Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 24, 2019

Maine Off the Beaten Path

ma fort kent municipal

Fort Kent Blockhouse Historic Site is located in Fort Kent and is a state park at the confluence of the Fish and St. John Rivers. French colonists first settled this area in the early 1800s after they were forced from their Canadian homes in Acadia (now the Marine Provinces). These French colonists had refused to pledge allegiance to the conquering British. When great stands of timber started attracting lumbermen from Canada and the United States border disputes developed. Being concerned about the state of Maine troops were dispatched to build a fort at a strategic juncture of the Fish and St. John Rivers. The fort was completed in 1842 and named for Governor Edward Kent.

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However, no shots were ever fired and the border disputes were settled in 1842 with the signing of the Webster-Ashburton TreatyBoy Scouts restored the blockhouse and it is maintained by a local troop. The place is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the structure is a National Historic Landmark. Wide stone steps lead to a six-by-six- plank door hung on heavy hinges and a collection of antique hand tools is displayed inside.

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There are parking spaces, water taps, picnic tables and fireplaces available in a grove of oaks and white pines on the banks of Fish River. The river yields salmon and trout. The place is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

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Lily Bay State Park is located in the town of Greenville. It is a pleasant place to experience the rugged Maine woods. The park has 925 acres. Near the shores of Moosehead Lake, people can find well-spaced campsites.

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Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in New England and one of the most spectacular peaks in the area Mt. Kineo rises abruptly from the middle of the lake. Kineo’s cliffs tower 800 feet above the water. The park is located in Beaver Cove and offers visitors access to the popular central Maine region where they can look forward to hiking, fishing, hunting, and watching nature. The moose in the area like to frequent a bog beside the Mud Bank picnic area.

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They are most impressive to look at in the fall when with the approaching winter the animals group together. There are also bear, deer and other wild animals. There is also the haunting cry of the beautiful diving bird the loon which has a distinctive white necklace in sharp contrast to its black plumage. For fishermen, there are lake trout, locally known as togue, brown and brook trout, salmon, perch and suckers.

MOOSEHEAD LAKE KAYAKER   BIG MOOSE MOUNTAIN

To the southwest are the magnificent views of Moosehead Lake and Big Squaw Mountain. The park also offers a pebbled swimming beach and a small field for outdoor games of Frisbee, volleyball and such. In the winter there is cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing.

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Moosehead Marine Museum in Greenville. The museum has a small onshore collection of marine memorabilia but the centerpiece is a 110-foot lake steamer.

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In 1914 the steel-hulled Katahdin was built to take tourists to the luxurious Mount Kineo Resort and other destinations on Moosehead Lake. For more than 20 years the ship was the queen of Maine lake steamers. The resort failed after WWI and the Katahdin towed log rafts on the lake. The environmental considerations put an end to the rafting of logs and it looked like the ship was going to be scrapped. However, she was saved and became a floating museum. The Katahdin is now available for short cruises and group charters. A number of interesting artifacts are displayed on board. It is open from Memorial Day -October 7.

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Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge – The refuge consists of two units – Baring Unit off U.S. Route 1 SW of Calais and Edmunds Unit near Dennysville with a total of 7,460 acres.   This refuge is on the Atlantic Flyway and provides feeding and resting grounds for great flights of migratory birds. There is a resident population of more than 200 species including the osprey and the bald eagle. The refuge also provides for the ecological needs of the American woodcock. The refuge manages 55 marshes and lakes for maximum wildlife production. The threatened Bald Eagle nests, feed and rests on the refuge. It provides a habitat for 35 species of mammals, 23 species of reptiles and amphibians and 33 species of fish.

ma moosehorn moose

At the Edmunds Unit, 20 miles to the south harbor seals and Atlantic porpoises can be seen offshore.  Animals to be seen include the bear, moose, fox, bobcat, deer, and beaver. Fishing can be done on Vose Pond and Bearse Lakes. It is open year round.

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Quoddy Head State Park – This 541-acre park includes the easternmost point in the US.

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In the spruce woodlands deer and an occasional moose may be seen but predatory bobcats and coyotes are reducing their number. Porcupines and rabbits may be seen throughout the park and the usual birds of the northeastern woods and meadows are abundant. One of the inland trails includes a section of the boardwalk by a peat bog with signs to identify the many wildflowers. Shrubs predominate, particularly black crowberry, baked apple berry, and Labrador tea, along with carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants and sundew. The main trail running for about 1 1/2 miles around the head offers good views of West Quoddy Head Light, where a beacon has served mariners since 1805.

ma quoddy lighthouse

From the candy-striped West Quoddy Head Light, Maine’s easternmost lighthouse, visitors can look out over Quoddy Channel (which divides the U.S. and Canada) to the towering red cliffs of Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson West Quoddy Head Light was first built in 1808. The present tower and house, which date back to 1858, were staffed by resident light keepers until 1988 when the U.S. Coast Guard automated the light. Visitors in summer may spot humpback, minke and finback whales offshore, along with rafts of eider, scoter and old squaw ducks. Kittiwakes, gannets, black-bellied plovers, ruddy turnstones and purple sandpipers all can be seen at times roosting on Sail Rock. During spring and fall migration periods, hundreds of shorebirds congregate near the Park’s western boundary at Lubec Flats and Carrying Place Cove (named for a canoe portage site that Native Americans used). Birding opportunities continue into winter, with sea ducks, murres, and razorbills offshore and frequent bald eagles.

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Eagle Island is accessible in summer by ferry from Mackerel Cove on Bailey Island. Eagle Island is about 3 miles offshore and was the lifelong retreat of Admiral Robert E. Peary who discovered the North Pole on April 6, 1909. He spent most of his summers here at the house he had built and left it to his daughter who donated it the state of Maine for use as a park.  The house is large with a three-sided fireplace in the living room and a big restaurant style stove in the kitchen. Peary was an amateur taxidermist and many arctic and Maine birds are displayed in the house.

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A small ocean beach is open for swimming and the woods offer short nature trails. Food and refreshments must be brought along as nothing is sold on the island. The ferry departs from Long Wharf at 10:00 AM and returns to Long Wharf at 2 PM.

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Monhegan Island – Situated 10 miles out into the Atlantic. This 650-acre island has rocky coasts, rugged headlands, moors and forests of spruce and balsam. On the ocean side, the surf is calm and one can fish on the seaward sides it is unpredictable. The traditional Maine industry of lobster fishing has been refined to a science with an enforced shortened season to sustain the size and quantity of the catch.

ma mohegan chairs

Monhegan Island has no electric power except for private generators and no cars can be brought here. There are 15 miles of trails which are marked by stacked rocks. In the village as dusk descends people light up gas or kerosene lamps. For generations, artists have summered here to paint the coastal landscapes and seascapes. At the beginning of July, many of these paintings are on display at the Monhegan Museum, the Plantation Gallery and the artists’ studios.

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The most interesting to see here are the harbor seals which are best observed at half tide at the northern end of the island. Inns, guesthouses, and cottages offer accommodations and there are a few restaurants. There are no bars and liquor is not sold here. Camping and backpacking are permitted. From mid-June through September boats make daily round trips.

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Responses

  1. This is awesome. Reblogging to my sister site Timeless Wisdoms

    • Thank you very much, Ana.

      • You’re very welcome


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