USS Orleck Bar Harbor Mini-Reunion


Bar Harbor Mini Reunion
Attendee Information
Revised on 9/13/2015 

The deadline for room rentals was August 27 to be guaranteed the contracted rate.  If you are still interested in attending call Bob Orleck at 802-728-9806 right away.

(Be sure to click on the links to see pictures and experience a bit of what we are doing.)

We are 1 week away from our Bar Harbor reunion.  September will bring the beginning of the fall season and we will be right there when it happens.  The fall colors peak sometime in October.  The dates are September 22nd, 23rd and 24th and for Maine this is the time of years when the maples have turned red and the other leaves are preparing to celebrate New England in the fall?   I have developed a slogan for our reunion.  Let’s see if you get it.  “Bar Harbor and Me, where I want to be!”  Email me at with what that means and you will receive a free USS ORLECK cap at the reunion.  Its a little tricky so look at it carefully.

Fall in New England is a festive colorful time celebrating outdoors before the winter covers everything in snowy white.  While we call this a Bar Harbor reunion the events will take place there and in other areas.   Acadia National Park with its unmatched beauty will of course be the centerpiece for the event.   Nowhere on the Atlantic coast is
there anything more beautiful.  During the Fall Foliage time it will be stunning.

I mentioned in the previous writing that I would keep you informed as things develop.  The agenda that I put forth at that time was done from a distance in consultation with people who knew the area well.  Normally before I send out requests for registration I have gone to the site to see for myself.   I believe that those plans were good and they created what would be a wonderful time.  But as is my usual practice, I did go and see and experienced what the area had to offer. I also over those years of doing reunions have listened to what our people tell me and thus have a good feel for what our people like and can handle at a reunion.

So on June 9th, Barb, me and our faithful dog Chester, boarded our RV and headed for Acadia for 12 days of fun, sun and camping.  We scoped out the various things we had planned so we could, if necessary, tweak the reunion events to make them better.

Let me digress for a moment.  This is a reunion that we call a mini-reunion.  That is because of where it is in relation to an airport to get people to our hotel.  Most will have to rent a car either in Bangor to drive the easy 1 hour 10 minute drive or the longer but very pleasant drive from Portland.  Even though not bad drives there is no big airport in Bar Harbor and so that has kept some from coming.  So because it was not a “regular” reunion I decided to make this pure vacation and no official program.  Just enjoyment and vacation!  Great things to see and do and good eating!  Not a hard thing to arrange in this area which is one of the most incredible places in the world.

I encourage you to go to this link on our website and watch the 49 minute video of Maine and you will see some of what we are doing and why I am so high on Maine.  I have lived in some pretty wonderful places.  Born in Kentucky, moved to Maui, Hawaii and then to Vermont where I live to this date.  In my opinion, none of these places can match what I have experienced in the last two weeks in Maine. (Well, maybe Maui.  Can’t lie about that.)  I know that some of what we saw on the trails we hiked and the places we went to, buses cannot go.  That means you might not see what we saw camping and hiking.  But what I have planned for you should give you a wonderful taste of Acadia and Maine.  In our travels we found that two areas, Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor were incredibly beautiful and I knew I had to make them part of our reunion along with the unbeatable Bar Harbor.

Let me explain.  We had some pretty nice venues set for our totally Bar Harbor reunion banquets but from what I experienced on this scouting trip made me realize I wanted to try harder to make it better by including places in both Southwest and Northeast Harbors.   We were going to have one banquet at Bar Harbor Lobster Bakes.  It was going to be a quality dinner and it was just across from an ocean view.  The site for the meal was their building where they entertained groups.  It was not a restaurant and it really lacked in my mind the atmosphere that I wanted you to have when going out for a lobster dinner.  The other banquet was going to be at the Kebo Country Club, one of the oldest country clubs in the nation and a very fine one and we had a great meal planned there.  On our scouting trip I was introduced to the Asticou Inn.  At first I ruled it out because I did not believe we could afford it.  But then I was encouraged to go and talk to them and I happily came away with a contract to do a dinner there.

Here is some more about what I found on our visit.  I visited the historic auto museum in Seal Cove and knew right away that I had to make it a part of our reunion.  So I did and I have a really special surprise for you when you get there.   Now just 10 miles from there to my surprise I came upon a restaurant with a fabulous view of Southwest Harbor below called “The Upper Deck”.  I went in and spoke with the owner, Debbie Dubois and she was so accommodating and she wants us to come there for the dinner.  So it is now arranged to have a special visit to the Auto Museum (and a very special surprise there) and we will also be eating at The Upper Deck rather than at the Bar Harbor Lobster Bakes.

Some will be eating fish at The Upper Deck and others chicken and maybe one or two vegetarian and I feel fairly certain those meals would be equally good at either restaurant.  But most of you will be getting Maine Lobster.  Now I am not an expert on lobsters but I do know what I like.  During our visit I ate lobster twice and it was just like I wanted it to be.  At that time of the year the shells were hard and the meat was firm.  But things now are beginning to happen to lobsters as they grow  They shed their old shells and grow new ones to fit their growing bodies.  So for awhile the shells are very thin and can even be torn with your bare hands.  But as time goes by the shells harden and the meat becomes sweeter and delicious.  When we will be eating lobster the shells will still be soft shell but will have progressed to the point where they will be delicious.  Here’s the point I want to make.  At the banquet as first arranged the lobster was going to be 1 1/4 pounder.  With a hard shell that would most likely be sufficient.  But when they grow a new shell and it is larger, the meat inside seems less and actually is for the shell weighs more.  So 1 1/4 pounders might not be sufficient for some.   At  The Upper Deck we will serve our lobster lovers a 1 3/4 pound lobster.  This big guy will provide a delicious and plentiful supply of the succulent delicacy he has inside his shell.  I ate at The Upper Deck and had one fine lobster meal.  Barb had the salmon and she said it was to die for.  Couple this with one of the best views you can imagine of New England lobster boat harbors and I had to change the meal to The Upper Deck in Southwest Harbor and I did.

I want to expand a little more about the other change in our banquet location.  The other dinner of prime rib, fish, chicken and vegetarian in buffet at the Kebo Country Club was going to be a fine evening.  It is a very nice venue at the 8th oldest country club in the Eastern US.  Definitely the quality was there.    I may have just stayed with that and might not have explored the offerings of the Asticou Inn but for the fact that I learned that some things I had planned for the bus tour could not be accessed because our luxury buses were too large for the parking areas.  These were the gardens of Asticou and Thuya.   The Asticou Inn is just across from the beautiful Asticou Garden which is next to Thuya Garden.    Also the view from the Asticou Inn covers an expansive area behind the Inn and then opens to a fabulous view of Northeast Harbor.   In the discussion with the Inn people I got more good news. There was plenty of space behind the Inn for the buses we will be coming in so before dinner we will be able to visit Asticou Garden and for those energetic enough to climb 200 stairs, they can visit Thuya Garden.  My favorite is Asticou and that is an easy walk just across a small street from the Inn where we will be eating.  I said “YES”.  So I think you can see how a site visit is so important and actually necessary for putting on a successful reunion.

You will recall I asked you for your sweatshirt size.  I had been planning on purchasing some sweatshirts and having a USS ORLECK logo put on them and to give them to you at registration.  That is why I had asked for your sizes.  I figured the cost would have been about $25 each.  I had to pay more for the changes I made to the program as well as the admission to the auto museum so I decided to drop the sweat shirt plan and just advise you to bring your own.

There will be a need for warm clothing.  The temperature could go into the 80’s at this time of the year in Maine but it also may drop into the 40’s especially in the evening.  So you will need to be thinking warm layers that can be added or subtracted as the need may be.  This will be especially so for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Nature Boat Tour we will be taking and the Wildwood Stables carriage ride in Acadia National Park.  We did that ride when we were there and had two beautiful horses pulling our carriage and it was an incredible experience for us.  The day was nice and warm when we went on the boat tour but it did get a little chilly even in the middle of June.

So what was just supposed a mini-reunion get-together with no program in a really nice place has in my opinion turned into what might well be the best we have ever had.   Being that Maine might be my last reunion to plan I was reminded of the words about USS ORLECK.  “We saved the best for last!”.  This is going to be one fantastic time. Man, I can tell you with the changes made and the additions done along with Bar Harbor Nature Cruise and Carriage ride into Acadia and the our Cyr Tour Buses I think you will be hard pressed to say we could find a better location anywhere else.

I know that the programs were and are a wonderful part of our regular reunions as well but this seems like the right thing to do up here.  The atmosphere of Maine fishing harbors, fall foliage season at its beginning and the wonders of Acadia National Park, can’t be surpassed so we want to spend as much time as we can doing them.   Entertainment has been a big part of our past reunions and we have not eliminated that.  You will not be disappointed.

Our beautiful hotel, the Bluenose Inn is where we will lay our heads after each fun filled day. We will
have a small intimate hospitality room that should quite adequately meet our needs for gathering and
there we will have snacks and soft drinks. We can gather at the Great Room with nightly
entertainment. In fact as part of our program package we will enjoy our opening night eating good food in the Great Room with pianist Bill Trowell.  If you clicked on Bill Trowell you could have a taste of his wonderful talent.  Each morning at the hotel you will have the taste of full American breakfasts that are yours each day as part of your registration fee and so much more.

The cost for your room will be $119.00 plus tax. I went on-line to see what such rooms could be
booked for and the best rate I could find was $244. The upper 2 floors of Mizzentop building actually
book out for over $400 a night. We have all the rooms for $119. This is a fabulous deal.

The cost for the events planned including bus transportation, opening night in the Great Room,
lobster bake at The Upper Deck, dinner at the Asticou Inn, box lunch for picnic in Acadia National Park, carriage ride, nature boat tour, full American breakfast each morning, tour of Acadia National Park with guides,
and more costs you just $275 for each person.


Bob Orleck
P.O. Box 213
Randolph, VT 05060