Lubec + Eastport
48HRS – Online
Photographs + stories by Maine magazine staff:
Le Anna Fox
Le Anna Fox,
My memories of our family trip to Eastport as a child are like the fog that rolls in Friday morning of our trip. The fact that it is the easternmost point in the United States has stuck with me. My fiancé Jason and I throw our bags in the car and decide on taking Route One to enjoy the endless beauty the coast of Maine has to offer. I sit in the passenger seat and take pictures the entire ride, hoping with this new found inspiration that I will find the time pull out my paint brushes again. Although the torrential rain and wind gusts were steady all weekend long, we still find endless warmth and fun in these two picturesque coastal towns.
6:00 p.m. @ Inn on the Wharf
Despite our pit stop in Freeport to purchase some desperately needed rain gear, we are surprised at how quickly the drive goes. I am blown away by location of the Inn on the Wharf in Lubec, where we are staying for the weekend. The classic shingled building that was once a sardine factory has been transformed into a quaint oceanside inn with breathtaking panoramic views of the Atlantic. I am pleasantly surprised by the chic, clean, and bright interior of our room, which more closely resembles a trendy SoHo loft. We are shown to the common area where a couple is playing backgammon at a table overlooking the water. There are plenty of books to read and a full kitchen available for everyone to use. The inside is a playful contrast to the salty, rugged feel of the exterior and I can’t wait to meet the owners tomorrow morning to get the full story.
7:30 p.m. @ Water Street Tavern
We are starving and head to the Water Street Tavern, which is within walking distance of the inn. The crowd is bustling and we are happy to see the smiling faces of two women also staying at the inn. They wave and invite us to pull up a seat at the bar. We order drinks and talk about the coastal journey they are embarking on. Friendly locals chime in and give us a little history on Lubec and buy us another round. The acoustic duo playing sounds great and creates an upbeat vibe. Jason and I savor the freshness of the seafood we order for dinner—the lobster stew is the best I have had in years. Our bartender tells us he is from Portland and we talk about our favorite nightlife spots. He misses Portland every day but is not ready to leave the beauty of Lubec quite yet. We tell him we are going to Annabell’s after diner to see Cinderconk, and he promises us we will see him there along with everyone else in the restaurant. It’s a natural progression for the locals in this little town he tells us. I can tell it is going to be a fun night.
9:00 p.m. @ Annabelle’s
Annabelle’s was on our list and we are happy that everything is in such close proximity. A three-piece band from Portland is playing Bulgarian and Romanian traditional folk music tonight. The music from the accordion, stand-up bass, and fiddle is infectious. Soon the bar is full. The drinks are strong, and the crowd can’t help but clap along—some even dance. The people here make you feel at home no matter where you are from. We head out before midnight so we can feel rested for the adventures planned the next day.
7:30 a.m. @ Inn on the Wharf
I wake up refreshed but surprised to see the rain has not let up. We walk over to the restaurant at the inn to meet the owners for breakfast and get the story behind this repurposed gem. The restaurant is packed and our gracious hosts Victor and Judy treat us to a fresh, delicious, and locally sourced breakfast that would rival any of my favorite breakfast haunts in Portland. Jason’s omelette is literally exploding with fresh lobster so of course I offer to help him out. Full and caffeinated, we get the grand tour and find out that the inn was renovated in 2005 and boasts a working fishing wharf and holding tanks equipped to contain thousands of pounds of seafood. This dynamic couple also offers whale watching tours, kayak rentals, yoga classes, and artists workshops starting in June. We promise to come back in the summer and head off to the West Quoddy Head Light, the easternmost point in the United States.
11:00 a.m. @ West Quoddy
Head Light We start to get nervous when we lose all cell reception. This means no GPS. I suddenly miss the days of having my DeLorme atlas and gazetteer, which offered the comfort of knowing where you were at all times, no cell service required. Soon we pass a sign and hit up the quaint little gift shop for some trinkets before continuing down the road to the famous lighthouse I have seen in pictures so many times before. Its red and white stripes were cheerful and steadfast on this gorgeous but foggy stretch of coastline. The rain and wind are relentless so we decide to skip the cliff walk and head over to Eastport to do some shopping.
12:40 p.m. @ 45th Parallel
In search of a gas station we stumble upon a very intriguing storefront that we just can’t pass up called the 45th Parallel (named appropriately for being in the town that sits exactly equidistant between the equator North Pole). I am at a loss for words when we enter this fairyland of artisan goods, vintage finds, and unique gift items. We are greeted by the owner in a way that made us feel welcome and comfortable exploring the curiosities filling his shop, which he and his wife travel the world every year to find. I purchase a beautiful handcrafted necklace, some great joke gift boxes for the holidays, and get directions to the closest gas station. Getting lost has never been so much fun.
2:00 p.m. in downtown Eastport
Arriving in Eastport at last we head for the Tides Institute Museum of Art that I have heard so many things about. Unfortunately, they aren’t open when we stop by. I see a handful of wonderful shops, bakeries, candy stores, and storefronts packed to the brim with handcrafted goods that I can’t wait to visit again this summer when Eastport is in full-swing.
2:45 p.m. @ Liberty Cafe
On our way to the Liberty Cafe we stop into the Commons, which is open year-round and offers a beautiful range of unique arts and crafts from over 90 local artists. One of the partners tells us that nine local women restored the building back to its original glory. They created the shop at the Commons to support the efforts of local creatives and remodeled two second floor luxury apartments available for family vacation rentals. Jason buys me a beautiful hand-thrown bowl and I ask the owner about the unusual statue of the large fisherman in the center of town. To my surprise I learn that he does not have any historical significance but is a lone movie prop that Hollywood left behind after filming the Fox television series Murder in a Small Town. Still full from our tremendous breakfast we walk up to the Liberty Cafe, a sixth-generation, family-owned Greek restaurant for a handcrafted beer and a light snack to hold us over before dinner. The hummus and tzatziki are the best I have ever had.
4:00 p.m. @ Raye’s Mustard
Our next stop is Raye’s Mustard for a tour of the only cold, stone ground mustard factory in the country. A tour is just beginning when we arrive and the guide informs us that using the 300-year-old stones from France to grind the seeds into different textures is a process derived from the Middle Ages. The mustard is not cooked during this process, completely natural and absolutely delicious. We buy a few samples from their extensive variety of flavors and head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
6:30 p.m. @ Uncle Kippy’s
There is an 11-piece Ukelele band playing at a restaurant down the road called Uncle Kippy’s. The art and music community in Eastport and Lubec are exploding right now and I am thrilled to be a part of it. The cars are lined up along the road and the restaurant is full. The band is taking requests and almost everyone is singing along. The sense of community is overwhelming and once again I end the day reflecting on the seemingly endless generosity and kindness we have encountered during our stay.
8:30 a.m. @ Inn on the Wharf
We help ourselves to fresh baked blueberry muffins and coffee in the common area and head back to the room to pack. Because of the long drive ahead we are unable to make to many stops today but I have two places on my list that I do not want to miss.
9:45 a.m. @ Art Works of Maine
We are welcomed at Art Works of Maine by proprietors Karen Baldauski and Bob Foster who walk us through the historic gallery and grange hall they are currently renovating to create a visual and performing arts center. There is an impressive amount of work in the gallery with music and dance classes in the works for the summer. Their excitement to execute this mutual vision is palpable. I truly hope that this venue becomes a success. Karen gives me a beautiful hand-felted scarf as we are leaving; her generosity warms my heart.
11:00 a.m. @ The Clutter Shop
We make one last stop. I am currently on a serious mission for all things Danish midcentury mod and cannot pass up the chance to possibly score some fun vintage goods. With floor to ceiling knick-knacks and antiques, this stop is a perfect way to end our journey downeast.