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MAINE FROM KITTERY TO PORTLAND
KITTERY shares with Portsmouth in forming a natural port unit. Its ancient navy yard and its old dwellings ally it with our prerevolutionary history. The drive to Gerrish Island is worth while.
York is a large town, with ancient traditions, with its jail museum, and with beach, harbor, nooks, and cliffs, and a river, so that in miniature it contains practically every feature of Maine coast scenery. Its accessibility has made all these features largely available, and it may be thought of as the township in Maine epitomizing, more than any other, the state's shore attractions. For we must not forget that Mt. Desert contains several townships. The communities of Ogunquit and Kennebunkport enjoy the same varieties of coast line, in and out, and up and down, as characterize York. All these communities are supplied with every sort of marine beauty. As the point where the sea and shore meet is said to be the initial point of life on our planet, it would almost seem as if, by a kind of atavism, we hark back to the beaches and the bluffs of the ocean as to the places where we are most at home, and therefore most content.
Wells has its long littoral of quiet outlines. Beaches of the Maine coast are sometimes like those in Florida, being in the form of elongated dunes behind which lagoons lie, most picturesque in their contours. This is true of Ogunquit, Wells, and Crescent Surf, a portion of Kennebunkport. A series of islands off Kennebunkport affords a retreat.
The naming of islands is a reflection of many human moods, some of them humorous. The Maine islands have the usual names repeated after those of other regions. Nearly all the domestic animals and various wild beasts are represented. Somewhere in Maine or on the New England coast we have Sow and Pigs, Ram, Cow, Goat, and doubtless we might go on with Upper Goose, Goslings, etc. There ought to be a commission appointed on geographical names. Of course its suggestions never would be followed, but we would enjoy possessing one more commission—the substitute for a conscience. At least, however, we might dignify our landscapes by re-naming localities suffering from duplication of names.
At Biddeford and Saco we find the river of which Whittier wrote, the Saco. The stream has finished its leaps and lazy meanderings and is here brought down to hard work grinding in the prison house of its dams. At times, however, to assert itself, the water comes down with overwhelming flood, and dashes over the natural crags in beautiful confusion. If we could confine our view to the splendid cascades made here by the Saco we should be well content. Biddeford Pool is a pleasing detour.
Old Orchard Beach cannot be spoiled even by the unsightliness of its "culture" features. Its tremendous reach in the form of a flattened crescent, its great breadth of sands, its limpid, dimpled surface of a summer's day, and its roaring regiments of breakers in the stormy season, give it always an interest that does not wane. It is the great beach of Maine. Scarboro also enjoys a long beach somewhat more removed from the greater crowds of Old Orchard. And so we come to Cape Elizabeth forming the southern side of Casco Bay. The endless line of rock coasts, with here and there a fine bluff, provide a refuge for those who would be silent and alone. There are combinations of cove and cliff of distinguished beauty. The close proximity of Cape Elizabeth to Portland allows its development in a more complete manner than could otherwise be the case. It is enjoyed for many months of the year. Its famous Portland Head light marks the channel between the Cape and Cushing Island, and is one of the best known points on the Atlantic coast.
Casco Bay, buttressed as it is against the open sea, by islands so overlapping as to make Portland Harbor remarkable for its safety and availability in all weathers, is a body of water worth all the time one can give to it.
Portland seen from the roofs of its lofty buildings, displays a harbor almost environing the city. Its harbor has been sung by poets and praised by promoters. Nothing too good of it can be said. Our interest, however, is in its remarkable beauty. Portland is the logical point for seeing the best of the east. It is a moderate run, passing by lake, hill, and stream to the White Mountains. It is convenient to Boston, Bar Harbor, and the interior of the state. Its people have adequately met the needs of travelers. The city itself is dignified and beautiful so far as any city at this date in America can be. Its public institutions are of such a character as to engross one during the rainy days. The river park and the near-by suburbs, as ancient Falmouth, and the mosquito fleet for runs in every direction to the large and small islands of its bay, supply the call of an active American. Whatever his quest for summer life, he should find it in or near Portland.
The slopes of Falmouth to the sea are of striking beauty. The sea is here, to be sure, but we are still in Casco Bay so that one enjoys the quiet of waters incident to the islands seen some miles out.
Every one of the islands ought to be the seat of a summer home. All this will come in time. The sense of owning a little kingdom, with natural barriers all about it, answers an innate human trait. We can understand the spirit of a man who would rather be king in an island, though he have no subject other than himself and the cat, than to be one in a crowd. The possession of a modern motor-boat entirely changes the situation as regards the ownership of an island. Formerly one was dependent on the moods of the winds or a stuffy steamer. The motor-boat is a close second to its land cousin, the automobile. Can anything be more fascinating than the opportunity of skimming about in a boat among the islands of Maine during the day, and returning to one's own little kingdom at night?
The sea needs no repairs and is never out of commission. During the storms of winter the family may occupy itself in the library, the laboratory, the shop, or the barn. It has been found that periods of vigorous activity, interspersed with periods of repose, carry people onward to success. It is necessary to digest the material acquired by travel and observation. How much we should be enriched if some of the brilliant globe trotters of past centuries had made an occasional minute of their goings and comings! One or two vague or incredible tales are about all that we have to tell us how very early settlers lived in America. It was only after many years that Bradford wrote his simple narrative about Plymouth. Even so, that was lost to the light for centuries. History touching life has been written only at long intervals and at distant spaces.
We wander along the coast of Maine where the earliest houses stood and wonder what their dwellers thought and did. The things which history records are the least interesting. If we could follow a seventeenth-century settler through a season's activities from day to day, it would be far more interesting than any records they have actually left us. If we could know what the early fathers ate, and how they cooked it, according to their own story, and could be told in some homely record of their conversations and avocations, the past and the present could be linked much more closely. It is the tendency in life and history to overemphasize salient features, according to the famous saying, that the nation is blessed which has no history. We are not, however, of that opinion. That rare combination of activity which makes history, and the occasional repose which regards it in perspective can scarcely be found among the early American settlers.
Regarding the dwellings which are erected by summer residents along the coast of Maine, perhaps the less said, the better. In most instances they will fall in the winds. The proper material for a Maine coast house is of course the stones that abound everywhere. We do not mean the round boulders such as are in stone walls, which stones were never seen in dwellings in the olden day, and never should be seen in our own. The craze for cobble-stone chimneys, gates, and dwellings is based on lack of thought, lack of taste, and lack of knowledge. The ledges in Maine are in many places broken so as to provide angular stones fit for building. We hope that one hundred years from now the Maine coast may show many thousands of structures resting upon the primal rock, and rising from fragments of the same material. Thus their solidity will satisfy the heart of man, their age will give continuity to the families that dwell in them, and their artistic lines will melt into their surroundings.
OLD RIVER - FRYEBURG
RIVER KNOLL FARM
SHADOWS ON SAND - FRYEBURG
THE ROAD TO THE FORT - NORTH EDGECOMB
A LITTLE MAINE RIVER - FRYEBURG
OLD DENNETT HOUSE - ELIOT
RIVERSIDE - PORTLAND PARK
Yarmouth has an old-world sound. Its rivers, coves, headlands, have afforded for many years pleasurable summers for tourists. Its Drinkwater Point is most aptly named, especially being in Maine.
One is often astonished, as at Freeport, to know that he is only a mile from salt water when on the main road. If we would see the Maine coast at its best, we must ever follow the rambling, dipping, curving, coast road, which invariably charms us.
At Brunswick the shadows of great elms protect Maine's old classic seat, Bowdoin College, with its fine campus. Here also the rushing Androscoggin makes its last turmoil before sinking into the splendid waters of Merrymeeting Bay. Brunswick is the sort of town one might seek as a residence, especially if he combined scholarly tastes with a love of the country. For here he would be close to Harpswell, Orr's Island, and the endless miles of coast line that border these historic and picturesque locations. Following up the Androscoggin he finds that in its lower reaches it has not altogether lost the charm which it had in its youth at Rumford and Dixfield. The distance to Bath is short, and one is also in line to proceed northerly from Brunswick to the fair banks of the Kennebec, and the region beyond.
If we here follow the shore to Bath, we reach a truly maritime city, with fine past traditions brought down to the present day, of efficient construction in all sorts of sea craft, either for the merchant service or the navy. Here were born many of the clipper ships, and here, even in the last great war, the nation found help for its sea craft construction.
A project for the erection of a great bridge at Bath is now being mooted. We do not object to the ferry, if we have leisure, but who has leisure? At Bath we pass to a region in Maine that has lacked and, as some say, has desired to lack the commercial activity found to the west of the Kennebec.
The highly important estuaries of the Sheepscot and Damariscotta rivers appealed to the earliest explorers of the New England coast so much that they chose these locations in preference to all others. It was at Pemaquid that a pre-Pilgrim settlement of some importance was formed, and at Edgecomb, an ancient fort, whose block-house remains, was erected. There have been dreams of making Wiscasset the Maine outlet for Canada. The deep waters of these estuaries and their high banks seem to the enterprising American to call for a very large development. Meantime, the traveler who loves quiet finds an irresistible attraction in these Maine villages. Wiscasset enjoys a well-deserved reputation for the beauty and quaintness and dignity of its green, and the old dwellings about it. Perhaps there is no other Maine village able to compete with this in the range of its attractions. For the most part it is thought of as a lovely village, but as a center for boating and driving it has a broader and perhaps more important appeal. We found right about Wiscasset and up the Sheepscot and in Woolwich, Dresden, and Pittston, a very great number of compositions containing the elements so dear to the lover of rural life. Woolwich, indeed, fairly belongs to Bath, but as one goes north the western bank of the Kennebec is replete with orchards, quaint early dwellings, minor streams with their little falls, and maple-crested hills for many a mile, even to Winslow, opposite Waterville. Damariscotta has on an estate bordering its inland coves, a wonderful series of birch banks. Its lake, lying a little to the north, and favored by quickly-sloping banks, reminds us of Camden, with its bay and lake, except that here the elevations are not so great.
THE BLOCK-HOUSE, NORTH EDGECOMB
The tide of traffic on this portion of the Maine coast is found farther south on the peninsulas of Boothbay, and those on either hand from it. As we saw over a wealth of cherry blossoms, well on in June, the harbor of Boothbay, we thought the setting was near to perfection. At East Boothbay, also, there is no end of pleasure in exploring the little inlets, some of which have been availed of by tide dams. The entire region with its orchards, farm houses, and shores, allowing one to pass back and forth from the sea to the inland attractions, is most satisfactory. Wandering on through Waldoboro, and Warren to Rockland, we find again, at the last named, a commercial center. It is the first point touched by steamers approaching the wonderful bay of the Penobscot, with its surrounding delights, as at Camden, Castine, and the islands.
We have hitherto adverted to Camden, and have hinted at its excellence. In its harbor, its mountains, and its lakes, it easily maintains a distinction such that one forgets comparisons. They are not necessary. The charm of Camden, looking seaward or landward from its mountains, and the joy of its back-country drives, like those to Union and Washington and Lincolnville, are enough to help us to forget the many things that fill life without blessing it.
Returning to Pemaquid, we find a region of mystery, and therefore of interest. Excavations have uncovered pavements, and pavements, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, mark a very enlightened or very medieval spirit. It would appear that the founders designed to lay out a town of pretensions. It was only by the barest chance that Pemaquid failed to be the Boston of New England. The state has restored the ancient stone block-house, and has thus provided a nucleus for the earliest romance of the east, if we except the mystery of the stone tower at Newport. Investigations at Pemaquid are not concluded. It is possible that more light may yet be thrown upon this primitive settlement.
The location of the North Edgecomb block-house is fine. The old ramparts are in places almost intact. It is a sad commentary on our carelessness of these ancient monuments, that people should be allowed to roam at will about them, cutting their insignificant names in the venerable timbers, and chipping away relics. So fine a monument as this deserves careful protection.
While we are on the subject, we may as well call attention to the remaining block-house at Winslow. It is square, and therefore much simpler than that at Edgecomb, but is more respectably protected. These are the principal relics, in an architectural sense, in Maine, of the ancient time, and a pilgrimage to them, including the natural attractions that lie between, may fill one or two joyous days.
The fine harbor formed in Penobscot Bay by the islands off its mouth is a fitting approach to the river, whose dimensions might almost be called lordly. Running up this stream past delightful old Castine and Bucksport, we reach the fine city of Bangor. In the solidity and attractiveness of its public buildings, and in its natural advantages as a center of the lumbering and agricultural interests of Maine, Bangor is important. It is also the base of extensive water trips northward. The roads center here from the Provinces, from Aroostook, and from the mountain and lake region, of which Millinocket is the second gateway.
A WISCASSET MANSION
One may approach Bar Harbor from Bucksport, crossing the river there by ferry, or may make the longer journey through Bangor. Ellsworth is the doorway of Mt. Desert. It has a fine attraction of its own in Union River, in both directions from the town.
Mt. Desert is so extensive that it includes many sorts of scenery, and in spite of the strong trend of fashion toward it, there yet remain many opportunities for dwellings that need lack nothing in the way of satisfactory outlooks. The center of most towns is the least interesting portion, and this statement is true of Mt. Desert. We have not learned, and probably we may never learn, to combine beauty with business. Not that the combination is impracticable, or even difficult, but it requires a harmonious effort, and long planning in advance. Otherwise the almost total obliteration of a town is necessary before it can be reëstablished on harmonious lines. This, of course, is not to be thought of. It is only in the development of new centers that men of vision may provide for desirable architectural centers.
Mt. Desert is yet, for the most part, free from that fenced-in condition and ever-present sense of hostility which marks Newport. The people of Mt. Desert have manifested fine feeling for the beauty of their island as a national focus of joy. This is a happy circumstance, which we hope will continue as the island develops. A score of years hence the number and the quality of the residences on the island will be such that the importance of the right spirit toward the general public will be increasingly felt.
Passing from Ellsworth and Machias to Eastport, one sees little as yet of efforts to use the coast as an esthetic asset. The region has been lumbered. In process of time, of course, these interesting bays and promontories must come to their own, as the refuge and the solace of weary America. Extensive as the Maine coast is, the greatness of our country will find it not one mile too long. In this latter portion of the Maine coast journey, one passes occasionally estuaries of striking natural beauty. The rush of the tides, coming up to meet the little cascades that are formed at low water, is an unending source of pleasure. At the Sullivan ferry, which, by the way, may be avoided, the present outrageous toll ought not to be tolerated. It is finally to be done away by the completion of a great bridge. Millbridge, Cherryfield, and Jonesboro are the starting points of attractive inland roads, and from Machias one may journey north, omitting Eastport, and threading the lake region to Calais. Eastport, however, should be taken in by everyone, and the interior route may be followed as a side trip. There is room for romance as one sees the stone stairs at Eastport docks, reaching down, down, down, deep beneath the green water. The tremendous tide here offers room for a story by an American Hugo.
FOR more than
years, since the author while a student enjoyed a wonderful summer on
Campobello Island, to the present hour, Passamaquoddy Bay has been a
glittering, beckoning memory. It is a fitting approach to our country
east. Though marred now by the brutal criminality of rum running, its
waters will at last, of course, be redeemed to peaceful beauty. For
the Maine shore, indented by hidden bays and the fascinating pagoda
evergreens on the little peninsulas, extends to the St. Croix. At
present it is
only those who have the discernment to go far and to form their homes
humoring rather than thwarting nature, who enjoy the shores of the bay.
not seen any computation of the possible power to be developed by the
tidal dam, which exists in dream only, from the region of Eastport to
Scotia. Doubtless, however, the power developed could be gigantic,
similar impounding of fresh water. Thought of as a future achievement,
project will naturally place Eastport, and the towns to the north, at
center rather than at the edge of things. Happily such a development
interfere in no way with the charm of these waters. The New Brunswick
seen from the Maine shore, have an almost English outline. St. Croix
lies beautifully embosomed near the shore.
MAINE'S MOUNTAIN REGIONS
IT is perhaps true that the mountain region of Maine is more extensive than that of New Hampshire. This may seem a startling statement. The size of Maine, however, permits a mountain here and there more or less disconnected with any main range. If all the mountain sections were collected, as is true in New Hampshire with the exception of Monadnock, we should have a very impressive mass of mountains. The chief among them is Katahdin. At present the approach to this noble eminence is rather difficult. The best route in is perhaps from Millinocket. It necessitates leaving the motor car and taking a truck, then to a canoe, and finally another truck, and a tramp. Another approach is by way of Greenville and the Ripogenus Dam. A walk of some six miles is ended by a canoe trip followed by a shorter walk. Then it is the canoe again. However, if one wishes a fine view of the mountain he may gain that from the Sourdnahunk. This is the picture which we show.
We arrived on a day of beautiful summer clouds. As one stands on the dam the waters rush out through the gates in broad torrents of creamy foam. Above stands the mountain with its table top, and above that float in the quiet azure the splendid billows of cloud. The contrast between the turbulence below and the serenity above gives a still greater attraction to the river and the mountain. This stream is the west branch of the Penobscot. The mass of Katahdin and its separation from other mountains give it a fine dignity. It is perhaps on this account the most impressive peak east of the Rockies. Its absolute height is almost exactly a mile. We have not yet seen government maps of this part of Maine, but we hope that they may be completed soon. This mountain is one of a series as we pass westward, skirting several peaks until one reaches the Spencer Mountains east of Moosehead. Their elevation exceeds three thousand feet. They are closely allied with Kineo, which, owing to its strategic location, is probably the best-known mountain in Maine except Green Mountain on Mount Desert. The sail up Moosehead Lake from Greenville reached by motor or by rail, is far and away the most impressive experience one can gain from scenery in the interior of New England. The lake is bordered with fine mountains for a greater part of its extent.
A ROCKPORT NOOK
APPLE AND ASH - CAMDEN
A LITTLE OXFORD RIVER
THREE SISTERS - BAR HARBOR
A CAMDEN DRIVE
ATLANTIC ROLLERS - YORK
A QUIET SAIL
We enjoyed a phenomenon wholly new to us. As we passed by the Spencer range we had a drenching thunder shower. It fell between us and the range. On either side of the shower we observed the sun shining. It was a demonstration in physical geography such as we had seen in sketches but never before in reality. The mountains were partly swathed in mist, affording vague and dreamy outlines, and appeared to be the parents of the storm. The remarkable feature was the absence of storm fore and aft of our steamer. As we approached Mount Kineo we found it well below great masses of white cloud, but with the splendid blue predominating. It is an object of grandeur and delight. The sheerer descent is seen from the opposite side. There are about Moosehead other peaks of much beauty, as Squaw Mountain near Greenville. The great extent of lake affording an almost straightaway sail of forty miles, with its innumerable bays and headlands, and its almost perpetual glory of cloud and color, are all a wonderful experience to those who see them for the first time.