Thursday, August 21, 2014


 No… not talking about the cheesy CBS soap opera… It’s the Bold Coast of Maine… the furthest point east in the contiguous United States… home to the second largest whirlpool in the world… the last stone ground mustard mill in the U.S… and the site of the Great Gold Swindle. (In 1897 the Reverend Prescott Jernegan with his accomplice Charles Fisher made the BOLD claim that they could extract gold from seawater scamming greedy and maybe not too bright investors from Boston and New York.)

Sunset Point, view from our site
The only RV Park in Lubec is Sunset Point.  This small park has WIFI, water and electric hook up only with a dump station and honey wagon service.  They also offer free use of pots burners and propane to cook lobsters at our site.  On the first night, our neighbor is cooking lobsters and offers to share the pot.  It’s a quick trip down the road to the new kids in town, H.D. & Sons Seafood (Their Website is coming but you can contact them at hdandsonsseafood at Yahoo dot com to order live lobster shipped.) We pick up a couple of pound and a half soft-shelled lobsters – total cost $13.50 add a green salad, some corn on the cob and melt some butter and life so does not suck!

Lubec waterfront
The town of Lubec is quaint and picturesque.  The waterfront is a combination of repurposed, maintained, restored and decaying/waiting to be restored smoke houses and fish shacks.  There are a couple of art galleries featuring local artists and found art sculptures. The hardware store has a bit of everything but not a lot of any one thing. The McCurdy Smokehouse was the last traditional smoked-herring facility in the United States when it closed its doors in 1991. Today the property is a museum about the fishing industry in the skinning/packing shed and is working to preserve the other buildings.  It is a fascinating look into Lubec’s past where the odor of smoke and fish still lingers.

Water St. Tavern
The Water Street Tavern and Inn (The easternmost tavern in the U.S.) is a great spot to grab a brew and small bites.   We grab a couple of local brews and an order of Fish Bites: chunks of haddock lightly battered and fried with a zesty tartar sauce and an order of Not So Good Fried Green Beans also lightly battered, fried and served with a chipotle aioli dipping sauce. They also have a decent selection of wines to pair with the daily changing menu. This place deserves a second visit so we return a few days later for brews and more of those horrible Green Beans (horribly delicious that is) and end up staying for dinner.  We share a cup of their Haddock Chowder, (thick, loaded and savory) Crispy Haddock Fish and Chips and Grilled Scallops (both done absolutely right.) We splurge on dessert, a ginormous slice of their signature tall chocolate cake with a suggested pairing glass of red wine.  This is sin on a plate and over half comes home with us to enjoy the next day.
Water Street Tavern & Inn on Urbanspoon

The extreme tidal range where waters exchange between Passamaquoddy Bay and the Bay of Fundy, combined with the unusual topography of the sea floor create the Old Sow Whirlpool.  This is the largest tidal whirlpool in the western hemisphere where small craft — especially vessels with keels (sailboats) and human-powered vessels — are warned to avoid these waters when the tide is running.  

Old Sow
So of course we book a cruise with Downeast Charter Boat Tours timed to hit the Old Sow at swirl time.  On the way we watch minke whales, porpoises, seals and bald eagles doing their thing in the bay.  We get great views of Campobello Island and a salmon fishery.  As we enter the channel between Moose Island in the U.S. and Deer Island in Canada there is a distinct wall of water coming from the Bay of Fundy direction and numerous small whirlpools or “piglets” forming.  As we cruise around the area the whirlpool begins to form and we ride around the outer edge.  Since we are in the middle of the lunar cycle the whirlpool is pretty calm.  A ride at the full moon, particularly during a super moon would be outstanding! 

Lobster Men
West Quoddy Head Light
The Easternmost point in the United States is the Quoddy Head State Park.   It is home to the West Quoddy Head Light.  We stop to check out the lighthouse and watch the lobster men hauling their catch. There are a couple of trails here and we hike the Coast Guard Trail to the scenic viewpoint of the Quoddy Narrows. 
FDR Cottage
Hubbard Cottage
Lubec is also known as the gateway to Campobello Island, New Brunswick.  One of our “neighbors” at Sunset Point is a professional photographer and she joins us for a trip across the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge over to the island. We start at the Roosevelt Campobello International Park and tour the FDR cottage and the Hubbard cottage and the surrounding grounds.  We head over to the Wells-Shober cottage for “Tea with Eleanor” where we enjoy bottomless cups of tea and an assortment of cookies while listening to the life story of the longest serving first lady of the United States. 

East Quoddy Head Light
Afterwards we stop at the Fireside Restaurant for a meh meal while waiting for the tide to go out then proceed to the East Quoddy Lighthouse.  (One of the most photographed lighthouses in the world… must be because we sure took a ton o photos of it!) The lighthouse is accessible at low tide via a series of metal stairs that take us up and over cliffs down to rocky beaches and back up again.  We get there just before sunset.

Two items we did not expect to find in these far eastern reaches are gourmet chocolate and artisan handcrafted mustard. 

Across the highway from Sunset Point is Monica’s Chocolates.  Monica Elliot combines the perfect combination of fine chocolates with a traditional filling that she learned to make in her native Peru. These are by far (in our opinion) some the finest confections anywhere.  She also carries a line of alpaca products and costume jewelry from Peru at super reasonable prices and some Maine-centric products.  All of her products can be ordered on-line so we will never be without :-) Yea!

On the road to Eastport is Raye’s Mustard Mill, a mecca for the true artisanal condiment connoisseur. The last remaining stone ground mustard mill in the U.S.  For over a hundred years the Raye family has been producing award winning, small batch, cold grind mustard using the original stones imported from France in 1900. We take a short tour, taste their mustards and leave with a half dozen jars of mustard.  (This should tide us over for a bit LOL.)

In Eastport we stroll along the waterfront and check out some of the specialty shops.  The Seaside Salts catches our eye with their display of natural Himalayan salt lamps.  They also carry an assortment of local culinary salts and beauty products.

At Dancing Dog Pottery and arts, we meet painter and potter Al Erikson. We have a great visit while admiring his paintings, pottery and porcelains with their unique Chinese glazes.  The gallery also sells unique jewelry created by his wife Kelle.  But this gallery will not be in Eastport for long.  At the end of this current season they will be relocating to Oregon, just south of Newport.  We’ll be stopping by for a visit next time we’re in the Pacific Northwest. 

Jim's Shop and Woody
with two handcrafted scooters
All afternoon we see an antique woody bus parked at various locations around town.  We stop to admire it parked in front of a bright turquoise building that appears to be a woodworking shop.  It’s owner Jim Blankman steps out of the hut and we talk to him about the car (a 1947 Dodge originally used to carry sardine packers to work) and ask if it’s OK to take some photos of the car and some of his wood projects.  Turns out he's originally from CA,  lived in a tree house in Corralitos before he moved to Eastport in the early 70's.  After discussing the Corralitos Meat Market he invites us into his shop and shows us his current projects, a teardrop camper, a reproduction of a door to restore a local building to it’s original glory, push scooters and his bread and butter projects: beds for electric skate boards.  He is a true craftsman and a genuinely friendly and gracious individual.


On our last night in Lubec, we arrange for a lobster kettle set up, pick up a couple of one and a half pound hard shells from our friends at H.D. and Sons,  grill a couple of steaks, add some corn on the cob and red potatoes… Surf and Turf at it's finest!

We originally intend to spend a week here, but there is so much to do... so we extend for a second week.  In the middle of the second week, Dave throws another DEF error message.  The closest dealer is in Calais, ME about 47 miles away.  So Dave goes into the shop where they try to fix the problem. A few days later the error is back, so we extend our stay and Dave goes back again.  They do more diagnostics and Dave has to return the next day for what we hope will be the final solution. We’ve now been in Lubec for three weeks.  We originally hoped to make it to Baxter St. Park and fly over Katahdin (the northern Terminus of the AT) but with Dave not at his peak, we think it would be safer to head back to Bar Harbor, closer to a larger GMC dealer and the shuttle bus service to get us around if Dave needs to stay in the hospital

We did get to see another super moon and wished we'd booked the Old Sow tour this day.
According to the boat captain, "It was Crazy Wicked!