RV adventurers find oasis from crowds at Forest Ridge

Forest Ridge Campground in Ellsworth offers a more secluded alternative to the hustle and bustle of Bar Harbor’s camper scene. Just a mile from the city’s downtown, the RV park is situated in a quiet, forested setting, yet is still close to restaurants, grocery stores and other conveniences.

The central location is partially what inspired Lynn and Jeffrey Dyer to purchase the land six years ago. The other part is a love of travel by camper that has turned into a way of life.

“Owning a campground has always been on my bucket list,” Jeffrey Dyer said.

Dyer now owns and operates the RV park, located at 40 Flockamoosen Way, with his wife and son, Nathan. Nathan actually came up with the name Flockamoosen, after the youngster noticed a “flock of moose” while the family was scouting the land years ago.

Jeffrey Dyer writes on Forest Ridge’s dry erase board to let guests know when he’ll be back. Dyer always tries to make himself available for guests, whether it’s providing directions or recommendations for local restaurants.

Spread across 50 acres, Forest Ridge offers 60 full-hookup sites, 25 of which are reserved for seasonal campers and 35 of which are designated for short-term stays through mid-October. The park is geared toward RV owners, but does have one site for those looking to pitch a tent. The campground also has a laundry facility and on-site showers, as well as a heated swimming pool, free Wi-Fi and good cell phone reception.

Even though many amenities are available, the long, tree-lined driveway will assure campers they are still in for a relaxing stay in the wild.

“It still feels like camping,” Dyer said.

The Dyers have camped together since they married 33 years ago. They started in a tent, and then bought a used pop-up RV and eventually worked their way up to the 35-foot, five-wheel RV they live in at the campground during the summer. During the off season, the couple live in her hometown of Old Town. Dyer hails from Orono.

While living in an RV seven days a week for six months has its challenges, being on site allows the Dyers to immerse themselves in the their camper community and personalize the stay for their guests. By summer’s end, Dyer said he knows the guests by name.

The Dyers always make sure to have a copy of the local newspaper for guests when they check in. With advance notice, they also prepare a list of restaurants and experiences ready upon arrival.

Forest Ridge Campground’s central location right outside downtown Ellsworth is partially what inspired the Dyers to buy the land. They have owned the campground since 2013.

While they do encourage tourists to explore Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, the Dyers also direct people to lesser known destinations, such as Stonington, Deer Isle and Acadia National Park’s Schoodic District, located on the mainland in eastern Hancock County, which Dyer calls the “hidden gem” of the park.

Forest Ridge’s tranquility, convenience and the owners’ personal touches have attracted many long-term campers who arrive in their RVs in May and don’t leave until mid-October. In fact, the campground is completely booked for seasonal campers in 2020 and has a wait-list for the 2021 season.

L.A. Bykowsky is among them. For five years, she, her husband and their dog have traveled from Florida to Ellsworth to spend the summer. Their golden retriever Darel has become known as the campground dog. He’s the only one allowed off-leash often can be seen chasing balls around the grounds.

It’s the campground’s central location and her family’s relationship with the Dyers that brings them back every year.

“They treat everyone like family here,” she said.

For more details, call 664-7070 or visit forestridgecampground.com.