Land of Lobsters and Lighthouses

In Tennessee the leaves of late fall are turning deep gold and red in their last hurrah before giving up to the wind. Fall comes later in the South than in the North. Today I have another column in the ongoing series about New England. The title of the column pretty much says it all.

We had packed early and left New Hampshire behind to head for the rocky shores of Maine. On the way made several stops to look at lighthouses. Lighthouses are maintained by the Coast Guard, but the parks around them belong to others, usually a city. I don’t know why it matters, just thought I would mention it.

The first lighthouse we saw was in Portland, Maine and was appropriately called Portland Head Light. It was very picturesque, like a postcard or calendar. The next lighthouse was called Pemaquid Point and it had a lot of accessible rocks on the seashore that were not fenced. We were warned not to walk out on them as big waves have swept people out to sea. Of course, Mo walked out there anyhow. Lucky for him there was no big wave at that time.

We finally made it to Acadia National Park. Thanks to our hanging around at the lighthouses, it was too late to do anything except find a restaurant serving lobsters, as if there are any in Maine that do not. Bar Harbor, close to the park, is a highly developed tourist area. All the stores are gift shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

We tried to figure out why it was called Bar Harbor and decided that the sailors probably looked forward to going to bars when the ships came in to harbor. We found out later that it was only due to a sandbar.

We were frequently reminded that it is A-cadia, not Ar-cadia, as some people call it, including me. It is unusual because it has both mountains and rocky seashore and has been endowed by rich benefactors such as Rockefeller and L.L. Bean. It was a resort area for the rich and famous who came to the area to summer in the Gilded Age.

We drove to the top of a mountain in the park called Cadillac Mountain with no steep roads or plunging cliffs. The view from the top was spectular, but it was windy and cold. Mo had to make a picture of every rock and scenic view before we could leave.

Later we went to a little town called Eastharbor. All the villages are named something-harbor. It must be a law. We bought sandwiches in a deli and found a picnic table, which was nice until the sun went behind a pine tree. We thought that we might see some wild life but all we saw was one squirrel and some crows.

We decided at the end of the day to drive to a lighthouse – more lighthouses. It was the only one we saw with the light actually on, a real working lighthouse. We were caught in a terrible traffic jam on the way created by a grand exodus of weekend visitors all leaving at the same time.

We went to another restaurant called a lobster pound. You could look into the kitchen and see the giant steaming pots where they cook lobsters. There was also a tank where the live lobsters were piled on top of each other waiting for their number to come up. It was like a lobster holocaust. They told us that lobsters have no nervous system and do not feel pain. I looked it up later and found other opinions on this, however.

We decided to visit a lobster hatchery. Who knew lobsters are hatched? They are not very exciting, or very friendly. Other sea creatures were more interesting and we were invited to touch and hold such things as sea cucumbers, sea urchins and clams. I held the sea urchin which was covered with spines like a tiny porcupine. It only uses the spines to appear unappetizing to fish, not to sting tourists. I also held a mussel, which is similar to a clam or oyster. It behaved well when other people held it, but when I held it the shell opened, and it looked out with a row of tiny eyes, then snapped shut.
Sorry, musssel, but I feel the same way about you.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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