Friday, June 19, 2015 Road Junkies 0 Comments

MAINE COURSE, Chapter 2.
Day 2.  Lewiston, ME to Ellsworth, ME

After planning a few letterboxing stops and booking a room for tonight near Bar Harbor, we set out from our hotel in Lewiston around 10:00, in search of a series of boxes planted at obscure, overgrown little cemeteries in the area.  Of the first three we visited, only one had any spot remotely nearby to pull the car off the road.  And all were knee-deep—or taller—with tick-filled grass.  Once the third attempt certified the pattern, we abandoned this series and moved on to some other boxes, as there are plenty in the area.

Weathering has erased the names from most of the headstones in this small cemetery.
The next thing we knew it was 12:30—time to head to the coast.  On cousin Tom’s advice, we directed our car toward Boothbay Harbor (pop. 2,165), a busy, pleasant little town replete with trendy shops, seafood restaurants, boating vendors, and happy tourists.  We found some nice vegetarian options at the Boat House Bistro, a popular harborside tapas bar with a French-trained Austrian chef.  We shared some blue cheese polenta cakes with caramelized onions and arugula as well as a wild mushroom ragout with garlic, fresh herbs, and roasted tomatoes, garnished with fried leeks.  The flavors were perfectly blended and just as scrumptious as the descriptions suggest.

Boothbay Harbor Footbridge
Well-sated, we strolled across the footbridge spanning the harbor.  Three young boys in swimsuits were jumping off the bridge into the water, one-upping each other with their derring-do, as they climbed higher and higher on the structure.  When one of the lads boasted, “Hey!  Watch this!” we considered telling him about the redneck who ended up in the ER after uttering those three words.  Instead, we ambled on, allowing them to bask in their blissful ignorance without unwanted interference from a couple of senior citizens.

From Boothbay Harbor, we returned to US-1 and drove north, our sights aimed at Ellsworth, where we would spend the night.  As we were driving through Rockland, we paused to check out a couple of windjammers moored near the Rockland Ferry Terminal.  Victory Chimes was built in 1900 in Delaware and spent her first 45 years hauling cargo around Chesapeake Bay before being transformed into a passenger ship.

Schooners in Rockland
Anchored nearby was the Stephen Taber, first launched in 1871, and documented as the oldest sailing vessel in continuous use in the U.S.  Like Victory Chimes, the Taber carries no inboard engine, so the cruises offered on these venerable vessels are guided by the wind and the tides.

Continuing northward, we began to experience a bit of déjà vu, having traveled this same route five years ago.  We were delighted to see that an old Searsport inn we remembered as abandoned and overgrown today was buzzing with staff and guests.

Captain A. V. Nickels Inn in 2010 (L) and today (R)
A bit farther north, we again crossed the magnificent Penobscot Narrows Bridge, near Stockton Springs.  This time we arrived too late in the day to ride the elevator to the top of the observation tower, so we were glad we had been there, done that before.

Penobscot Narrows Bridge
Just before 7 p.m., we finally reached our hotel in Ellsworth.  Dinner was a lush salad in our room built from our groceries on hand.  Tomorrow we’ll spend the night in Bar Harbor, just 15 miles away, after more exploration of Maine’s north coast.
FRIDAY, 19 JUNE 2015
Daily Stats
  • Mileage -  183   (Trip total: 1,268)
  • Weather - 57° to 81°, sunny
  • Letterboxes - 4
Boothbay Harbor
Maine road repair, a summer way of life
Rockland dinghy