Sunday August 18 & Monday August 19, 2013
Sunset Point Campground
We leave Narrows Too at about 11:00, we don’t have far to go so we aren’t in a hurry. We do stop for a propane fill up in Ellsworth on the way. First one in nearly two years.
We take Route 1 East 90 miles to Lubec which says it is the Eastern most town in the United States. Eastport claims it is the Eastern Most city. What a riot! City/town. If you look at a map, Lubec wins.
Sunset Point is just darling – thank you Nancy Mills. We are in site 8 which may be the same site Bill and Nancy were in. The sites are very close together, all in a row looking out at the water. This isn’t the type of set up I usually like but the view is so outstanding and the campground so small that it is just fine.
Today we have neighbors on both sides BUT they are both leaving tomorrow so we may have serious elbow room at least for the day.
Cindy who manages the park knows EVERYTHING about the area and has given us a list so long of such inviting things that we have decided to stay two instead of one week.
And tonight the sunset right out in front of Winnona is a mighty fine welcome! We are sad to leave Acadia, a place we really love but our withdrawal symptoms will be much less I think by following it with a stay in Lubec.
For our first morning here we drive over to Canada. It’s a snap. Just turn right out of the campground on the main road Maine Route 189 and keep going. You’ll end up on the bridge going over Lubec Narrows and in a flash you are in New Brunswick. Less than two miles to Canada. 15 minutes from here to the Roosevelt “cottage”. That’s “cottage” as in those at Bar Harbor.
Looks like the Canadians must have built more than half the bridge since it is mostly Maple Leaf flags on top even before you get to the half way point.
I figure it might not be wise to flash a picture of the custom’s officer as we go through. So I take the bilingual welcome sign instead.
Campobello Island is 9 miles long and sparsely populated. At least 1/3 of it is taken up by the International Park and the Canadian Provincial Park Herring Cove. It is connected to Maine by the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge over which we drove today but the only way to get to the rest of Canada is to take a ferry. I find that amazing.
The island lies in Passamaquoddy Bay at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy home to some of the world’s biggest tides. In checking the tide chart I find that the high tide on Wednesday will be 27.9 feet and the low that same day will be .7, less than a foot. That is some difference in tides. I would really like to see that high tide but it is at midnight. Can I see a high tide at midnight even if I’m up?
In the late 1800’s Campobello, like Bar Harbor and Newport, became a summer colony for the wealthy. Numerous “cottages” were built which over time became too expensive to maintain and the taxes too high.
Five of those homes including Franklin Roosevelt’s Campobello summer home and 2800 acres of the island on which it is located have been turned into the first truly international park. The land is owned by the Canadians obviously but the park is administered and funded by both governments equally. Even the employees are half Canadian and half American.
The visitor center has a nice film narrated by Franklin Roosevelt Jr. and displays about the Roosevelt family’s life on Campobello from the time Franklin was age 1. It also has displays on the creation of this unique park.
I have read a great deal about the Roosevelt family as I am a big fan of FDR’s presidency and an even greater fan of his wife’s influence on him and on the country during his presidency. So the one thing I want to do right away is sign up for “Tea with Eleanor”. It has been recommended to me by everyone who knew I was coming to Campobello. We spend from 9am when the center opens to just before tea time watching the film and looking at the exhibits.
The tea is held in the Hubbard “cottage”. On the way there we walk by the Roosevelt Cottage. What a fabulous setting. The park has some flower gardener. All the flowers and the Dahlias in particular are just beyond belief. But more about that later.
The Hubbard house was located on the other side of Franklin’s parents’ home in which he spent all of his childhood summers. That house was sadly taken down in the early 1950’s. But the Roosevelt and Hubbard Cottages and three others were saved and renovated by the park.
For the Roosevelt’s and others of their time and social circle, tea was an important social event held daily at 3:00 no matter where you were. The park has embraced this tradition to highlight the life of one of America’s most influential first ladies.
This event was so popular that they created a second tea at 10am. So we are gathered in the beautiful Hubbard house as part of a group of twenty to have “Tea With Eleanor”: bottomless cups of tea, delicious cookies and conversation about Eleanor Roosevelt.
There is no Eleanor interpreter but two guides tell story after story of her life and kindnesses both here and around the world. The stories are sprinkled with her famous quotes. It is clear that they know a great deal about Eleanor Roosevelt and admire her very much. They take questions through the hour which stretches into an hour and 20 minutes as none of us wants the fun to end.
Theresa is a 9th generation Campobello resident whose grandfather and great grandfather knew the Roosevelts and Franklin from boyhood and told her stories about them. I later speak with several other women working in the park and they too tell me that their families have been here for generations, one as many as eleven. Even as I happily travel the country footloose and fancy free, this seems a wonderful thing to me to have such deep roots and love for your home place.
I have really enjoyed this program and may well come back before we leave to do it again. It is free and I don’t know how they do this twice a day seven days a week all season long. I do believe a donation to the cause is in order.
I love tea services even though I don’t drink tea usually. I love the linens associated with it so I notice right away the linen place servers, napkins and table clothes with hand embroidered lace. I notice that all the tea sugars and creamers are the same but different colors. There is something just wonderful and comforting about it all. I wish I had asked if these too were Eleanor traditions. Tea With Eleanor is a fantastic addition to the opportunities at this wonderful national park. Whoever came up with this idea of personalizing the experience of visiting here should get a standing ovation.
Around the tea room are bits and pieces of Eleanor Memorabilia including a wall of sections from her 6 day a week newspaper column “My Day”. It was nationally syndicated and at its height appeared in 90 papers in all parts of the nation. One writer described it as “the major venue in which she challenged complacent Democrats, timid liberals, and apathetic Americans to accept the responsibilities of living in a democracy.” I imagine if all first ladies aspire to be as influential as Eleanor Roosevelt and wonder why none of them has considered doing a daily 500 word column. Perhaps only Eleanor could find time for it.
I read every one of the selections on the wall and decide that I will get a copy of the columns and read them all. Interesting that they don’t sell them at the visitor center, nor do they sell some of the more famous of the biographies of either of the Roosevelts.
I have read some information about the My Day columns from “The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers” of George Washington University which stated that “By 1957, political commentary so dominated the column that the Scripps Howard syndicate dropped "My Day" for being "too political." By 1960, she waged a consistent battle with those political leaders who were more concerned with "profile than courage" and urged her readers to follow their consciences rather than their fears.” How I wish we would follow her advice now as her description of both our political leaders and our citizens seems as apt now as then.
We leave the tea room and walk through the rest of the house. I’m in love. This is a gorgeous home. All the woodwork is my favorite golden oak or golden chestnut. The dining room window is fabulous although taking right into the light does not allow you to see the terrific view it frames.
Gorham Hubbard, a real estate and management development partner from Boston, designed the cottage himself. It was built in 1892. No wonder I like it. It is the same vintage as our farmhouse though about 8 rungs up the ladder in elegance.
The curtains in the beautiful archways to the main parlor detract from the woodwork I think.
These are the two ends of the large parlor. Many chairs for many people to do many things in this room full of light from the many windows.
I think of Carrie when I see this lovely grand piano surrounded by these floor to ceiling windows and wonder if she would enjoy playing it here in this beautiful room on an island at the edge of the sea. I know I would love to listen to her play and to play it myself.
The upstairs is not open to the public so we find ourselves in the hallway admiring the woodwork again.
And then we leave out the beautiful front door
The front of the house has a wrap around porch that goes all the way around to the back. Outdoor parties and dinners surely would have been common occurrences here. The many French doors in the house open onto these porches for the wonderful island breezes.
The back of the house is as impressive as the front.
The porch wraps around here as well.
On our walk back to the Roosevelt Cottage we stop to admire the gorgeous dahlias. Have you ever seen anything like these??
We drag ourselves away from the spectacular dahlias and on to the Roosevelt Cottage
Although it is now known as the FDR’s summer home, the cottage was built in 1897 for Mrs. Hartman Kuhn of Boston. This cottage was located next door to the one owned by Franklin’s parents and in which he spent all his summers. Eleanor visited during the summers and often read to Mrs. Kuhn who developed a fondness for her. When Mrs. Kuhn died. a provision in her will offered her cottage to Mrs. Roosevelt at a bargain price for Franklin and Eleanor although they did not actually own it until his mother died.
The cottage is very simply furnished and as you walk through the little details make you feel that the Roosevelts have just stepped out and will be back any moment. Books left open on chaise lounges, dominos spilled on the floor. It is also amazing that of all the furniture in the house only five pieces are not original.
We are told by the guide that Eleanor used the giant megaphone to call Franklin and the children to meals and when she wanted them. Franklin used it to call down to the shore to local fishermen and to guests. What a hoot!!
We notice a number of things identical to ones at our farm. Like the claw foot bathtub and the roll top desk used by Franklin in his office.
We are allowed to go up to the second story which contains the bedrooms and school room for the children. The Roosevelts had six children five of whom lived to adulthood. Anna was the oldest and only girl.
There is also a third story that due to fire regulations is not open to the public. It contains servants quarters and another bath.
This is my favorite of the three guest bedrooms. I think I’ll stay here.
We return to the first floor and move toward the end of the house which contains the pantry, kitchen and laundry.
I’ve cooked on a wood stove and find it very doable and in many ways superior but I’m not sure how I’d feel about doing my laundry with this washing machine or ironing with a cast iron kept hot on the coal burner.
You had to have a lot of irons so that as soon as one cooled you would return it to the stove and get a hot one. How easy it must have been to scald things. Ironing must have been an art I think.
Did you notice the basket on the table in the laundry room picture above?? I haven’t seen any of these wooden clothes pins in years. I have spring loaded wooden ones although most clothespins are plastic for the ever decreasing number of people like me who love to hang clothing outside on the line and hate clothes dryers. It’s one of the things I miss full timing.
It’s been a full day of houses today. Tomorrow we plan to return for some hiking and outdoor sight seeing.
When we arrive home we find Winnona does in fact have nearly fifty miles of elbow room.
And a great view!