Sunday, August 4, 2013

Searsport, Maine

Although we lost a day to the delays in the RV repairs, we still had the luck of the Irish on our side. Tom puts such effort into finding RV Parks in areas that Adele selects that staying on that extra day in Winthrop could have had a knock on effect for a month. Luckily, our hosts at Searsport Shores Ocean Resort understood why we were reducing the number of nights we needed a site with the comment “drive safely!” Summer is the high season (and only season this far north) so as RV Parks are very busy; having learned our lesson last year we are now reserved right up to August 31st. It’s amazing the number of people from around other New England States and further south who come north for the cooler weather and no humidity – we’ve seen license plates from Maryland, Virginia, the Carolina’s, Georgia and Florida. Of course our South Dakota causes people to look twice; it is amusing to watch from inside the RV.

The Penobscot Marine Museum is located in Searsport and we spent a very pleasant morning viewing its exhibits which are housed in several buildings, some in former Sea Captains homes, in a two block area of the town. From this we learned just how busy a port this was in the 1700’s and 1800’s; at one time the town boasted of over 200 Sea Captains. Going through one Sea Captains home (with a very informative local historian as docent) we learned that each voyage was a Corporation in its own right and the Captain was head of the corporation while at sea. We discovered that he also had investments in as many as five other trading boats (Corporations) - just like today they all diversified their investments. Another interesting tidbit was that the Captains wife sometimes accompanied their husbands on voyages. At times, then the Captains whole family was on board and…if the Captain died the wife took command and control!.  In another building there was a beautiful collection of art, many of which were scenes of Liverpool, England a major sea port in the 1700’s and 1800’s. This was quite a valuable collection for such a little town. In a barn there were many different smaller boats displayed and tribute to Lifeboat men; these men had to be the bravest men on the planet at the time – imagine rowing out into a storm or hurricane to rescue people in foundering boats.
The prize for the best sight of the day went to a man painting the top of the church steeple some 95ft in the sky! Adele got dizzy looking up at him; he was up there for the 3 + hours we were walking around.

From Searsport we drove around Penobscot Bay (how many of you read “The Hunt for Red October”? or, saw the movie?) well, it was into Penobscot Bay that Jack Ryan the CIA operative directed Red October. We visited the town of Castine which we had heard was pretty; it had been a United Empire Loyalist town during the American Revolutionary War, as was most of eastern Maine. We walked around exploring the town which is on a bluff sloping down towards the harbor. It started to rain; a deluge really, so we headed into a harbor-side restaurant whose ceiling/roof was decorated with paper money of all denominations. We had "linner" (our name for a combined lunch and dinner). Just as we finished the skies cleared and the sun shone once more. Castine was hosting a “Music on the Waterfront” that evening so we gathered our seats and enjoyed a group of old guys reliving the 60’s, marvelous! The perfect ending to a lovely day!

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