Quarantine holiday shopping guide for Acadia, Katahdin gifts

COVID-19 gives new meaning to “home for the holidays”: Instead of rushing to malls and traveling to visit family, it may mean quarantine holiday shopping from home.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t find the perfect gift for fans of Acadia, Katahdin and all things related to Maine and national parks on your shopping list. Whether you start your holiday shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or Giving Tuesday, here’s a special selection to help raise funds for charity, support local business and bring memories of Maine home for the holidays.

And as we’re co-sponsoring the 2020 Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race that connects participants and supporters of the Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half and Millinocket Marathon & Half, even though the real-life races have been cancelled this pandemic year, we also include ideas for the runner, hiker and all-around outdoor enthusiast on your list. Plus we’ve modeled the glittery Maine STRONG holiday ornament on the virtual race medal, and offering it on this blog’s online shop, to help raise funds for the Friends of Acadia, MDI Marathon, Millinocket Memorial Library and Our Katahdin, all 501(c)(3) charities that are also benefitting from the virtual race.








The glittery Maine STRONG holiday ornament, modeled on the 2020 Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race medal, is available with 4-inch silver or red ribbon, only on this blog’s online shop. Percentage of proceeds benefit Friends of Acadia, MDI Marathon, Millinocket Memorial Library and Our Katahdin, all 501(c)(3) charities. Order by Dec. 10 to receive by Christmas.

Mount Desert Island and Acadia quarantine holiday shopping ideas

2020 acadia annual pass

You can buy the annual pass online at full price and print it, or if you are in the Bar Harbor area, you can buy it almost-half-price at area locations (NPS image)

Acadia National Park annual pass – If home is the Bar Harbor area and you are otherwise following the Maine COVID-19 travel restrictions, you can get an annual pass for “almost-half-price,” or $28, during most of the month of December. The discounted passes are not for sale in the park itself. The passes also must be purchased in person, with no online sales or phone orders possible. The passes can be bought at the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce, the Southwest Harbor/Tremont Chamber of Commerce (sold at Harbor House in Southwest Harbor),  and at town offices in Gouldsboro, Mt. Desert, Tremont and Winter Harbor. Methods of payment and hours of operation can vary. Normally $55, the $28 special annual pass price is less than a one-week in-season pass at $30.

friends of acadia giving tuesday

Friends of Acadia Giving Tuesday Matching Challenge (Image courtesy of Friends of Acadia)

Friends of Acadia gift membership – By giving a gift membership, you would provide a year’s worth of membership benefits to a family member or friend, including a subscription to the Friends of Acadia Journal, six note cards depicting Acadia wildlife and imagery, and a window decal. Gift membership starts at $40, and also helps support the nonprofit that does so much for Acadia National Park. And if you want to donate independent of a gift membership, contribute anytime between now and Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, and see your gift matched dollar for dollar, up to $25,000, by Friends of Acadia board member Julie Banzhaf-Stone and her husband, Steve Stone.

Acadia hiking

The fourth edition of “Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park” is small enough to fit in your daypack.

Hiking guides to Acadia – We’re partial to Hiking Acadia National Park, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award, and Best Easy Day Hikes, Acadia National Park, of course, as we’re authors of these guides. You can find autographed copies at Sherman’s in Bar Harbor, as we recently stopped in to sign the books on hand, or you can order a specially inscribed copy from our online shop, with 5% of proceeds going to benefit the Friends of Acadia (if you order by Dec. 10, autographed books should be delivered in time for Christmas). You can also find copies at Amazon.com and elsewhere. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links)

Gift certificate to a favorite Mount Desert Island business – With more than 140 local businesses and organizations now part of the Gift MDI network, you can find a gift certificate to please everyone. We’ve been a partner with this online source of gift certificates for three years. Use the coupon code ACADIAONMYMIND while making your purchase to get 10% off, whether it’s a gift certificate to lodging, restaurants, souvenir shops or services. And if you happen to live in the Bar Harbor area or otherwise observing COVID-19 regulations, you can even stop in at your favorite shop between Dec. 4 and Dec. 6 during the Bar Harbor Village Holidays Sale (the usual Midnight Madness has been stretched out to 3 days to allow safer shopping), to buy a specific business’s gift certificate in person. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about affiliated partner links)

cadillac mountain

If you climbed Cadillac to see the sunrise (or at any other time), you get to display this vinyl decal with pride, available for $2.95 (Image courtesy of America’s National Parks(TM) store, an affiliated partner)

I Climbed Cadillac Mountain decal – America’s National Parks(TM) store, a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, features this and other Acadia-themed gifts on its online shop. During this holiday season, there’s free shipping for any purchase of $50 and over, plus 30% off select Passport to Your National Parks(R) products. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about affiliated partner links)

Books of interest about Acadia, or by friends of Acadia – 1) Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks by noted photographer QT Luong, featured in Ken Burns’s and Dayton Duncan’s PBS series on national parks, won numerous awards in 2016. You can buy autographed copies directly from the author. This substantial book includes a chapter on Acadia National Park, featuring not only some of his spectacular photos of the park, but also some tips on visiting, and notes about how and where he took the photos included in the book. It includes a foreword by Duncan. 2) Sailor for the Wild: On Maine, Conservation and Boats by Ben Emory and Bonding with Nature: Responding to Life’s Challenges and the Aging Process by Dianna K. Emory. A couple that has been longtime friends of Acadia, Ben served on the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission until he resigned last year, and Dianna is an honorary trustee of the Friends of Acadia. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links)

treasured lands

QT Luong, whose large-format photographs of all of America’s national parks was featured in Ken Burns’s and Dayton Duncan’s PBS series, includes a chapter on Acadia National Park in his book. (Image courtesy of QT Luong)

Quarantine holiday shopping to support Katahdin area organizations

For almost as long as we’ve been fans of Acadia, we’ve been fans of the Katahdin region, having climbed the mountains of Baxter State Park as well as those of Acadia National Park. And since we’ve been co-sponsoring the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race as the virtual edition of the Sea to Summit Series with Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half, linking supporters and participants in the real-life MDI and Millinocket races, we’ve had even more reason to want to support the region and its businesses and organizations, especially with the cancellation of the Millinocket race that was originally slated for Dec. 5. Here are some Katahdin area holiday gift ideas if you, too, have an affinity for the region.

virtual race with medals

Among the gift certificates from Millinocket area businesses already among the giveaways for Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Racers. Perhaps time to add more gift cards to the giveaway as part of the Millinocket Marathon Katahdin Community Stimulus! Join the virtual race by Dec. 10 and you can be entered into the giveaways too.

Millinocket Marathon Katahdin Community Stimulus – To help local businesses hurt by the cancellation of the real-life Millinocket Marathon & Half, an anonymous donor will be matching up to $2,000 in gifts made by Dec. 4. Part of the Katahdin Community Stimulus launched by the Katahdin Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the nonprofit Our Katahdin, the tax-deductible donation allows you to contribute to a pool of dollars that is then made available to local businesses, to allow them to double the value of gift cards purchased on Dec. 5, when the real-life race was originally scheduled. While we’ve already purchased gift cards to some area businesses as gift giveaways to Acadia to Katahdin virtual racers, as our way of helping to support local businesses, here’s another chance for us to help.

moose calendar

Mark Picard Wildlife Photography’s moose calendar has been featured by BBC and PBS. (Image courtesy of Mark Picard Wildlife Photography and Mooseprints Gallery)

Moose calendar – Few things say Maine like moose, but while you’re unlikely to see the ungulates in Acadia, you can easily find them in the Katahdin region, as Millinocket wildlife photographer Mark Picard shows in his iconic moose calendar, which has been featured by BBC and PBS. Mark and his partner, Anita Mueller, usually welcome Millinocket racers at their Moose Prints Gallery, recently relocated to 102 Penobscot Avenue, Millinocket. But while the real-life race is cancelled for 2020 as a result of the pandemic, you can buy a copy of the iconic image of the real-life 2019 race, with snow-capped Katahdin in the background. A copy of this moose calendar is one of the giveaways for participants in the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, see below for details about how to enter the race to help raise funds for Acadia and Katahdin region charities.

millinocket marathon

With the cancellation of the real-life Millinocket race and the affiliated crafts fair, the artisans have gone virtual with a Facebook group page. Scroll down the Facebook group page to see all wares. (Image courtesy of Facebook group administrators)

Millinocket businesses for holiday giftsMoose Drop In, 242 Penobscot Ave., the headquarters for the Millinocket Marathon & Half; North Light Gallery, 256 Penobscot Ave.,  and various Katahdin Chamber of Commerce members. Local artisans that would normally have exhibited their wares during the real-life Millinocket race have set up a Facebook group page as a virtual crafts fair, featuring such items as patchwork quilts, fleece-lined wool mittens, wood crafts and other one-of-a-kind items.

Friends groups – Similar to the nonprofit that supports Acadia National Park, there’s the Friends of Baxter State Park and the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters that you can make an honorary gift for the holidays. The Friends of Baxter is even holding an online fundraising auction of historic state park signs, plus a model of Katahdin from the Katahdin Stream Campground, with the last bids accepted on Dec. 4 at 10 p.m. And if you have a Maine fan on your shopping list who loves plants, there’s “The Plants of Baxter State Park,” published by the University of Maine Press in association with Baxter State Park, the Friends of Baxter State Park, and Maine Natural History Observatory, available on Amazon.com or the Friends’ online store. There’s also the Friends of the Millinocket Memorial Library, to support a local institution that celebrated its centennial recently, and is one of the charities supported by the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about Amazon.com links)

Honorary gifts to charity a perfect quarantine holiday shopping idea

If you’re looking for an alternative way to gift for the holidays, either because the person on your list doesn’t need anything, you want to avoid wasteful consumerism or want something other than the usual Acadia National Park holiday gift ideas, here are some ideas for charities with national park, Mount Desert Island or Millinocket area themes:

national parks traveler

(Image courtesy of National Parks Traveler)

National Parks Traveler – The leading source of national park news, National Parks Traveler is a nonprofit that produces more than 1,000 stories a year, including investigative reports, policy analyses and other news that is increasingly hard to find in this day and age of journalism on the decline. We’ve written for National Parks Traveler and also support its mission. Through Dec. 31, there’s a dollar-for-dollar match up to $11,500 that National Parks Traveler is eligible for, with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund, Facebook Journalism Project, Inasmuch Foundation, the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Natasha and Dirk Ziff, Present Progressive Fund at Schwab Charitable, and The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. And year-round, there’s even an Acadia level donation ($50) that could be a great way to make a  holiday gift in honor of an Acadia fan.

Historical societies and other area nonprofits – Among some area nonprofits in the Acadia and Katahdin regions: 1) Mount Desert Island Historical Society; 2) Bar Harbor Historical Society; 3) Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association; 4) Our Katahdin; and 5) Millinocket Historical Society.

Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race and other gift ideas for runner, hiker

Up to 50% off at REI through Dec. 7 – Perfect for the runner, hiker, cross-country skiier, snowshoer or all-around outdoor enthusiast. And you can get up to 50% off what REI is now calling “Cyber Week” – that’s why the sale goes on through Dec. 7. Among some favorite items we’ve bought from REI for our outdoor activities: Asolo Touchstone GV Hiking Boots; and Topo Athletic Ultraventure Trail-Running Shoes. (PLEASE NOTE: See sidebar about affiliated partner links)

Join the 2020 Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race – If you join by Dec. 10, your choice of race medal should ship in time for Christmas. You can backdate miles to Aug. 9 and have until Dec. 31 to complete the 240.1-mile course, featuring pop-up views of Acadia, Katahdin, sites along the real-life courses of the MDI, Millinocket and Boston Marathon, all of which were cancelled this pandemic year. And if you complete at least the first 49.4 miles of the course, you’ll have virtually “scaled” the 26 peaks of Acadia, and will receive an emailed certificate marking the accomplishment, and giving you a checklist for real-life Acadia peakbagging. Proud to co-sponsor the race with runmdi.org, to help raise funds for Friends of Acadia, MDI Marathon, Millinocket Memorial Library and Our Katahdin, all 501(c)(3) charities. Join now.

virtual race with medals

You can backdate miles to Aug. 9, no matter where in the world you log them, and see your avatar move along the virtual race map, from Acadia to Katahdin. Join now, and you have the chance to earn a medal for your accomplishment and help raise funds for charity. (Image courtesy of Racery)

virtual race with medals

Even if you can’t finish the full 240.1-mile course by Dec. 31, you’ll get this emailed digital certificate after you complete the first segment of 49.4 miles, to mark you having “scaled” all 26 peaks of Acadia. Join now.

It’s easy to join the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race

What are virtual races, you ask? They let people from anywhere in the USA or the world sign up to run, hike, walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski or log other forms of miles, whether to raise funds for charity, earn a finisher’s medallion or just set a fitness goal. Races can include technology-driven virtual routes that allow participants to see their progress, get a Google photo of their virtual location and check out the competition online, such as in the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race. Or it can be as simple as allowing people to record their mileage via the honor system in order to get a medal in the mail. There are different themes for virtual races with medals, and even Disney runs them. Check out what a virtual racer experience can be like in this short video by racery.com, which hosts our races on its online platform.

  1. Sign up with your name and e-mail at this registration page
  2. The race ends Dec. 31, you can backdate miles to Aug. 9
  3. You can track your daily miles any way you like, and can even log bicycling, calisthenics and other activities that are then converted to equivalent running or walking miles
  4. Log your miles on the race page, and best to do so one day at a time, chronologically, to maximize the Google Street Views
  5. Racery will keep track of fun stats like your total mileage and miles per week

Thanks to Racery’s virtual race platform, which has powered our virtual challenges since 2016. In addition to virtual races for charity fundraising like ours, Racery hosts many company virtual fitness challenges. Find out more here.

Medals you can earn by joining the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race

virtual race with medals

This Maine STRONG medal is made by the same company that makes the Boston and MDI Marathon medals. Join the fundraising race now to earn this special medal ($18), and if you sign up by Dec. 10, it should arrive before Dec. 25.

virtual race with medals

The special “I LOVE Friends of Acadia” medal helps raise funds for the non-profit that does so much for the park. The version of the medal with the raised profile of the Bubbles and Katahdin is sold out, so instead, it’s the classic lobster- and moose-themed medal. Join now. ($12 each)

virtual race with medals

You also have the option of choosing the special “I LOVE Millinocket Memorial Library” to help raise funds for that nonprofit. Join now. ($12 each)

virtual race with medals

Other medal options feature moose and lobster ribbons ($10 each). On the left is the multi-moose ribbon, in the center, the lobster ribbon, and on the right, the neon moose ribbon. Pick your medal option when you register here.


Dolores Kong & Dan Ring

About Dolores Kong & Dan Ring

Dolores Kong and Dan Ring are co-authors of the Falcon guides Hiking Acadia National Park and Best Easy Day Hikes Acadia National Park, and also blog at acadiaonmymind.com. They’ve backpacked the 270-plus miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maine, and are members of the Northeast 111 Club, having hiked all major peaks of the Northeast. Dolores is a former staff reporter at The Boston Globe. Dan is a journalist and former Statehouse bureau chief in Boston for the old Ottaway News Service and for The Republican, the daily newspaper for Springfield, Mass. They are married and live in New England.