|After a couple of quiet nights, we headed up towards the east of the Penobscot River to the small town of Castine. The town is filled with huge Elm Trees. Although the town itself is small, there are lots of islands round about where you can walk and cycle. One of the main areas to visit is Holbrook Island Sanctuary. This land was given to the State of Maine in 1971, by a local resident 'to preserve for the future, a piece of unspoiled Maine'.|
Having landed the dinghy at the dock, we picked up a map and set off on our walk. The sanctuary is only part of the island, and is almost 'walk-through' in that within the sanctuary area, you start at one point and having walked to the other end, all you can do is walk back. The map however, showed a road route from a short way outside the sanctuary boundary which joined the two ends together in an 'apparently' circular route. The sanctuary is home to many wild animals and birds, such as eagles and beavers. There are several shorter trails, off the main track, to take you into the areas where the birds and animals are supposed to be, but we actually saw very little, but there you go!
Anyway, having walked through the sanctuary area, we got onto the road, according to the map the next road we should see was Harbourside, it wasn't! After passing four roads that weren't on the map, we eventually saw one that was, but it was in completely the wrong place, the sign next to it said Harbourside was straight on so we went a bit further. By this time we were getting hungry, so we stopped for a picnic on the beach, and then carried on. A lady driving by stopped to see if we needed help and confirmed that we were in fact on the road we wanted to be on, and that it it did form a loop back to the Sanctuary, on we go! An hour later, feet starting to get tired, we stopped at another beach to get more directions. The family we spoke to lived locally as opposed to visiting, and so we thought they would send us in the right direction - not so! Bearing in mind we are on the end of an island walking towards a Cape at the end and we have the ocean on our right, if we want to continue in a loop we need to keep turning left, to keep the ocean to our right. The directions we were given were to continue for 2 miles and turn right! This seemed wrong even to me with my questionable sense of direction, and complete inability to differentiate between left and right! Anyway, with a limited choice we set off again, one thing the woman had said was that continuing was shorter than turning back the way we came. After about 5 minutes we heard a car behind us, the woman had realised she had sent us in the wrong direction and they had come to offer us a lift back to the sanctuary entrance as it was on their way. As is took about 7-8 minutes by car, you can imagine how long it would have taken to walk, and how grateful we were for the lift! Although we had the use of a map, we still managed to get ourselves lost, it would appear that whilst the interior of the sanctuary was to the scale stated, all the roads outside of it were definitely not!
For our second day in Castine, we went walking through the town, and out to a nature reserve. We actually completed this walk without incident, and managed to get exactly where we wanted to be, for change!
The town of Castine, has loads of history, and for a small place on a quite isolated area of a peninsula, it has certainly seen some action! Since it's inception as a town and trading post in 1629, it has been held by the Brits, the Americans, the French and for a short time (a few days), even the Dutch! Castine was held by the British prior to the American Revolution and was the last port surrendered by the British.
On a Wednesday night, it is party time here in Castine. They have live music on the waterfront, with different bands and types of music each week. John had seen an advert for this when we were ashore and was concerned that as we were quite close to shore, the music might keep us awake. I checked another more detailed ad and saw the times, 5pm-7pm, no danger of keeping us awake then!! The night we were there it was 60's rock and roll, which is a bit odd at 5pm, but this is small town America. Also, the posters said bring a lawn chair! Now on a night where they are having jazz or classical music, I can see this would be a good idea, but 60's rock and roll??? We went ashore about a hour after it started and sure enough there were people sitting right up at the stage in lawn chairs with blankets over their knees!!
Thursday, in Castine, is farmers market day on the common. All the local organic veg producers bring their wares, the food was fab, really tasty and fresh and well worth a visit - the downside is that we know have so much salad etc we will be eating it for a week!!
A huge butterfly we saw when out walking - no idea at all what sort it is!!
The beach at Holbrook Island, most of the beaches here are rocky, there are few sandy beaches in Maine
Goose Falls - the end of the sanctuary path, just before we got ourselves lost, note still smiling!!