Thursday, August 04, 2011

In the land of rocks

These series of posts from Maine are simple, end-of-day spontaneous recollections. By "jotting" down these outlines, I hope to come back to revisit them for more detailed accounts, at least for some particular points of the trip. I figured if I manage to do this much each night, I'll be more apt to follow up in a few days.

Another day spent in places I've been before, but with new twists. With Casey's stomach as a guide (to put it in the most general terms), we started the day with an early lunch at Home Kitchen Cafe in Rockland. From there we drove out to the breakwater, which allowed access to the lighthouse in the harbor -- after a walk of nearly a mile along the huge granite blocks placed some 130 years ago in the harbor to provide safe passage -- and, well, harbor -- for ships.

Out at the lighthouse -- which was not open today -- other folks took a break on the benches and walked around the base, taking photos. On the east side, the carcass of a harbor seal lay rotting, parts of it already ripped away by carnivorous birds, but its torso mainly intact. Up on the deck, which looked out back across the length of the breakwater, one couple sat eating their lunch, taking the time to enjoy themselves out a the lighthouse before beginning the careful walk back. We spent maybe 15 or 20 minutes taking photos before beginning our return trek. And with that, I checked another lighthouse off my list.

Following the walk along the breakwater, the natural next step was to visit Owl's Head Light, a more remote beacon nestled into a woodsy cliff further east from the harbor. The walk along the gravel path was less than half a mile (and probably less than a quarter, one-way) and a much more leisurely experience all around.

We then returned to downtown Rockland, parking along Main St. -- just past Lobsterfest at Harbor Park -- and strolled the retail strip, window shopping, browsing in antiques shops and other stores. After asking more of our credit cards, we drove north along the coast to Rockport, an even smaller harborside community that was once the home to Andre, a rather famous harbor seal in these parts. I remember visiting Andre some 30 summers ago, hoping that when we went down to the water's edge in the harbor, he'd be "home" and pop his head up inside his enclosure (which was open and allowed him to come and go as he pleased). Not much has changed with Rockport Harbor, except my eating habits and the opening of Shepherd's Pie, which turned out to be an exquisite dining experience. After dinner, we took some time to walk around the park on the other side of the harbor, stopping by the statue of Andre and reading about the ruins of the limestone kilns still standing against the rocky wall.

And the best part about the day was that we barely faced any rain -- only a brief shower while we were on the road out at the beginning of our day. Back in Whitefield, my uncle said, they'd had some rain in the morning and more in the late afternoon -- evidence of which we saw on our way back, along a still-saturated Route 17.

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