Friends of Acadia National Park Charity Auction

I spent a couple of days on Mount Desert Island (“MDI” to the Rockefellers) and was invited to join the swells of Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor at the Friends of Acadia annual benefit auction.

About 500 people attended the event, held in a tent on the lawn of the Asticou Inn. Many of the waitstaff seemed to be speaking with Eastern European accents. Our table included the owner of one of the island’s larger hotels and we asked him why, in a time of supposedly high unemployment, there weren’t Americans who wanted to spend the summer on MDI. “I offer pretty high wages and housing, but Americans still aren’t interested,” he noted. “I had a single mom working for me for a few months but then she figured out that she could collect more from public assistance if she quit. Americans can usually obtain a comfortable material lifestyle by moving in with their parents or collecting Welfare. Why would they want to be on their feet serving two meals per day?”

Men wore salmon- and orange-colored pants with navy blazers and boat shoes without socks. Nobody seemed to have a problem bidding over $ 40,000 for a Willys Jeepster (photo below) or a week’s vacation in Antigua. Out of 500 people attending I noticed just one black person and no Asians.

The least obvious auction item was a set of four bicycles that the Obama family had rented during a brief visit to the national park in 2010. They sold for $ 7000. Asked why someone would pay that much for bikes that the Obama family had touched, a woman at our table said “Probably they are going to re-sell them at a profit to liberals in Cambridge.” Upon returning home I asked a Cambridge neighbor how much she thought the four bikes might have sold for. She estimated their auction value as $ 50,000.

[My best MDI moment was reading a Mo Yan novel while looking out at a moored yacht and think “Mo Yar” would be a good name for a sailboat maker (see Philadelphia Story for definition of “yar”).]


Willys Jeepster for sale at Friends of Acadia charity auction
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