While we have generally followed our 2019 route plan, the great thing about our style of RVing is the flexibility to change it on short notice if something fun or interesting comes up. We make very few reservations more than a week in advance of our travels with the exception of very difficult to secure places, such as Key West, Bahia Honda, and Gilchrist Blue Springs. We find that once we arrive in a state and meet locals, they have all kinds of recommendations for other spots within their state we should visit. If we had a hard itinerary, it would be far more difficult to include such stops.
And so having enjoyed our stay in the Ellsworth-Bar Harbor area with the intentions of heading directly to Canada upon departure, we changed things up after receiving a recommendation from RV friend Jim, who we met way back in 2015 in Bay Breeze RV Park during our first full time RV venture out of Florida. He pointed us towards the easternmost point of Maine, which led to some quick research on the region and the decision to check out Lubec for a few days before moving on to Canada.
What a great recommendation and lucky decision! Let’s start with our campground, Sunset Point RV Park, selected after our usual cross referencing of Passport-America (no options in the area,) All Stays, and RV Park Reviews. It is situated on a bay with all sites pointed west towards the water. Upon arrival we worked with the front desk to switch our spot from the second of two rows to a water front option, and ended up with fantastic views out our front window and a lovely seating area looking out over the bay.
The town of Lubec, the easternmost town in the US, is great; picturesque and quaint with a few art galleries and crafty shops, nice little parks, and a brewery. Lubec Brewing Company, which we found via the Maine Beer Trail, was undergoing extensive renovation during our stay, but the owners insisted on bringing us in and giving us a taste of what they had open, even pouring as a sample directly from one of the big tanks. In addition to having great beer, they have really interesting design and artwork on their labels and building. Highly recommended stop if you’re in the area.
We enjoyed several outings, one of which was south to Machias, a little town with a nice waterfall and another brewery, Machias River Brewing Company. We are seeing an interesting spectrum of breweries now that we are visiting more of them. On one end you have the very small “mom and pop” places focusing solely on their beer; they don’t have any outside brews and no food at all. They tend to be more intimate, and you are likely to meet the actual owner and/or head brewer. Strong Brewing Company is a nice example of this.
At the other end of the spectrum you have full on restaurant/bars that also happen to have their own brewery, which may not even be on premises. You get the full treatment of beer and a meal if you are so inclined, and might even have live music if you go on a popular evening. Machias River is more towards this end of the spectrum.
You can’t go to the easternmost town in the US and not make a pilgrimage to the actual easternmost point of land, right? So we included a trip out to West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. We had a nice tour of their museum and the grounds, though no access to the actual lighthouse top.
The best day trip by far was our outing to Campobello, a Canadian owned island across the Lubec Narrows. Border control on both sides is used to a daily influx of tourists, and have made it a relatively easy process going in and out. The island is home to Roosevelt Campobello International Park, a joint venture between Canada and the US. FDR’s quite wealthy parents purchased land and built a “cottage” here in the late 19th century as the place was becoming a summer retreat for the rich; sort of a Bar Harbor for those that found Bar Harbor not quite exclusive enough.
FDR spent much of his youth on the island, and once he came of age and married Eleanor, his parents purchased the 34 room house nearby, which would become his family’s summer retreat even into his presidency. The original house was modified to accommodate his wheelchair, secret service, children, and staff.
In addition to FDR’s summer house we toured other parts of the island, enjoying the coastal views, some light hiking, a bit of geocaching, and some excellent sea glass hunting at a location provided by a local. Visiting Campobello Island is our top recommendation for anyone in the region: it has history, nature, picturesque views, hiking, biking, and enough of a town that you won’t go hungry should you need a bite and a pint.
As for the sea glass hunting, we had great success in two places, a particular beach on Campobello, and the bay directly accessible from our RV park. Accessing them both near low tide we found plenty of pieces, some good colors, and a couple of excellent large specimens.
Our geocaching was mostly in concert with our trip to Campbello, downtown Lubec, and Machias (as opposed to my occasional dedicated outings.) Going to a lighthouse? Find a cache. A park? Ditto. Beach? Same. You get the picture. This doesn’t delay our xploration by much but often takes us to places we might not have otherwise included. All in all 13 caches of varying difficulty during our three day stay in the area.
Our perception of Lubec might have been improved by the excellent weather we enjoyed for the length of our stay, but we loved it so much that Rose did some casual property price investigation. It will most definitely be on our next eastern circuit of the country, and ou should include it on your’s as well.
Next up: Canada!