Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We Visit the Sunrise County

On Monday, my friend Alice hijacked me for a trip Downeast to Lubec, which is as far east as you can go in the U.S. Lubec does not let you forget this fact: There are signs everywhere telling you that this is the easternmost place where you can do whatever it is that you're doing and still remain on U.S. soil. I was expecting a sign like that in the outhouse at West Quoddy Head Light, but was disappointed.

Alice pulled off a particularly skillful hijacking, since I drove. I like driving. I especially like driving Downeast, where there is practically no traffic and therefore no one to mind if you slow down and gawk. (Not the case around here, especially at Blue Hill Falls, where we regularly shake our fists at summertime visitors who slow down to 5 mph just when we are late for the dentist.) (I hasten to add that I did try to speed up or get out of the way if someone came up behind me.)

Washington County, where Lubec is located, is a large and relatively empty place, often billed as the Maine county most in need of jobs and economic development. It includes two Passamoquoddy reservations, at Pleasant Point and Indian Island, plus a University of Maine campus in Machias.

It's called the Sunrise County, but it's gorgeous even in the rain. Good thing, because yesterday couldn't decide whether to rain or rain like hell.

I'd seen tons of pictures of West Quoddy Head--many of them exactly like the one I took at right--but had never been there. It is spectacular, and I plan to return, possibly in better weather. There's an amazing trail from the lighthouse along the cliffs:

And another that takes you to a lovely little boardwalk over a bog full of pitcher plants. (Easternmost open bog in the U.S., the sign says.)

I've never seen so many pitcher plants in one place. (Click on the photo to appreciate close-up)

Eager for foreign travel, we crossed the bridge to Campobello Island, Canada. We drove past the Roosevelt homestead, but our main goal -- Alice being a foodie AND an anglophile -- was a grocery store so we could gape at all the British stuff labeled in French. Alice bought candy bars, and the guy at the register said she had to have a Coffee Crisp, which Nestle makes only in Canada. Apparently they're much in demand, because when we drove back into the U.S. and told the customs guy we'd bought candy bars but didn't open the bag, he said knowledgeably,  "Oh. Coffee Crisp."

Frankly, they were a bit sweet for my taste. But they were satisfyingly crisp, so one out of two ain't bad.

Here's the bridge, with a little bit of typical Lubec next to it. (Lubec really is not thriving.)

Here's the place on Campobello which thrilled us most, discovered by mistake after we got lost heading out of the grocery store. (Well, not exactly lost. We were exploring and got turned around funny, not having a map and not understanding how the coastline worked.) Anyway, this is Head Harbor, a busy fishing port, which means the island economy doesn't rely on tourists and retirees, which is all to the good.

And here are the intrepid travelers. I'm on the West Quoddy Head trail, Alice at the lighthouse with its distinctive red stripes.


Anonymous said...

It`s fun to get kidnapped every once in awhile, and also get lost on purpose. Bubbie and I get lost on purpose all the time. (I`m sure there is a life lesson in there somewhere, but it is succesfully hidden very deeply so he doesn`t realise it!) :P


P.S. My word verification thingie is Magrogie, which sounds like a really horrible Scottish name, so I`m gonna use it from now on. (Or until I forget about it.....)

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful, I want to visit Maine again.

Our smarties are different too.


Anonymous said...

That last comment was mine.
Connie (Willow)

Anonymous said...

Very beautiful! Being stuck in the center of the U.S. on flat land I don't get to see this kind of beauty. Thanks for posting! :))