There is a well-known ride in motorcycling circles called the “Four Corners of the USA” tour, in which bikers have 21 days to visit the four corners of the USA: San Ysidro, CA; Blaine, WA; Key West, FL; and Madawaska, Maine. This is the so-called “iron butt” tour. I will not be making this tour in this lifetime.
However, the good folks of Madawaska, Maine, having already built a lovely “Four Corners” Park in the center of their good city, decided that they could generate even more tourism dollars by promoting a “Four Corners of Maine” tour, open to the drivers of any motor vehicle, not just motorbikes. Participants visit Madawaska, of course (the northern corner), Grafton Notch State Park in the west, the Kittery Trading Post in Kittery (the southern tip of Maine), and — you guessed it! — the easternmost point of the state of Maine, Lubec. That’s what brings us here.
We traveled US202 through Augusta and picked up ME-3 east, which brought us to the lovely coastal town of Belfast. While you know any town is a tourist town if it sports shops named “The Purple Baboon” and “The Blue Alpaca” (I’m not making this up!), Belfast is nevertheless a really attractive little village, and unlike many similar villages in southern Maine, Belfast has not lost its working waterfront, giving it a historic kind of vibe and keeping the tourist aspect from getting out of hand.
We stopped for lunch at an excellent little spot on the main drag called “Traci’s Diner”. The food was great, and the inside is painted with outstanding Maine-oriented illustrations:
After lunch we walked down to the harbor, which is ringed by a lovely walking path. Here are some views of Belfast harbor:
This local business has an interesting facade:
We walked down to the working waterfront and took a look around the Front Street Shipyard, admiring the rigging they use to pull boats from the water.
Here are a couple of the boats sitting in the shipyard:
This photo was taken from the waterfront looking up the hill into town:
From Belfast, we picked up US1 north (the same US1 that you would take to Key West, Florida if you went south) and followed it to Bucksport, where we took the Narrows Bridge over the Penobscot River. This bridge demands your attention as the road is narrow and the bridge is really high!
These photos were taken from a pull-out just before you approach the bridge in Bucksport. About a half mile down the road, you can turn left into a parking area from which you can ascend the left tower of the bridge to the viewing platform at the top (you can just make out the viewing windows in the photo above). The view is said to be outstanding but we have never seen it. The photos below were taken at the same pull-out, looking downriver.
There are a number of nice views between Bucksport and Ellsworth on US1.
This is a view across Frenchman’s Bay to Mount Desert Island, with Cadillac Mountain just visible to the left of the tall trees in the center of the photo. There are a number of informative plaques posted here:
You see the term “rusticators” often in this part of the state, especially near Acadia National Park, and it refers to city folks who would come here for summer vacations in the late 1800s to “rough it” far from the luxuries and conveniences of Boston or New York. The Rockefeller family was one example of “rusticators”, who built beautiful carriage roads and bridges on Mount Desert Island to enjoy — and then donated all of it to lay the foundation for Acadia National Park.
Afternoon was pressing on as we made the slog through Ellsworth (always a tedious traverse, but somewhat less so today given that the high tourist season has passed), so we made haste east to Lubec, stopping only for gas. We are staying at the Peacock House Bed and Breakfast, arriving at 5PM, where the hosts provide a number of amenities including a very bright-sounding Yamaha grand piano (I know this because I tried it out with Debussy’s first Arabesque). Here are some shots of our room:
From Lubec it is only a couple of miles across the international bridge to Campobello Island in Canada and the vacation home of the Roosevelt family, of presidential fame. At 10AM the Roosevelt home offers “Tea with Eleanor”, a historical presentation enlivened by tea and ginger cookies, apparently something Eleanor Roosevelt always offered her guests. We hope to start our day there tomorrow and then go on, either to Eastport (home of Raye’s Mustard, the last stone-ground mustard factory in America!) or south to Quoddy Head State Park, which offers stunning ocean views of the “Bold Coast”. Or maybe both if time permits! We’ll fill you in tomorrow!