June 2004

 

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On a clear day you can see for miles...

Great Pond, ME (pop. 55) – a beautiful secluded area in which we spent two weeks at the military campground located there.  Great Pond is located on the fringe of the Downeast/Acadia section of Maine, about 45 miles northeast of Bangor.  It’s a depressed area - the only industries are logging and wild blueberries – but the scenery is priceless.  Judi, the campground attendant, told us about a great view from her parents’ land, on which a cell phone tower is located.  One clear day, we drove up and the view lived up to its reputation – a full 360 vista of the mountains all around, the thousands of acres of wild blueberries, some wild turkey – breathtaking.  To get to Great Pond, you pass through Aurora (pop. 125) with a feed/hardware store only open on Saturdays and a community school, grades pre-K through 8th, total student population 43.   According to one of the moms, the children get an excellent education, very personalized. 

A mother moose and calf had been spotted nearby but they never made an appearance while we were there.  In the evening, we could hear loons calling across the pond, owls and others we couldn’t identify.  We were surrounded by what must be Maine’s state bird – the black fly, competing with the mosquito for that honor.  It was our luck to be there during the height of black fly season – insect repellent was our cologne of choice during our stay there.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we saw and did while in Maine:

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This bronze Jeep is part of the Cole Museum.  Indoor displays feature all modes of transportation but alas, no flash photography.

The Cole Transportation Museum (www.colemuseum.org) in Bangor, the best private museum we have ever visited.  It was started by Galen Cole who made a promise at age 19 after losing his entire squad during WWII, to ‘leave my community and fellow man better than I found them.’  Sleds, sleighs, trucks, tractors, fire engines, cars, trains – anything transportation related – all an integral part of Maine’s history. 

Bar Harbor – a quaint village on Mount Desert Island, with a wonderful half-mile shore path overlooking Frenchman Bay.  We worked up an appetite strolling around, so we stopped and enjoyed our first lobsta (as it’s pronounced here) rolls at a village café.

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We were able to walk around picturesque Jordan Pond.

Acadia National Park, with its breathtaking views, especially from Cadillac Mountain, where the sun first rises in the nation.  We walked around Jordan Pond and rewarded ourselves with tea and popovers, a traditional treat there, at the Jordan Pond House Restaurant, on the back lawn overlooking the pond.  We drove the 27-mile loop through the park, stopping often to enjoy the vistas of Frenchman Bay and Bar Harbor, from afar this time.  Larry enjoyed his first Maine lobster dinner in Ellsworth, not far from Acadia – we had to take a picture of Larry and his bib as well as the feast – lobster, mussels and corn in its husk.  Luckily, one of the locals gave him instructions on how to get to some of the meat.  His opinion:  stick to the lobsta rolls – much easier to eat!

The Oceanarium in Salisbury Cove, right outside of Bar Harbor.  The ticket price includes the Touch Tank, Lobster Museum and Lobster Hatchery.  First stop – the Touch Tank.  We handled horseshoe crabs, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, scallops, moonglow snails, and a sea potato, accompanied by an educational and interesting talk from our guide. Next was the Lobster Museum where we learned about lobstering – traps, catching, releasing, size limitations.  Our final stop was the Lobster Hatchery where we learned that it takes two years from the time eggs are laid until they are released.  Female lobsters lay between 6-10,000 eggs each.  Out of that, in the wild, only one per 1000 make it to the bottom to finish growing and 50% of those are killed before fully grown.  With the hatchery, local fishermen bring in pregnant lobsters found in their lobster traps.  The eggs from these lobsters remain at the hatchery until they reach the stage at which they are ready to live on the bottom, giving them a much better chance of survival.  They are only about 1/2" long at this point.  It takes 4-7 years to get to the size where they are caught to eat.

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The FDR "summer cottage" on Campobella Island.

Campobello Island in New Brunswick where we toured FDR’s summer cottage (34 rooms and 6 baths-some cottage!)  It was at Campobello that FDR first became ill with polio. He last visited in 1939, not because of the disease, but because as President, his responsibilities had increased, communications were important and the island too remote at the time. 

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The East Quoddy Lighthouse is accessible at low tide only.

While at Campobello, we drove to the end of the island, to the East Quoddy Lighthouse, right on the Bay of Fundy.  The tides there are dramatic, coming in at five feet an hour during high tide.   The largest business in New Brunswick is aquaculture ($150 million/year)  – primarily harvesting Atlantic salmon.  There are numerous salmon ‘pens’ just along the coastline.  Speaking of the coastline, we found it to be rugged and rocky and even more beautiful than pictures portray. 

We also learned that during the wintertime, there are entire new routes and trails for ATVs, snowmobiles and cross-country skiers to follow, complete with mile markers, direction signs, rest areas and restaurants.  However, as beautiful as the area is, we aren’t going to stick around and check this out.  We would have liked to be there when the wild blueberry season started but we were about two months early – a fact to keep in mind for next time we are in this area.  

 

 

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