West Quoddy Head Lighthouse
(Click on the picture for a larger image)
This account is divided into two parts: first the vacation highlights with emphasis on pictures (there was no end to gorgeous weather) and a second part which featurs some of the noteworthy survey markers that I found (or alas, didn't find).
A Vacation trip to the Bay of Fundy
n September (2007), my wife and I spent a wonderful 10 day vacation in Downeast Maine and New Brunswick, Canada, exploring the Bay of Fundy. Not only were there limitless sightseeing oportunities in both Maine and New Brunswick. But in addition to the "tourist stuff" there were myriads of old survey markers (commonly called "benchmarks") in the area. Finding old survey markers like these is one of my hobbies
So I wanted to intersperse the occasional search for an interesting survey marker with the touring we planned to do through this beautiful area - but I had to be selective in what I went to look for (after all this was a vacation first, and a benchmark-hunting trip second). This combination vacation/benchmark-hunting trip took not a little understanding on my wife's part since several of these stations involved lengthy bushwhacks and trips of 2-3 hours (she typically read a book in the car), and for that I thank her dearly.
Click on the index below to read about any specific day:
Tuesday, September 18th - Getting There: Addison Maine
e left on our trip from our son's place near Boston. We picked up the rental car aroung 8:00 AM and headed up I-95. The B&B where we were headed for tonight, was supposedly a 7 - 8 hour drive. We would be on the interstate untill Bangor, and then we would be taking smaller (and smaller, and smaller) state roads. Our destination was The Pleasant Bay Bed and Breakfast in Addison Maine, way downeast in Washington County. We took a break in Brewer, just past Bangor, for lunch at the "Muddy Rudder", a pleasant spot on the Penobscot. Then we headed east on US Route 9 and finally took state route 193 south. This was a very deserted road and we knew we were moving further and further into another world. At one spot along the road we saw a huge array of shacks - we later learned it was for migrant blueberry pickers. We hit US route 1 in Cherryfield and a few small towns later found the turn-off to out B&B.
When we arrived in mid afternoon, we were surprised by a field full of llamas and an attractiuve old farm house on the bay. We met Leon and Joan Yeaton, who owned and ran the B&B. They had renovated the building and it was a beauty inside and out. They said they had decided to raise llamas (ewhich produce very costly wool) after buying the property. Everything about the place was in great shape. It being mid-week, we had the house to ourselves except for the elusive "Doctor" who supposedly stayed in the room next to ours. We suspect we heard him rising ealy the next morning but he was gone befor we took our breakfast. In the two days we stayed, we never saw him.
We spent a good bit of time exploring the property and drove around the area before heading west on route 1A to a little restaurant in Milbridge called "44 Degrees North" and had a fine small town meal. It was a good travel day, with time left over for some local sight-seeing in unseasonably warm sunny weather. A great way to start our vacation.
Complete album for today's photos: Album
Wednesday, September 19th - Exploring Jonesport, Machias, Trescott & Machiasport
oday we would explore the Maine coastline to the East and we would wend our way almost as far as Lubec (where we would be heading the next day). The weather was once again magnificent and travelling mid-week late in the season left us almost without any tourist competition.
First off we headed down to Jonesport which lay at the end of the next head of land past Addison. The bridge at Johnsport took us across a small channel to Beals Island. This is a fishing port and most of the boats seemed to be in and the lobster pots and buoys were out drying. This was s beautiful working community.
Back across to the mainland we visited Johnsport with it's old churches and Victorian Guest houses.
Next came Machias, the county seat of Washington Couty and a mighty metropolis it was indeed . It was actually a fairly picturesque town with the County Court House (and Sheriff's office) and a beautiful old church and a small Main Street of shops overlooking the Machias River. There we had lunch before heading further east.
I asked if the dirt road was likely to be drivable. Then followed perhaps the best quote of the week: "Are you kidding? Around here you can't ever drive the paved roads!" After a good chuckle we got going; we drove on about 8 miles to where the map showed the hill and inquired of a guy working on boat in his driveway. He had never heard of it either but finally said "That must be Wayne Jones' Road". He said it was a town road open to the public so we went back and found the turn-in and parked the car. There were a few small houses on one sde and some trailers on the other.
No one was around to ask, so I went off into the woods following some directions written in 1960. This unlikely search for a 146 year old copper bolt in a rock ledge on the peak of an overgrown hill, using directions nearly 50 years old was an unexpected success. See below for the report.
Some 3 hours later (including about an hour's worth of bushwhacking through shrubby woods), when I found my way back to the car, there was Wayne Jones himself, with assorted children and grand children around our car talking to Joy. Like a typical Mainer, Wayne, who owned "this side of the mountain", was only too glad I found whatever it was I was looking for.
We arrived back in the late afternoon, and after a shower and nap, it was off to "44 Degrees North" again for dinner. A long, tiring but very rewarding day.
Complete album for today's photos: Album
Thursday, September 20th - Exploring West Quoddy Head, Lubec & Campobello Island
oday would be busy. We would be leaving Pleasant Bay B&B (never having seen the elusive "Doctor" who was our fellow guest) and head to Lubec, about 30 miles down the coast ("down" as in "down-east" means northeast, which many non-Mainers might call "up" the coast). Getting to Lubec would be simple enough but we wanted to explore 1) West Quoddy Head and 2) Campobello Island as well, which would make for a full day.
We got an early start after the usual scrumptious breakfast and reached the very end of West Quoddy Head, a peninsula just west of Lubec which forms the U.S. side of the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay. Just a few hundred yards across the Quoddy Narrows lies Campobello Island, part of New Brunswick, Canada. At the northeasternmost point of land stands the picturesque West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. A marker there proclaims: "Easternmost point in the U.S.A. / West Quoddy Head / Lubec Maine". The lighthouse visitor's area was about to open so we were just in time.
Now you might ask "Why would the easternmost point in the U.S.A. be named West Quoddy Head?" Easy, it's on the west side of the Quoddy Narrows which separates Maine from Canada. East Quoddy Head is at the other end of Campobello Island, in Canada.
We checked out the visitor's area, asked a few questions and then took a walk along the sheer cliffs. This area of water is at the southern end of the Bay of Fundy and like the rest of the bay, gets impressive tides. We couldn't actually go up inside the lighthouse, but it was a beauty to see nevertheless.
On the way back from the lighthouse we made a couple of stops. First I tramped through the woods at just the right point and checked out the boundary Range Marks that I had determined were there. These markers were set in 1912-1915 when the border was surveyed. By aligning the markers in a pair, the observer could determine the exact placement of each turning point of the boundary as it was laid out through Passamaquoddy Bay. This particular pair is the easternmost pair on the US side of the line. Originally they were large concrete pyramids, but many of them have been replaced over the years by steel triangular markers.
Berfore driving into Lubec, we made one more stop - at the old Coast Guard station. This station was station #1 in the original Coast Guard numbering scheme, since it was the first one along the coast starting in Maine. It's now a lodging (Quoddy Head Station) and we chatted with the young man who was looking after the place. Leaving Joy to read in the car, I took a quick hike up the hill along the old woods road which is directly across from the station. There is an observation tower on the top (unfortunately the observation platform on the top was locked) and on a nearby point, the old survey marker set in 1860 as part of the original survey of the area. I was lucky to find the marker - it was a copper plug in a drill hole marked by a small cairn - since the area was covered by nearly 150 years of moss and lichen. (See report below for some detail on this mark).
We got to Lubec just in time for lunch. Lubec is an old town which was a major fishing port in years past, but unfortunately time and the fishing industry has passed it by. It's a lovely tourist destination and I highly reccommend it, but some of the older parts of town are a bit run down. We found a lunch spot (Clam chowder - but of course!) right on the waterfront. There was another lighthouse right across the channel in Canada and several more of the boundary Range Marks. (See report.)
We didn't have a lot of time, so we found our B&B (The Home Port Inn), checked in and dropped our stuff and then we were off to Campobello Island. Campobello is a short hop over a bridge from Lubec. It was never a fishing port and was traditionally a summer destination for wealthy Americans, so it has retained it's character and charm. It was most well know as the summer estate of the Roosevelts; FDR spent his summers there as a child and vacationed there through the time of his presidency.
The Roosevelt Estate has been preserved as a park (the The Roosevelt Campobello International Park) and is a lovely place to visit. Luckily, the tourist season was over so we had the tour to ourselves. But before stopping at the Roosevelt Estate, we drove to the north end of the island to see East Quoddy Head lighthouse. This is separated from the main island by a shallow channel about 30 yards wide. At low tide you can walk across on the rocks and see the lighthouse up close. But if you don't watch the clock you will be stranded for about 8 hours. The cold fast moving tide rises about 6 feet per hour and the narrow channel becomes an impassable moat.
Finally we made our way back to Lubec and had a nice dinner at a seafood place down the road. At the Home Port Inn there was a full complement of guests and when we got back from dinner we spent some time chatting and making their acquzintance in the well appointed sitting room.
Complete album for today's photos:
Friday, September 21th - Traveling to Saint Andrews by the Sea, NB via Calais, ME
riday was a big travel day for us. We had to get back onto Route 1 and make our way up to Calais, Maine and from there, cross into Canada. Then we would head down to the town of Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea where we would be staying Friday night. This trip was much longer than the crow flies, since Calais was the first crossing to the mainland of Canada and the road circles around Cobscook Bay adding many miles to the route. To put it in perspective, it's about 3 miles from Lubec to Eastport Maine by water, but it's almost 40 miles to drive around the bay. Click for map, and you'll see.
We also wanted to make another short trip to Campobello Island to check for a survey marker, and we stopped at 3 or 4 places along the way for sight seeing, lunch or marker hunting. All in all it was about 50 miles driving to Calais and another 20 to Saint Andrews, but it took us most of the day.
Today was the Autumnal Equinox and it was one of the few days around the equinoxes where the sun first rises on the USA due east, and with good weather and an early rise, one could see it from the tower on West Quoddy Head. Well, I didn't feel like getting up at 5:00 AM and it was too foggy anyway, so we gave up that idea. But as I mentioned, I did want to look for a survey marker on Campobello Island that I had missed the day before. It was set as part of the boundary survey done in 1910 - 1915 (which fixed the exact boundary down the Saint Croix River and through Passamaquoddy
Then we reentered the US and drove from Lubec around Cobscook Bay and got onto Route 1 in Whiting and started up to Calais. The Bay from this route was startlingly beautiful so when we saw a sign for "Cobscook Bay State Park", we of course turned in. We walked around and took a break overlooking the bay. It's well worth a stop if you ever come this way.
We planned to head to Calais for lunch but make a couple of stops along the way to try and find survery markers which were set along the St. Croix River in the survey of the boundary line in 1910 - 1915. We had mixed results for these side trips. The first was in Robbinston, where the St. Croix River empties into the bay. The marker we were after was the first boundary Reference Monument along the river, No. 246 (they numbered them from north to south, so No. 1 was way up at the river's source in Arroostook County). I stopped at a house where the marker should have been, but no one was home. So I walked over to the edge of the river and spotted something on a rock. I thought this was it, and took a bunch of photos, only to discover later (after
I had better luck with monument No. 231, about 10 miles further up the river is a park just before you get into the center of Calais. It was sitting pretty, right next to another survey marker in the same rock which was put there years earlier. Two for the price of one. See the logs below for more details QF0751 and QF0752.
Once we got to Calais we checked in at the tourist information bureau to find out how to reach the historic site of the old Calais Observatory. The woman working there, although she had lived in the town all her life, had never heard of it. After looking over some maps with her she said "Oh, that must be the vacant lot with the funny rocks on the hill next to the nursing home". So with that, were found our way to the spot and got a sense of this important historic spot which had been all but forgotten. We took a few photos and then had lunch in town. But before continuing on, we decided to drop back to the tourist bureau and chat with the woman. She then recalled that a group of officials and the local historical society had been there about 5 years ago at some sort of dedication. See the log below for more details: QF0763).
At this point we crossed the international bridge, waited about 15 minutes to get through customs and set off for Saint Andrews-by-the-sea. The exchange rate had recently changed and it seems an inordinate number of Canadians were crossing into Maine for bargains of all sorts at the local stores in Calais. I'm told the bargain hunting traffic is usually in the other direction.
Two things drivers should remember when entering Canada: 1) the price of gas is marked in Canadian dollars per liter - not gallons - so although it looks cheaper, it's actrually much more expensive, and 2) the speed limit is in kilometers per hour so you might well get stopped for speeding. When the sign says "80" it's really around 50 MPH on your speedometer! Beware - you have been warned!
After less then an hours drive, we made it to this loveliest of towns at the south end of the peninsula jutting into the upper reaches of
Passamaquoddy Bay, almost directly across the St. Croix River from Robbinston Maine
Click for map.
Like all the places we stayed, this was as lovely as can be and was within walking distance of the waterfront with lovely views and nice restaurants. It seemed to be a rather up-scale town dominated by the huge Algonquin Hotel (and equally impressive Algonquin Golf Course).
Although we had lost an hour on the clock when we crossed into Canada, we still had ample time to expore the area. We drove around town and found a science center and aquarium (The Huntsman Marine Science Center), that Joy wanted to checked out (she would return the next morning). While she did that, I found the northern most boundary Range Mark (marker #1, which pointed to the position of the uppermost turning point of the bay) which was at the river's edge on the edge of the Algonquin Golf Course. The only thing mysterious was that these markers always came in pairs: I had found the forward marker, so where was the rear marker? I saw nothing up the hill, so maybe athe Golf Course had obliterated it? That seemed unlikely since these were important monuments set by the government. Finally as I was getting into the car, I noticed a fairly fancy house surrounded by a high fence. I peeked through a narrow slot in the fence and what do you think I spied? Yes, there was the monument in the owner's yard: (fenced in Range Mark). A six foot high massive concrete pyramid. Quite a lawn ornament! Mystery solved! (See report.)
The final stop of the day was the Gables Restaurant, which is directly on the waterfront with an open air patio right on the water. This is where we enjoyed our wonderful meal (sea food, of course!) but we were sure happy that we had remembered to bring our sweaters. It cooled down rapidly as the sun went down.
Besides the scrumptious meal, we were treated to two special treats, free of charge: a beautiful sunset, and a nearby table of ten very drunk men who were evidently on a golf vacation. It was all in good fun!
Album for today's photos: Album
Saturday, September 22th - Traveling to Saint John via Chamcook Mountain
oday was to be the relatively short drive to Saint John, where we would stay three nights, so we could afford a few side trips. First stop was to return to the science center in Saint Andrews where Joy wanted to see a film presentation on marine life in the Bay of Fundy. While she was doing that I made a few explorations in the local area. I picked her up when the film finished and we were treated to a throng of
Then for the daily dose of benchmark hunting (and the last such side trip till we returned to the U.S. four days later) we headed about 4 miles north of Saint Andrews to The Rosemont Inn. Behind the Inn stood Chamcook Mountain with a well groomed carriage trail to the top. The original owners of the land used to take guests to the top of the mountain to see the extroadinary views and perhaps to have afternoon tea. The day of horse drwn carriages is long gone, but the old grassy road was well built and the half mile walk to the top is (I am sure) still a pleasurable excercise for the more adventurous of today's guests at the Inn.
In 1857, long before the Inn was built, the surveyors of the US Coast Survey found the views from the top equally attractive, and esetablished station "Chamcook" there, the northeastermost survey station of the entire east coast. It was one of the 9 primary stations in this, the first section of the survey of the east coast of the US, and no less that 7 of the 9 primary survey stations were observable from this station.
To a benchmerk hunter it was attractive since 1) it was so old, 2) it was vitally important to this early survey and 3) it was in Canada which might pass for "exotic" in this otherwise rather geeky hobby. I was not dissapointed. After about half an hour of searching and scraping away moss and leaf litter, I found the original copper plug and 5 of the reference marks that sourounded it. I was quite delighted. See the report below.
While I was having this adventure at the top of the hill, Joy was enjoying some quality quiet time at the bottom. We had chatted with the proprietor of the Inn and said that we were interested in reserving a table for dinner. She said they were booked up for the weekend, but we took her card and said we would would possibly call for a Monday night reservation on the way back from Saint John. In fact this was a bit of a ruse since their price list was way out of reach for us, but (we think) it put her in a solicitous mood, and she readily gave us permission when I asked (seemingly as an after thought) if I could climb the hill behind the Inn.
After we got going again, we drove up the east side of the Saint Andrew peninsula and rejoined Canadian Route 1 heading towards Saint John. We passed through Saint George and after about another hour we were at the outskirts of Saint John. (There sure were a lot of Saints: Stephen (opposite Calais), Andrew, George and now John).
So what is the "Reversing Falls"? The River crosses through a relatively narrow passage between two bluffs between Westside Saint John and the
downtown area. This narrow strait separates the upper bay ("Grand Bay") from Saint John Harbour on the Bay of Fundy. There is an underwater
rock ledge across these narrows. When the tide goes out, the water pours over this ledge into the waters of the Bay.
When the tide turns and comes in (it rises almost 30 feet at this point) it eventually overwhelmes the outflow of the river and starts flowing
over the ledge into the upper bay. While we were there it was still flowing out but was
rather slack so what we saw was a bit of an anticlimax. But the conditions were right for tourist boats to move up into the upper bay.
Look at the photo and notice the high tide lines on the rocks and you will get a sense of how high the tides
are and remember this was half tide so the total swing of the tides is about double that.
After a nice lunch at The Falls Restaurant (note: we had our lunch at the inexpensive lunch restaurant; there is also and a more expensive dinner restaurant at Reversing Falls - we would check that out a few days later) we headed to our home for the next three days, A Tanners Home Inn. In Uptown Saint John, this is a lovingly restored 3 story town house. Originally built in 1887 by a local tanner, it was bought in 2002 by the present owners, Terry and Mercer Munn. It's within walking distance of Kings Square North and any number of restaurants and other points of interest. If you're going to Saint John, I highly reccomend this B&B.
We spent a few hours in the afternoon doing some sight seeing on foot, including a local art and crafts fair in and around King's Square North. Then upon the recommendation of Terry Dunn, we enjoyed a marvelous dinner at Billy's Seafood Co. a short walk from the B&B.
The day was short in miles but long on delightful experiences. The next day we would start our explorations of the coast north of Saint John. Tonight we would sleep well.
Complete album for today's photos: Album
Sunday, September 23th - Exploring the Bay of Fundy, Part 1 - The Fundy Trail
ur first full day in Saint John was a Sunday, so we thought we would try to find a church. There were several historic looking churches on the high part of Saint John that you could see from miles away. We found one, Trinity Church, which was "Church of Canada" and we thought this might be close to what we were used to and it was only five or six blocks from the B&B. Terry called and found the time of the sevice so off we were.
We didn't manage a photo of the church, but we did get a nice shot of the bandstand in the nearby Kings Park North on the way back from the church.
I case you're wondering how the band gets up there, evidently a moveable stairway is put up on one side on band concert nights. There was one
disheviled man hanging around there and talking to unseen companions, but far from bothering us, he made us feel right at home.
We got back to the B&B and after getting ourselves organized we took off up the coast to Saint Martins. There we would get lunch, explore the Sea Caves and then explore the Fundy Trail Parkway, a scenic drive (and bikeway) along miles of undeveloped coastline.
Saint Martins - Lunch by the Sea Caves (see map).
Saint Martins is a small coastal town about an hour north of Saint John, reached via Route 111. It's actually a quaint fishing village reminiscent of some of the towns in Maine, but it also has a few fairly unique tourist attractions. There's a pretty covered bridge you cross as you get into town that would look at home in Vermont. Except it's practically on the beach and when you look at some of the fishing boats moored there, you can't help but notice what enormous tides must flow in and out. Look at the fishing boat sitting on the tidal flat well below the high tide line in the first picture and you'll see what I mean.
We stopped for lunch a short distance past the bridge at a restaurant ovelooking the St. Martins Sea Caves. These are hollows caused by the tides in the base of the softer rocks of the bluffs along the beach. We enjoyed lunch in a restaurant overlooking the bay, and then walked along the beach and across a small stream to explore these caves. There are 3 caves, and they only go in about 20 or 30 yards, but the extent of the tidal erosion is impressive. The second photo below shows the height of the tide line next to the opening of one of the caves.
Fundy Trail Parkway (see map).
After we had our fill of lunch and finsihed exploring the caves, we drove further on Route 111 and soon got onto the Fundy Trail Parkway. Through the use of easments or land purchases, the Province of New Brunswick has constructed a beautiful meandering highway, accompanied by a bikeway that cuts through uundeveloped logging lands along the coast. It's a dead-end out and back road, but futue plans are to extend it and connect up with the road system of Fundy National Park another 30 miles up the coast. Opening this section of the coast to the public in a non-commercial way while preserving the character of the land is nothing short of stupendous. I can imagine the temptation to start selling off pieces of this priceless area for condos, golf courses and mega-mansions must have been very strong. I assume the logging operations will continue but their impact on the experience of traveling this route was not noticeable.
The current parkway ends at the Salmon River, a historic logging route. The construction of a bridge over this river is underway as part of the future expansion of the road, but the river itself is still a pristine waterway. Here's a shot of the river with the bridge construction visible in the back on the far side of the river. The logging runs which ended some 40 or 50 years ago are long forgotten. We drove straight to the end of the parkway at the Salmon River, explored the area around it and then worked our way back to the start, stopping at each interesting spot. It should be emphasized that this road was not constructed like a typical highway, which would tend to plow through the topography of the land in as straight a path as possible.
This parkway follows the lay of the land in all its ups and downs and was intentionally laid out to optimize views and to approach noteworthy natural features. In some sections it lays close to the coast and in others it lays further inland. I would assume for the most part it followed old logging roads when it was laid out.
Two gems which we found along the Parkway were Fuller Falls and Flowerpot Rock at Fownes Head. To reach the falls you must ckimb down a steep ladder about 100 feet into a densly wooded glen and there you will find a small observation platform and the falls tumbling before you. It's quite striking and worth the effort in climbing down (and don't forget climbing back up).
Flowerpot Rock was a surprise. I knew that at Hopewell Rocks, about 40 miles up the coast, there were dozens of these bizarre formations; we would visit them the next day. But this was a singleton right on the beack at a point of land.
What happens is that the action of the tides over many eons erodes away the rock cliffs. When a particular section is harder than the surrounding rock, the tides erode the sourounding softer rock, leaving an island of rock next to the cliff. The picture shows it better than I can explain it, and you can see that the name "Flowerpot" is quite appropriate. Here's another shot from a wider angle.
Well, all good things come to an end and we soon found ourselves back at the entrance to the Fundy Trail Parkway and so headed back to Saint John.
Tonight we got another great reccomendation and switched from seafood to Italian and had a scrumtious meal at
Vito's Restaurant on Hazen Avenue, a short drive (or a long walk) from the B&B. This place had a
rather large dining room and moved a lot of customers through. They all looked pretty satisfied.
Interactive map of today's journey:
Complete album for today's photos: Album
Monday, September 24th - Exploring the Bay of Fundy, Part 2 - Fundy National Park, Cape Enrage & Hopewell Rocks
oday we would be doing a lot of driving: all the way up to Fundy National Park, through the park to the coast, up the coast to Cape Enrage and then to the Hopewell Rocks, and then finally up to Moncton before turning back to Saint John, a distance of almost 380 km. (Hey, this is Canada . For you metricaphobes, that's almost 240 miles.)
Fundy National Park
To get to Fundy National Park we drove north from Saint John on Route 1 and took the turn onto route 114 at Penobsquis for the park. We stopped for gas and the young woman there was hard put to give us directions, nor was the signage on the road prominant (one small sign). If this were Yellowstone you'd see a gazillion signs at intervals of 1/4 mile, but hey, this was not Yellowstone. Now the Bay of Findy coastline coiuld give Yellowstone a run for it's money in terms of sheer natural beauty (plus the advantage of having few tourists), but the bulk of Fundy National Park was pretty devoid of attractions for car-tourists. If you are a hiker or camper it would be another story, but there was not much to see from the car.
We spent some time in the main interpretive center with its gift shop and book store and there was a good lookout nearby with views up the coast line. But since the main road went through mostly viewless wooded areas it was somewhat of a dissapointment.
The park's headquarters was nice but the one exceptional site we visited was the covered bridge over the Point Wolfe River and the area beyond.
About 10 miles up the coast from Fundy National Park, Cape Enrage juts into the bay. Cape Enrage with it's historic lighthouse is a very rugged point of land extending into the upper Bay of Fundy where Nova Scotia lies only 5 miles across the bay. The name "Enrage" comes from the turbulent water which washes over shoals extending almost a mile off shore from the cape. The original lighthouse was built in the 1840s and was one the earliest built in New Brunswick. The current structure dates from 1870s.
As usual, there is sparse signage to this area and the 5 mile drive from the hiway on secondary roads takes you up and over a number of estuaries and
heights of land before you arrive at the light house.
Technically the end of the cape is an island but the road serves as a causeway which connects it to the mainland. This out of the way spot is well worth finding.
The light house keeper's house was saved from demolition by a local group which involved a teacher and students from the local high school. Extensive volunteer work by these young folks has resulted in a well kept structure which serves as an interpretive center.
The project includes an active rock climbing area nearby, which provides instruction and which generates a small amount of money to supprt
scholarships for the local high school.
The Hopewell Rocks
The last stop on the day's tour was further up the coast to
The Hopewell Rocks.
This is an area where dozen's of "Foowerpot Rocks" stand along the
beach just off of the cliffs. Thew cliffs are perhaps 75 - 100 feet high alnong this section but the tides are over 40 feet from low to high. So at low
tide (which is when we were there, you will see a muddy beach bordered by sheer cliffs, and at high tide you just see the water 40 or 50
feet down from the edge (see photo).
There is a long stairway which I went down which is mostly submerged at high tide.
So what is a "Flowerpot Rock"? The pictures below and in the album will give you a good idea. Simply put, these are rock formations which are just off from the cliff face along the beach. The are typically tall formations of the same rock as the cliff. The action of the tides over the years has eroded the softer rock and washed it away. Those sections of harder rock scattered throughout the area managed to resist the tidal erosion and now stand isolated on the tidal flat at some distance from the cliff. Another way to say iot is that the cliff has been continuously erodeded away and pushed back by the tides and a few harder sections were left behind. These too will eventually fall away as you can see some of are being perilously undercut. This is a natural phenomenon which arises from the combination of very strong tides, high cliffs along the shore, and differential hardness of the rock. Since most of these rocks have trees or other vegetation still growing on the top, the name "Flowerpot" is quite apt.
The walk from the visitor's center to the stairway is fairly long (maybe 3/4 mile) but there is a shuttle bus. The stairway is also quite a climb (probably 100 vertical feet) - but sorry, there is no elevator. I climbed down and spent at least half an hour wandering in and around and in some case under these formations. It's really other-worldly and as far as I know totally unique.
We also spent some time in the visitors center. Like the other similar centers we visited this week, it is well staffed, totally non-comercial and had very helpful exhibits, films, and other educational material. Of special note was a time lapse photo of the tides coming in and out around the Flowerpot Rocks. It was quite impressive.
Since the day was getting late, we reluctantly started back to Saint John. Instead of retracing our steps, we continued on the highway up
to Moncton and then got on the major road that headed back to the southwest, and in about an hour or hour and a half from Moncton we
were in Saint John. Since it was getting dark and we were tired, we went back to the Reversing Falls Restaurant - this time the slightly
more uppscale dinner place - and had a nice final dinner in Saint John. Tomorrow we would head back to the US after a great time spent in
Interactive map of today's journey:
Album of today's photos: Album
Tuesday, September 25th - Back to the US - Bar Harbor, ME
his was the day when we would leave Canada and return to the US. We weren't sure about the possibility of driving all the way back to the Boston area so we left our destination for tonight open. We talked it over and decide we would head for Bar Harbor, where we could expect plenty of available places to stay, and we would try to pick up a couple of survey markers that were more-or-less on the way.
There were two old survey markers on the way to Bar Harbor. or at least not too out-of-the-way. There was station "Rye" on Rye Hill, off of Route 9 about 12 miles from Calais, and station "Cooper" on Cooper Hill (perceptive readers will notice a pattern in these names ) about 20 miles further on, off of Route 191.
Well, the results were like night and day: Rye was a miserable bushwhack through brambles and nothing was found, Cooper was a drive up and the
mark practically jump out at me. Read the reports below for details
After bagging Cooper, it was off to Bar Harbor. We took Route 191 down to Route 1 and then south on Route 1 to Ellsworth. Of course we passed through much of the area we had visited the week before. We actually stopped for lunch in one of the spots in Machias that we had liked when we were there before.
This coastal drive from downeast Maine to Ellsworth passes through a number of very pretty areas, but as you get close to Ellsworth the culture changes to a more commercial, tourist centric area. Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island are gems, but you can keep Ellsworth. We eventuallly got through the traffic and the strip malls and crossed the causeway to MDI. We stopped at the tourist bureau just across the causway and found out that there were literally dozens of motels, hotels and B&Bs with vacancies. The B&Bs were much pricietr than the Motels so we picked one (The Edenbrook) that I was familiar with (just across from the College of the Atlantic - where for many tears I had attended a summer running camp.) We checked in to a clean, not too expensive room, dropped some of our stuff, and headed for the top of Cadillac Mountain hoping to see the sunset.
There was a good crowd up there (it's a drive up) but not horrendous. I got away from the throngs briefly to check out the highest part of the peak (behind the souvenier shop) where no one, but no one was around. Since this is 200 yards or so from the parking lot, no one had bothered to walk up. I found 4 survey disks (to be precise: 1 bench mark, 1 triangulation station and 2 reference marks). The tri-station was - you guessed it - one of my target markers. Originally a simple hole in the rock was drilled in 1856 and a disk was set in this hole in 1931,
preserving the exact location. The 2 reference marks point to the tri-station and the bench mark was set by another government agency (the USGS) in 1934, and is unrelated to the 1856 station. The mountain was called "Green Mountain" in 1856 but the station "Mount Desert" was named for the Island, not the mountain. There's a report below: Mount Desert Reset. The "Reset" means they put a disk in the original drill hole.
Joy and I walked around a bit and took in some of the wonderful views. Then we got back in the car and drove a short distance down the mountain to a viewing area that faced in just the right direction for the impending sunset. We were not the only ones with this idea - by the time we found just-the-right spot to sit, there were probably a couple of dozen others there doing the same thing. Everyone chatted quietly and thoroughly enjoyed the ever better picture laid out before us in the sky. It was really quite beautiful.
Finally, the sun made the final passage from day to night and at that moment, a spontaneous round of applause broke out from the crowd watching the
With that, we reluctantly left the show and drove down the winding road (with lots of company) and made our way to Bar Harbor. We had an great dinner at the Quarter Deck Restaurant (including a great local microbrew). We then walked up the street for some ice cream (a must for visitors to Bar Harbor), and got back to our motel for a well deserved night's sleep.
The next day we would return to New York City via Boston. It was one of our best vacations in years.
Interactive map of today's journey:
Album of today's photos: Album