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!
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.
This fun lighthouse made me think of Pippi Longstocking!
Nearby, the tiny village of Lubec has a cute main street with multi-colored buildings.
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.
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!
Lubec faces a very pretty harbor, and the benches overlooking the bay can be very romantic!
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.
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.
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!
We admired Lubec across the water. It is such a sweet little town!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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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More info about the area:
- Lubec Maine – Tourism Website
- Campobello Island – Tourism Website
- Where are these places? – Google Maps
Other blog posts from Downeast or with similar themes:
Boquillas del Carmen – A daytrip to Mexico from Big Bend, Texas
- Eastport and Bangor – Off the Beaten Path in Maine! 08/18/15
- Taking the Mail Boat Ferry to Maine’s Cranberry Islands 07/15/15
- Beauty in the Mist – Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Maine 07/10/15
- Acadia National Park’s Carriage Roads in Maine – Thanks, Rockefeller! 07/07/15
- Schoodic National Scenic Byway – Downeast Maine at its best! 07/04/15
- Acadia National Park – Alluring Beauty on the Maine Coast 07/01/15
- Narrows Too RV Resort – A Great Acadia National Park Home Base 06/27/15
- Hinckley Yachts Factory Tour – Where Cruising Dreams Come True 06/16/15