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Canoeing at Bar Harbor, 1886

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Rusticators canoeing in Frenchman Bay. Original drawing by Charles S. Reinhart. Engraved for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 73, No. 435, August 1886, pg. 419.

Rusticators were vacationers who flocked to the island from cities, which sought relief from the noise and pollution of crowded urban life without forsaking any of the comforts of urban life.

Boasting as many as 300 members, the Mount Desert Island Canoe Club encouraged “cooing, wooing, and canoeing,” as well as serious training in the “fine art of paddling.” Most members of this rusticators’ club aspired to having their own Indian-made paddle and birchbark canoe, and many turned to proven experts from the Indian encampment for instruction. Rusticators also took great pleasure in seeing Wabanaki paddling skills displayed at the Club’s annual canoe races.

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