Bar Harbor

New Website Launch: National Park Sea Kayak

When Robert approached us about a website redesign, we could see that while the information on his site was current, he needed a visual refresher.

The old National Park Sea Kayak homepage was text heavy and needed an update.

The old National Park Sea Kayak homepage was text heavy and needed an update.

Robert wanted to use a logo that Z Studio had made several years ago. He also wanted it really obvious how to make a reservation request on the site:

The new design uses more of the width of the page, showcases photos, and has a very obvious 'make reservations' button and the phone number on top.

The new design uses more of the width of the page, showcases photos, and has a very obvious ‘make reservations’ button and the phone number on top.

We wanted all the visitors’ most common questions answers on their homepage:

  • What will we see?
  • What should we bring?
  • Why are tours four hours?
  • Where will we go?
  • How do we make a reservation?

We also wanted to put some ‘trust’ symbols on the homepage. Trust symbols let people know they are dealing with a legitimate business. Since they have excellent Tripadvisor reviews and all kayak guides are certified Maine guides, we made those prominent so the visitor would have confidence in booking a four hour tour with people they may have never met in real life.

A lot of what we did we editing the content. By making the website less wordy, we hoped that users would get the information they needed quickly and easily. We also used the extra space to showcase large scale photos by local photographer and friend of Acadia Kayak StealthVader Photography.

Congratulations to Robert and his team, who are planning on blogging this summer on their brand new site! Catch them on the water if you are in Bar Harbor this summer!

Norway Drive Winter Olympics: Part 2

 

I made olympic rings out of pipe insulators, spray paint, and electrical tape. Thanks Paradis Hardware for the hookup!

I made olympic rings out of pipe insulators, spray paint, and electrical tape. Thanks Paradis Hardware for the hookup!

In planning a huge event like this, you try to think of the little things. I was obsessed with making a life sized Olympic rings that people could take goofy pictures in front of. Derrick was obsessed with having fireworks. We tried to think not just of the adults but the kids too.

The bulk of the Norway Drive Winter Olympics happened on Saturday starting at 1 pm. We began the day with a snow sculpture contest (with food coloring in spray bottles for additional interest).

The winner was the sea monster:

The winning sculpture and its creators.

The winning sculpture and its creators.

But honestly, I think the taco was pretty awesome:

The snow taco with evergreen bows as its lettuce. Sean is a genius!

The snow taco with evergreen bows as its lettuce. Sean is a genius!

After snow sculptures, we did the luge, which was difficult due to warming conditions but we made the best of it:

My fiance Derrick hitting the luge he's been piling snow for for months.

My fiance Derrick hitting the luge he’s been piling snow for for months.

Moving the party inside, we at some food and held a Pass The Pigs tournament. A small badminton tournament was held as well:

Badminton in the snow? Of course!

Badminton in the snow? Of course!

Alice then cooked us an amazing Armenian dinner and we all ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. Then the final competition began: the dessert tournament.

The winner decided by popular vote was Hope. And it was even her birthday so the victory was even sweeter.

All the entries in the dessert competition explained their entry before we all dug in and voted.

All the entries in the dessert competition explained their entry before we all dug in and voted. Note Hope is in black wearing a gold medal she won earlier that day. (Happy Birthday Hope!)

The ceremonies closed with some fireworks by pyrotechnic expert Derrick.

Thanks to everyone that came and even before it was over saying they couldn’t wait for next year. This will definitely be a yearly event.

Norway Drive Winter Olympics: Part 1

Me in my toga, awaiting partygoers. I picked the picture where the cat looks most annoyed. Yes, that is real ivy on my head.

Me in my toga, awaiting partygoers. I picked the picture where the cat looks most annoyed. Yes, that is real ivy on my head.

Sometime in the last few years, I told Alice that I’ve always wanted to go to a toga party. Much like a food fight, it’s something I’ve seen in movies but always wondered if it would be cool if it actually happened.

“We should do something in the winter when it’s boring.” Alice said.

“Like a long john toga party!” And the idea was born.

We encouraged our friends to dress up in togas, giving out prizes to the male and female best dressed.

To give the event a bit more clout, and to combine two good ideas into one, we decided the toga party would be an excellent way of having opening ceremonies for a sort of ‘olympics’ we would host.

Since this summer, Derrick and I have talked about having some kind of game day at his house where we set up things like our badminton set and get friends to have fun and be slightly competitive. Since life is slower here in the winter, this seemed like a ‘winter olympics’ kind of thing.

The Olympic Planning Committee set the agenda and a date. These winter games (with a snow and no snow plan) would be an excellent weekend event people could look forward to, whether they were into the party the night before or the day of games and fun the day after… or ideally both.

After the lighting ceremony, we all enjoyed the fire. Great photo by Derrick!

After the lighting ceremony, we all enjoyed the fire. Great photo by Derrick!

We decided to hold a ceremonial torch lighting to ‘open’ the games and light off  a few fireworks this night before to make the toga party not only a fun (and slightly random) event but to give it some importance.

You know you’ve thrown a good theme party when people who *aren’t dressed up feel uncomfortable. And this was one of those cases. Good thing Mike and Lynne, veterans to throwing great parties, brought extra sheets and ivy to dress up everyone.

Here’s a link to the video of the torch lighting to give you an idea of the feel of the toga party: https://vimeo.com/60926465

I’ll post some more pictures of the whole event tomorrow but here are the takeaways:

1) Toga parties are fun. Like in the movies.

2) Have extra toga materials on hand if you want stragglers to participate and feel like part of the group. We will definitely do this.

3) People will eat as much food as you put out. Remember they are there for fun, not to judge your hors d’oeuvres.

4) Tell people the date waaaay in advance. Over and over.

The toga group, good times!

The toga group, good times!

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the games and post some fun pictures. In the meantime, if you were at the Olympics and want to share your photos, request to get added to the official Dropbox folder where you can upload your events and see everyone else’s. Or on social media (all except Facebook), you can tag your photo #ndwo13 and I’ll be able to track it down and put it in the album!

A Look Back At 2012

2012 was quite a year, so we decided to make a picture capturing all of the big things that happened.

Happy New Year everybody!2012review3

Bar Harbor Flash Mob

I told a few people at Bar Harbor’s Fourth of July parade that I’d get this video up when it was done. Here is the video of the flash mob, organized by Jeni Dwyer Young of Side Street Cafe. She organized the entire thing using Youtube to show the dance moves and Facebook private event to communicate with participants. Good use of social media, Jen. :^)

The videographer working with her is putting together a much better video than what I’ve got here but in case you missed it, here’s a taste. Thanks to all involved for shaking things up! It was fun! (My apologies for screaming/talking while filming!)

Underwater Hockey 101

If you like being in the water but are bored to tears by the thought of doing laps, I’ve got the sport for you: underwater hockey. Here’s how I got into it recently.

I’ve had a lot of work the past two months so when I’m not working, I’ve really been trying to have my fun away from my computer. (For example, I’ve held two Too Cute Tuesdays, I just haven’t been typing them up!) But since multiple people have asked me about underwater hockey, I thought it deserved a written and illustrated explanation.

You push the puck at the bottom of the pool.... seems simple enough, right?

You push the puck at the bottom of the pool.... seems simple enough, right?

The idea is you use a puck (it seems like the puck you use in floor hockey, it is has a bit of heft and is rubberized) and use Y shaped sticks to push the puck on the bottom of the shallow end. A few tips:

1. Gear includes snorkel mask (snorkel optional) and flippers. If you wear regular goggles that just go over your eyes and someone hits you in the face, the suction could give you a black eye, like the girl of legend from Maine Martime Academy.

2. Wrap your dominant hand in duct tape or get a motorcycle glove if the bottom of the pool you use is not tiled and has some kind of rough texture so you don’t cut up your hand. (Also this explains the gleams of silver you see in the pictures!)

3. Goals can be made of weights and rope (so long as the rope floats upward of course) on each end of the width of a pool. Our pool is a standard 8 lane 25 yard pool.

Nice defensive move by Diver Ed, the founder of the Underwater Hockey League against me. Well played, my friend.

Nice defensive move by Diver Ed, the founder of the Underwater Hockey League against me. Well played, my friend.

4. Stay low. Trying to stab at the puck from above is nearly impossible. It’s all about pushing the puck on the sides and keeping yourself low.

5. While the puck is technically out of play if it hits the slant of the deep end, people will play on.

6. Memorize swimsuit colors and flippers of your team so you recognize them underwater. (If you’re a guy, try a bathing suit that isn’t black so I don’t pass to the wrong person on the other team who also has a black suit!)

7. Underwater cameras are cool and much cheaper if you get them on Ebay.

If you going to play an extremeish underwater sport, capture it on video so you can put it to music and share it with your friends.

If you going to play an extremeish underwater sport, capture it on video so you can put it to music and share it with your friends.

So there’s a video on Facebook on the off chance it’ll play for you: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1869060321675 We’re trying to get it online somewhere embeddable but for the moment, that’s where it is.

Interested in giving this a shot? This game is played pick up style. Come Thursdays, 7:45 pm to the MDI YMCA pool in Bar Harbor, Maine. The best thing to do though is get on the email list on Diver Ed’s website: http://divered.com/ in case a game is cancelled or anything.

And if you aren’t near Bar Harbor, starting a league is pretty simple. Just Google ‘underwater hockey’ and you’ll see lots of suppliers (different sticks for different positions, crazy!) or you can do it low tech like us with homemade wood sicks and rope goals. Either way, the hour will fly by and it’s a pretty fun way to get a workout.

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