This is the third year we've been in Lubec but it is so close to my heart that it feels more familiar than that would lead you to believe. The first year we came to Lubec was the year my sister Judi died. We hadn't made summer vacation plans because we didn't know how long she would live. She died in February though, sooner than we had thought and as a few months passed I found myself wanting to go to Maine. I started trolling through Homeaway.com and Cyberrentals but everything in Southern Maine where we usually went was either booked or too expensive. I started looking further north for a less expensive place and happened upon Lubec. It sounded so cleansing to stand there, on the water, in the easternmost town in the country....so off we went. It's really a magical place for us. I'm sure we only know the tip of the iceberg but here are a few of our recommendations:
We've stayed at two great places----I found both of them online. The Victorian we stayed at this year was really lovely. Beautifully restored and cared for, yet not so pristine that you don't feel completely comfortable. The very comfortable beds (something not all rentals have) and perfectly outfitted kitchen put it over the top. Oh, and it also a certified 'green' rental and uses recycled products, etc. I would imagine the other properties of this company would be just as great.
Now Lubec has a small grocery store which is fine but produce/fresh food is not its strength. THIS year however when we received our rental contract we also got info about Tide Mill Organic Farm. We'd heard about this place before but never managed to get there. This time however, we placed an order online and they delivered it to our door on Monday. GORGEOUS stuff! Two bags of vegetables gaves us enough for the whole trip and they were fabulous (and inexpensive). We also got some great chickens (Owen said it was the best chicken he'd ever had and that boy's an expert), some pork, some sausage (great chorizo) and some lovely ricotta. With all that we were able to get everything else from the store in town. That being said, there's a good grocery store in Machias which isn't far away. From now on though, we'll always get meat, dairy and produce from Tide Mill Farm. We are used to some pretty great produce and meats from farms here in central Illinois but this place was amazing....oh, and it looks gorgeous...we'll have to visit it in person next year....
We bought our lobsters, haddock, clams and scallops all from Bold Coast Smokehouse. Although they are a smokehouse first and foremost they also carry fresh fish and the owner is usually good for an entertaining anecdote or two. The smoked salmon is mindboggling and he has an admiring handwritten note from Julia Child tacked to his wall as well. One of these years I'll work my way past the salmon and smoked mussels etc. to try his ribs! AMAZING stuff!
Low tide is one of my favorite things on earth. This year we decided to take advantage of a tour offered by Tours of Lubec and Cobscook. One of the tours they offer is Explore the Intertidal Shore. It was an amazing experience. Although as Owen said, "it wasn't really a tour, it was more of a discovery." We met our guide at the little building across from the cemetery and they gave us an array of boots to try on and got a brief introduction to the geology and geography of the area. Then we drove off to a beach. I believe it was the same beach where Owen re-enacted D-Day. Gorgeous and somewhat otherworldy. It was just the five of us with our guide Delia Mae Farris. She was absolutely wonderful and the two hours flew by. Watching a periwinkle come out of its shell as we hummed to it made us feel like we'd accomplished a miracle. And she gathered some greens along the beach for us to add to our dinner and we came away with a little collection of shells and other amazing finds. I couldn't possibly recommend this more and I imagine their other tours (including one of Tide Mill Farms) are just as great.
oh, and I thought Ernie looked pretty hot in the boots as well....
Annabell's is the local year-round bar. They have music on Sunday afternoons and Ernie and I always try to slip away a time or two to go there. Unfortunately we only made it once this year and we weren't able to see Ernie's favorite bartender Bernie...but maybe next year.
If you sit at the bar at Cohill's the view is magnificent and our favorite bartender there not only thought we were from Machias (locals YES!) but also always points out the eagle's nest across the way and shares binoculars. Next year we'll take the guys there for a meal as well.
Water Street Tavern across the way is lovely as well. I'm a bit of a sucker for Chippendale chairs. I used to prefer Queen Anne....now I like Chippendale. Is that a sign of age? Anyway----both places are great and there are a few other spots in town we haven't tried yet. Oh, and Cohill's opened a big outside deck this year which makes for a lovely spot as well.
Of course you have to go visit West Quoddy Headlight and there are TONS of other incredible parks for hiking etc. Oh, and Campobello is right over the bridge if you bring your passport....and Eastport is a short drive and quicker ferry ride away too. It's got a few more restaurants/shops/galleries..... There's more as well in Lubec....a lovely gift/artisans shop called Northern Tides and a more traditional gift shop out on South Lubec Road....two chocolate shops---both are wonderful and I'm not even a particularly huge chocolate fan. Next year I want to plan to see the reversing falls....and maybe go on another whale watching tour.... Of course Ernie's great hope is to see a moose. We've seen eagles, a black bear, seals, whales, porpoises, etc....but no moose....
One of Lubec's main economic forces was fishing and the herring smokehouses. The last herring smokehouse in the country was in Lubec and closed in 1991. Much of the old complex remains and we finally took a tour of it this year. Like all non profit preservation efforts it is in great need of private support. I plan to make a donation to Lubec Landmarks, to support them. Lubec is so beautiful and yet is so poor. Driving around and enjoying it as a tourist like me I don't think you'd even realize it....but the loss of industry, the recession, etc.....Lubec really needs our support. It's not a place that should be forgotten or ignored....so much history, so much beauty...combined with down to earth Yankee friendliness. I couldn't love it more.