We have survived our first six weeks in Maine and are settled into our summer site. We arrived on Thursday, May 17th and the black flies were HORRENDOUS; I was trying to direct Marty into our spot but had to constantly wave bugs out of my face, we’re lucky he didn’t land in the creek! We had been warned but nothing can really prepare you for how bad they are. Luckily, we had our head nets from our adventure on the Mississippi River back in 2014 and they helped a little. The black flies lasted about three weeks and then it was mosquito season - yikes! We seriously wondered what we had gotten into and considered leaving but as I write this on June 23rd, the bugs have died down.
|Our summer spot and the empty caretakers cabin|
|Raising the 1790's Flag|
The grounds here are beautiful, we are parked behind the empty caretakers house (which we have the use of). Down the road from us are the water hand pump, the smoke-house and settlers cabin. Across the covered bridge over Blackman’s Creek are the water powered sawmill, the blacksmith shop, the sawyer’s house (used for spinning wheel demonstrations) and other “old-timey” buildings. Up the hill is the gift shop (where I work), the machine shop, and the saw mill complex. The parking lot is at the top of the hill and there is a gate that is kept closed so there are no cars except our truck. It’s very peaceful and now that the worst of the bugs are gone it’s a pretty nice place to be.
|The sawmill (shot in infrared)|
|Night sky over Blackman's Creek|
|Our view (osprey net) as we sit in our truck downloading|
The Maine Forest and Logging Museum
The museum has five main events and we’re here for four of them. Children’s Days were May 23 -25; three days of school groups (about 300 kids a day). All the buildings were open with activities and demonstrations for the kids. They could make necklaces with a tin punch, bookmarks with quills and stencils, and catch alewives with their hands and move them over to the fish ladder. There were old fashioned games set out that they could play (checkers, tic-tac-toe, tug of war), wooden stilts to try walking with. There were horse drawn wagon rides available, with two beautiful Percheron horses, Amos and Andy. It was a very busy three days, the kids all seemed to have a really good time and we’ve even had a few come back with their parents.
The next event was Alewife Day on Saturday, May 26th. There were over a million alewives swimming upstream this season and they were pretty easy to catch. On Thursday Marty helped set up the smokehouse and then tended it. On Saturday smoked alewife samples were available for tasting.
|Alewives, swimming upstream|
|Catching alewives with nets|
|Preparing smokehouse for the alewives|
|48 hours of smoking and they're ready for human consumption (or lobster bait)|
The next big event was a cross country run held on June 16th. That was also the day we had the “Axe Women of Maine” here for three shows. The run was 3.8 miles down a logging road and thru the forest. The museum complex is on over 400 acres of the 4000 +/- Penobscot Experimental Forest.
The Axe Women show was pretty cool. They did log rolling with a “peavy” (log rolling stick), demonstrations of log chopping with axes, and showed off their axe throwing skills.
|The Axe Women of Maine|
|Showing off their chopping skills|
Beanhole beans are very popular in Maine and were served all day along with biscuits to all who wanted them. The beans were soaked and then the pots were buried overnight in hot coals. They are cooked with molasses, onions and salt pork. The biscuits were also cooked outside.
|Preparing the beans|
|Tending the fire|
|Lowering the beans into the fire pit for overnight cooking|
I worked in the gift shop all day with Ruth; Marty spent the day hanging out with the guys giving rides on the steam powered Lombard Log Hauler. The Lombard Log Hauler was used in the woods of Maine in the early 1900's. The museum has two steam powered log haulers, one is operable and it's quite a big deal when it's operating. They run it maybe four times a year and we got to see it running on June 16th. Marty even got to drive it and took me for a ride! Here's a link to the Lombard Log Hauler running: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgy4xzRlLzM
|Riding in the Lombard Log Hauler|
Our Day Trips
We drove through Acadia National Park on Monday, May 21st. We took the loop road up to Cadillac Mountain and drove past some of the famous carriage roads. We will be back with our bicycles to check them out.
|At the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park|
|A gull enjoying the view from Cadillac Mountain|
On Sunday, May 28th we took a drive to the coast. We stopped at West Quoddy State Park which is the eastern most point in the continental United States. We took some pictures of the lighthouse and did a little bit of hiking. There are no bugs along the coast!
|West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine|
|Looking out over the Penobscot River from inside the observatory|
|Inside Fort Knox State Park|
|Which way should we go?|
|Getting up close and personal|
|Campobello Island, summer home of the Franklin Roosevelt Family|
|Megaphone used by Eleanor to call in her five children|
|On the shore of Campobello Island|
We don’t always go sightseeing on our days off, sometimes we have local adventures. On Tuesday, 6/19, we got our bikes out and took a ride on the logging road. Unfortunately it had rained the day before so there were very large puddles. Rather than turn around and ride the 4.5 miles back on the logging road we decided when we got to the end to take paved roads back. We ended up doing a 15 mile loop road on somewhat hilly roads. It was a good ride but next time we’ll be dressed more appropriately and we’ll bring water.
Well that's it for the first six weeks of our Maine adventure. We still have lots of exploring to do so stay tuned!