Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Northeast Harbor, ME

At last  - the long anticipated crossing of the Bay of Fundy had arrived.  We crossed from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to Northeast Harbor, Maine – a distance of 101 nautical miles.  We had been anticipating, planning for (and at times, dreading) this crossing for a long time.  It was to be our longest crossing of the entire trip – much of it beyond the sight of land.  We left on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 3 a.m.  Careful planning called for this 0 dark thirty departure time in order to maximize the tides, currents and daylight hours.
   Jonny and Robbie generously volunteered for the first shift (from 2:30 – 5:30).  The weather looked like it would be perfect. Calm seas, sunny skies and little wind were forecasted.  We slipped out of our marina on time and began the crossing.  It was still a little chilly out so the guys came inside to navigate after a couple of hours.  By then, Lynn was up and we casually spelled each other throughout the day while the guys caught a cat nap here and there.
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The great weather and calm seas continued throughout the day all across the Bay of Fundy.  This area of the sea is notorious for extremely high tides and can be rather treacherous in rough seas.  There’s no place to hide out if the weather turns.  But we crossed the border into the U.S.A. making great time and getting in an hour earlier than anticipated.   It was a great crossing!  We were greeted in Northeast Harbor, Maine by U.S. Customs agents who we had contacted in advance.  We got through customs very easily (no agents boarding our boat this time) and we decided to tie up at a mooring. 
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We had the choice of a traditional mooring ball or a mooring that was attached to a floating dock in the middle of the harbor.  We chose the latter as it was a new arrangement for us and it looked very convenient.  We had it to ourselves and it served as a great launch site for our dinghy and for guests. 
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One of the main reasons we chose Northeast Harbor (aside from its convenience and great reviews) was that this was essentially the home port for our friend Michael Goldfield and his partner, Melina White who owns a home in Seal Harbor, just around the bend.  Michael, who we had visited when we were in Burlington, insisted that we stay with them and they would show us a good time in this most beautiful part of the world.  And  so they did, starting with Mike motoring up in his Boston Whaler just as soon as we cleared customs.  He had seen us enter the harbor and didn’t waste any time in finding us.
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We proceeded to throw a change of clothes into a backpack and climb aboard his boat for the trip to Seal Harbor, just around the bend.  Seal Harbor is another incredibly beautiful place with large New England styled homes lining the coast.  All along the way, Mike pointed out the homes of the rich and famous  –  Martha Stewart’s, David Rockefeller’s, etc.   They all belong to the little yacht club there and that’s where we tied up. 
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Melina and Mike’s  home is a gem!  Nestled on the edge of Acadia National Park, it’s a rustic A-frame home with loads of room and beautiful views from every angle.  They are next door to one of the famous carriage roads that John D. Rockefeller had built throughout the park along with a series of the most beautiful stone bridges – each of them unique and a work of art.  While staying at their house, Lynn read a book about the history of these carriage roads and bridges – fascinating!
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After settling into our very comfortable ‘”digs,” we got back on the Boston Whaler for the ride to dinner. Our hosts were treating us to a lobster dinner at the best lobster place around.  It was located deep into Somes Sound and it took at least  30 minutes to get there on Mike’s speedy craft.
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We sat at a reserved table in a gentle forest on a hillside overlooking the sound for our lobster feast.   We were lucky to be there for many reasons, among them was the fact that this was the last night the restaurant would be open for the season. We got there just in time!
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The ride home was pretty exciting with Michael traveling at full speed in the pitch dark and Malina on the bow of the boat with a flashlight shining on the hundreds of lobster pots littering the waterway.  Above us the Milky Way was in splendid view.   We made it back to the dock safe and sound.  Mike assured us that he would have taken the car with any other guests but because we were traveling on a boat, he thought we would enjoy the ride!  And so we did!
The next morning, Lynn and Melina slept in while the guys went off for coffee and a ride up to Cadillac Mountain where they caught some more incredible views.
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Later on Michael took us to the Zen-like Asticou Azalea Garden, a serene Japanese garden with meandering pathways and peaceful settings at every turn.  We also visited the more traditional but also beautiful Thuya Garden there.  
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And between each site would be a ride through the quaint villages that abound in this area. 
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Melina joined us for the hike up  Gorham Mountain and rewarded us with a spectacular view of the rocky beach below and a delicious box lunch.  We traipsed down the mountain and she showed us a very cool rocky beach covered with the most perfectly shaped oval rocks that continuously wash up from the ocean. 
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Later that evening, after cocktails on Zendo, we had another great dinner out and went back to the boat to prepare for the next day’s departure. 
On Monday morning (Labor Day), Michael, our intrepid tour guide, came by one more time to motor us over to Southeast Harbor for breakfast at Grumpy’s, a fun breakfast spot owned by a curmudgeonly man who lived up to restaurant’s name!  Southeast Harbor is known as being the home of Hinkley sailboats, some of the most beautiful boats made (in Lynn’s opinion).  The harbor there was literally filled with them. 
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We had an absolutely wonderful introduction to the coast of Maine in this visit with many thanks to Michael and Melina for hosting us and to Robbie for joining  us on this adventures (and for his photographic contributions as well)!
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1 comment:

  1. Glad to see that you made it to Maine! We are in Peoria, riding south on the Illinois River!
    Jim and Elizabeth Gamble on SV Heron