Friday, October 05, 2007

The Trip - Lubec, Maine

We rolled into Lubec a couple afternoons ago and started looking for the one RV Park listed in our directory, not paying a lot of attention to the name. We found it and pulled in, but the office looked deserted. My mom read the sign on the door that said if they're not in the office, then they're working on the grounds and to find a campsite and catch up with the owners later. We checked the map for the area with pull-thru sites and drove over there.

There wasn't a soul in sight. No RVs. No tents. Nothing. We didn't want to hook up if the place wasn't open, so we started walking around, looking for the owners. On the restroom door, we found a sign that said there was no hot water as of 9/15/2007. Just in case the sign was mistaken, we tried the hot water on one of the showers, and it stayed ice cold.

Then we wandered back toward the office and passed a couple travel trailers that looked like people lived in them, only nobody was there either. The sign out front had a big "Open" flag flying, so we figured that was the best we could do, hooked up our utilities, got the Toyota off the dolly, and drove into town to try to find the West Quoddy Lighthouse in time for sunset.

On the way, we passed another sign for an RV Park and recognized the name as the one in the directory book. Forget the lighthouse! We drove the car to the office and registered with a cigar-smoking man (the place smelled comfortingly like my Grandpa's house), then drove back to the abandoned RV Park to fetch the motorhome. As we were pulling out of the place, we saw that the owners had returned and turned on the lights in the office. We didn't look back.

We got set up at the good RV Park in time to catch the fading sunset over the inlet we faced.

In the morning, the glassy water of the inlet reflected mountains, boats, and a quartet of seagulls my presence scared away.

We went to Campobello Island first, then returned to Lubec for lunch at Uncle Kippy's, not having wanted to mess with exchange rates at a Canadian restaurant. The waitress asked where we were from, and when my mom said Texas, another couple near us asked where and said they're from Houston. We talked about places each of us has been, and they said they couldn't find the jasper beach in Machiasport, just a short way down the coast from here. The wife said she'd heard that there are only two beaches in the world where the sand is made of jasper: Machiasport, Maine, and somewhere in Japan. But when one of the waitresses tried to describe how to get there, it sounded like we won't be able to park or turn around with the motorhome. So we'll probably miss it, just like the Houstonians did. Except, we'll miss it on purpose.

After lunch we went to West Quoddy Lighthouse, which is perched on the easternmost piece of land in the US. On the way, a sign informed us that the gift shop we didn't stop at was the easternmost gift shop in the US.

As a side point, I (along with the rest of the class) was informed by one of my high school teachers (no idea which one, except that it was a Mister) that some of the Aleutian Islands extend beyond the dividing line between the eastern and western hemispheres. So, technically, if you keep going east from Lubec and West Quoddy Head, you'll come to the Aleutian Islands before you come to the western hemisphere. Which gives Alaska the northernmost, westernmost, AND easternmost points in the US. But nobody looks at it that way, besides nit-picky high school teachers. And me, since I haven't been able to forget he said that. I've told my mom, but I haven't told anyone in Maine about it.

Here is the lighthouse, dressed up like the Wicked Witch of the West's socks. There's a man in the lower left corner, obscured a bit by the foreground bushes. He was standing on a grassy knoll with his camera on a tripod, and the whole time we were there, he never left that spot.

The white building attached to the lighthouse was the visitor center, where they told about the lighthouse, about Lubec ("Where America Begins"), and had a small art gallery. But there was no access to the tower or the lens. So I took lots of pictures of the outside.

The main road into town goes past an old cemetary, where most of the headstones have lost their sense of the vertical. Many are from the 1800s and have poems or warnings or quotes after the significant names and dates. One, marking the grave of a man who died in 1873, said this:

Memory loves to linger here
Round the objects once so dear
Faith delights to dwell above
With friends whom still we love

In town, near the water, we drove past a large yellow banner promising 24 flavors of soft-serve ice cream. We parked, and I went in the cafe next to the banner to ask if that's where the ice cream was. She said it was, but the machine was broken. It had started making a "Bang! Bang!" noise, so she erred on the side of caution and shut it down. Her mechanic is in New Hampshire until Monday. Bummer.

I asked how she gets all the flavors, and she said she got the machine from Canada. It starts with vanilla, and then she can add her all-natural flavors, however you want it. She makes each order individually, instead of having to keep a bunch of different flavors on ice. It sounded really good, but we had to leave empty-handed.

Down the road, though, we came to Monica's Chocolates. We'd seen the shop advertised on a billboard outside of town. Inside, Monica introduced herself and told us she makes all her chocolates herself, even soaking the fruits (like blueberries or raspberries) in their own flavor of wine for months to make the taste powerful without tasting of alcohol. Then she gave us samples.

Oh my gosh! The apricot bonbons were to die for.

Monica had an accent, so I asked where she was originally from. She said Peru and that she didn't speak English very well. Coulda fooled me. Her English was great but interspersed with Spanish words like "con" and "y" and the other tiny words that I understand but that taken together don't tell you a thing about what the person is saying. But I understood her just fine. She was married to an American who moved to Lubec for the sardine industry that used to flourish there. But then he had a stroke, and his health wasn't good enough for him to travel, so they stayed and she makes her chocolates there. With real ingredients--cream and butter and whole milk and real fruit and nuts. We bought the assortment of truffles and had the first of them (I'm not sure which flavor--it was very chocolatey and SO GOOD) tonight with our tea. I may need to order some more from her website when we get back home--she ships.

After Monica's we came back to watch the sunset over the inlet again. The wind was up, so the water wasn't as glassy as last night, and the colors weren't as spectacular. But the jet trails glowed nicely for us.

1 comment:

Bekah said...

I didn't know that bit of trivia about the Aleutian Islands. That sounds like something my Dad would have told me along the way - but I don't think he ever did!

And the chocolates - now that is my sort of stop on the trip. Maybe I need to do a tour of America's best chocolate stops. :)