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© 2019 by Joan Lowden, the Basslady

Contact:  831.588.7576,   info@basslady.com

June 10-17

It was time to get out the passport and pop over to visit our neighbor to the north.  Cruising up Hwy 1 - check out the East vs. West versions of the hwy signs.   As you can see, they call this part of Maine (and Canada) "Down East".   I've been subscribing to Down East magazine (the Maine equivalent of Sunset) for the past year, but I really didn't get it.  I get "Up North", "Down South", "Out West", but not "Down East".  

Thanks to Wikipedia, I found that the origin of the phrase "Down East" is traced to nautical terminology referring to direction, rather than location. In the warm months most suitable for sailing, the winds along the coast of New England and Canada blow from the southwest, meaning ships sail downwind to go east. As such, the northeastern stretches were said to be "Down East" in relation to major western cities such as Boston. Ahah!

Moose outside shop in Calais - the US

border crossing. Pronounced Callas, not

like the town in France.

Looking from Calais over the St. Croix river toward St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Pretty river walk.

St. Andrews, New Brunswick

I spent a day in St. Andrews, NB.  The weather was gorgeous, and there was both a chowder contest and an art festival going on, so it seemed like a great day for a day trip.    I stopped by the office of the Jolly Breeze to say hi to Joanne and Rob - Jolly Breeze is the tall ship that is part of my landlord's whale watching fleet.   Still a bit early for whales, I will go back to St. Andrews in July for a whale tour - free with apartment rental!!   The ship is beautiful, they keep it in dry dock in Eastport over the winter then they spend the summer based in St. Andrews. 

The photos below are the St. Andrews waterfront and the Kingsbrae gardens.

Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Campobello Island is in Canada across the bridge from Lubec, Maine.   Franklin Roosevelt and his family spent summers on Campobello for over 50 years.  The Roosevelt property on Campobello, is now an international park, co-run by the US National Park Service and Canada.  The highlight of the property is the family "cottage" - if you can call a home with 18 bedrooms a cottage!   It has glorious water views from the expanse of the building, and is a stunning structure - you can imagine them playing parlor games and walking down to the pier to go sailing.   The natural setting is lovely with lots of hiking trails, plus old carriage roads where the family would have taken rides in the shade of the trees.  

Tea with Eleanor

The most interesting part of my day at Campobello was "Tea with Eleanor", an informational talk and tea.  The two docents were great, one of the docents was a 4th generation islander and she talked about her great-grandfather rowing across to Eastport early in the morning to work in the fish processing plants there, then rowing home after his shift.  Every day. 


Eleanor was really a woman ahead of her time.  She redefined the role of First Lady, partly due to FDR's physical limitations - she often gave speeches and made appearances on his behalf.  But also because of her passion for human rights issues - racial inequality, women's rights, worker's rights.    Some anecdotes shared at the tea:


         In 1939, she resigned from the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) because they denied opera singer Marian Anderson the right to perform at Constitution Hall in Washington DC.  They had also rejected singer Paul Robeson in 1930.  No matter, Eleanor arranged for Marian Anderson to sing at the Lincoln Memorial instead!  Also at the White House for the King and Queen of England.  Take that DAR!


         In 1941 she flew with Tuskegee pilot C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson, flight instructor at the Tuskegee Institute.  Apparently, it had been arranged that she would go up in the air with a white instructor, but after talking to Anderson (who was black), and against the objections of the Army officers, she asked Anderson to take her up.   One of many times she went against advice.


         She also used the media more than previous first ladies.  She held more than 348 press conferences.  What's more, she placed a ban on male reporters, so that media outlets had to employ female reporters to attend her press conferences, creating jobs for women in journalism.   


Needless to say, she created controversy with her activism.  She received threats during FDR's presidency and in the years that followed. However, she didn't like to travel with a large entourage and often traveled alone.  Her bodyguard gave her her first pistol in 1933, and in 1957 she obtained a license to carry a gun - see photo below!   While I am not personally a fan of guns, I understand her specific circumstances - and those were different times. According to a friend, she had commented that "yes, she sometimes did carry a gun when she traveled and she knew how to use it". She also said "I hate guns".

The main thing that I learned was that Eleanor didn't just "talk the talk", she was a woman of action.  These are just a few stories - I downloaded an 18 hour audio book version of her autobiography for the road trip home!  

Back to Maine - Lubec is just over the bridge.

Lubec - old Sardine factory, now a museum.

Back "home" to Eastport

OK, back to important things - like lobster.  My place in Eastport is about a 1.75 mile walk to town, so my Sunday routine is to walk to town and get a lobster roll at Quoddy Bay Lobster, then walk back.    I was asked what exactly is in a lobster roll.    There are a couple of types of lobster rolls - Maine Lobster rolls are traditionally made with cold chunks of lobster, with mayo, served on a white bread roll, like a hot dog.   There is something just wrong about taking lobster, which I think of as a gourmet food, and smothering it in mayo!   Or worse yet, Miracle Whip - another variation!    Connecticut Lobster rolls are more to my liking.   Lobster with warm butter (on the side) in a toasted bun.   Fortunately Quoddy Bay Lobster gives you your choice so I always opt for the butter.   But I suppose I will try the Maine version once before I leave!

The lupine have absolutely exploded!  They are everywhere - much larger than the lupine we have on the central coast of CA.   Just lovely.  These pics were taken as I was setting off for a week on Deer Isle - fitting that a deer is watching me leave in the meadow by my place . . .     

 

Next blog post - Deer Isle, Maine!