Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

An amazing day beginning with America’s Easternmost city

Monday August 26, 2013
Sunset Point RV Park
Lubec, Maine



The rain delays but doesn’t cancel our plans.



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We wake up to rain this morning. 

We’d planned to take a trip over to Eastport which bills itself as American’s Easternmost City.  Lubec claims to be America’s Easternmost Town so I want to see the difference.  I’ve written a post about cute little Lubec.  It’s time to see its sister across the water.  

As you can see, it’s just a mini trip across the water.  We could take the ferry over and just walk around the town.  $20 a head.  But there are some things we want to do in the area that require a car.  So we plan to make the 38 mile “drive around”.


Lubec to Eastport

Luckily for us the rain stops in an hour or so and although the skies don’t clear up  we are able to be on our way.   This is a bit of a touristy trip for us.  We don’t do this often but we have fun when we do.



Eastport has a lovely “historic district” right down by the water. 


The buildings are mostly from the late 19th century and have had their faces lifted and are looking really fine.  It’s the tops of the buildings that tell a lot about the architecture and age.  I think the buildings are just wonderful.


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Our first stop of course is the Moose Island Bakery where we find too many delicious goodies that we want.


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Out of all of those we pick these 4 and eat them all except the Blueberry turnover which we take home for breakfast tomorrow.  The other 3 are a large coconut macaroon for guess who and a raspberry twist and raspberry/white chocolate scone.  They are delicious.


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We have to walk off at least some of these treats so we wander further down the streets of the town.


This guy overlooks the dock.  There is a plaque about a TV show behind this but I don’t watch TV so I don’t know what they are talking about.  And so of course I remember it less even than the other things I don’t remember.


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Have to check out the library of course.  Thought I’d come back later to look inside but time got away from us big time as you will see.  Really terrific looking building though.  Great lines and love the rounded end.  Not sure what the spot is but I hate it.



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This drinking trough was on display.  The plaque reads “Constructed in 1889 by Mott Iron Works NYC, this fountain served as a drinking trough for men and horses here in Bank Square.”  I guess your horse got a sip when you were finished.  Share and share alike.


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I think I’d like to have the camping spot the RV has.  Kind of  looks like Winnona from a distance.  Maybe she’s followed us over here since she can read my mind.


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These are my two favorite pieces of sculpture.  Well I guess technically the first one is two pieces and the second picture would be a third.


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Missing you Fred and Ginger.Eastport Maine 066


Some interesting folks on the streets of Historic Downtown Eastport.  This wagon was just pulled over at the main intersection and the driver was standing outside talking on his cell phone.  Glad he doesn’t talk and drive. 


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Time to head over to the nationally, maybe even internationally famous, award winning Raye’s Mustard Factory. 


This is the real reason for David’s visit to Eastport.  He’s a mustard fan, I’m a catsup or is it ketchup fan?   Great colors for a mustard factory I must say.



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Raye’s is a great little place.  And I do mean little.  It’s all housed in this one building.  The mill, the showroom, and the tasting room.

Raye’s is America’s last traditional stone-ground mustard mill.  They do it all here in the back of the building with the original 1900 equipment.  This has been a family business for over 100 years and is still owned and operated by members of the Raye family.


Here’s where you can purchase it.Eastport Maine 073

Here’s where you can taste it.

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Raye’s now makes TWENTY FIVE different mustard flavors.

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As we step inside the showroom we can tell that the mill is not in operation.  It is too quiet.  When we ask we are told that unfortunately for us the miller had a family illness and is gone for two weeks.  But we are assured that Raye’s has enough of a back up that business will go on as usual. 

DRAT!  I really wanted to see this great old original machinery in operation.  


She says they have a video of the machinery at work for those times when the mill isn’t running and asks if we would like to see it.  It’s second best but we do.  They don’t allow pictures but I snuck just this one.  Please don’t tell them.   The equipment is fascinating.  Huge vats and pulleys and belts.

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The  the video shows the process and is narrated by the current owner.  

We start watching the video just marveling at what we aren’t going to get to see in person when in steps 4th generation current owner Kevin Raye. 

After the video is over he tells us a number of details about his great uncle, son of a Schooner captain, who started the business in 1900 and that he would have no trouble operating it today as everything but the FDA required plastic barrels rather than wooden ones is the same as when he was here.  

Raye’s originally made mustard for packing herring and sardines.  When those industries collapsed it had to reinvent itself and did in the gourmet mustard business.   They have won numerous awards for their mustards including the Gold Medal in the classic mustard division at the World Wide Mustard Competition in Napa Valley California for their trademark Down East Schooner Mustard.  He tells us this is the same formula used in the packing of the herring and sardines just thickened for the gourmet market. 

He also tells us that his cousin was working with them at the time of the final collapse of the packing industry in Eastport and Lubec when they were trying to reinvent themselves.   They had 2 mustards and the “Original” just wasn’t selling as well as what they were calling “Old World Gourmet”, a classic brown Dijon type.   So on a whim she decided to change the name to Down East Schooner and the sales took off.  Obviously she’s a natural marketer. 

What LUCK for us that we get this personal tour of a sorts. 


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After tasting all the mustards on pretzel sticks even I, a person who heretofore did not like or use mustard, have to admit that this is GOOD mustard and I found 4 that I really liked.   Their newest flavor called White Lightning was not among them.  Now there are some folks, like my friend Lynda who loves things so hot they make her cry, who would love this.  It is described as “ a creamy intense white hot mustard that packs a flavorful jolt”.   I guess the marketing cousin has been visiting the South based on the name.  :-)

Are you getting the feeling that I enjoyed this and like their mustard?  You would be right!   We buy 4 jars and some sardines and herring to get the full experience.   I wonder if I can find Raye’s in stores across the country.   Do you guys use Raye’s mustard??   If not, you are missing out.



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Oh Carrie – look what else they sell.  
I did NOT buy a jar of this.
But I thought it was a hoot!
Moxie Jelly!!







After mustard tasting it is time to think about a real lunch. 


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We head over to a former canning factory turned lobster wharf on the water.  At Quoddy Bay Lobster you can buy it wholesale or retail.  It comes off the boat right here.






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Retail is from the take out window.  You can sit inside or outside overlooking the fishing operation.   They have every kind of seafood roll you could want.  Lobster roll, crab roll, scallop roll.  Smoked salmon and on and on..





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We order one lobster roll, buttered not mayo’d, and a lobster wrap.   They both come with some delicious sweet cold slaw, if sweet is your favorite as it is mine, and some chips.   The wrap is a spinach wrap with as much lobster as the roll along with cream cheese, lettuce and tomato.  It is all excellent.




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I snag us a table outside but not at the picnic tables near the water.  It is too cool and windy.   That’s David at the table on the left.


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But we still have a nice view of the water and I’m enjoying my food immensely.  Of course you know who had the lobster roll.   And then  some guy just drives up in his pick up and parks right in front of us.  No more water view.  WHAT?





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He jumps out of his truck, lights up a cigarette and goes off to the left out of my view.  I’m pretty miffed.


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So after I finish I get up to go see where he went.  

What I find is that he’s gone over to the little building to the left of the take out.  The one with the fork lift in front of it.   I hadn’t noticed that it had crates of lobsters just brought in off the dock on it.  



They are sorting lobsters.  Apparently he’ll be taking some with him to wherever.  A restaurant??   All I know is seafood doesn’t get any fresher than this.   That’s my parker in the white shirt.  All is forgiven.  Although you really could have pulled up along side the fork lift. 


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Well fed, we set out to search for Old Sow.


Old Sow is the the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere and is located between Eastport and Deer Island.  David has been told we need to be there at a couple of hours before high tide.  He’s got the spot where you can see it, Dog Island.  He’s got directions to Dog Island.  We get there, it’s a new subdivision.   We look for Old Sow anyway.  We don’t see anything. 


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I do spot a schooner and take its picture and then I see…….two eagles.  WOW!   These people have bald eagles along their shore.  Would you look at that.


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Undaunted by a little failure David drives back into town, stops at the Information Center which I wish I’d taken a picture of because there is a big planter placed right in front of its closed door.   You have to figure out that you must go into the adjacent shop which doubles as the information center.   He figures this out.   The woman behind the counter says ‘you can see it from Clark Street’.  

We head back up Water Street looking for Clark.  No Clark.  We are back at Dog Island.  We turn around.  There is a woman coming out to get her mail.  David slows down, I roll down the window and ask her where Clark Street is.  She says “it’s that unmarked street down there to the left and would you mind opening this bottle for me.”  She hands me a bottle of vinegar.  I’m having some problems with my right thumb which I may have mentioned before.  It isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse so I can’t get the top off either and hand it to David.  In the mean time she asks what we want with Clark street and we tell her, Old Sow.   She says oh it’s too calm now for Old Sow.  And you have to see it after high tide.  Huh?  David was told before high tide.   She says oh no, the waters calm and when they start up again that’s when old sow starts swirling and making her noises.   I later look up Old Sow and find that the likely original name was old Sough for the draining or sucking noises it makes.  Sough, sow, it all sowns the same to me.


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She then tells us that she was out there on Saturday, two days ago, and old sow was going at it and there were “piglets”.  I almost laugh out loud but I contain myself.  She says “a fella went out there in a kayak and didn’t know and got in there going around and around and couldn’t get out and a fishing boat had to throw him a rope and pull him out.  He’s lucky he didn’t get sucked down in”.    David opens her bottle, we thank her for her help and head down to Clark Street even though this woman I now consider an expert has told us we won’t see Old Sow.

We go down to the end of Clark Street, I wait in the car, totally trusting my expert.  David looks, he doesn’t see Old Sow.  We will definitely have to come back 2 hours AFTER high tide and especially our expert says during rough seas.  

I wonder if the survivor has already joined “The Old Sow Whirlpool Survivors Association”.  I kid you not.  Check it out.


Here’s is an internet picture of what we will see next time.


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I know this is getting way too long but I’ve got one more story and it’s a good one so stick with me.


We’ve spent a lot of time on the Old Sow quest and have another high tide phenomenon we want to try to see.  It’s called Reversing Falls and it occurs at high tide.  Well David read it occurs at high tide.  I read that
the high tide here actually occurs an hour later than it does at Eastport even though the two spots are only miles apart.  Turns out this is a very lucky thing since to actually appreciate this reversing falls you have to be there at least an hour before high tide and stay an hour after to see the full effect.

Because of the search for Old Sow we are late and arrive exactly at high tide according to Eastport.  But since this tide is an hour later, we are right on time to see the full effect.  Another lucky piece of our day.

We see the waters are moving swiftly along and churning when we arrive.   They are moving in.


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We move a bit down stream and settle near this rock outcropping to take comparative pictures.  When we arrive there is wave action from the current moving in toward high tide.  Notice these three rocks.  Waves are spilling over the farthest one.  In the second picture you cannot see the first rock.


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The waters calm as the high tide approaches,the wave action retreats from the farthest of the three rocks and it disappears under the rising water.


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Rock number two is disappearing.  The water is even calmer.

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The area where the rapids were is totally calm now.

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Everything is calm and still.  The seals are out.

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And then we see the eagles.  They are fishing.  They are in the trees. There are two.  They are calling back and forth to each other.  it’s fantastic.


The pictures of them in flight were difficult.  I’m surprised they turn out as well as they do.


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The eagles perch on trees on the other side of the water and continue calling to one another.  I finally remember to look at the water.  It almost covers the closest rock.  The other two are completely gone.



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After the calm almost stillness of the water you can see it change directions.  It begins to move again.  It’s going out now. The rocks begin to reappear.


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You never know what you might see in these clear waters.  Looks like two crabs to me.   I won’t speculate beyond that.


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The rapids are returning.  And now they are going the other way.  Hence, reversing falls.   I know with pictures you’ll have to trust me on all of this or come on up and see for yourself.   It really happens and you’ll have to slow down and stay a while to experience it.


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But just look at this place, who would want to leave.


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But it’s time and as we turn to go, one of the eagles flies from a tree behind us to the one in front of us as we walk to the car.


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He just sits there looking around and we’re looking at him.  But we really must leave.


Nature makes it easier for us as we move away from the shore.  First a beautiful view and then fog begins to roll in.


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There is nothing more to say except what a spectacular day!!


  1. Good lord ... you just keep outdoing yourself. How glorious is this... You can make your posts as long as into tomorrow and I'd read every word. and the pictures...

    "And so of course I remember it less even than the other things I don’t remember." HAhaaaaa

    I love Moose Island Bakeries. wherever they are and whatever they're named.

    “it’s that unmarked street down there to the left and would you mind opening this bottle for me.” 

    just love it....

    1. I have to 2nd that Sherry,really well done.

  2. Wow! all I can say is Wow. What a gold mine of a day you had! Absolutely beautiful. I love your choice of goodies at the bakery too.

  3. Eastport sounds quirky enough to be a blast! What fun you had exploring it.

  4. What a wonderful day!!! You seemed to time things perfectly. Loved the Old Sow adventure story. One of the best things about this lifestyle is having the opportunity to meet the 'REAL' people who live in these wonderful places:o)) Also enjoyed the mustard tour...LOOOOOVVVVEEE Mustard;o))

  5. Wow. Fascinating day :) Maybe the horses drink first ... you never know ;) What fun in the mustard mill...seems moxie is everywhere!! Ha. Not really. Sorry you missed Old Sow - how random to meet the vinegar lady. The reversing falls are neat. I wonder how many people have no idea that exists?! Nice that you got to see it along with eagles and seals. Not a bad food day either!

  6. Well, I got lost in that! I am supposed to be working! I am not a fan of mustard either, traditionally, but lately have found some that I don't despise. I make cuban pork sandwiches and put it on there and they are really good. You piqued my curiosity, and I will be ordering some Rayes mustard. I need the White Lightning for Ange (she likes stuff really really hot). As a non-mustard eater, what where your favorites? No pics of your purchase on here. Let me know what you got. I'm going to get a couple of jars online.

    Excellent post, thanks for sharing! Love the Old Sow story and had to check to that. I would not be too happy if I came across that while paddling... :O

  7. PS I think my new team name for paddling will be 'Paddle Moxie'. Thanks Sherry and Carrie for the idea!

  8. I can't believe how much you guys see and do in a day, and what a day you had! I loved everything about this post and the pictures.

  9. You are certainly having a blast, your adventures are fascinating. Nice eagle pictures, I know it must have been tough to get a good photo.

    I had to laugh at your breakfast picture, you look so guilty eating that scone! :cD

  10. Even after all the years we lived in Florida- I still can't get the tide thing right.
    Great pictures- good luck finding the old sow.

  11. Hi! Bakery.......um YES PLEASE! Coconut macaroons? YES YES YES! Do you remember the little bakery that used to be in the corner of the north wing of Barracks Rd.? They had the most fantastic chocolate covered macaroons that were to die for. I remember that Erika Thelan worked there when she was at UVA. Damn. What was the name of that place. Beek doesn't remember. I'm not a mustard fan either but what a cool place. The down home atmosphere as in "Could you open this? is nice. Ah....Our Daily Bread- Beek googles it. Those buildings are pretty- like some of the old ones on the downtown mall with the fancy brick work. The reversing tides reminds me of a trip to Sanibel Island where the gulf met the ocean and made these cool waves. The eagles! Fantastic. We saw a big wild turkey the other day when we were tubing on the James River. Not quite like seeing an eagle but still cool to see. Keep on having fun! XXXOOO

  12. Just love today's post! The story about the Old Sow is priceless.

  13. beautiful place! going to go there if only for the pastries.

  14. oh goodness. . .well, I'm just sad that I didn't know about Ray's Mustard when we were there. . .I would have certainly checked that out. . .

    Your reversing rapids were just great. . .and eagles too. . .fabulous!

  15. What a fabulous day. From start to finish. Of course, I'd love to try the White Lightning mustard. Wonder if Foods of All Nations sells it? Guess I'm going to have to spend a lot of time in Maine. I hope you get to return to see Old Sow and her piglets in motion. Such a great story.

  16. This day was like a treasure hunt and you came away with the gold. So much beauty to see up there. Hope you get back for Old Sough.

  17. What a busy, full day. And the eagles are a great ending to your day.

  18. Mmmmmm -- don't you just LOVE the aroma of a bakery??? Great way to begin that fun-packed day! And very cool eagle sightings!

  19. For those who did not get the reference, Fred & Ginger were our burros at the farm. They were so named for their first-night "dance" out of the old fenced area we put them in the night they arrived from the desert southwest. I guess they were a little spooked that first night, having arrived in the late afternoon, and then left in s strange new place with strange new people. They were fine after that and became some of our favorite family members to be sure. Both had great personalities.


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