The next leg of my journey was filled with maritime museum history, forts, and time spent with family from states near and far.
The morning I was to leave Rockland was grey and threatened rain. So I took the opportunity to check out the The Maine Lighthouse Museum. There is a large collection of pieces detailing the history of the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as lighthouses that line the state's coastline.
The skies cleared a bit, but the humidity hung in the air. I strapped Lucy on my back, and started my walk to Camden, deviating from the greenway, and headed north on Route 1.
It was a relatively uneventful walk, with the exception of a drink break on a nice rock wall outside Downeast Magazine, and then the trip through the downtown area of Rockport.
The sweaty stroll took me into the heart of Camden, and to my home for the next two nights, the Inn at Camden Place. I would recommend this place to anyone who might visit this seacoast town; it is a five-minute walk to restaurants, shops, and the dock, and the rooms are extremely comfortable.
I had a delicious pizza at 40 Paper, a higher priced Italian bistro just across the street, and called it a night.
The next day, I decided to play hooky instead of walking the greenway to Clark's Corner, a route that promised to be nothing more than walking on streets with no sidewalks.
I relaxed, and took my time leaving the inn to explore. I ended up in the marina, perusing the itineraries of all of the boat cruises one could take.
I met Mike, and we talked about the East Coast Greenway, and then I booked my spot for a two-hour tour on the Schooner Appledore, a two-masted wooden schooner. It was too foggy to see much on shore from the water, but it was smooth sailing with Chris, Jake and the others! Another thumbs-up recommendation!
The next morning I was very lucky to meet up with my Uncle Bob and Aunt Carolyn from New Jersey.
My cousin Helene and her daughter Jessica had flown from Colorado to walk with me, too! As the three of us headed towards Belfast, we happened upon Good Karma Farm, run by Jim and Amy Grant. Jim gave us a tour, and introduced us to his alpacas and Icelandic sheep. He also showed us the many looms and machinery to make rugs, socks, and more.
We were invited back to color our own socks later that afternoon. So we finished our walk into town, had lunch at a place by the water, and grabbed Aunt Carolyn for the greenway walk over the pedestrian bridge heading north before returning to the farm.
Dinner in town, and we called it a day on another adventure!
Sis-in-law Mary made another appearance on this journey. She picked me up in Belfast on a gloomy day for a walk to Stockton Springs. We cut the walk short due to rain, but as we got back to the car parked at Just Barb's, the sun was attempting to shine through.
We took our chances, and headed to Fort Point State Park, a "military, maritime and tourist center" that overlooks both the Penobscot Bay and River. There are a number of trails and picnic tables, and a long dock to watch over the water. There is also a lighthouse with a private residence at the base.
Mary and I spent the night at The Homeport Inn in Searsport. The inn was built in 1861 by Captain John P. Nichols, a prominent sea captain, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
We were welcomed by Anita, and she had us fill out our breakfast requests for the next morning. Do not be fooled! Even just one pancake is huge; delicious, with real maple syrup, but seriously can be shared. If you happen to be in Searsport, consider this inn!
Our bellies full the next morning with made-to-order eggs and more, Anita was kind enough to ferry us up to Fort Knox near Bucksport to drop off our car, and then drop us back at Just Barb's to start our walking day.
Mary and I found a few side streets that allowed us to cut off parts of Route 1, and at the start of one of these shortcuts, I was stopped short by the site of Schoodic Mountain in the background. I've hiked that mountain more than once with Michael, and it made me catch my breath at seeing how close I was to finishing my journey.
A little further on, the Penobscot Narrows Bridge came into view, and it was a most welcome site. We made it to Fort Knox, and took some time to hydrate. Then we headed into the fort to explore. There were lots of stairs; I won't lie, for as much walking as I do, too many stairs can be tough on my knees right now. (Yoga will be a part of my routine again once I make it back to New Jersey!)
We also took the elevator up in the Penobscot Narrows Observatory. You could see Cadillac Mountain in the distance, and you could look down at the cars crossing the bridge. The floor to ceiling windows on the three floors you can visit might be a bit much for anyone afraid of heights.
I snapped a photo of the 'Welcome to Orland' sign, and we were off to see the Maine Poppers in Bangor. Chris and Bonnie made steak tips for dinner, and there may have been seconds for this girl!
My last rest day of my journey was spent hiking on Schoodic Peninsula. Mary and I got our park pass, and made a pit stop at Schoodic Point. It was foggy, but you could see the waves crashing on the rocks.
We saw a couple sit down to have lunch, and a seagull was directly behind them. It reminded me of the time one of the dirty birds snatched a sandwich right out of Michael's hand without even touching him. Mary warned this couple, but not long after, the woman yelped and the seagull was feasting. Before I could stop myself, I said, "Told ya."
We moved on to Blueberry Hill where we parked the car. Backpacks on, we ascended the Anvil Trail, and came down the Schoodic Head Trail, and walked the Alder Trail back to the parking lot. We sat on the rocks overlooking the ocean, and were treated to a seal that was fishing. We could see him flip the fish into his mouth before he dove again.
Mary and I stopped for a bite to eat at The Pickled Wrinkle in Birch Harbor, where I ran into a couple I'd met on a previous visit.
From there, we headed to Littlefield Gallery to see owners Jane and Kelly. They were throwing a reception for two artists, painter Lori Tremblay and sculptor Hugh Lassen.
Kelly saw me first, and said, jokingly, "Could you pick up the pace?" I said I've been doing the best I can, and we embraced.
And then Jane spotted me. I'm surprised she didn't drop the tray with cheese and crackers on it. She handed it to someone, and grabbed me and squeezed. I adore this woman who is always so happy to see me, as I am her.
Mary and I couldn't stay long because we were meeting Chris and Bonnie at Blaze in Bangor. But before I left, I met artist Caren-Marie Sargent Michel when I remarked on her "Seawall Beach, Acadia #14." She is lovely, and her work is inspiring!
Another gentleman was standing nearby. It was Don Crowley, a cousin of Bruce Crowley, the lobsterman who helped save my life. After conversation and then a pause, I asked Don to give Bruce my regards, and to tell him I'm doing as well as I can since the accident.
Then on to Bangor for dinner!
Today I walked eleven miles from Orland to Ellsworth, again on Route 1, with little shade to be had. My own personal sag wagon, driven by Chris, met me in the downtown area, and we headed back to meet up with Bonnie for a church picnic.
It's an early night tonight as I post this. Only a few more days to go until I reach Gouldsboro now...