Tuesday, August 31, 2010


After Campobello, I headed south. I hiked out to the sea cliffs at Cutler, had a haddock sandwich and blueberry cream pie at Helen's in Machias, checked out Roques Bluff and Jasper Beach (pictures at Gravel Beach), and raced south, making it to Bailey Island by 8 or so for a late dinner (lobster, of course) at Cook's.

I stayed in Brunswick, had breakfast at the Little Dog on Maine Street, and wandered around the old house one more time, before heading off for Freeport and the Portland Airport. L.L. Bean isn't as over the top as Cabela's, but it certainly is a long, long way from the old days of climbing the long flight of stairs up to the old showroom above the factory. Before the Ben and Jerry's, the Starbucks, and all the high end clothing outlets.

As usual, I've got a whole bunch of coastal and beach-related posts from this trip over on my Gravel Beach site (or I will shortly).

Monday, August 30, 2010


Campobello Island is connected to Lubec by a bridge and separated by an international border. This Canadian Island has a long history, but in the first half of the 20th century, it was a summer getaway for wealthy families from big eastern cities (wealthy enough to be able to spend the entire summer in modest 20-room cottages). But it's also a fishing community and the site of the spectacular East Quoddy Lighthouse (which would have been better visited late in the day with western light, not in the glare of the morning sun).

I hadn't planned on visiting the Roosevelt Cottage, but pulled into the Visitor's Center, watched the movie, and wandered around the grounds. I found it surprisingly moving - this is where FDR grew up, learned to sail and enjoy the outdoors, and where one summer, as a young attorney and father, was stricken down with polio.

The broad, sweeping beach at Herring Cove was wonderful - I would love to come back and wander for longer.


Lubec is a little fishing town located inside the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay. Like everything else in this part of Maine, jobs and money are scarce, but the town looks like it's having a little renaissance. It would be a nice summer place if it weren't so darned far from everything. But it sure must be desolate in the winter.

West Quoddy Head

I arrived at Cohill's Inn in Lubec fairly late, had a beer with the proprietor, and set the alarm for 5AM.

It takes only 15 minutes or so to drive out to West Quoddy Head so I still had 20-25 minutes before the sun came up. I parked, then walked down to the red and white striped lighthouse which looks eastward over the Bay of Fundy and Grand Manan Island.

This is the easternmost point in the United States. In summer months, it is the country's earliest sunrise. In the winter, when the sun rises farther south, the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia has this honor.

I explored the point in the pre-dawn light, watching lobster boats head out to check traps. A couple other guys were also waiting - sunrise at West Quoddy was their first stop on a fall road trip that was to include all 50 states. And then a six pack of very loud men showed up - I think they appreciated the sunrise, but I would have appreciated it more if they had they shut up!

The sun rose right on time and was perfect. It would be neat to race off to Portland, jump on a plane, fly to Seattle and Port Angeles, drive to Ozette, and hike out to Cape Alava for the sunset. I wonder if that can actually be done. If so, I suspect someone has done it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I grew up in Maine, but despite having visited lots of National Parks, I'm not sure when, if ever, I had been to this one in my home state. I'd been on Mount Desert Island - the end of a sailing trip with relatives in grade school - but I don't know if I saw much of the island beyond Northeast (or was it Southwest?) Harbor.

I've wanted to come here for ages, for sake of completeness, but also as an essential stop on my quest for new and interesting beaches. I spent the morning on the Precipice Trail, and then followed the Loop Road to Sand Beach, Monument Cove, Little Hunter's Beach, and then over to Seawall Beach. After a lobster roll at the Seawall Drive-In and ice cream in Southwest Harbor, I raced around to Schoodic Point, getting there just before sunset.

Champlain Mountain

My goal was to hit the road early so I could visit the main Acadia sites before the Sunday crowd got too bad. And be headed for Schoodic Point and Lubec by early afternoon.

I was at the visitor center at 8AM and the plan was looking good. But the Loop Road is one way and I felt if I passed anything by, I wasn't likely to get back. The Precipice Trail wasn't on my list, but it sounded pretty cool, I figured I needed some exercise, and even though the sign suggested three hours for the round trip, I figured I could somehow still fit everything into the day.

I did it in about two hours, with 20 minutes on top to enjoy the spectacular views of Frenchman's Bay, Cadillac Mountain, and the Atlantic. The trail climbs the cliffs and ledges, aided by steel ladders and railings, which preserve the exposure, but limit the risks. I think D would have liked this!

My little side trip meant that I spent the next few hours in the worst of the heat and the tourist crowd and meant that I wouldn't get to Lubec until late evening. It also meant that I ended up bagging the drive up Cadillac Mountain, but this trail was far more interesting than the auto road.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Bucksport was my base for two nights. My room had a view across the water of Fort Knox (not the one in Kentucky where the gold is stored) and the bridges (old and new).

The Penobscot River runs into the northern end of Penobscot Bay in a maze of islands and waterways, so I'm not sure whether to call this the river or a bay. I guess it's both.

The old bridge has been upgraded in the last few years with a new one - similar in concept but very different in design. The old one remains, but is fenced off - I wonder if the plan is to remove it, refurbish it for bikes and pedestrians, or let it gradually fall into the river? The new one was spectacular - especially at night. I didn't have time to go up to the observation deck on the top of the 400' west tower, but would have liked to.


Saturday's wedding overlooked the shore, somewhere among the tentacles of the north end of Penobscot Bay. The weather was perfect, the tide was high, the bugs were scarce.

Everyone knows that Maine and Wyoming are at opposite ends of the earth, so at first glance it seemed a strange place for a couple from Laramie to celebrate their marriage, but both have strong family roots here. And there will be another party on the slopes of the Snowy Range later in September.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Alamoosook Lake

The rehearsal dinner was at a lodge on Alamoosook Lake. It seemed like the perfect Maine setting - the only thing missing was the mosquitoes. Actually there were a few, but remarkably few.

It was fun seeing G's family, some of whom I hadn't seen since we were kids, and some of whom I had heard about, but never met.

Penobscot Bay

The traffic wasn't as bad as I expected of an August Friday afternoon on northbound Route One. Rockland looked great and I went out to the breakwater at the north end of town. It would have been fun to walk out to the end, but I've got to keep going.

I worked my way up the west side of the bay, stopping briefly in Camden and Lincolnville. There was a neat little estuary at the mouth of a stream north of Camden. From the small spit at its entrance you can look back at the Route 1 bridge, which is much more interesting than you'd realize just driving across.

Penobscot Bay was full of boats - it will probably be even busier once the weekend really arrives.

Owl's Head

I don't think I've been this far down the Maine coast since I was in junior high, so it's pretty much like visiting it for the first time, except for some vague sense of deja vu in a few places.

The lobster theme dominates here.

New Harbor

Lobster rolls are more expensive than they used to be, though I guess so is the lobster. I ate mine while watching the boat to Monhegan load up with tourists and head out toward the island. I guess I'll save that for another trip.