Exploring Down East
After three days in Portland, Maine, our virtual cruise continues as we explore five of our favorite Down East locations.
Snow Island 43° 48.93’ N 69° 54.60’ W
The fog in Portland finally lifted enough in the afternoon for us to continue our cruise. Heading south into Casco Bay we round Cushing and Ram Island and then head up to the entrance to Quahog Bay, 12-miles from Cape Elizabeth. While the fog has lifted, we now find ourselves dodging hundreds – probably thousands – of lobster pots. Our vessel is equipped with shaft mounted spurs designed to cut away any lines just in case we accidentally run over a buoy. We arrive at Snow Island and drop our hook near the islets to the east. This little piece of paradise is where the late Dodge Morgan, the first American to sail solo nonstop around the world in 1986, made his home. Years before his death, we anchored here where one of his beautiful wooden schooners was moored. Our dog needs to find a spit of land, so we take our dinghy to one of the islets, where we sit and watch the sun go down on this idyllic, secluded anchorage.
Boothbay Harbor 43° 50.90’ N 69° 37.61’ W
Anxious to see a quintessential Maine village, we run 20-miles, rounding Cape Small and the Cuckholds before heading north into Boothbay Harbor. Carousel Marina is spotted to starboard as we make our approach, so we raise them on our VHF and get a slip assignment. With a fuel dock, on premises restaurant and an easy walk into town, this turns out to be a good choice. After crossing the 1000-foot long footbridge on the way to town, we find the perfect Maine village complete with shops, restaurants, pubs, art galleries, a hardware store, antiques, grocery stores and banks. Condos, inns and 18th and 19th century homes integrate seamlessly into the commercial scene. Referred to as the “Boating Capital of New England,” we admire the beautiful, classic yachts moored in the harbor, including a couple of Friendship sloops. With a calendar full of events and festivals, the village knows how to celebrate its maritime heritage.
East Boothbay 43° 52.00’ N 69°34.96’ W
Less than 10-miles away by sea, we stop at Ocean Point Marina in East Boothbay, where years ago we had major work done on our boat. Located on the Damariscotta River, there’s not much of a town here, but what there is is wonderfully charming. Besides the boatyard and post office, there’s the Lobsterman’s Wharf, where you need a fork to eat the “chowda.” And don’t miss a visit to the General Store just down the road for great sandwiches and pastries. If you would like to see some of the very finest craftsmanship in the world, ask for a tour of nearby Hodgdon Yachts, where legendary yachts have been built for five generations. Some of today’s most luxurious and classically designed yachts, including the 98-foot Windcrest and 155-foot Scheherazade have been built here.