Many months ago I signed up for a Road Scholar Program, “The Roosevelts on Campobello Island: Life at the Glorious Edge.” Part of the reason was to delve more into Maine back roads coming and going, but I have been so busy in 2014 that I did not do adequate preliminary planning — but I still manage to explore and learn. The almost eight hour road-trip (with some pikes that cannot be shunned in need for time) I broke up into an overnight half-way to the Canadian border on the eastern most point of the US (gee, and I have even lived at the southernmost point of the US)
Saturday 19 July, leave “44” at 8:30 and cut across NH on Route 101 to pickup I-95. At Portland bear right onto I-295 exiting on US Route 1 at Brunswick to head to my afternoon destination, the Maine Maritime Museum. One gas stop, and, OF COURSE, stop at Maine Welcome Center to collect travel literature, and arrive at the museum about 12:30, just in time to grab a sandwich and join the 1PM docent lecture and tour.
RAY RECOMMENDS – an afternoon or day at the Maine Maritime Museum — (actually HIGHLY RECOMMENDS)
The museum is located on the original site of the Percy & Small Shipyard where large four-, five- and six-mast wooden ships were built, including the world’s largest wooden ship, the Wyoming – a schooner (schooners were built with rigging requiring smaller crews than sailing ships, and moved cargo up and down the coast – usually coal in the early 20th century). Most of the shipyard’s original buildings, plus tools and equipment are still in place. In the center of the yard, a full-scale metal sculpture of Wyoming’s bow and stern gives visitors a sense of the enormous size of the ship. The Bath Iron Works shipyard is just up the river. Here one fourth of our WWII destroyers were built – one launched every 2-3 weeks. The new “stealth” destroyer, DDG-1000 THE ZUMWALT, was in view. Zumwalt was the Chief of Naval Operations when I was a young supply officer. The museum, its buildings and museum deserve more time. I learned a great deal in the lobster building, and wanted to share the placards below telling that story. Click to open up a “slide-show” to read along.
A History of Lobstering in Maine
I drove around Bath (nice) and continued north on US 1 to Wiscasset, billed as the “prettiest village in Maine.” I picked up (when illegally parked) a great walking tour brochure titled THE MUSEUM IN THE STREETS, but sadly without parking (it was a busy little village) I could not take in all the historic architecture (next time – off season). It was then time to cut over back roads to my B&B in Jefferson but a little sign caught my eye for a left turn “WW&F RR 1/10 mile.” The small museum was closed but two gentlemen spent some time telling me about their work restoring the narrow gauge equipment of the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway.
What followed was another wonderful B&B experience at the Clary Lake B&B. Rick and Linda were extremely cordial, and their 160 year old farm house was impeccably restored, furnished and clean.
For the next half of my trip to Campobello Island I struggled and struggled with a route still having 3 1/2 to 4 hours to go and needing to arrive around 3PM Atlantic time — there was just no time to serendipitously explore and I could not to be tempted – you know me by now. But I decided to cover as much of US 1 as possible cutting back down to Waldoboro and then go through Rockland, Rockport and Camden. I had been through once before in mid 1980s. These busy, resort artsy communities are not Ray, so I am glad I traversed to learn that, and need not return that way this trip — but possibly that area will be a separate trip sometime to do it justice.
Heading further east however, towns became more to my liking, and Belfast and Searsport deserve return visits. And then I arrived at Fort Knox (no Dorothy, I did no spin off to Kansas – oops that is Fort Leavenworth). Besides seeing the fort, I also must return to go up the observation tower overlooking the Penobscot River which is part of the new bridge finished in 2007.
Once you pass the turnoff to Bar Harbor (Route 3), there is more and more openness and less population. The terrain is more open and as you approach Lincolnville and Machias it is evergreen country. Then I remembered, when inspecting the Cutler Naval Station in the early 1980s I was told that the sailors were busy each fall “tipping.” Tipping is cutting boughs to be made into Christmas Wreaths, and I passed several such plants. For nostalgia I cut down to the base which is still in operation as possibly the most powerful radio station in the world but sending signals to submarines.
Following really back roads past the village of Cutler I arrived at downtown Lubec, Maine and the location of the bridge to Campobello Island.
I checked into my Road Scholar program and received the keys to Hubbard Cottage in the park.
And I am currently writing this in the properly restored Victorian living room.
I have this entire house along with three other attendees, and it is grand.
And now it is time to experience life as a Rusticator sometime in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — more to come, and thank you for reading, as always, yours, RAY