Our Lubec weekend ended this Columbus Day morning as we enjoyed our last breakfast at the outstanding Peacock House Bed and Breakfast (hosts MaryBeth and Jim run a fabulous establishment – clean, comfortable and fabulous breakfasts!) and made our way west around 10AM. Our only destination for the day (besides home) was Roque Bluffs State Park.
This small but excellent park can be accessed from US1 just west of Machias by following the signs to the small community of Roque Bluffs. The park was actually closed although the space before the access gate was clogged with cars — so we backtracked to the handicapped parking area facing the ocean and squeezed in to the far right side of the lot, taking as little space as possible. The folding mirrors on the Burgman came in handy here!
I made a real rookie photographer mistake in this photo, not really LOOKING at what was in the frame! Had I done so, I would surely have removed the trash can before taking the photo……and I worked so hard to get the horizon aligned correctly, totally missing the obvious!
Anyway, the access road bisects the park. To the south is the ocean, a lovely sand beach with (at least today) no surf at all. It may be because there was no wind, although looking at the map it seems to face directly into Englishman’s Bay with nothing to block the waves. In any event, if conditions are routinely like they were today, the only thing that would make me think twice about bringing small children here is the absence of a lifeguard station; otherwise it would seem to be ideal. Here’s a view of the beach from the observation deck:
The north side of the road features a small pond and a hiking trail. Hoping to obtain a vantage point for a photo of the pond, we struck out on the trail, which (though well-maintained), requires a sense of balance as it traverses several swampy areas by means of a raised wooden plank boardwalk, about six inches wide, wrapped in chicken wire for traction. As the boards are narrow and not perfectly level, it would be easy to slide off them into the muck, especially if they were wet.
We followed this trail for about half a mile, vainly seeking a view of the pond, until we came upon a junction with a posted trail map. This map made it clear that the trail system NEVER intersects the pond, rather just continuing north in several large loops. Not willing to invest the time today, we re-traced our steps.
At one point we passed under what looked exactly like a cranberry tree. I do not know if cranberries grow on trees (I always thought they grew on short bushes near the ground, requiring raking to harvest), but I was so sure that these were cranberries that I took a bite of one! Tasted absolutely like cranberries, and I haven’t died yet, although I readily admit that eating strange berries is not a quality survival technique. Here you see Robin harvesting one:
She was prudent enough not to taste one! But don’t those look like cranberries??!!
Returning to the road, we admired the north side view of the park. According to a local whom I buttonholed on the observation deck, in the summer there is a brisk kayak rental business run on this pond. The beach also has a good boat-launching (hand carry) area at the far end, for those who own their own kayaks and wish to paddle in the ocean.
After walking the beach for a bit we continued on down the Roque Bluffs Road, which dead-ends into the ocean. There is a serviceable boat launch and parking area here, but it was not particularly scenic so we turned around and headed back to US1 to finish our ride home.
While I would not travel across the state for the sole purpose of visiting Roque Bluffs State Park (as I would for Reid, Popham, Baxter and some others), I would certainly recommend it to those already in the area and looking for a scenic place to hike, swim, paddle or relax for a morning or an afternoon.
With our sightseeing done, all that was left for us was to make our way back west. We again stopped in Belfast for lunch and were disappointed to find Traci’s Diner closed, so we crossed the street to an Italian restaurant (Delvino’s) where we enjoyed a fine meal. We arrived home just before dark, with 440 more miles on the odometer, and a lovely long weekend in Lubec concluded.