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A successful summer, but questions linger for Bar Harbor’s fall tourist season

Labor Day Weekend in Bar Harbor was foggy, but still as busy as ever.
Labor Day Weekend in Bar Harbor was foggy, but still as busy as ever.(Bryan Sidelinger)
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - Another Labor Day weekend has come and gone in Bar Harbor, taking with it the summer tourist season.

By all accounts, both were were a success in 2021.

“Everyone was upbeat, happy to be here,” said Eben Salvatore, Director of Operations for Bar Harbor Hotels. “The restaurants and shops really appreciated the traffic, hotels were were full or close to it so that’s always a good sign, weather was good enough for the campgrounds to not have issues. So it was all in all a good weekend.”

“We had a really good year overall and Labor Day was really great as well,” added Annex and Yellow House Bed & Breakfast owner Jena Young. “It was ahead of 2019, and that could be attributed to a lot of factors but we’re really just glad to see that people feel comfortable traveling and that we’re able to safely serve them.”

“We never got that post Memorial Day lag,” Salvatore said. “It stayed busy and kept on staying busy and this is the day that it stops and then we reset for the fall.”

Resetting for the fall means looking ahead to a second straight year without cruise ships for the months of September and October, and there is a mix of optimism and uncertainty about what the fall tourist season will look like.

“I think it’s going to be just as busy as it has been,” said John Willett, of the Sea Dog Gift Shop and Acadia Boat Tours. “Particularly because Maine is among the most protected states in the country as far as COVID is concerned, I believe people are seeing the maps and they’re going, ‘That’s a good place for us to travel.’”

“We really push through not only Columbus Day weekend but the MDI marathon weekend which has passed that,” Young added. “So we are so fortunate to have that extra boost, plus with the park and the leaves, there’s so much that draws people here. We just have to hope that that will continue through the fall and it’s a little bit of a wild card right now.”

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