Saturday, May 29, 2010
Down East, Day 2: Lubec and Campobello
We arrived in Lubec around noon, bought a bit of lunch, and took it (probably illegally) across the bridge into Canada, i.e., Campobello Island. A group of rich New Yorkers bought the island in the late 19th century during the rusticator craze, erected their huge cottages, and, well, rusticated. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's father was one of them, and while his first cottage burned, his second still stands, all 35 rooms full of FDR and Eleanor and their happy/unhappy life together. Campobello was where FDR contracted polio - he would return only three times to the place he loved almost more than politics.
On the ocean side Campobello is wild and beautiful. On the bay side, it's calm and full of salmon pens. (The big tides flush the fish waste away, the modern version of water pollution.) I don't really understand why all the big houses were built facing the bay. Maybe the sailing, like polo and polio and politics, is more relaxing if protected (like the salmon). Or perhaps the rich businessmen didn't want reminders of their rough and tumble workday lives.
Lubec is only a couple of miles from Eastport by water but seems completely different. Here the people, I suspect, have already made their money, elsewhere, and bring it to Lubec in order to have the time to keep lovely houses and a clean waterfront. There's a derelict building but it's part of an old smoked herring factory itself about to be preserved.
It's a delightful town for older folks, and getting older - the high school has fewer than 40 students and will probably close. Our B&B, the Peacock House, has had guests from all over the world. There were two restaurants from which to choose. The sunset was heart-stopping.
Between hiking in Campobello and staring agog at the sunset was Quoddy Head, the highlight (for me) of the trip and so spectacular as to deserve its own post, next time.