20 years ago, Marcy and I embarked on our first publishing venture, beginning the research for what would become our first book, Discover Acadia National Park. Back then, I was working as a software engineer for three 12-hour days/week and then working on writing and photography the other four days of the week, while Marcy was working on the photo business full-time. That was before kids, which definitely made that schedule possible! I’d commute from Portsmouth, NH to Boston Tuesday – Thursday, then we’d drive to Bar Harbor on Friday morning and stay until Monday afternoon – hiking, biking, and paddling as much as we could and taking copious notes. In 2000, AMC Books released the first edition of Discover Acadia, and the next year, I quit software engineering for good to work full time on my photography and writing. Second best thing I ever did (marrying Marcy ranks number one!)
Since then, we’ve written nine other books about places in New England, and revised a few of them, but none as often as Discover Acadia. In a little more than a month, the 4th edition of our guidebook to the park will be released with a new title, AMC Outdoor Adventures: Acadia National Park (you can pre-order a copy here.) Of all our guidebooks and picture books, our Acadia guidebook has been the most consistent seller, but the biggest benefit of being in charge of this guide, is having to visit the park on a regular basis. We make at least one long family trip there every year, and I manage to always sneak in an extra few visits on my own. Acadia’s rugged coastlines, foggy mornings, and pink granite are permanently ingrained in the memory of every member of my family, and I can’t imagine us not visiting the park every year.
This guidebook has taken a bit of work over the years to keep current, though this time around wasn’t too tough. Shortly after we released the first edition, the Island Explorer Bus system was first introduced to the park, providing a convenient and free way to get around the park without a vehicle, which got thousands of cars off of the crowded park loop road every year. From an adventure perspective, it made it possible to do all kinds of new hikes, without having to spot a car. In the mid- to late-2000’s the park added several new hiking trails and the also decided to reclaim many of the original names of the park’s oldest hiking trails. This was great from a historical perspective, but what a challenge it was to revise about 70% of the trail name mentions in the guidebook and map! For this latest revision, we had to add some new trails and update a few old ones, as well as update the info on the Schoodic section of the park, which now has a new visitor center, campground, and bike trail system. We also added some info about stand up paddleboarding – a sport that didn’t exist when we first wrote this book.
We always had a great team of editors working with us at AMC, as well as help from Acadia National Park personnel who check our work to make sure it’s accurate. Having been through four groups of editors now, I’m pretty confident that this guidebook is in really good shape. Lastly, this new edition is the first one to be in color, and as color photographer, I’m very happy about that!