Maine, a Guide down East

By Workers of the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of Maine | Go to book overview

TOUR 1: From NEW HAMPSHIRE LINE (Portsmouth) to CANADIAN LINE (Clair, N.B.), 551.8 m., US 1.

Via (sec. a) York Corner, Wells, Kennebunk, Biddeford, Saco, Portland, Falmouth Foreside, Yarmouth, Brunswick; (sec. b) Bath, Wiscasset, Thomaston, Rockland, Camden, Belfast; (sec. c) Searsport, Winterport, Hampden, Bangor, Brewer, Luceme-in-Maine, Ellsworth; (sec. d) Cherryfield, Machias, Robbinston, Calais; (sec. e) Woodland, Danforth, Hodgdon, Houlton, Littleton, Bridgewater, Mars Hill, Presque Isle, Caribou, Van Buren, Fort Kent.

Hard-surfaced roadbed, three-lane at southern end. Northern sections sometimes impassable during winter storms.

US 1 in Maine runs close to the coast from one end of the State to the other, turns north along the Canadian boundary, and finally doubles back west along the St. John River. It runs through resort areas, rolling and rocky farm land, through primitive forests, and along the banks of broad rivers; it crosses high hills -- locally called mountains -- and blueberry plains. It connects the two ends of the 2500-mile coast line, which are but 225 miles apart by air line. It is this lower part of the route that is most frequented; the broken and jagged coast has a picturesque charm that has made it a favorite with summer travelers. South of Maine, land and sea have few rigid boundaries; the waves encroach and retreat, the land is washed away and built up. But on the Maine coast land and sea meet abruptly; that old devil sea at times comes dashing in as though it had been gathering force halfway around the earth to break the stubborn, granite headlands; it attacks with a roar, retreats, and returns to attack again.

There are two coasts of Maine. The coast known to most visitors has spruce-tipped hills and hard beaches dappled with the red, orange, green, blue, and white raiment of visitors, blue-green waters broken by tilting sails and the wakes of speeding motorboats, and a brilliant blue sky. The inhabitants of this land work night and day running hotels, boardinghouses, tourist camps, and lunch stands, piloting fishing and sightseeing boats, trying in a brief season to earn the wherewithal to keep their families during the rest of the year.

The second coast of Maine is for four or five months muffled in snow; travel is at times difficult and most hotels and many of the rooms in homes are closed. But this Maine has its own charm. The rural inhabitants, even though striving to add to their limited incomes, have time to relax and they accept the comparatively few visitors as members of their families, telling them long stories of grandfathers and uncles who never returned from the sea, of the great-aunt who heard voices, and other tales characteristic of a country that part of the year has almost pioneer isolation. There are other rewards for the visitor who comes to this coast out of season. The chowder and baked beans, made in family

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