Food and Farewell to Friends
Throughout history, the concept of gathering with people and sharing food is well documented. It is a combination used to celebrate, to mourn, to nourish and to remember. With that idea in mind, you might imagine we would have several opportunities to gather with friends and enjoy food as our summer adventure workamping in the Bar Harbor, ME area. Here are a couple of those occasions:
- September 28, 2017: Mexican Fiesta
What started as a passing remark during a typical day in the world of customer service at Acadia Bike & Coastal Kayaking turned into a fun event at Narrows Too Campground that was enjoyed by all. Let me explain. With Labor Day in the rearview mirror and October right around the corner, the end of the season was coming into focus for the workers at Acadia Bike & Coastal Kayaking. With Mike and Annette slated to be the first workampers at Narrows Too to finish their commitment and head South for the Winter, the idea of one last get together was raised. Bonnie and Karen were the first to hatch the idea during some down minutes behind the counter. It may have started as a goodbye for Mike and Annette, but eventually evolved into a chance to celebrate a season well done. With 19 workampers who worked for Glenn Tucker in many capacities staying at Narrows Too Campground it only seemed natural that the club house at Narrows Too (aka The Beached Whale) was a fitting location. Once it was determined that the theme would be Mexican, it was easy for everybody to sign up and commit to bringing a Mexican dish to the gala. It didn’t matter if you brought a bottle of champagne (Thanks Chase!), taco meat, cornbread, or a bag of tortilla chips, the goal was to celebrate the camaraderie and friendship that had been established throughout the summer. We ended up with about 40 people in attendance, tons of food to eat, and we even had our own DJ! (Thanks Eric for sharing your DJ equipment and skills! Who would have known a bike mechanic could double as a DJ?) The conversation was good, food was great, dancing by some, and the night ended around a fire ring outside the building. Thanks Bonnie and Karen for the idea! Thanks everyone for the execution!
- October 1, 2017: Farewell Dinner w/ Mike and Annette
Ok, this one didn’t have the number of attendees like we had at the Mexican Fiesta, but that definitely didn’t make it any less important. Mike and Annette worked their last day at Acadia Bike & Coastal Kayaking on Saturday, September 30, and planned on pulling out of Narrows Too Campground on Monday, October 2. So that made the evening of Sunday, October 1, the perfect time for one final dinner with Mike and Annette before they departed. We’re still not 100% sure that all of the employees at Acadia Bike & Coastal Kayaking are aware that Annette and I are siblings! So obviously this was more than a good bye and thanks for a fun summer. Our full-time RV adventure closely mirrors that of Mike and Annette. This whole crazy idea started coming to life when we traveled with Mike and Annette to Sevierville, TN for an RV-Dreams Rally in the Spring of 2015. We helped each other as our houses were sold and possessions were eliminated. We threw around ideas on fifth wheel trailers before our purchases and spent time together as we moved into our new homes. Earlier this year we hung out with them for a couple of weeks at the Seminole Indian Reservation in the Florida Everglades. And yes, who could forget the RV shows in Florida and Hershey, PA! So this dinner was not really a “nice to meet you, safe travels”, it was more of a “thanks for a great summer, till our paths cross again”.
Our choice for dinner was a restaurant on Cottage St. in Bar Harbor, the Finback Ale House. It had been on Betsy and my list of places to try because of good reviews and the presence of several gluten free selections. With the season in Bar Harbor winding down, we were able to be seated quickly. As we waited on our food, we had fun reviewing some of the highlights from our summer. If we hadn’t mentioned it earlier, Mike and Annette have committed to returning next summer to do this all over again! Our meals arrived with a generous portion of fish & chips for Annette, lobster alfredo for Mike, a burger on a gluten free roll for me, and a chicken cobb salad for my non-seafood eating wife. She really has tried it several times, she’s just not a fan. With our bellies full, we called it a night and headed back to Narrows Too. Mike and Annette’s last night. We’ll miss our friendly neighbors!
- October 12, 2017: Bitter End Party
What a great name for a work gathering! The Bitter End Party! As the season draws to a close, we slowly see RV’s departing from Narrows Too Campground and we see other employees saying it is their last day at work. Yes, the end is near. Our work commitment at Acadia Bike & Coastal Kayaking is until October 15, which seems to be a common date for other workers too. This date coincides with the last day of kayak tours at our company. As the air and water temperatures cool, kayaking becomes more difficult since our kayak guides use the 100 degree rule to decide if a kayak tour should go out on the water. The 100 degree rule is simple; the air and water temps must add up to at least 100 degrees in order for a tour to go out.
The last cruise ship of the season is scheduled to arrive in Frenchman’s Bay on Wednesday, November 1. That will officially mark the end of the season. But with the majority of employees working until at least October 15, the flyers were circulated with a date of October 12 for the Annual Bitter End Party. Glenn Tucker, owner extraordinaire of Acadia Bike & Coastal Kayaking, springs for dinner and drinks for all of his employees at a local establishment, The Thirsty Whale, in celebration of the “Bitter End”. Definitely a very generous act by a generous man. Our group totaled 40 to 50 patrons as we took over the back half of the restaurant and bar. It definitely worked out for Betsy and I since we were able to check off another establishment in Bar Harbor we were hoping to try during our stay. Betsy enjoyed a Buffalo Chicken Salad and I indulged in a broiled piece of haddock with cole slaw. The food was good, but was not as good as the conversation we had with new friends and old friends. (Ok, not saying your OLD Jay and Karen, I meant you were old friends of ours!)
We said our goodbyes to some people who were leaving the next morning, safe travels Phil & Sue and Bob & Pam! All in all, it was a great night with great people. Not quite the bitter end, but definitely bitter sweet. We were happy for the opportunity to spend the summer with this group, but sad to say goodbye to them.