Deja view. That is the only thing I can think to describe how I feel about Mount Dessert Campground.
A bit of history is in order. When I was a kid my family spent several weeks in the summers at Hermit Island Campground outside of Bath, Maine. I was so enamored with Hermit Island that I begged my parents to let me work there if they would have a 13 year old kid. Fortunately for me they would have me and I started out that summer as an area boy, cleaning campsites, picking up trash and cleaning bathrooms for $25 a week plus room and board. Over the years I graduated from an area boy to outside the store, cooking lobsters, selling clams and ice. Then I graduated to the reservations desk, greeting campers, taking phone calls, making reservations and taking turns cashing up at the end of the day. Finally I graduated to general manager, responsible for day to operations of the campground.
Hermit Island was one of the first campgrounds you could call an ecological resort before we knew what ecological resorts were. The campground specialized in “primitive” camping: no electric, no RV’s, pit toilets, no hot showers. Just beautiful, natural campsites on the coast of Maine, many overlooking the ocean with gorgeous views, others right down on the beach. People camping at Hermit Island came back to the same site year after year, generation after generation.
For a kid like me it was an education. I learned many of my interpersonal and business skills at Hermit Island. I also learned the value of the natural world, nature unspoiled by commercialization. Hermit Island still holds fast to many of those values all these 50 plus years later. There are more rules, the prices have gone up and there are flush toilets and hot showers. But the commitment to nature, family and quiet primitive camping continues.
Mount Dessert Campground is like a trip back 50 years for me. The commitment to natural, peaceful family camping is obvious from my conversations with Owen, one of the family owners of this campground. His history is much like mine. He grew up camping here and when the opportunity arose, his family purchased the campground with a commitment to keep it as it is today – a gorgeous, natural place with beautiful campsites and spotless facilities. Their commitment to their campers is obvious in the care they take of the campground and in the positive, friendly staff that greet you everywhere you go.
And much like Hermit Island, the same people come back year after year, to the same site. In fact we met one couple who were here for their 20th year on the same site. And according to the owners this is pretty common. And the best sites are already booked for the summer season – reserve early or take your chances.
This campground is adjacent to Acadia National Park so access to the park hiking and biking is easy. Cell service here is excellent (but get your nose out of your phone and enjoy the natural beauty all around you).
So if you want a taste of real camping – no RV’s invited – then give Mount Dessert Campground a try. They are one of the finest private campgrounds I have stayed at. Beware, once the summer season starts dogs are prohibited but if you come early before the vacation season or after Labor Day dogs are still welcome. And an added bonus is their rates are very reasonable. Highly recommended.