Eastport, Maine is a place that holds a special place in my heart. My mother was born and grew up in Eastport and we spent a few weeks every summer visiting my grandmother and other relatives. My father loved the fishing and the surrounding wilderness. After they retired they bought an old farmhouse in nearby Pembroke, Maine and the family spent a lot of vacation time visiting them. Rita, Alex and I decided to take a long weekend trip and make a pilgrimage to some of my old stomping grounds in the area. We decided to take the slow scenic route and made our way up US Route 1 passing through beautiful and quaint coastal towns like Kennebunk.
A detour inland brought us to the home of another famous Maine resident Stephen King.
We stayed the night at the Ramada Inn in Bangor where Alex made a new friend.
A favorite stop on US Route 1 just south of Ellsworth is the Big Chicken Barn. If you are in the market for something to read this is the place for you. The bottom floor of the barn is full of antiques but the entire top floor is full of books of all shapes and sizes. Everything from comic books to vintage tomes dating back to the 1800s can be found here. My mother used to stock up on historical fiction paperbacks while I would peruse the science fiction, travel and history sections.
Ellsworth is the gateway to Acadia National Park and even though I have been there dozens of times there is always something to see. We started on the Park Loop Road and made our first stop at the Sieur de Monts Spring and nature center.
Next up on the loop was Thunder Hole
Alex had fun playing on the rocks at Otter Cliff.
We made our way back to the other side of the island to spend some time in Bar Harbor.
We spent the night at the Colonial Inn in Ellsworth.
Schoodic Peninsula a portion of Acadia National Park across Frenchman’s Bay from Bar Harbor was a favorite haunt of mine when I visited my parents. Back in the day it was an undeveloped little used area where you could unwind and spend some quality time with nature. With the transfer of the Navy station to the park service the infrastructure and hence the visitors has greatly increased but it is still a quiet respite from Mount Desert Island.
Keep an eye out for the Winter Harbor Lighthouse on an island in the middle of the bay as you make your way around the loop road.
On the way out of the park you can see the Prospect Harbor Lighthouse.
As you continue north up Route 1 there used to be quite a few gift shops and kitchy tourist stops. One that still remains is Wild Blueberry Land in Columbia Falls. You cannot miss the giant blueberry shaped building as you go by. Try the blueberry muffins some of the best you can have.
My parents farm was located on the Pennamaquan River and we used to swim in two dam sites. The Lower Dam had a deep pool where you could walk along the dam and jump in. There was also a fish ladder where the alewives would run each year.
The Upper Dam site had a Tarzan swing and a bridge you could jump off.
A local spring is where we used to get our drinking water. Delicious, we stopped and filled up our bottles.
Back onto Route 1 we stopped for ice cream at Polar Treat an ice cream shop that has been serving the area for decades.
After ice cream we made the turn into Eastport for a day of exploration.
My grandmother’s house was on the top of what was called Fort Hillthe site of a revolutionary war era fort: Fort Sullivan.
and what is now the site of the high school.
For decades there has been a little hot dog stand on the town’s breakwater pier. I may be influenced by nostalgia but I think Rosie’s has the best hot dogs you can eat.
We ate overlooking the ocean on the breakwater pier. The mackerel were running so after lunch Alex reeled in a few with the help of a kindly fisherman.
The walk culminates at the statue of a fisherman which has become the symbol of Eastport. Interestingly the statue is not that old it being erected for a reality TV show “Murder in Small Town X” in the early 2000s. Tragically the winner of the show was killed during the 9-11 attacks. The statue is now dedicated to his memory.
A drive down Water Street several historic buildings can be seen including the old post office,
the Peavey Library
and several other buildings.
Be sure to stop at Raye’s Mustard Mill for a factory tour and some delicious mustard.
Leaving Eastport we stopped at Helen’s restaurant famous for their delicious pies.
Our next stop was the Bucksport Waterfront Walkway with great views of the river and Fort Knox.
Our last stop before heading home was the Sherman Lake Wetland.