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Moving to MDI

After a wonderful vacation in Acadia National Park, it's easy to slip into a fantasy about moving to Mount Desert Island permanently. Here on the island outdoor activities extend year-round, including cross-country skiing on the carriage roads and ice skating on Long Pond. There's even an informal group of hiking enthusiasts known as Footloose Friends who hit the trails every Tuesday morning. In cold weather it's become a group tradition to gather at a member's house after the hike for hot soup, sandwiches, and coffee.

In addition to living a life that connects to the beauty of nature, there are many other factors that recommend Mount Desert Island as a year-round home for families and retirees alike. Built on fishing and boat-building, MDI has grown into a community of about 10,000 residents who also benefit from three educational and research institutions: College of the Atlantic, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, and Jackson Laboratory..

Education is a core value of many residents. MDI High School, with over 550 students, all of the towns on the island, as well as five surrounding mainland and four outer island communities. Highly regarded for its strong student-teacher ratio of 11 to 1, as reported in U.S. News and World Report, MDI High offers advanced placement, honors, college preparatory, and special education programs.

If you want to continue to "stimulate your life through the joy of learning", Acadia Senior College offers a surprising variety of courses primarily for adults over 50. From the practical to the esoteric, course offerings have included Appreciation of the Classical Museum, Astronomy 101, Introduction to MDI Geology, Jewish Folklore and Story, and The Old West: Three Books into Film. With the exception of one part-time office administrator, all Acadia Senior College staff members, including the instructors, are volunteers—reflecting the vibrancy of the community.

Through a broad array of lectures, exhibits, film series, and cultural programs, public libraries also play a strong role in the MDI community. When summer visitors leave, the libraries continue to hum. From the well-regarded toddler storytime sessions at Southwest Harbor Public Library to the learning a new language program at Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, you'll find art, history, and culture thrive in the libraries on MDI.

The community's healthcare needs are served by MDI Hospital, a 25-bed critical access facility and a network of health centers around the island. With a focus on primary care, the hospital gets high scores on patient satisfaction. On the island there are additional medical practices, physical therapists, and veterinarians.

Not to be underestimated is the convenience of nearby Ellsworth, which was Maine's fastest growing city from 2000 to 2010. Its big-box stores and outlets (notably absent from MDI) are frequently mentioned by residents as handy for staples and good for the pocketbook, too.

But what's it like in the winter (and does it really last from November through May)? Summer visitors appreciate the moderating effect of the ocean, making the average high in July just 79 degrees. The ocean also keeps the island relatively warm, with the average high in January in the low 30s and significant snowfall unusual before December.

Additional Resources

Artful Designs Hair Care & Art
Welcome to Artful Designs Hair Care & Art, a quality family oriented hair salon at SWH Shoppes on Seal Cove Rd. Providing customized salon services for women, men & children.Decorating? Buy an original piece of artwork by the owner, Barbara Strubel.

Bar Harbor Bank and Trust
Looking to finance your business, purchase your dream home, or find a better checking relationship? We are here to help you achieve your financial goals. Member FDIC/Equal Housing Lender.

Bar Harbor Savings and Loan
Our mission is to provide every customer with the best personal service and attentiveness possible. We will provide our customers with competitive deposit and loan services.

L. S. Robinson Insurance
Our friendly, knowlegable insurance specialists are island-based. From a basic home & auto insurance package, including flood insurance to complex business or marine insurance risks, we are ready to help & respond quickly to questions & claims needs.

Services Directory

Real Estate Agents

• Dunbar Real Estate, 207-244-3339,
• Island Housing Trust, 207-244-8011,
• L.S.Robinson Real Estate & Vacation Rentals, 207-244-5563,
• Margo Stanley Real Estate & Vacation Rentals, 207-244-5425,
• The Knowles Company, 207-276-3322,

Insurance Companies and Banks

• Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, 1-888-853-7100,
• Bar Harbor Savings and Loan, 207-288-3685,
• Camden National Bank, 207-288-1238,
• L. S. Robinson Insurance, 207-244-7246,
• Snow/2 CPA, 207-244-3737,
• The First, 80-564-3195,

Household Supplies

• Carroll Drug Store, 207-244-5588,
• McEachern and Hutchins, 207-244-7243,
• Quilt 'n' Fabric, 207-244-1233,
• Sawyer's Market, 207-244-3315,

Household Services

• At Home MDI, 207-374-5852,
• Dead River Company, 207-244-3131,
• Eastern Maine Recycling, 207-244-9033,
• G.F. Johnston & Associates, 207-244-1200,
• J&B Diversified Associates, Inc., 207-338-1138,
• MDI Property Maintenance & Management, 207-664-8227,
• Norumbega Moving and Storage, 888-255-7295,


• Stephen Stanley, Electrician, 207-244-5425,


Builders and Carpenters

• Coastal Builders and Sons, Inc, 207-664-0506,

Do you have a business you'd like listed on this page? Please email or call the Chamber to get listed.

PO Box 1143, Southwest Harbor ME 04679
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