|Dramatic sky and seas at Popham Beach|
Having visited Popham Beach 2 years ago, we were drawn to return again to one of the most expansive beach areas along the coast of Maine. Alan was also attracted by the memory of some outstanding fried clams. The family-run campground where we stayed is next to the beach and most of the visitors have been coming back here for 30 years or more. Everyone we spoke with was a return visitor, and many made their first trip here during their childhood. Located near the Popham Beach State Park, a one-mile beach walk from our campsite, low tides at the Park allow visitors to wander out to a nearby island on an exposed sandbar. Walking about a mile in the opposite direction, there are 2 lighthouses offshore guiding boaters into the Kennebunk River.
First developed in 1607 with a settlement at Fort St. George, the Popham Colony was abandoned in 1608 due to failed leadership and a lack funds caused by the death of a primary investor. This strategic point along the coast became the site of Fort Popham in 1861, which was manned during the Civil War, Spanish-American War and WWI. Fort Baldwin located across the bay was first built in 1905, and was manned during WWI and WWII, protecting the Maine coast.
Returning to Percy’s for those aforementioned clams, we were disappointed to find that, due to the late season, the clams would not be available. Lobster roll and lobster salad with large chunks of lobster mixed only with mayonnaise had to stand in as our second choice but I know our disappointment is not going to illicit any sorrow on our behalf.
|Aboard the Sherman Zwicker at the MMM|
After departing the peninsula, we spent time visiting the renowned shipbuilding city of Bath. At one point in history there were over 200 ship building firms in this city. Home to Bath Iron Works, which was founded in 1884, the firm continues to function as a major Naval shipbuilding operation and is the primary employer for the area. Tours are available for the Bath Iron Works but we opted instead to visit the Maine Maritime Museum. Beginning with the first ships built in 1743, Bath has continued to play an important role in this industry. Located along the Kennebec River and on several acres, the Museum offers extensive exhibits on the shipbuilding history in Maine.
Bath is also home to numerous fine galleries and their 3rd Friday Art Walk, offered June through September, is a wonderful opportunity to meet the artists and wander through the street that were given the “Greatest American Main Street Award” this year from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Leaving Bath, we made an overnight stop near Bailey Island to enjoy lunch at Shaw's Fish and Lobster Wharf Restaurant, considered one of the best lobster shacks in Maine. We also wanted to check out the world's only granite cribstone bridge, which links Orr Island with Bailey Island. Granite slabs from local quarries were used to construct the 1150 foot bridge. Completed in 1928, the bridge is considered as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and is held together by gravity alone.
|At Popham Beach|
|Cribstone Bridge at Orr Island to Bailey Island, ME|
|Cribstone Bridge Structure|
|Fisherman's Memorial at Land's End on Bailey Island|
|The Nubble Bait Shack on Bailey Island is one of the most photographed spots in ME.|
|Maine Maritime Museum|
|Walk along Popham Beach|
|Old-fashioned lobster traps|