We are in Eastport, Maine again, which is one of the places on our favorites list. Susan had her last dentist appointment on Monday and doesn’t have to be back until July 30th. She was feeling well enough that we left Bellingham the next morning, heading north. We stayed the night near Bangor, Maine and the next morning we drove the rest of the way to Eastport, Maine, where we will stay for a week.
At one time Eastport was one of the major fishing ports for the East Coast but the fisheries collapsed almost a hundred years ago and most of the fishing fleets and fishermen went away. Most of the downtown buildings date from that era so it still has a quaint look about it. Eastport has been in the economic doldrums for quite a while but lately it has been undergoing a slow revival and makeover as a tourist town. A number of the artsy-craftsy set have taken up residence here and there are several galleries showing (and selling) their work.
I doubt that Eastport will ever seriously compete with Bar Harbor or Boothbay Harbor or Freeport as a tourist center. It is well off the beaten track and a long trip over two-lane roads. Even on its busiest days the center of Eastport is fairly quiet, but that is one of the things we like about it. Eastport does seem to be slowly succeeding, however. Since last year we’ve seen that several formerly empty storefronts now have businesses in them. There is a new bakery in town, the IGA supermarket is putting on a new addition and a number of the buildings are being renovated.
Eastport is still mostly a working town, though. There is a lot of lobstering done here and there are salmon pens everywhere. Eastport is also a deep water port, capable of taking full-size freighters so a fair amount of transshipping is done here as well.
We have been doing our share to help boost the local economy. On Thursday we visited the Moose Island bakery (frosted brownies, miniature carrot cakes, apple popovers and rye bread), had hot dogs and onion rings at Daisy’s next to the wharf and ice cream cones at AMG, a shop that shared space with an office that booked windjammer cruises. On the way back to the campground we picked up a gallon (yes, a gallon) of mustard from Rayes Mustard Mill.
Raye’s Mustard Mill (http://www.rayesmustard.com/index.php) claims to be the last manufacturer of stoneground mustard in the USA. All of their equipment dates from the 1800’s (they will give you a tour around the back where they make it if you ask). I am not a fan of mustard on hot dogs or sandwiches but we have several marinades we routinely make that use mustard as one of the ingredients. Raye’s mustard is very flavorful but probably milder, and certainly less harsh, than the mustards you find in the supermarket (even Grey Poupon) and unlike supermarket mustards it does not require refrigeration after it has been opened. Raye’s makes almost two dozen different varieties of mustard and we like the Old World Gourmet. We bought a gallon when we were here last September, and it lasted us about a half a year (we make a lot of marinades). $18.00 for a gallon bottle in the store. You can order it for the same price on-line, but the shipping brings the cost up quite a bit.
On Friday we went on a boat cruise around the bay, if that is what it is. Looking at the map it is hard to know where the Pasamaquoddy River ends and the Bay of Fundy and/or the Atlantic Ocean begins. Technically speaking, Campobello Island is between Eastport and the Bay of Fundy. Technically speaking, the Pasamaquoddy River flows next to our campground and by Eastport on the way to the bay. Realistically, however, there are so many islands and channels here that you can argue it just about anyway you like. Saint Andrews, New Brunswick (which is another town on our list of favorite places) is about ten miles northwest of here and closer to the source of the Pasamaquoddy River, yet considers itself to be on the Bay of Fundy.