New England Vacation – Day 9
You can catch up on the earlier days of our vacation here:
Day 9 of our vacation started in Lubec, Maine, the northernmost town on the coast. We had been looking forward to this part of the trip as we both love the ocean and looked forward to enjoying the day standing on the shore and watching the waves.
Well, our plans were foiled somewhat as the day dawned rainy and continued rainy all day. So we made plans to visit as many indoor things as we could. Due to the rain, we left our water sensitive big cameras behind and used only our cellphone cameras this day.
Early in the morning, we headed north across the Roosevelt Campobello International bridge and onto Campobello Island in Canada.
First, we went through customs (Let’s see your passports. What’s your purpose in Canada? What will you be doing today? Have a nice day.)
If the name of the island sounds familiar to you (if you’re a history buff like we are) it’s because this is where President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s family, first himself as a child, then later he and his wife Eleanor and children, spent their summers.
In the 1880’s rich families from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia “discovered” the island as a lovely place to escape the summer heat of the city, and began to build summer cottages on the island. Franklin’s father first purchased land here in 1883, and little Franklin came here every summer with his parents.
In 1909, Franklin’s mother bought a large furnished cottage sitting on 5 acres of land and gave it to Franklin, his wife Eleanor and their young family for their summer enjoyment. In 1915, Franklin added a wing onto the cottage to make room for his growing family.
The cottage now had 18 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, and 7 fireplaces.
Here are some of the bedrooms:
Here are some of the bathrooms:
A playroom for the children:
The Living room:
The dining room:
Butler’s pantry between the dining room and kitchen:
And laundry room:
Every summer from 1909 until 1921, Franklin and Eleanor brought their five children to the cottage to enjoy sailing, canoeing, golfing, hiking, and picnicking on the island. The Roosevelts brought along a nurse, governess, and tutor for the children along with several servants to run the cottage. They also hired local island resident to help with local chores. The cottage had neither electricity nor telephone. There was running water supplied by water storage tanks on the third floor. Lighting at night was provided by kerosene lamps that had to be refilled, trimmed, and cleaned each day.
One day during their summer visit of 1921, Franklin ran a high fever and his legs grew weak. He had contracted Polio, and would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. While he would not return to Campobello again except for brief visits in 1936 and 1939 due to his active political career, Eleanor and the kids continued to return every summer. Eleanor’s last visit was in 1962 just a few weeks before she died.
We enjoyed touring the house. You can walk through at your own pace and there are guides throughout ready to answer any questions. A really neat place. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to “get away from it all” not just for a vacation for for several months every year in a summer cottage?
By the time we had finished touring the house, it was time for lunch, so we drove on down the road and found a little place that had fresh seafood on its menu.
Here were the specials:
I had the haddock while Harland had the halibut. Mine was smothered in some kind of cheese sauce with a bread crumb topping, and Harland’s was spiced and baked. Very yummy!
After lunch, we needed to burn off some calories, so we visited the East Quoddy Head Lighthouse at the far end of the island. It was very windy place. But we laugh in the face of wind. We’re from Kansas after all.
So we took some gratuitous pics of ourselves, then set off from the parking lot through the wind and rain.
To get to the lighthouse, you have to walk a trail through a wooded area. then you run into this sign:
Because we had planned ahead and consulted the tide schedule (pretty good for a couple of landlocked flatlanders, eh?) we knew that it was now low tide and the little strip of beach would be exposed allowing us to walk across.
To get to the beach though, first you have to go down a steep staircase:
Even though the weather was miserable, we dawdled on the beach for a bit, taking some pics,
doing some beach-combing,
and looking at the local wildlife.
It’s neat how at low tide all the critters sit tight and wait for the tide to turn and the ocean to come back.
Speaking of which we didn’t want to get caught out there when the tide came in, so we scrambled over the rocks and up into some trees on another trail that led to an overlook which a great view of the lighthouse:
Unfortunately, the rain was picking up, and since the lighthouse was not open anyway, we turned back.
On our drive back across the island, we made a quick stop at Wilsons Beach on the west side of the island to look at the fishing boats:
We thought about taking the ferry from Campobello Island over to Eastport Maine, but the fee was rather steep, so we drove back down the island, across the Roosevelt Bridge, and back into Maine where we went through customs again. (Let’s see your passports. Why are you here? What’s your purpose in the US? Are you bringing anything back? I need to look in your trunk.)
Then we drove up the coast to Eastport, Maine where it cut loose and rained like a cow peeing on a flat rock. A real toad strangler.
This sums up our visit there:
But by now it was late afternoon anyway, so we headed back to our hotel in Lubec.
Later that evening I laid my beach-combing loot out to dry:
Even a bad weather day in Maine is a good day to us.
UP NEXT: A visit to a sandy beach; more seafood is eaten; the site of an old fort; a working fishing cove, a visit to a laundromat, and much more.