The population of Bar Harbor at the time of the 2000 census was 4,820 and the population of the “Village,” as locals refer to the town itself, is estimated to be only 2,800. Compare that with the 3,080-passenger capacity of a Caribbean Princess cruise ship, one of which will drop anchor here tomorrow, and it’s no wonder that local retailers pray for anchors the way farmers pray for rain.
This fact became clear to me this morning in conversation with the owner of the Opera House Internet Cafe. He speaks fluently of liners and their capacities and the habits of their passengers. Roughly 100 cruise ships visit Bar Harbor each year between May and October, disgorging their passengers at 9 a.m. and sucking them back up before sunset. The contrast of these violent influxes with the sleepy shops and taverns that line Bar Harbor’s tiny business district (all four city blocks of it), is startling, to say the least.
But the natives don’t complain. Quite the contrary. It was recently announced that the Cunard Queen Mary 2 (QM2) will arrive November 1 and that fact alone caused the Opera House owner to move his end-of-season closing date from October 26 to November 2. His cashier just wishes the passengers wouldn’t bring so many large bills.
I think I have a routine now. Routines are comforting. The one I have here is basically this: breakfast at Two Cats, several hours of design work at the Opera House, groceries at Hannaford, lunch and reading at Otter Cove, blog back at The Villager. That’s what I did today, anyway, and it worked quite well.
Read the 2009 cruise ship schedule for Bar Harbor as PDF.