Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bar Harbor - you can't win them all

A street load of kitschy stores and not much more
In England, "After the Lord Mayor's show comes the dust cart" is a well known expression. What it means is that following any cavalcade of dignitaries with their horses and carriages the next act is usually the guy with a bucket and shovel. New York, always a tough act to follow, certainly reduces Bar Harbor to the figurative manure man,
First settled by Europeans in 1763 and incorporated in 1796 as Eden, it was renamed Bar Harbor in 1918. In the late 19th century the town serendipitously became a summer playground for the super-affluent including J D Rockefeller, Jr., J P Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt and the Astor family. A month long fire in 1947 however, razed much of the town to the ground including 60 or 70 of the 10,000 sq ft rich and famous summer "cottages" and nearly 200 regular dwellings. Since then, the town has been graced by lesser luminaries such as Martha Stewart and John Travolta while the big names have moved on.
With a current population of a little over 5,000, Bar Harbor appears to survive today on general tourism, promotion of local sporting events and a cruise ship a day in the summer months, all served up in endless kitschy restaurants and stores. See here for more views.

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