News Feature

The Island
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, May 27, 2021
Summer people: Already here, many more to come
The season starts early on Deer Isle

by Leslie Landrigan

Summer visitors, along with the lupines, are arriving early this year, according to people with lodging data.

The best way to predict how busy the summer will be is to check lodging reservations, according to Crystal Hitchings, project coordinator for Downeast Acadia Regional Tourism.

“Everyone I hear from is fully booked for the season, or almost fully booked,” Hitchings said in an email. “That tells us we are going to be slammed, as that is not normal.”

Summer residents are arriving early as well, according to Annalies Hafford, the Olver Associates engineer who runs the Stonington Water Department. In each month of March and April, 30 more homeowners than usual asked to have their water turned on, Hafford told the select board on May 17.

Barrett Gray, who owns Boyce’s Motel, said reservations are solid for the summer. “We had by far the best spring and winter ever,” he said. He attributes the strong bookings to “100 percent revenge travel”—what people do after being cooped up at home for long periods.

“It’s been crazy busy,” said Jeanette Bubar, a rental agent with The Island Agency. “We’ve had an earlier than normal booking season.”

It’s a trend that’s continued since last summer, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to go outdoors for vacation, she said. “The strange thing about last year, around mid-March we had mass cancellations,” Bubar said. “Ten days later we were almost fully booked.”