideas.
Acadia National Park annual pass – Available for purchase year-round online, the park makes it available at half price in the month of December – $35 vs. $70 this year – but only in person at the park and locations in and around Bar Harbor. According to the National Park Service, the discounted pass will be available for sale at the Sand Beach Entrance Station, which accepts credit cards; chambers of commerce in Bar Harbor and Ellsworth; Harbor House in Southwest Harbor, where the Southwest Harbor & Tremont chamber is selling passes; and town offices in Gouldsboro, Mount Desert, Tremont and Winter Harbor. Payment by cash, check, debit or credit is accepted at the Sand Beach station, but you’ll want to check what methods of payment are accepted elsewhere. In the past, local town offices and chambers have accepted only cash or check payable to the National Park Service because they sell the half-price passes as a service. The annual pass is an Acadia holiday gift that keeps giving for 12 months – what a deal!
Friends of Acadia gift membership – By giving a gift membership, you would provide a year’s worth of membership benefits to a family member or friend, including a subscription to Acadia magazine, the Friends of Acadia journal, six note cards, and a window decal. Gift membership starts at $40, and also helps support the nonprofit that does so much for Acadia National Park. And if you want to contribute independent of a gift membership, you can donate by making a one-time tribute gift, donating a car, or supporting businesses that donate a percentage of sales to the non-profit.
A smorgasbord of authentic Maine and Acadia holiday gift ideas
Moose prints – Few things say Maine like moose, but while you’re unlikely to see one of these magnificent mammals in Acadia, you can easily find them in the Katahdin region, as Millinocket wildlife photographer Mark Picard has so amazingly documented. You can also order gift cards, sign up for photo workshops and order fine art prints online at Moose Prints Gallery & Gifts. The gallery and gift shop is also one of the pre- and post-race warming stations for the Millinocket Marathon & Half, being run Dec. 2 this year. The shop has reserved a limited supply of Picard’s ever-popular moose calendar, featured by BBC and PBS, for purchase in-person by runners and locals. And if you are more into iconic Maine birds than mammals, there are some wonderful photos of loons taken by Mark’s partner, Anita Mueller, for purchase. Photos can be ordered in sizes ranging from 12″ x 8″ to 24″ x 16″; on fine art paper, canvas or metal; and just the print alone, framed or matted. On the shop’s website you can also upload an image of the room where you would like to hang the photo, to see how it’ll look.
Hiking guides to Acadia – We’re partial to Hiking Acadia National Park, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award, and Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park, of course, as we’re authors of these guides. And our Coastal Trails of Maine, including Acadia National Park last year won the Independent Publisher Book Award’s Silver Medal. You can find autographed copies of our books at Sherman’s in Bar Harbor, as we regularly stop in to sign the books on hand. You can also find copies at Amazon.com and elsewhere. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links)
Acadia-themed gifts – America’s National Parks(TM) store, a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service that runs the bookstore at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, features such Acadia-themed gifts as stickers, T-shirts, hats, posters and maps on its online shop. There’s currently free shipping on $75 or more on orders sent to the 48 contiguous US states, and guaranteed delivery by Christmas if ordered by Dec. 15. Here are some of our favorites depicted below. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about affiliated partner links)
Holiday gifts to support Katahdin area charities, other nonprofits
For almost as long as we’ve been fans of Acadia, we’ve been fans of the Katahdin region, having climbed the mountains of Baxter State Park as well as those of Acadia National Park. And since we’ve been sponsoring the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, we’ve had even more reason to want to support the region and its businesses and organizations. Here are some Katahdin area holiday gift ideas if you, too, have an affinity for the region.
Friends groups – Similar to the nonprofit that supports Acadia National Park, there’s the Friends of Baxter State Park and the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters that you can make an honorary gift for the holidays. The Friends of Baxter is even holding a fundraising auction of historic state park signs, with the last bids accepted on Dec. 1 at 10 p.m. And if you have a Maine fan on your shopping list who loves plants, there’s “The Plants of Baxter State Park,” published by the University of Maine Press in association with Baxter State Park, the Friends of Baxter State Park, and Maine Natural History Observatory, available on Amazon.com or the Friends’ online store. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links)
And if you’re looking for an alternative way to gift for the holidays, either because the person on your list doesn’t need anything, you want to avoid wasteful consumerism or want something other than the usual Acadia holiday gift ideas, here are some ideas for charities with national park, Mount Desert Island or Millinocket area themes:
National Parks Traveler – The leading source of national park news, National Parks Traveler is a nonprofit that produces features, investigative reports, policy analyses and other news and features that are increasingly hard to find in this day and age of journalism on the decline. We’ve written for National Parks Traveler and also support its mission.
Historical societies and other area nonprofits – Among some area nonprofits in the Acadia and Katahdin regions: 1) Mount Desert Island Historical Society; 2) Bar Harbor Historical Society; 3) Millinocket Memorial Library; 4) Our Katahdin; and 5) Millinocket Historical Society.
Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race and other special gift ideas
It’s easy to join the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race
What are virtual races, you ask? They let people from anywhere in the USA or the world sign up to run, hike, walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski or log other forms of miles, whether to raise funds for charity, earn a finisher’s medallion or just set a fitness goal. Races can include technology-driven virtual routes that allow participants to see their progress, get a Google photo of their virtual location and check out the competition online, such as in the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race. Or it can be as simple as allowing people to record their mileage via the honor system in order to get a medal in the mail. There are different themes for virtual races with medals, and even Disney runs them.
- Sign up with your name and e-mail at this registration page
- Race runs from July 1 through Dec. 31
- You can track your daily miles any way you like, and can backdate them to July 1
- Log your miles on the race page
- Racery will keep track of fun stats like your total mileage and miles per week
Thanks to Racery’s virtual race platform, which has powered our virtual challenges since 2016. In addition to virtual races for charity fundraising like ours, Racery hosts many company virtual fitness challenges. Race hosts can use Racery for a virtual swim in the English Channel, a virtual walk on the Moon, or an Everest virtual stair challenge.
Some gifts to plan an Acadia trip, and for book-lovers on your list
Featured below are some of the many Acadia titles on our personal bookshelf, covering everything from history to geology, art to photography, botany to carriage roads. The next best thing to being in Acadia is planning the next trip, or reading about the special place. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links)