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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Friday, October 15, 2010


The other day I walked as much of Rockland's waterfront as I could, starting at the ferry terminal and going south. There's no real "harbor path" in North Rockland as there is in the touristy area, so following the shore really meant walking out and back along the various wharves and piers. It was a Sunday and there were few fishermen, dock workers, and teamsters to stare at (me). Needless to say, no pleasure boats except for the two windjammers on the new Windjammer Wharf cluttered up this area, unless they were hauled out, in dry dock. It's all business. The Coast Guard is down here (two cutters were tied up), a big marina, lots of unidentified buildings, falling down, standing up barely, used and unused, marine supply companies, and the studios of WBACH, incongruously I would have thought, although the state of classical music these days probably demands cheap housing. Crockett's Point, that spit of land that used to host a huge herring/sardine processing plant, is occupied by FMC Biopolymer in buildings that appear to be unchanged in 50 years, now exploiting seaweed instead of fish for its livelihood. I looked at the FMC website to see what biopolymers are, and left it unenlightened - possibly the blandest, least informative website in the world. Is seaweed important for secret national defense or something?

Past the huge Journey's End Marina a second Rockland begins: parks, restaurants, marinas with slips, not wharves, and the fancy boardwalk constructed in the glory days of MBNA. This is the Rockland that the 2,500 cruisers from the Jewel of the Seas (scheduled to arrive on Monday) will see, that and the shops and galleries of Main Street, of course.

Past the photo ops is South Rockland, a calm and real neighborhood of modest houses and quiet views, ending in the decaying waterfront, complete with railway spur, owned and apparently still operated sporadically by Dragon Cement.

I'm not sure there's another place in Maine that boasts such a schizoid shore. The working waterfront is only partly working. Harbor Park is starting to look like Camden. South Rockland could easily be Peoria without an ocean, substituting limestone paraphrenalia for grain.

And what will the cruise passengers enjoy? Yet another stereotypical view of Maine.

1 comment:

Jeff Boatright said...

"And what will the cruise passengers enjoy? Yet another stereotypical view of Maine."

Are there opportunities to show them something else? And would you want them there if such existed? I guess I'm not understanding your concern here. If an entire cruise boat's manifest visited the working wharfs, south Rockland, etc., wouldn't those areas morph into yet more stereotypical views of Maine? And what is this stereotypical view? I would think that it's more like Monhegan or Miller's, both in the summer. Can't get any more "Maine-ish" than that. And those are great "views".

I'm not trying to be controversial, I'm just trying to understand what you wrote -- typically not a problem. :)