Lubec & Campobello Island – Fantastic Lighthouses!

June 2015 – After a really happy visit to Acadia National Park, the nearby Schoodic Peninsula and the crazy mail boat daytrip out to the Cranberry Islands, we headed further downeast to the easternmost point in America: Lubec, Maine.

Mainers have a slightly different sense of direction than most, and “Downeast” in these parts actually means “Northeast.” If someone says they went “down” to someplace, it’s best to check a map before assuming they went south. In all likelihood, wherever they went “down to” is north of where they are standing now!

The reason for this is simple: the prevailing wind on the Maine coast blows out of the southwest and towards the northeast. So, sailors going “up” the Maine coast to the northeast sail “downwind” to get there!

Selfie at Lubec Maine

We’re waaaaay downeast!

This whole coast is strewn with craggy shores and quaint lighthouses to warn mariners about dangerous rocks, and we had gotten a kick out of seeing the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on Mt. Desert Island. But further downeast they get even better!

Lubec (“Loobeck”) is home to one of the most striking lighthouses in Maine: the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. This candy-striped beauty is very accessible, and despite the overcast skies when we were there, we were not alone enjoying a picnic on one of the tables nearby.

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse Lubec Maine

A dad gets a pic of his wife and daughter at the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse

This fun lighthouse made me think of Pippi Longstocking!

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse Lubec Maine

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse

Nearby, the tiny village of Lubec has a cute main street with multi-colored buildings.

Storefronts in Lubec Maine

Lubec’s main street is very colorful

Like all towns on the coast in downeast Maine, lobstering is the way of life here, and lobstering motifs were everywhere, even on the side of a gift shop building.

Lubec Maine Gift Shop Building

When we walked up one street, we were surprised to see a most unusual motorhome. It was an Airstream 350LE. Airstream is best known for its travel trailers, but how cool it was to see one of their unique motorhomes out on the road!

Cool RV in Lubec Maine

Hey – it’s an Airstream motorhome!

Lubec faces a very pretty harbor, and the benches overlooking the bay can be very romantic!

Romance at Lubec Harbor Maine

Lubec is for Lovers

Across the thin strip of water on the other side of the harbor opposite Lubec is Campobello Island which has a lighthouse that shines back towards Lubec.

5th wheel RV at lighthouse Campobello Island New Brunswick

Campobello Island has a small lighthouse overlooking Lubec

Lighthouse at night in Lubec Harbor Maine

Campobello Island is actually in New Brunswick, Canada, and after admiring the small part of it we could see from Lubec, we decided to take a daytrip to the island. We got up early one morning, dashed down to the docks to see the boats in the early morning light for a moment, and then drove over the bridge that goes onto the island.

Lobster boats at dawn Lubec Maine

Downeast Maine at dawn.

You need a passport to cross into Canada, but other than that it is a super easy border crossing. We were the only ones at the bridge, and in no time we were driving in another country.

This was a wonderful little warmup for going into Canada “for real” a few days later when we would cross into the mainland part of New Brunswick at Calais, Maine. But for now, we were just daytripping. Even so, the first sign we saw made us do a double-take!

Stop sign in Canada

Ahem… we really are in a different country!

We admired Lubec across the water. It is such a sweet little town!

Town docks Lubec Maine

Lubec looks very pretty across the way

The ocean was like a lake in the early morning sun, and we watched the lobster boats out doing their rounds to all their traps.

Lobster boats Campobello Island New Brunswick Canada

Lobstering is a way of life on both sides of the border.

As we drove to the far end of the island, we marveled at the pristine forest and ultra clear water. We could see every detail of the seaweed waving under the surface.

Campobello Island New Brunswick Canada

The woods and water seemed virgin here.

We climbed down a steep path towards the water and I spotted a sea urchin shell in the grass. I don’t know how it got up there, but I put it on an evergreen tree branch between the pine cones. What a neat contrast — the woods meeting the sea.

Sea urchin on spruce tree branch Campobello Island

From the forest to the ocean

Campobello Island’s sister lighthouse to the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec is the East Quoddy Head Lighthouse! It sits at the far north end of Campobello Island, and it is equally stunning.

East Quoddy Lighthouse Campobello Island New Brunswick Canada

Our first glimpse of East Quoddy Lighthouse

It peeked out at us from behind the trees at first, but we found a woodsy trail that goes out a ways on a small peninsula where we were able to see it in its full glory. Rather than being candy-striped, this lighthouse has a huge red cross on its front.

East Quoddy Head Lighthouse Campobello Island New Brunswick Canada

You can walk out to this lighthouse to see all its outbuildings up close for two hours before and after every low tide. The tides are immense here, however, and the water moves really quickly. So, you have to time your visit to the lighthouse very carefully!!

A sign near the trail that heads out to the lighthouse explained why:

Beach Sign

The tides are gargantuan here.
At low tide you can walk to the lighthouse — if you dare!

It would be another few hours before the tide’s window of opportunity opened up for us, so we contented ourselves with getting pics of this beautiful lighthouse from across the water. What a stunner!

East Quoddy Lighthouse Campobello Island New Brunswick Canada

East Quoddy Lighthouse — very regal!

This little one-day introduction to Canada’s east coast was a really great appetizer for us and got us in the mood to do some more exploring north of the border.

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