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

Henry David Thoreau

The little town of Lubec has much more than you think

Saturday August 24, 2013
Sunset Point RV Park
Lubec, Maine



Saturday morning from 9 to noon is the Lubec Farmer’s Market


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It’s a small affair just like the town.  There are about a dozen venders selling pottery, wool, bird houses and food of various kinds including raw milk, butter and cheeses.






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All the food growers are organic and appear to be part of the renaissance of farming among young people from or moving to Maine.
Having been an organic grower for nearly 30 years, I know what hard, satisfying and good work this is.  An article in the Bangor paper which luckily came out just as I was writing this post, says the most recent farm census data from the USDA shows that the number of farmers under 25 has tripled in Maine between 2002 and 2007.  The number between the ages of 25 and 34 double in the same time.  The next census will be released in February.  I’m betting the numbers are up based on the turnout in this very small little town about as far north as you can get in this country.

The Maine Farmland Trust is helping young farmers to get into the business as are programs offered through the Maine Organic Farmer and Gardeners Association.


Most of the vendors are young farmers both male and female.


We bought a quart of Blueberries and  some broccoli from a young man who moved here from Massachusetts and is in the process of building his home on his land after setting up his gardens.  He spent last winter in a bus on the property.  A hardy soul I say.  I know what hard work he is doing.  We bought an old farm and restored the farmhouse and put in several acres of gardens and fruits and fruit and nut trees.  It is hard hard work.  We saw many people get burned out after five or ten years.


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Tide Mill Organic Farms, whose tomatoes David is looking over, is the vendor from whom we bought tomatoes, beans and garlic.  They were out of all their kale, broccoli and other greens within 20 minutes of the market opening.  Guess we know to get there earlier next week. 



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Tide Mill  is located in Edmonds, 18 miles from Lubec.  It is farmed by 7th and 8th generations of the Bell family.  The picture board of their farm is wonderful and when I got back to the RV and looked up their web page it was wonderful to read about such deep roots in farming on this gorgeous land.  I can sure understand why they would want to stay here, can’t you.

Check out their web page and especially their Values and Goals.  I’m thinking perhaps we should all have a mission statement for our lives which includes our Values and Goals.  We had one when we were farmers and I’m going to work on one now that our life has changed.




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While we are here, we want to take a walk around the little town. 


Everywhere you look, there is water.  No one in this town is more than a block or two from the water.  There are views in every direction.

Some of the businesses look like they are in former houses or at least there were rooms upstairs.  David goes in to check out the pink and blue business called Downeast Coffee where he finds an absolutely delicious HUGE cheese Danish.  I didn’t take a picture of it before we’d eaten half of it for breakfast.  But it was so good that I’m sure we’ll be back for another before we leave.

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They also carry the 24 flavors of soft serve ice cream advertised by the banner on the building next door which appears to be empty.   I’m pretty much a hard ice cream devotee but there doesn’t seem to be any in Lubec so I may have to go in and see what flavors I might be tempted to try.   We’re already planning another trip “to town”, all of about 3 miles.


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Another thing I want to pick up in town is some Dulse. It’s a sea vegetable eaten in many countries like Ireland and Iceland as a snack raw or dried.  It’s soft and chewy and red.   I like it in my salads and this shop where the owner has quite a sense of humor (read her sign) reminds me that I need some.  Great door too don’t you think?


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On our way to see the town harbor,  we pass Cohills Inn/restaurant/kayak and bike rental, I see what at least for me are THE biggest mountain bike tires I’ve ever seen.  Seriously they are as wide as the old Model T tire.  I would think they are beach tires for the sand except there really aren’t any sand beaches here.  Maybe they are used on gravel beaches of which there are a few although most of the beaches in Maine are rocky.


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When we reach the harbor, my attention is totally diverted by The Lost Fishermen’s Memorial Park.



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Its story is an inspiring one.

In 2008 there were multiple fishing tragedies within a short period of time in which 10 local men died.  This devastated the small local communities including Lubec.  In 2010 The Lost Fishermen’s Memorial Association was formed and this park is the result.  The association’s  mission is to build and maintain  a park and monument “that provides a place of peace, reflection and pride honoring those fishermen from both Washington County, Maine, United States of America  and Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada who were lost at sea in pursuit of their livelihood.



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The association has a long term renewable lease on the land owned by the State of Maine and the town of Lubec.  Jesse Salisbury, one of Maine’s foremost granite sculptors, will design and create a sculpture “which will speak to the great sacrifice made by all the men and women who have lost their lives working in and around the Cobscook Bay area.”  The names of the fishermen will be engraved on the sculpture.   All of the money for these things has been raised through donations and charity events.



The spot is a beautiful one over looking the harbor, Lubec Narrows and Mulholland Light.  I couldn’t find any indication of when the sculpture will be dedicated but I certainly hope to return and see it.



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We’ve reached the end of Water Street which is the main business district of Lubec so we turn up Pleasant Street the next street up the hill to walk back to Winnona.

Nothing is far from the water as you can see from the water visible over this band stand and picnic table area where every Thursday June through August at 5:30 the Masons hold their Music and Barbeque event.   This Thursday will be the very last one.  I hope we can attend to see what this little town event is like and what sort of music they think goes with BBQ.



Across the street is another memorial park.


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  I’ve come to expect the Civil War Statue in pretty much every town large and small which we have been in North and South.  We don’t do cities usually so I don’t know whether they have them too.  But here is the Union Soldier statue dedicated in the center of the park in 1904.  


Behind him and to the right is a large granite memorial to the citizens of Lubec who have  served in the Nation’s Military in every major war since the war of independence.   There are 3 panels on each side and each of their names is listed.  Some families have one or more members listed for every single war – Revolutionary, Civil, WWI, WWII and Vietnam.   The list of names for World War II is two full panels and this is a large memorial.  It seemed to me when I looked at these names that nearly every person in town must have been in the military in World War II and there was a significantly greater population then.


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Pretty sure I’ve never seen a museum like this before.


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From here we walk back down to Water Street and pass by the Herring Museum.  What?   A herring museum?  But then I read the information.  

At the peak of the herring industry Lubec had over 40 smokehouse complexes.  Sounds like the water front was lined with them.  For a period during the 19th century Lubec was the smoked herring capital of the world.  Now that’s amazing.  This little town??  But apparently its population then was triple what it is now. 


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By the 1960’s this industry had all but died due to changes in America’s eating habits after World War II.  I suspect that means along came processed and frozen foods.

After the better part of 200 years, the smoked herring industry came to a close in 1991 with an FDA ruling……….the last smokehouse shut its doors in 2001.




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The Smokehouse museum has a lovely little park like area in front with the herring sculpture and a bench with a beautiful view of the Mulholland Light on Campobello across the Narrows.  I wonder if this view would have been here when the shore was lined with smokehouse complexes.  Its certainly lovely today.

I add the museum to my list of things to see when I come back to get my dulse and perhaps one of those 24 flavors of soft serve, maybe next Saturday for the Farmer’s Market.







It’s pretty clear that Lubec is a fishing town both then and now. These are some of the nicest trash cans I’ve seen anywhere.  Just wish they had a recycling bin connected to them as well.


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There’s one more stop we want to make.   


Ruby is parked right across the street from the museum so we head out of town taking water street down to the harbor and then we turn left up commercial street to visit the Wharf restaurant.  As we walked along Water street earlier David went in to every restaurant looking for “the one”.  He found “the bakery” but not “the restaurant” until now.   We’ll let you know after we eat here whether his choice is a good one.


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Eating is inside or outside and the view is fabulous.

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This is a working wharf as well as a a restaurant.  While I was taking these pictures a knee booted fisherman came in with buckets of fresh clams.  YUM!   I think the seafood here is going to be very fresh.


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Before we came to The Wharf, the traffic had slowed down at the market when  we returned to the car to transport our fruits and vegetables home.  But we’ll be back next Saturday.  And we now have a lot of things on our agenda.


Please support the hard working local farmers at Farmer’s Markets wherever you are. 
And buy organic as much as you can for the sake of the land and your health.


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  1. I LOVE that herring sculpture! I want one!Thanks for the tour of the Lubec.

  2. Farmer's markets are one of my favorite things!

  3. I wonder about farming in Maine. How long can the season be? I guess that they could do well with cool weather crops, but they can't have a very early spring season if they have a normal snow year. God bless 'em. They are of hardy stock. Of course, the views and the beauty could make up for a short growing season. More time to just sit and stare at the water, I suppose. Don't know if you've heard it from here, but our farmers have had "too much rain." Huh? I know that I have never heard that in my entire life about Albemarle County. Too little rain, too hot, late frost, yes, but never too much rain! I'll take it over too little any day.

    Love the pictures. Thank you!

  4. It often happens that there are so many things to find in small places! Just one of the great things about traveling slowly along:)

  5. I suppose if I had been born and raised there, I would have HAD to leave but ... wow what a cute place. well? all of Maine. Did I mention I wish I had a lot of money? I'm getting closer and closer to buying a lottery ticket and ball tickets whatever they're called. I'd buy a seaplane and go to each and every waterway ... and play and play and play and eat.

    Soft serve isn't bad ... sometimes they'll have fresh fruit and nuts and such to make yourself a grand dish of ice cream. I'd also hire a cook ... to cook stuff that wouldn't make me fat. Of course if I took 6 miles hikes...

    Great jaunt today, Sherry... where we going tomorrow? more ?@3X@ bakeries! huge cheese danish... man?


  6. What a fun day !!!! That is such a great little town ..... Glad you have a whole agenda scheduled for your next trip to town !!!!! The painted houses add to the charm, don't they ? Amazing how much water and shoreline they have.... I was thinking the same about the growing season ....it is so short ....maybe they start things in green houses to get a jump start on the short season ...... You would know more about that .....keep having FUN !!!! SallyB

  7. I amhttp://tides.mobilegeographics.com/locations/257.htmlngland town.

    I too wonder about the challenges of farming in such rocky soil. It's heartening to hear about the young people getting back into farming.

    The herring history is interesting. It seems true that few people eat herring anymore, but my parents sure did. I wonder what the FDA ruling was?

  8. Ah the farmer's market-such a special tradition. I think its great we still have young people interested, especially in organic. Lubec looks like such a cute little town. I'm jealous of so many water views! I wonder how the winters are there. Takes a certain type ti make it through them I imagine. Neat monument to all in the wars and the Herring museum - learned a lot from this blog :)

  9. Very nice walking tour of a town that has seen many ups and downs over the years. Always a struggle to make a living in a town that is so small and out of the way and has such a short summer season. They are very challenged to make a living. Yes, hearty people indeed.

  10. You got much better pics of the town of Lubec than I did. . .really great. . .I gotta share the link on my post so others can see what a great little place it is. . .


  11. The farmer's markets back home were pretty spectacular and we've found some nice stuff at farm stands in our travels but the market in Flagstaff is horribly expensive, unfortunately. Too rich for my wallet.

    Twenty-four flavors, eh? You may have to go more than once. :0)

  12. One thing I miss when traveling is shopping at the farmers' markets in Sacramento. I'm paying a lot more across the country for organic fruit grown in California!

  13. I love the idea of farmer's markets and I know it is hard work. I made a special effort to locate markets everywhere we were going to travel this summer. Unfortunately, their prices were just too high for our budget;o(( We did find nice produce in the Ohio Amish Country. I do not believe it was organic...but it was good:o)) Lubec is a unique town and it looks very different from when we saw it the first time back in 2002.

  14. Glad to see young folks understanding the importance of growing organics. I really like the idea of creating a mission statement of values and goals. Need to work on that. I hope David was allowed in to the Dulse store. Such a shame that this town is getting smaller in population but does seem as though they are proud citizens.


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