George

My family’s history can be seen from the window of our apartment at West Quoddy Station in Lubec. Just below us on the bay is the house my great-grandfather and grandmother, Ephraim and Ada Johnson, moved into when he retired after 32 years as the keeper at West Quoddy Head Light, which is a 10-minute walk from here. I remember visiting my great-grandmother at that house before she died when I was 7 years old.

Look a little further on the far hillside, and you can see where my Mom grew up. Her house is gone. Just a cellar hole now. A half mile to the right is the former home of my great uncle, Harry Johnson, who cooked here when it was a Coast Guard facility. Step outside our building and you can see Campobello Island across the bay, where my grandfather, Henry Searles, was born and raised.

Yes, this is my neighborhood and my heritage. So what a thrill it was to stay in one of the apartments that owner Bill Clark created here after buying the abandoned and terribly dilapidated station in 2000. He did a superb job of bringing the old station to life in one of the most beautiful spots on earth.

There are eight choices here, including a five-bedroom house, two delightful cabins, four apartments in the lodge and the 1808 West Quoddy Head Light Keepers Cottage. Each is unique and all include kitchens. Every unit has extraordinary ocean views, and there are lots of places to sit and picnic outside. Linda and I enjoyed sitting out on the deck, looking across the water to the town of Lubec and over to Campobello.

Bill constructed a new building at the entrance, and it includes conference space upstairs along with an historic bell that once graced a local school. Bill says he built the building for the bell.

There’s lots to do in Lubec. On this visit, we enjoyed the first of the summer’s Wednesday night free concerts by participants in the Summer Keys program. We enjoyed dinners at Frank’s Dockside Restaurant and the Water Street Tavern.

We checked out the new microbrewer on Water Street, and loaded up with Monica’s Chocolates, best on the planet. We love the Lubec library, and I dropped off a wooden display of the town’s Water Street, which my Dad created in memory of my Mom. It’ll be on display all summer so be sure to check it out if you get down there.

From spectacular sunsets to an amazing double rainbow, this was a very special visit. It was really hard to leave the station, and I took one last long look out across the bay, my mind full of memories.

Linda

Picture yourself vacationing in one of the most picturesque spots on the Maine coast. The view from your window encompasses the vast bay with impressive tidal waters that keep the scenery ever-changing. This is pure Maine beauty and it is not crowded.

You’ll find this little piece of heaven by staying at West Quoddy Station. We had a tour with Bill and found all the units to be comfortable and inviting. The decor varies with two cabins built as a likeness of very nicely appointed sporting camps. (Think perfectly seamed wood that creates artful ceilings and walls along with charming log beds.)

The apartment we stayed in had two double beds, a comfortable kitchen workspace, a roomy bathroom and lots of common seating outside. We took advantage of the scenic decks for reading and lunched at one of the picnic tables in the yard.

Two spacious rooms upstairs have lots of living space and remarkable water views on three sides. If you really want to be dazzled, go up to the cupola for a 360-degree experience you won’t soon forget.

We took full advantage of West Quoddy Station’s great location by doing some nearby hikes. We often hike the trails at West Quoddy Lighthouse, but had never kept going out to Carrying Place Cove. This hike offered two hours of stunning scenery. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more beautiful you rounded a corner with yet another incredible view of the ocean. With waves crashing, blue sky, and birds coming in close enough to identify without binoculars, I can’t imagine a better way to spend a day in Maine.

We also took advantage of fresh crabmeat obtained at Griffin’s Crabmeat (726-4407) in Edmunds on our way in. My parents always bought crabmeat there while camping at Cobscook Bay State Park when I was growing up. I didn’t like crabmeat back then, but am certainly making up for that now.

We met a nice couple from Bowdoin while hiking. They hadn’t been to West Quoddy and were astounded by the lack of people and the unspoiled beauty. They were camping at Cobscook Bay and were so taken with the area that they thought they’d be coming back every year.

And that’s how it goes when you visit Lubec. You may find yourself returning often. Trust me, it is well worth the drive!

Visit George’s website — georgesmithmaine.com — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed by town in the “Best of Maine” section.

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