August 22, 2011 Our last day in Wells turned out to be exceptional. Friends, Terry and John-David, drove up from New Hampshire the evening before to spend the day with us. Planning a morning of kayaking led us to Biddeford Pool, on the outskirts of Kennebunkport. This charming seaside town had been the site of one of Alan’s plein air painting sessions. Timing the paddle to coincide with tides, we headed out into the ocean and then back into the calm harbor. Blue skies, temperatures in the 70’s and perfect timing with the tides made for a wonderful day on the water. We lunched at picnic tables overlooking the ocean and ended the day with lobster and wine back at our “house”. Mealtime was followed by a campfire and conversation. What a perfect day!
Unfortunately, Alan lost his glasses somewhere in Wells. After turning the RV and the car inside out several times, we knew we needed to replace them. So our next stop became Bangor, where we were able to reorder the exact same glasses and frames—and have them ready in little over an hour the following morning. A friend had told us about the Cole Transportation Museum in Bangor. Since we were in town, we decided to visit. The museum houses a massive collection of vehicles ranging from tractors to fire engines and baby carriages to train engines from the early 1900’s.
Continuing on, we drove to Deer Isle and the lobster fishing community of Stonington, Alan’s favorite spot in Maine. Rain limited our activities for a couple of days but by mid-week the sun came out. As Alan painted and I read along the shore early in the day, we watched numerous kayakers head out into the open ocean, planning stays at islands in the area. Without exception, the safety issue foremost on their minds was not overturning in the frigid water and making certain they were ready with the appropriate gear. When we hit the water with our kayaks later that day, we kayaked in Webb Cove and out into the Atlantic, but kept within 100 yards of shore. With no wet suits or flotation gear on our kayaks, traveling further would have been fool hearty.
Heavily fogged in the following morning, we cancelled our ferry trip to Isle au Haut and explored the galleries in Stonington. The next day, we caught the 9 A.M. ferry departing from our campground at Old Quarry Adventures. We found this campground last year. By making reservation 6 months ahead of time, we were able to secure the only site offering water and electric (and those amenities are so convenient.)
Isle au Haut is a 6 mile by 2 mile island that offers 5 miles of paved road and 7 miles of rough dirt/rock road. The road leads you around the island and through private and public land. Half of the island was donated to the federal government in 1943 and is part of the Acadia National Park. Services on the island are very limited. Luckily, we packed sandwiches, fruit and water to last through the day. On our 12-mile ride, we passed 4 bikers and 4 vehicles. The only noise we heard was the wind through the trees and the occasional babbling of water next to the trail. The countless hills and rough terrain left us exhausted by the end of the ride. As we waited a few hours for the ferry to return, we enjoyed hanging out and being entertained by the activity at the Town Landing. Even though we had seen only a handful of people all day, once we arrived at the dock, there was a constant flow of activity. Everything comes to the island by boat, so this is truly the lifeline of the community.
On our trip back to our campground, we were the only two on the boat. With our approval, the Captain stopped to check his lobster traps—only one keeper out of the 8 lobsters in two traps. The waters of this area are filled with the traps, marked by buoys; navigating through the waters can be somewhat like traveling through a maze. No captain wants to get caught in the lines of the traps.
The Stonington Lobster Coop is one of the highlights in town for us. Walking out on the dock, you select your own lobster as they are being unloaded fresh from the boats. Doesn’t get any fresher than that! So lobster tonight and on to Bar Harbor region tomorrow.