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Life on MDI

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Life on MDI

Quality of Life Equals Quality of Care.

Mount Desert Island (MDI) is the largest island off the coast of Maine and the third largest on the eastern seaboard. Home to Acadia National Park and the town of Bar Harbor, it draws millions of visitors each year yet only has a year-round population of about 10,000. In the summer, the population swells with an influx of seasonal residents.

MDI was first named by French explorer Samuel de Champlain who called it “Ile des Monts Deserts,” or “island of the bare mountains,” due to its treeless granite peaks such as Cadillac Mountain. Grounded by a solid foundation of Somesville and Cadillac Mountain granite, the Island spans more than 108 square miles. Cadillac Mountain is the Island’s highest peak at 1,532 feet—and is the first place in the continental United States to see the sunrise each day. In all, 17 mountains are arrayed across MDI, each with its own vantage point for viewing the dense foliage, rock formations, and shimmering waters below.

More than 30,000 acres of MDI are preserved within Acadia National Park. In 2016, Acadia will celebrate its 100th year as a destination for hikers, cyclists, climbers, kayakers, swimmers, skiers, and nature lovers of all kinds. In fact, it is among the top 10 most-visited national parks in the U.S., even though it is one of the smallest.

MDI is surrounded by bays and rockbound ocean vistas, and working waterfronts where lobster boats and fishing trawlers ply their trade. On the Island’s quieter western side, overlooking Blue Hill Bay, Bass Harbor Head Light is an iconic beacon perched on steep granite cliffs, and one of the most photographed lighthouses on the East Coast. Away from shore, four significant freshwater lakes or ponds provide a different kind of shoreline setting, joined by many other smaller ponds, brooks, and marshes.

MDI has four towns, all of which encompass several villages within their borders: —Bar Harbor (including Eden, Hulls Cove, Salisbury Cove, and Town Hill) — Mount Desert (including Hall Quarry, Northeast Harbor, Otter Creek, Pretty Marsh, Seal Harbor, Somesville, and Sound) —Southwest Harbor (including Manset and Seawall) —Tremont (including Bass Harbor, Bernard, Gotts Island, Seal Cove, and West Tremont).

The Island’s year-round community is hardy, warm, and vibrant. Each of MDI’s towns has its own elementary school; at the secondary school level, all students attend the consolidated MDI High School. Ranked among the top 20 schools in Maine, the high school offers a well-rounded educational experience and outstanding arts, music, drama, and sports programs as well.

W.W.A. Heath, a 19th-century schoolteacher and lumberman from Seal Cove, summarized the Island perfectly when he wrote: “Mount Desert is a little world of itself.”