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Lubec, Maine - The Easternmost Town in the United States

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugLocated on a peninsula in Passamaquoddy Bay slightly south of Eastport - of which it was a part when it was first settled in 1785 - the small town which lays claim to the distinction of being the easternmost town in the contiguous United States, was officially incorporated on June 21, 1811 and named for L├╝beck, Germany. In 2011 Lubec, Maine celebrated its bicentennial, marking 200 years of existence on the easternmost edge of America, and in 2012 I was fortunate enough to visit in search of lighthouses and other assorted points of interest that I've been known to travel a few miles to get to from time to time!

While visiting some of Maine's other beautiful lighthouses back in 2010, I saw a photo of West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and knew right then and there that it was one I was going to have see for myself in person at some point in time.  That point finally came when my friend Claire - aka The Doodologist - arrived in the United States for a six-week visit in October and we incorporated a 2-night stay in the easternmost town in the U.S.A. with our wanderings even further north and east to Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick, Canada.

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As you can see, it was well worth the 7-1/2 hour drive from my small town of Norwich, Connecticut to the far eastern reaches of Maine as West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is a beautiful structure complete with a Third Order Fresnel lens - one of only eight Fresnel lenses still in use on the Maine coast.  I'll get to more about the light and its history in a separate post where I'll also tell you about East Quoddy Head Lighthouse at the tip of Campobello Island and Mulholland Point Lighthouse (which is pictured below and also located on the New Brunswick, Canada island which was a summer retreat for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his family) but for the purpose of this post, we'll stick to Lubec itself which you can get one of your best views of from across the channel on the Canadian side near Mulholland Point Light!

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The current population of Lubec as of the 2010 National Census is 1,359 persons but in the early 1900s the population was well over 3,300 inhabitants with many working in the fishing and fish processing industries. Smoked herring and canned sardines were the town's major claims to fame in addition to shipbuilding. In 1850, a prosperous time for Lubec, the small town boasted three post offices, four churches, and over seventy smokehouses which produced over 500,000 boxes of smoked herring annually.  Should you wish to learn more about the history of the town, check out Lubec: A Border Town Shaped by the Sea in partnership with the Maine Memory Network, Maine's Statewide Digital Museum, Archive, and Educational Resource.

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Today the smokehouses are gone, the population is less than half the size it was in its heyday, and the town's fishermen now go out in search of lobsters, scallops, and shellfish rather than sardines and herring while most tourists come to the area to take in the beauty and the serenity of the small town hanging on to the edge of the Maine coast.

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Alright then, so what is there to do other than cross the Roosevelt International Bridge that connects Lubec to Campobello Island (and yes, you'll need a passport to go over and back) so that you can get a good look at Lubec, visit the former Roosevelt home, and maybe spot a harbor seal or two like this guy below who popped his head up and posed for a photo?

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Well, for starters, Lubec is a lovely little walking town which means once you get there and park your car, you can take some nice walks around and see some of the sights like -

the water tower which is easily seen from across the Lubec Narrows and stands right next to the church whose spire is also easily spotted! 

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The Congregational Christian Church was gathered in both 1818 and 1830 with the church itself - a quintessential white New England clapboard structure - being built in 1820. 

Just across the lawn and street from the Congregational Christian Church is the Christian Temple Church and down the road from it is Sacred Heart Catholic Church.  As you can see, there's a good reason the road is named Church Street! 

A short walk down the hill where Church Street is located brings you to Water Street which is more or less the "main drag" of Lubec where you'll find several small inns, eateries, and taverns.  Unfortunately I don't have any photos of Water Street to share with you as I was totally remiss in my photographic duties but apparently it's a street that FDR and First Lady Eleanor walked along at some point in history also!

One of the places that offers up some pretty good eats along Water Street is Frank's Dockside Restaurant which may not look like much from the outside but offers some pretty darned good food on the inside!

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The inside dining area is small and cozy with lots of photos on the walls of days gone by in Lubec.  There's also a deck for outdoor dining right on the water but as it was late in the evening in mid-October and somewhat chilly, it wasn't an option - nor were we looking for it to be! 

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As The Doodologist and I were looking for a lighter sort of dinner the evening we stopped in, we ordered up a couple bowls of chowder to go with our choice of adult beverages as well as an order of deep-fried pickle spears.  We almost ordered another round of the deep-fried pickle spears they were so good!  Matter of fact, I may drive back up to Lubec again one of these days just to have the pickles at Frank's again! Yep, there were that good!  

Our second night in town we decided to avoid the call of the deep-fried pickles (though it was strong) and try another of Lubec's popular places - Cohill's Inn.

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Advertising "simple but appealing fare", overnight accommodations are also available at Cohill's but as Claire and I were staying at the lovely Peacock House Bed & Breakfast just up the hill, we were only stopping in for dinner and the local ambiance which was in full swing on a Friday evening.  Though to be honest, we were so relaxed during our stay in Lubec, we had totally forgotten what day it was!

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Upon the suggestion of our waitress, we each ordered a Cohill's Dark & Stormy with a Maine Twist - a very refreshing blend of Gosling's Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum, Maine Root Ginger Soda and a lime twist.  Yummy! 

For dinner Claire ordered Hummus while I went with the more traditional cheeseburger with kettle chips. 

For dessert, we decided to split a slice of pumpkin-cranberry pie whose cranberries had been soaked for a good long time in brandy by the priest of the local Catholic church.  When our waitress told us that "her father" had made the pie, we thought she meant her father - not her Father

Speaking of her "Father" - that's him sitting on the stool at the bar wearing the dark hoodie and chatting with several other patrons while a trio of locals treated us to some nice music during dinner. All in all, Cohill's was a nice little piece of Ireland sitting on the edge of Maine and is a definite stop even if you're only popping in for a Dark & Stormy! 

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If chocolate is more your thing than alcohol, don't pass up the chance to stop in at Monica's Chocolates on Route 189 (100 County Road) just before the turnoff for West Quoddy Head Lighthouse as you're driving into town. 

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Monica Elliot, the namesake and owner of the business, moved to Lubec from Lima, Peru when her husband took a job as a fisheries consultant and opened her first shop, Seaside Chocolates, in downtown Lubec in 2005.  Using the filling her father taught her to make as a child - whose recipe remains a family secret to this day - Monica perfected her bonbons and with word spreading like wildfire as to how good her chocolates were, she was soon in need of a bigger candy kitchen and store. 

At her current location, Monica sells not only her ridiculously delicious chocolates which contain only the freshest and finest of ingredients, but she also sells clothing and jewelry from her native Peru where she had run a successful fashion design business before moving to Maine. 

Claire and I were lucky enough to get a tour of the candy kitchen which is located downstairs and is immaculate.  There I got a look at the tools of the trade as well as lots and lots of bonbons in all sorts of flavors in various stages of creation. 

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The photos below are of the filling for raspberry truffles which take several days (sometimes up to 21!) to set up before being formed into balls and dipped into chocolate.  

Once the truffles are made and wrapped, they are then stored in containers in the temperature-controlled kitchen until it's time for them to make their way upstairs and into the shopping bags and mouths of lucky customers! 

Trust me on this one, even if you aren't a huge fan of sweets, you will totally love Monica's Chocolates where you can buy chocolate sea cucumbers, chocolate sea shells, truffles of all sorts of varieties, sugar-free chocolates, caramels, nut clusters or maybe a chocolate lobster on a stick.  There are also jams & jellies and salts & seasonings along with hand-knit Alpaca sweaters, scarves, and wraps in addition to some absolutely gorgeous jewelry. 

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If you can't make it out to Lubec to visit the lovely showroom in person, Monica's Chocolates does offer on-line ordering on their website or you can visit a number of retail stores in Maine that offer Monica's Chocolates on their own shelves. But seriously, if you're in Lubec, be sure to stop in! 

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Though we were there for a few days which seemed to just fly by, I'm sure that there's a lot in Lubec that Claire and I missed but I can certainly attest to the fact that it was very peaceful and serene and a great place to relax and just enjoy the views along it's beautiful coastline.  Should you wish to plan a trip to Lubec yourself (and I highly recommend that you do if you're looking to get away from the maddening crowds for a bit), be sure to check the Town's Tourist Information Page as well as for ideas of places to stay and things to do no matter what season you might wish to wander up.

I'm already trying to figure out when I can go again!

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