Tourism promotion seems definitely in order in regard to our North East Bay and the Schoodic Peninsula in particular. This is an exceptional area that was discovered by tourists and rusticators already in the 19th century when large hotels were erected on that side of Frenchman Bay. Today most tourists flock to Mount Desert Island and never enjoy the remarkable scenery and quaint old towns and fishing villages across the bay. There is no vista comparable in beauty anywhere in the eastern half of our nation like the view from the National Scenic Byway, our Coastal Route 1, as it runs through Hancock, Sullivan and Gouldsboro, but how many have viewed it? The western extension of Acadia National Park includes wonderful ocean frontage, camp sites and far less traffic, but how many visitors realize it is there to enjoy?
I have seen 30-second TV ads recently for Nova Scotia and Myrtle Beach, but nothing promoting the real Maine, which is east of Ellsworth. Is it not time for local governments and merchants to draw attention to what our area has to offer? With more sunny days than foggy MDI, with lakes, mountains, a national park and seashore the North East Bay deserves much more appreciation than it seems to get.
Consider our climate. In the summer we probably are the coolest area in the Eastern United States. Already in June the Midwest and mid-Atlantic have had temperatures in the 90s and even reaching 100, and the heat dome over much of the country lasts through summer while the Schoodic Peninsula never gets out of the 80s! These advantages of the area should be made widely known, but even Maine state tourism gives little heed to anything this far up the coast except for Bar Harbor and the main section of the park.
Incredibly, the newest edition of the travel guide AAA puts out to cover Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont has shrunk to a third its size of 10 years ago. The towns of Hancock, Sullivan, Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor get no coverage at all. Thus the businesses, including good restaurants and charming inns, do not attract the customers they might. Is it not time to insist that the state of Maine starts promoting this less known but wonderful area to the world? Officials, chambers of commerce, and local business people ought to get organized and demand their fair share of publicity and their lucrative tourist business of Maine.
Barbara S. Lesko