(Cutler, Maine) Maine will again be full of tourists this summer, and vacation stayers will finally be there after two summers of deprivation. But nothing dooms visitors to elbowing on the beaches in the south of the state. To the east, the coast, much less frequented, still looks wild.
Many tourists will return to Maine this summer. They will reconnect with the fine sandy beaches, but also the endless traffic jams on Route 1. However, with the thousands of kilometers of coast of the State, there is always a way to find a little calm by the sea.
The path has been advancing for almost 2 km in a dense forest on the ground covered with flowers when the air suddenly takes on the salty smell of the sea. A few steps further, the horizon opens. On the left as on the right, large conifers play acrobats, sometimes with a root in the air, at the top of the cliffs. Here and there, small pebble beaches are revealed between the rock walls. There is a fishing boat offshore to break the silence, but no road or house for miles around.
Yes, against all odds, nature has retained its full rights over parts of Maine’s coast, like here in Cutler’s public lands.
Not everything is wild in this part of the country. But driving east on Route 1, the landscape changes once you pass the junction to Bar Harbor. Mini golf courses have disappeared, and motels are rare, some are even abandoned. The opulent mansions, so numerous in Camden, have given way to modest colonial-style residences, with their weathered wooden cladding. Around Lubec and Eastport, the two easternmost (small) towns in the United States, many houses even seem to come straight out of an Edward Hopper canvas, melancholy included.
Eastern Maine, known as the Downeast, is fishing country. Especially lobster. Almost every successive cove on the coast is home to a small port. Cluttered with cages and buoys. And surrounded by a handful of houses. In the bays at low tide, cockle pickers emerge from the mist. And on land, the vast fields of wild blueberries hug the hills for a long time.
Visitors are fewer. Life seems tougher. “The pandemic has been tough in this part of the state,” says Lisa Hanscom, who operates a blueberry farm and rents two small cabins in Roque Bluffs. “A lot of businesses have closed.”
However, the attractions of the Downeast are not lacking for those who love the great outdoors.
You can do countless hikes by the sea, such as Cutler, but also at the foot of the West Quoddy Head lighthouse, and in many reserves or state parks, especially on the shores of the immense Cobscook Bay, where birdwatchers come to observe around 300 species of birds.