Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bar Harbor, Maine: Mixed Feelings

My friend and I visited Bar Harbor, Maine, last week while I was in New England. We walked around the town for a while and then decided that we would stop for lunch. We found the "Not Quite the Corner Deli" which advertises "Soups, Sandwiches and Such" and stopped in for a sandwich and some authentic New England Clam Chowder. It was the "such" that proved to be unpalatable.

After eating, my friend needed a bathroom. He went up to ask the manager to use the bathroom and was told that there was no public restroom in the restaurant. What a surprise! In North Carolina, if you operate an eating establishment, you are required by law to provide a public restroom. Because of the urgency of this issue at the time, things quickly escalated and my friend angrily reminded the owners that he had just spent $23 for two sandwiches and a bowl of clam chowder. He was quite angry, actually, and said some things that I would not have said, but I was most surprised when both owners started shouting "Get out!" at him. He left to try to find a bathroom elsewhere, while I, not having finished my lunch yet, sat and ate while the owners complained about tourists and how they couldn't wait for the end of the tourist season. It seemed to me that they should reconsider their stance about providing a public restroom and that if they are so upset about tourists, then they may be in the wrong business altogether. Although the soup and sandwiches were tasty, we left with a bad feeling about the establishment.

As we turned the corner, my friend was in distress, trying to find a place to go to the bathroom. We share a common feeling that you don't walk into a place without buying something and then ask to use their restroom. We walked past the Opera House Internet Café on Cottage Street and it occurred to me that we could buy some coffee and use the restroom there. I went up to the counter to order a latte and was very pleased to meet Angel. She was a beautiful soul. I mentioned how we were surprised to be told that one could not use a restroom in a restaurant when North Carolina requires public restrooms in eating establishments. Angel offered us the use of the facilities there whenever we might need them and dispelled the image of the uncaring, tourist-fatiqued business-owners of Bar Harbor.

When you are in Bar Harbor, I suggest you stop in and visit with Angel and the other members of the staff there (we came back later for more coffee and pastries in the late afternoon) who are all very kind and who make a mean, delicious 12 ounce double-shot latte. You can check your email, relax, use the restroom! and enjoy tasty treats while feeling very zen at the same time. Angel was a true angel at a time when we needed one.



Blogger Sideon said...

There is nothing worse than trying to find a bathroom when there are limited options.

Add to that the fact I have a bladder the size of a small pea, then the situation gets progressively more grim.

It's sad having a moniker like "Princess Tiny Bladder," but I rule my country with pride.

10/20/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am from FL and all I heard about from my partner was "Wait until you see Bar Harbor." Well, I'll tell you, as beautiful as it is, the people to me are not that friendly, and I wouldn't spend my money there. It is an extremely homophobic town. We have since moved to Maine, and I find all of the state to be homophobic. With all of the walks of life that come to Maine, I find that mind boggling. I feel like I have stepped back in time, and so wish I could move back to Florida.fxfimyzu

9/12/2008 02:18:00 PM  

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