summer, we wanted to get outdoors, enjoy the beauty and natural wonders of east
coast national parks, and take some of the roads less traveled.
We headed up the coast with two other couples, ferried our cars between islands, visited tiny fishing villages, met artists in their galleries, enjoyed elegant afternoon tea, walked on the ocean floor, and experienced the world’s highest tides.
We tasted sea vegetables, dined on the freshest of seafood, went on a whale watch, and cruised aboard a lobster boat. We discovered more about Native American heritage, had the opportunity to bicycle with men in kilts, and even visited the Sardine Museum & Herring Hall of Fame.
Maine: The Schoodic Peninsula and the Easternmost Town in the USA
It’s a warm welcome at Elsa’s Inn on the Harbor, with just-baked shortbread cookies and coffee or tea in china cups. The pristine, newly renovated house in Prospect Harbor has been in this family of lobster fishermen for generations.
There are quilts and ruffled curtains, fresh flowers, embroidered linens, plush robes, framed family photos and a welcoming treat in the tastefully decorated rooms. We relaxed on the front porch, watched the lobster boats return with their catch, took in the view of Prospect Harbor Light, and read selections from the inn’s library.
Dinner was at Bunker’s Wharf in Birch Harbor, owned and operated by Chef Nathan Hall. We booked a window table for the harbor view at sunset.
Top choices include the stew--chock-full of lobster--and the Atlantic haddock stuffed with crabmeat and topped with lobster cream.
The next day, while some of our group went on a three hour kayaking tour in Birch Harbor with SeaScape Kayaking ...
others opted for the trails of Roque Bluffs State Park, hiking through meadows and woods and sighting marine birds along rocky shores.
We drove to the picturesque village of Corea, where we met with Joe Young, whose ancestors became the area's first white settlers around the time of the War of 1812.
Joe was in the shed where his family has stored and maintained their gear for generations and showed us devices like this one that his grandfarher, who was also a rum runner, made for bending wood for the older style half-round lobster traps.
Summers, after a busy day as a lobster fisherman, Joe uses his shed as a gallery. The Corea Wharf Gallery on Gibbs Lane features the phtography of his aunt, Louise Z. Young, who left Corea to work in portrait studios and returned to photograph the area in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.
Lucy Shapiro grew up in homes furnished with antiques collected wherever they lived and continues the tradition with her shop, Goody Goods, 646 Corea Road.
We were delighted to discover Rosemary and Garry Levin's Chapter 2 Gallery, 611 Corea Road, and their adjacent Spurling House Gallery of Contemporary Art and Craft.
Garry has a rare and eclectic book collection, and there's a kaleidoscope of distinctive and creative works by other talented artists and artisans drawn to this area--paintings,book folding, (at left)...
...woolen accessories, colorful glassware, furniture, household implements, collages, mobiles, metal sculptures, and much more.
Columbia Falls Pottery
We continued our travels on Route 1 past the glass and pottery studios and wineries of the Gouldsboro area, taking Scenic Route 1A from Millbridge.
and the adjacent Federal-style Ruggles House, built in 1818-1820 for Judge Thomas Ruggles of Massachusetts, who was also a lumber merchant and postmaster.
We followed the signs for a photo op at West Quoddy Lighthouse.
|West Quoddy Head is the easternmost point in the U.S.A.|
There was just enough time to stop at Bold Coast Smokehouse, home of "wicked good" smoked salmon, and Monica's Chocolates, where the decadent delectables are also available in sugar-free versions and in in specialty shapes. Both are on Route 189.
Then we before checked in at our comfortable B&B, the Home Port Inn ($95-115) in Lubec.
It was a short downhill walk to Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant and Seafood, where we feasted on 1 1/2 pound lobster dinners.
Lubec was once known for shipbuilding, smoked herring, sardines, and a border trade that included smugglers and bootleggers.
The last smokehouse is now a museum, and continuing industries include fishing--lobsters, scallops, sea urchins, and salmon aquaculture--and tourism.
New Brunswick, Canada
We crossed the Roosevelt International Bridge, built in 1962, to New Brunswick’s Campobello Island. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt bought a 34-room cottage here that is now the centerpiece of the 2800 acre Roosevelt Campobello International Park.
It is the only park in the world owned by the people of two countries and administered by a joint commission.
A highlight of our visit was Tea with Eleanor, free each
day to the first twenty who ask for a ticket. Tea and cookies are accompanied
by stories about Eleanor told by knowledgeable staff who are clearly avid fans
of the former First Lady.
A highlight of our visit was Tea with Eleanor, free each day to the first twenty who ask for a ticket. Tea and cookies are accompanied by stories about Eleanor told by knowledgeable staff who are clearly avid fans of the former First Lady.
There are walking trails, beaches, and forests in the International Park, as well as scenic picnic spots along the rocky shore.
We spotted whales from East Quoddy lighthouse on the north end of the island.
A stay at The Owen House, a large colonial inn overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay and the islands on both sides of the border, is an immersion in history.
Admiral William Fitzwilliam Owen, son of the Welsh Captain granted the island in 1769, built it in 1835 and ran it as a feudal estate. It still has many original furnishings, including quilts, and most of the original construction--including a Shaker staircase (an extra step on the back stairway for ladies) and an ornate Wedgewood toilet.
Guest can relax on the oceanview porch where Eleanor Roosevelt sat when she visited.
One room serves as watercolor gallery for artist and owner Joyce Morrell, shown here in one of the sitting rooms.
Breakfast included blueberry pancakes prepared in a bowl from the 1880s.
We boarded the nearby Deer Island ferry and photographed fishing villages on the scenic road to the mainland ferry.
Our next destination was St. Andrews by-the-Sea, renowned for its golf course, and with a new aquarium at Huntsman Marine Center. We were greeted by men in kilts at the area’s signature hotel, the Algonquin (from $109), popular with guests of all ages for its resort facilities and dining, including afternoon tea.
We strolled past grand historic homes on the nearby tree-lined streets and visited the Kingsbrae Gardens before returning to the hotel for dinner.
Ministers Island is named for the Loyalist parson, Reverend Samuel Andrews, who built a stone home in 1791 that still stands. It is accessed by driving or cycling over the ocean floor during low tide or kayak or shuttle boat in between.
It was the summer home of railway magnate Sir William Van Horn.
Van Horn used sandstone cut from the beach to build his fifty room mansion, Covenhaven, and the circular bathhouse from which he loved to draw and paint.
Van Horn meticulously maintained his animals, including prize-winning Clydesdale horses and Dutch belted cattle in an enormous barn. Milk, fresh butter, and fruits and vegetables were produced here to supply this and his Montreal home.
We had the opportunity to bicycle, kilts optional, with Off Kilter Biking Tours, run by personal trainer Kurt Gumushel and artist Geoff Slater, who created area murals and is known for his single line paintings.
They provide high-end bicycles and custom made biking kilts, a bit shorter than conventional ones, should you choose to wear one.
The enthusiast duo combine the area’s renowned mountain biking and Scottish heritage with a tour customized to interests and ability.
We booked a Bay of Fundy whale watch aboard the tall ship Jolly Breeze...
bald eagles, finback whales, and sea birds. When the season is right, there are also puffins, right whales, and humpbacks.
We learned about salmon cages and herring weirs. There was a touch tank as well as pirate-themed activities for children.
For dinner, there’s none finer than the Rossmont Inn on Route 127, a manor house on 87 acres that includes Chamcook Mountain, the highest point in the Passamaquoddy Bay area.
Graziella Aerni runs the 18 room inn, and her husband, Chef Chris Aerni creates his menu daily from the freshest available products of the land and sea--regional catches, his own organic vegetables, herbs, and handpicked wild foods like fiddleheads, and mushrooms. Ask about the tasting menu.
The next morning, we continued along the bay to Fundy National Park, walked a trail, then stopped for lunch in Alma. Lobster boats were idle on the ocean floor awaiting the incoming tides.
Lunch at Tides Restaurant was a scrumptious salad with freshly harvested wild blueberries and scallops
Then we were off to Hopewell Rocks, timing our visit for low tide when we could walk on the ocean floor past formations going back over 300 million years.
The sandstone bases have been eroded by the ocean's waves and angled by the earth's movement, creating formations now known as Flowerpot Rocks for their distinctive appearance.
Once the world’s highest tides roll in, kayakers head out to paddle past the rocks’ treed tops.
Hungry for seafood, we headed for the lighthouse and Cape House Restaurant on Cape Enrage. Chef Jeremy Wilbur, who grew up in the area, attended the Culinary Institute of Canada and worked internationally before returning here.
We enjoyed Bay of Fundy Scallops, local fiddleheads, a “raging chowder” of local Fundy seafood, and a wonderful dessert selection, all with a bay view.
The secluded mountain chalet at Broadleaf Guest Ranch, with plenty of bedrooms and baths and a large kitchen and living area, was an ideal choice for the six of us.
On Route 114 about 45 minutes south of Moncton, it’s part of an 1100 acre family owned and operated adventure business. There are also three country cabins, dormitory-style cabins, a bed and breakfast apartment, and summer camping hookups in the apple orchard.
Hearty ranch cuisine is served in the restaurant.
Adventures include horseback riding along the Bay of Fundy marshes.
pecial summer, winter, and riding packages are offered, as well as the Broadleaf Stress Breaker, which includes a massage and manicure or pedicure--perfect for a girlfriends’ getaway.
Next, we were off to Grand Manan Island, a fishing community with natural beauty and activities--whale watches, kayaking, hiking, beachcombing, art galleries and museums--that draw tourists.
Unique to the island are its dulse and its Sardine Museum and Herring Hall of Fame.
Grand Manan’s dulse, an intertidal zone seaweed is harvested at low tide and dried on rocks.
Eaten as is or added as flakes or powder to many recipes, it is used medicinally and as a nutritious food in Ireland and Atlantic Canada and found in many health food stores.
Dulse from Dark Harbor is protected from bright morning sun, making it darker and more flavorful, and is said to be the highest quality in the world.
It is available at Roland’s Sea Vegetables, 174 Hill Road, where it is also dried and processed.
New Yorker Michael Zimmer recognized the significance of the island’s lost smoked herring industry. Twenty years ago he bought three neglected buildings and used them to artistically display the old tools and equipment he collected from around the island, founding The Sardine Museum and Herring Hall of Fame.
His boat, fashioned in the shape of a sardine can, is also on display.
Our first night, just before it closed for the season, was at the Compass Rose B&B on Route 776.
It was originally a post office and telegraph office, and is about half a mile from the ferry terminal.
in a seaside room so charming that a cozy covers the TV when not in use.
Breakfast is superbly prepared to order and served with classical music in a dining room, which like our room, overlooked the working harbor. (Poached eggs are to us the litmus test of breakfast and theirs were cooked to perfection.) Lunch is available.
We enjoyed a sweeping and serene seaside view at the Inn at Whale Cove & Cottages, built in 1816. Each of the three bedrooms in the main house has a private entrance and private bathroom and shares a library and living room.
The dining room is also in the main house,and there are five cottages, most rented by the week ($850-$1000).
One cottage was owned by Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Willa Cather, who spent her summers here in the 1920s and 1930s. A small desk she used while writing some of her books is in the Grand Manan Museum.
We ferried from Grand Manan to Black Harbour.
Before crossing the border in Calais, we stopped at Ganong Chocolatier in St. Stephen for a tour ($7, discounts for seniors, children, and families) that included as many samples as we liked.
Back in the USA: Downeast Maine
1 South to Route 190 leads to Eastport, easternmost city in the USA. When British troops occupied it between 1814
and 1818 they established the present international border. Smugglers ran off
Route 1 South to Route 190 leads to Eastport, easternmost city in the USA. When British troops occupied it between 1814 and 1818 they established the present international border. Smugglers ran off to Lubec.
we reached the Commons area, we stopped at Raye's Mustard to stock up on our
favorite varieties. Kevin and Karin Raye are the family’s fourth generation
owners and operators of the nation’s only remaining traditional stone ground
mustard mill, a century-old working museum. They use a cold grind process to
produce mustards that become thicker and creamier as they pass through each of
the four large stones, retaining flavors lost in today’s cooked processes.
Before we reached the Commons area, we stopped at Raye's Mustard to stock up on our favorite varieties. Kevin and Karin Raye are the family’s fourth generation owners and operators of the nation’s only remaining traditional stone ground mustard mill, a century-old working museum.
They use a cold grind process to produce mustards that become thicker and creamier as they pass through each of the four large stones, retaining flavors lost in today’s cooked processes.
historic downtown, the Commons, is a good place for lunch and to explore unique
shops, galleries, and the Tide Institute’s binational collections from the
greater Passamaquoddy region. .
Eastport’s historic downtown, the Commons, is a good place for lunch and to explore unique shops, galleries, and the Tide Institute’s binational collections from the greater Passamaquoddy region.
In tribute to the binational culture between New England and Atlantic Canada, the festival-loving Eastport’s New Year’s Eve celebration includes lowering a giant red maple leaf at midnight Atlantic time (11 pm Eastern) and an eight foot sardine at midnight Eastern time.
took Route 190 back to Route 1 South to Sullivan Harbor Smokehouse in Hancock
and continued to Route 3 and Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Anne's White
Columns Inn on Mount Desert Street was easy to spot, and we were just in time
to enjoy the late afternoon wine and cheese reception.
We took Route 190 back to Route 1 South to Sullivan Harbor Smokehouse in Hancock and continued to Route 3 and Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Anne's White Columns Inn on Mount Desert Street was easy to spot, and we were just in time to enjoy the late afternoon wine and cheese reception.
From late June through early October, the National Park Service offers the option of a free Island Explorer bus into Acadia National Park. There are a plenty of activities-- exploring, hiking, bicycling, or just enjoying the view from Cadillac Mountain.
A lunch favorite is popovers and chowder at Jordan Pond House.
We walked from our inn to the pier, browsing the shops en route to Lulu's Lobster Boat (about 2 hours, $30). It’s rated the #1 tour in Bar Harbor by Trip Advisor and has been featured in places like the Food Network and PBS.
Captain John regaled us with tales of lobstering and Maine fisheries conservation efforts as he hauled traps, explained lobster anatomy and biology, and provided close-up views of seals and bald eagles.
Our walk back to the inn led us to the Abbe Museum, also on Mount Desert Street. It’s a great resource for learning about Maine’s native people, the Wabanaki.
We celebrated our final evening in style at one of Bar Harbor’s many special events--Fashion Night Out.
Merchants hosted in-store events that included food and wine tastings, giveaways, fashion shows, arts and crafts, music, dancing and more--a festive finale to our two nation vacation.
Ready to go?
Maine and New Brunswick story by Linda Fasteson
material including photography appearing on these pages is copyrighted
and may be used only with written permission from Roger and Linda
photography by Roger Fasteson
Maine and New Brunswick
story by Linda Fasteson