Thursday, August 16, 2018

Maine - Freeport


Cedar Haven Family Campground was our new home for a few days starting on July 16, 2018. 
It is just east of downtown Freeport, ME, which is home to L.L. Bean
The campground has over 70 sites, plus tent sites. There is a pond with a sandy beach, large playground area and a basketball court. They have a dog washing station which is always nice. We were in Site 2, a level gravel pull-thru with full hook-ups. There is a narrow patch of grass and a picnic table. The campground is well maintained and quiet. WiFi was good and our Verizon signal was strong. We paid $53.46 a night with our Good Sam Discount. 

We had two days to explore here and we jam packed them with things to see and do. First day we headed south to Portland, ME. We found a few roadsides on our way. 

In Freeport, outside of the L.L. Bean store is a Giant Hiking Boot. Each of the parking lots are named for an animal. The one we were in was the Bear Lot, and there was a carving to help you remember. Just outside of downtown is a Giant Indian that stands outside of a Trading Post Store on Hwy 1. 

In Yarmouth, ME we went to the DeLorme Building to see Eartha, a Giant Rotating Globe. It is the largest rotating globe in the World. DeLorme created one of the first computer mapping systems. Today they are owned by Garmin. 
We weren't sure what the globe was going to be like, but it was well worth the stop. The Globe is 3-stories tall in the lobby of the building which houses the offices for Garmin. There is an open balcony on all three floors to view the globe from different heights. We "traveled" the whole world while we were here!

In Portland, ME while dodging raindrops we found a piece of the Berlin Wall. On the same dock was a Painted Lighthouse and a freestanding fence with a ton of Love Locks on it.
On the edge of one of the traffic circles in downtown is a bronze statue of Director John Ford. Probably best known for his movie "Grapes of Wrath", he was born here in Portland. In the Bug Light Park there is a Memorial to the Liberty Ships that were built here. 

The Eastern Promenade is a beautiful park that overlooks the Casco Bay. The Promenade was started in 1836 and now covers 68-acres. We so enjoyed our walk and while it was foggy and overcast, the rain held off for us. 

Bug Light Park is where you will find the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, " Bug Light". The first lighthouse, a wooden structure, was built in 1855. In 1875 the breakwater was extended and the current iron lighthouse was built. Wooden sheds and a six-room house for the keeper were added over the next few years. 

During WWII the breakwater was slowly taken over by landfill as the New England Shipbuilding Corp, built two shipyards next to the lighthouse. These yards produced Liberty Ships for the war. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1942. It was fully restored in 1989 and was reactivated in 2002. 
From the park you can see the skyline of Portland as well as the islands in the bay. The bay was filled with boats of all sizes while we were there. 

In 1897 the nearby Spring Point Ledge Light was erected and the houses at Bug Light were torn down as the keepers who lived at Spring Point maintained both lighthouses. 
The lighthouse was built after seven steamship companies complained that their vessels ran aground on Spring Point Ledge. The original budget of $20,000 fell short of the actual cost of $45,000 due to storm damage and poor quality cement. The lighthouse was outfitted with a fog bell that rang twice every 12 seconds. Improvements were made throughout the 20th century, it was electrified in 1934. In 1951, a 900-foot breakwater made from 50,000 tons of granite was constructed to connect the lighthouse to the mainland. 

We couldn't hold off the rain any longer but luckily there was a large tent set up on the grounds of the lighthouse, which made taking pictures a little less wet.

The final lighthouse of the day was the Portland Head Lighthouse. Built in 1791, it is the oldest lighthouse in the state of Maine.
Construction began in 1787, ordered by George Washington and was completed on January 10, 1791. It was paid for from a fund of $1,500 created by Washington. It was originally illuminated by whale oil lamps. In 1855 a fourth-order Fresnel Lens was installed, it was replaced with a second-order lens in the early 1900's.
The keepers house is still intact and is used as the museum. The surrounding shore line gives you an idea as to why a lighthouse was needed here. Painted on one of the boulders is a tribute to the Annie C. Maguire Shipwreck that happened on Christmas Eve 1886. (Upper right picture) The ship was wedged on the rocks at the lighthouse. The Keeper and volunteers rigged a ladder as a gangplank between the shore and the ship. All on board were safely removed.

Nancy got a little wet while getting the pictures of the last lighthouse and shoreline, but luckily the really hard rain, along with thunder and lightening didn't come until she was back in the car and we were heading home. There was a little bit of flooding in Portland.

On our second day out we headed east.
In Brunswick, ME we walked across a Swinging Bridge. Yes, even Nancy walked across it.
The first swinging bridge at this spot was built in 1892, to help Cabot Mill workers cross the river from their homes to the mill. The firm that designed the Brooklyn Bridge designed this one. Over time steel replaced the original timber-framed towers. A flood in 1936 partially destroyed the bridge, repairs were part of the Works Progress program. The latest renovation was completed in 2006. You have a pretty view of the Androscoggin River from the center of the bridge and on one side of the river is a little park. An artist was busy with a painting while we were there.

We took a wrong turn, nothing unusal about that and came across this spill way and falls. Such a pretty sight which is the usual outcome of our wrong turns!

Brunswick is also were Harriet Beecher Stowe lived when she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. Her husband was a professor at Bowdoin College. They lived in this house from 1850 to 1852. It was here that Stowe harbored fugitive slave John Andrew Jackson in late 1850. When we were in Connecticut  we saw the home she lived in the last 23 years of her life.
While attending a service at the 1st Parish Church, United Church of Christ, she had a vision of sorts as to how Uncle Tom would die. The pew that she sat in was owned by a friend, in those days you bought your pews, and there is a marker where she sat. While Nancy was wandering around the church trying to find a way in, two ladies came out and when she asked them if this was the church Harriet attended one of them was nice enough to reopen the church and take her in. She had her own personal tour guide!
While taking pictures the lady showed Nancy the family pew of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. The church likes to say that the Civil War started and ended here just a few feet apart from each other. President Lincoln stated more than once that Harriet's book, Uncle Tom's Cabin was one of the catalysts for the Civil War and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain accepted Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. We visited there in June 2017. It is interesting that the two pews are in the same row! Harriett's is the pink arrow, Joshua's is the yellow arrow.

We would like to think that Harriett is smiling down on the church she attended as they proudly welcome ALL to their church. The words on the Rainbow banner say "God is Still Speaking".

From Brunswick we headed to Woolwich, ME and found a Comical and Giant Lobster at the Taste of Maine Restaurant. They also have an Osprey nest and a webcam that you can watch from the lobby.

In Bath, ME, which we would love to come back to and explore more we found Wilson's Drug Store!
We didn't stop and explore because we had more to see and we were excited to hike at the Giant Stairs.
In order to get there we had to cross the Cribstone Bridge. It connects Orr's Island and Bailey Island.

The bridge was constructed in 1927 and 1928 after many years of requests for a bridge from the residents of Bailey Island. Building the bridge was a engineering marvel. Taking the tide and storms in the area into consideration it was decided that a "cobwork" bridge was the best solution. The 1,150-foot bridge was built using granite slabs as cribstones. The slabs, longer than they are wide were laid horizontally, first lengthwise, and then crosswise, in several layers. No mortar or cement was used. The granite was considered heavy enough to withstand wind and waves. The open cribbing allows the tide to ebb and flow freely without increasing tidal current to any great degree.
Around 10,000 tons of granite was used in the project and then a concrete road was built on top of the cribstones. A sidewalk was added in 1951 and guard rails in 1961. It is reported to be the only Cribstone Bridge in the world.
The beach is a mix of sand and large rock formations. There were a number of kayaks just waiting for an adventure. The rocks are filled with quartz. As you know Nancy sees images in just about everything and this time she found another Michigan shape and what looks like a playful cat to her. What do you think it looks like?

Following Route 24 across the bridge we ended up at the Lands End Gift Shop. Appropriately named as it is at the end of the land.

The statue is titled Fisherman. There is a little beach where Nancy played with seaweed and put her feet in the Casco Bay. We were across the bay from the lighthouses we had visited the day before.

Another tourist kindly took our picture for us.

Then we finally made it to the Giant StairsThe trail is only a half mile long but the limited parking made the hike twice as long! Plus, we went from end to end and then back again. Most of the rock here is schist, a light gray and flaky metamorphic rock. They are filled with minerals such as mica, garnet and quartz. The black and blocky staircases are igneous basalt rock formed when magma rose to the surface through cracks in the schist. The magma cooled and eroded over the years to form the "staircases"
What a beautiful spot. You can sit on the rocks and watch the waves and boats of all sizes go by. Or there are plenty of places to climb and clamber across the rocks. We kept finding ourselves on opposite levels, which does make for an interesting selfie!

Mielikki found a few places to hide out in the shade. It was a little hot while we were there. Can you spot her in the bottom left picture? 
This was one of the highlights of our time here. 

Next up is Orland, ME and Arcadia National Park. 

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You! 

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Watch out for that bridge!
The RV is tall - 13-feet and a couple of inches tall! Due to this we have to be careful when traveling back roads. Many times the bridges are 12' or shorter and it doesn't take a math genius to figure out that is a problem. As we have mentioned before we cannot back up the RV while the tow-dolly and car are attached. If we came across a short bridge it would be a nightmare if there was no place to turn around.
There are some ways around this. There are websites, GPS and Apps that will navigate you away from the low bridges. 
Obviously truckers have the same issues and a number of Apps have been created for them. Here are a couple:
Instant Truck Routes - around $60 a year for an iPhone
Low - around $45 a year
There are RV specific apps as well:
CoPilot RV USA - around $40 a year
RV GPS Navigation Systems - Garmin's are from $100 - $400

Free Apps:
Trucker Path - like Instant Truck Routes this also finds Gas Stations, Rest Areas etc
RV Parky - you can also find RV Parks, Camping World, Cracker Barrel, Walmart, Truck Stops, Rest Areas and more.

There is also a PDF, Low Clearance Bridge Information, supplied by Member.Coach-net, a roadside assistance group. Cost to join is $180 to $250 a year. The PDF file is free.

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