I forgot to give credit to the couple that wrote the book that we used to find the covered bridges of New Hampshire in the Fall Colors of New England -2 blog.
‘New England’s Covered Bridges’, by Benjamin and June Evans, copyright 2004, University Press of New England
‘Covered Bridges of Vermont’, by Ed Barna, copyright 1996, The Country Man Press
‘The Field Guide to Lighthouses of the New England Coast’, by Elinor De Wire, copyright 2008, Voyageur Press
We arrived in Maine on the 23rd of October driving to Acadia National Park. One of the major campground resorts at the park was offering a last two night special rate for a campsite on the beach so we decided to stay there. One of the men in the park suggested that we drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. You could see along the coast of Maine both east and southwest. The sunset was beautiful also, but the photos were rather poor (I guess I need lessons in photographing sunsets).
We woke up the next morning to a raging northeaster with a pounding rain on the camper (so much for our campsite on the beach). We braved the rain to visit the Visitors Center at the Acadia Park, but it was the last day that the park was open so we didn’t get a chance to really enjoy it. I guess we left something for the future. On the way back to the camper we saw a sign for;
Live Lobster $4.49 each
We bought ten and took them back to the camper to boil and clean. It was difficult stuffing a live lobster in a small pot of boiling water on top of the stove, but we persisted! Of course we had to have lobster that night for dinner and IT WAS GOOD!
We moved down the coast the next day looking for lighthouses. There were very few campgrounds open and we couldn’t find any that were convenient to the coast line. However, we did find a Elks Club that had camping facilities so we parked there for three days while we explored the coast and looked for lighthouses. Out in the bay at Rockland was the Breakwater Lighthouse. When the granite breakwater was constructed in 1889 a wooden light was built at the end. It was replaced by a 25 foot brick lighthouse in 1902.
We drove north the next morning to start our search for more lighthouses. Our first stop was at Camden Harbor. It was interesting to see the big sailboats that had been stored for winter with a covering of shrink-wrap plastic over the deck and cabin area. We were looking for the Curtis Lighthouse which is on an Island just outside the Camden harbor. However, we were unable to see the lighthouse from land.
At the end of the harbor was a cascade from the Megunticook River. It was somehow piped under the streets and businesses of downtown Camden then released to cascade down the rocks into the bay. I don’t know what they do when the river floods???
As we drove north, we drove out to Cape Jellison and the Fort Point State Park where the Fort Point lighthouse is located. The lighthouse was originally built in 1836 to guide vessels into the Penobscot River for trade. The station was rebuilt in 1857 and a pyramidal tower was added in 1890 to house the fogbell.
North along the coast we stopped to view the Penobscot Narrows bridge which was unusual in that the bridge roadways went on each side of the two main pillars and were held up by central cables. This bridge design was also seen later in the city of Boston.
Just beyond the bridge is Fort Knox which was an interesting visit of a imposing stone fort. It was built in 1844 after the British had invaded Bangor during the War of 1812. It was to protect the interior of Maine from future British invasion. It was garrisoned with soldiers during 1863 to 1866 and again during the Spanish American War, but the fort never saw military action.
Across the Penobscot river from the Fort is the town of Buckport. Nestled in among the fall trees is a beautiful white church. Bucksport was a major port trading products from the interior of Maine for foreign imports.
We quickly found that looking for lighthouses took a lot more driving than looking for covered bridges. Often the results were disappointing because they were too far away to be seen or were hidden behind inaccessible hills. Many of the lighthouses can only been seen by boat. The other problem is that lighthouses are usually at the end of a peninsula of land which is separated from the next peninsula by water (duh! It took a rocket scientist to figure that one out). In Maine, the peninsulas extend a long way out of the mainland thus creating a lot of coastline and long drives to reach the end where the lighthouses are generally located. However, often the drives were rewarded with other interesting or beautiful sights. It took us awhile to figure out what these bushes were that covered several hills on our drive to the Dice Lighthouse. Finally at the edge of one of the fields there was a large building that had BLUEBERRY PACKING PLANT painted on the side of it (duh x 2).
The fields were really pretty though and I still don’t know how they picked them. Noticing how bare the hills of blueberries were, we both wondered where you could find a spot to have a thrill (on Blueberry Hill)!
Also we managed to find this mill along the drive to Dice Lighthouse. I even braved the harrowing traffic zooming by on this narrow bridge as I took the photo just so you could see it.
Fortunately the Dice Head Lighthouse was worth the trip to find it. It was originally built of rough rubble stone in 1838 to guide the way into the Penobscot river. In 1858, it was encased in wood and a passage way was added from the house to the lighthouse. In the 1870’s the wooden sheath was removed and the lighthouse remains that way today. There were several more lighthouses further down on the main peninsula, but all were on islands too far away to be photographed.
At the very end of South Thomaston peninsula is a small fishing village called Port Clyde. On the tip is the Marshall Point Lighthouse. The original stone light was built in 1832. In 1857 the lighthouse was upgraded to a 31 foot brick tower light. In 1897 a bell was added to give fog warnings.
One of the more beautiful lighthouses we saw was the Pemiquid Point Lighthouse near the town of Bristol. It was built in 1827 to mark the entrance to Muscongus Bay and John Bay. It was thought that salt water was used to bind the stone in the original lighthouse and the mortar quickly decayed. A new 35 foot stone lighthouse replaced the original in 1835. A park has been established at the point and the house has been opened as a Fishermen’s Museum.
In the Boothbay Harbor area there are four more lighthouses located at various points around the peninsula.
Ram Island Lighthouse is located on Ram Island just a short way off Ocean Point. It guided fishermen through the Fishermen Island Passage into Linekin Bay and Boothbay harbors. The ocean drive around Ocean Point to view the lighthouse was quite a drive. Ocean Drive has the largest number of beautiful summer resident homes that we had seen. Burnt Island Lighthouse was on an Island off the east side of Southport peninsula Boothbay and was only visible from the Ocean Point Drive. Thus it was too far to be seen clearly. Hendricks Head Lighthouse was privately owned and had no public access. It originally provided guidance into the Sheepscot river. Cuckholds Lighthouse was on an Island named after an English gentleman that had his wife run away (!). It was a ways off Cape Newagen and was on a very low Island. In 1933, it was almost destroyed by a bad storm.
There were several more lighthouses between Boothbay Harbor and the southern border of Maine particularly around Portland, but we were running out of time and needed to head south. We left Rockland and drove down near Portsmouth to stay overnight at a nephew of Paul and Debbie’s. Their nephew was on duty with the Coast Guard, but we had a nice evening with his housemate and fellow Coast Guardsmen, Gordon.
It was pouring rain most of the afternoon. We managed to get the 5th Wheel set up and then decided to drive up to the Cape Neddick and the Lighthouse which was supposed to be one of the Nation’s most photographs sentinels. We didn’t hold out much hope that it could even be seen through all the rain, let alone photograph it.
As it turned out, photographing the Cape Neddick Lighthouse in a storm was actually a benefit as the waves were pounding off the rocks creating fountains of spray. Built in 1879 to mark the entrance to the York river, the lighthouse was electrified in 1938 and automated in 1987. In 1977, a digitized image of the lighthouse was chosen for inclusion in a time capsule aboard the Voyager II space probe. Along with other earth artifacts, it is intended to convey the nature of our world to other civilizations that may exist in the universe.
So ends out trip to Maine and fun searching for the lighthouses along the coast. We wished we had more time to explore the entire coastline.
See you again as we travel to Boston, Washington DC, Williamsburg and Atlanta; not forgetting a stop on the way home at our favorite distillery, Jack Daniels.