Returning to the US from Québec on August 12, we enter the State of Maine. It is a diamond in the rough.
Similar to Vermont, Mainland Maine consists of rolling green mountains, an abundant vegetation of deciduous trees, I recall mostly birches, and various kinds of pine trees. Telling from the houses and small towns we pass through, it does not seem to be a well-off part of the country. We are not surprised to see signs of Trumps electoral campaign, aiming at making “America great again”.
It was a war torn region from the 17th through the 19th century between the French, various Native American tribes such as the Mohwks, and the British. It was ultimately brought under the control of the British crown, before it became part of the independent United States of America, at first as part of Massachussets.
The landscape is beautiful. We drive down US highway 201 South along rivers and lakes and through extended forest land, and arrive late at night in a stopover Airbnb accommodation, a charming little cabin in Madison on Wesserunsett Lake. A sense of summer wilderness is in the air, we throw some Salmon and Hot Dogs on the barbeque and enjoy a homecooked family dinner together. I sit outside long that night, writing on my blog about our time in Québec, letting the impressions of those four powerful days pass by in the tranquility of the summer night.
A sunny morning on the Lake greets us and we spend some time at the cabin and on the lake, before we pack up our things and roll further South East towards our next destination East of Bar Harbor, a peninsula on the East Coast called Schoodic Island.
We have reservations at the Acadia’s Oceanside Meadow Inn located between the small and peaceful lobster towns of Winter Harbor and Corea, a very special bed & breakfast in an old captain’s house with a patina of a bygone era and Dolly, our lovely hostess at breakfast, to only mention one of the kind helpers on the premises.
We arrive there in the late afternoon in a beautiful golden late summer sunlight. Those who have seen the movie “Manchester by the Sea” may have a vague idea what it looks like here. The coastline is full of bays and sounds, where lobster fishing boats are spread across the water. A peaceful and almost meditative imagery.
We are overwhelmed by the serene and simple beauty of Schoodic Island, where the habitations just seem to modestly step back behind the magnificence of nature, leaving it all the stage. Particularly beautiful is a boat ride to Bar Harbor and back through the mist, roughly an hour one way. Densely wooden islands appear all of a sudden, the four-mast schooner “Margaret Todd” glides slowly through the fog, and, at several times on our round trip, porpoise cross our path through Frenchmen Bay, as our little ferry called “Miss Lizzie” artfully navigates through fields and fields of lobster buoys. Captain Dan and his Crew Berk are wonderful guides on this water journey.
The rest of our three days stay here, we spend on Schoodic Island, and mostly just nearby. We have lunches in the very rustic “Corea Wharf Gallery & Grill” where Joe Young serves fresh osyters and lobster directly out of the water.
I work on some arbitration cases in the garden, we spend time on our very private and wild beach right in front of our Inn, or go out for dinner in Bunker Harbor at the “Bunker’s Wharf”, where 26-year-old chef Angelo from Capri, Italy, brings quite an extra-ordinary Italian finesse and swing into the local cuisine. And wherever we are, the views are of a unique peaceful and soothing beauty, which we build into the stories we tell the children by the fireplace at night.
On our last night, I have a very special encounter on the front terrace of the house under the starlit sky of Maine. And I dare say it was meant to happen. A fine older Irish gentleman joins me as I sit there by myself and we start one of those conversations that may be life-guiding. I tell him about our trip and the observations we have made, be it about the country, the people that we have met, or about ourselves. I tell him about my work and the firm back in Berlin and that I have a hard time imagining going back to normal. We are taken to the sustainability of our political, economic, social and educational systems. A former catholic priest in Africa, today married and a consultant with a PHD in ecology, he is a very gentle and wise and at the same time thought-provoking partner in this one-hour conversation. I meet his wife and him again the next morning, and there just seems to be this kind of mutual heartfelt proximity between us. Again, the American expression of “serendipity” comes to my mind. I am sure we will keep in touch.
And then we leave Schoodic Island on a sunny afternoon after having collected precious memories here, thankful for this discovery and hoping to return some day. Our next destination is Boston, more precisely Cambridge, where we plan to explore Harvard for a day, before we head South to Atlanta, for the last stage of our trip.
Shortly before leaving Maine, we stop in Portland, Maine’s largest city, also located on the coast, and have an unexpectedly pleasant dinner on the waterfront at the “Scales” in a light and restful atmosphere, tasting the local clams in the late afternoon sun.