Anyone who has internet access can participate in this mid-winter birding event sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon. All you have to do is:
*Count birds for at least 15 minutes at your favorite location(s).
*Record the highest number of each species seen at once.
*Enter your checklists on the GBBC website: gbbc.birdcount.org/ or on your eBird account.
Launched in 1998, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Since the merger with eBird, people from all over the world can now participate in this global event!
A great spot for a picnic!
East Machias’ town center rises on hills flanking both sides of a narrow, boulder-strewn stretch of the East Machias River. A bridge leads from the rail-trail to narrow Mill Park along the opposite bank. A sign lists successive mills that stood here, and old mill parts are displayed, sculpture-like. The village’s two bridges create a nice walking loop. As in neighboring Machias and Machiasport, wonderful federal and Victorian-era architecture is all about. Not to be missed: Washington Academy’s 1823 main building and the soaring 1836 First Congregational Church.
The Atlantic Brewing Company began as Acadia Brewing in 1990. At first the brewery was located inside the Lompoc Cafe in downtown Bar Harbor and had a maximum capacity of just one barrel at a time. Within a few years the demand for our beers had grown so much that we moved the brewery two doors down from the restaurant and increased our capacity to seven-barrel batches. However, by 1998, we had outgrown that facility as well and so we moved again – this time to our current location on the Knox Road. Our estate brewery was built on the grounds of a 19th century Maine farmstead, that employs native vegetation and local stonework.
They have several locations in and around the Bar Harbor area and offer tours and tastings. Here’s what you need to know:
The have three tours daily from Memorial Day through mid-October. Reservations are not required, but they can only accommodate 25 people per tour. The tours are approximately 20 minutes long, followed by a tasting. Children are allowed on the tour, but obviously not the tasting.
Planning a trip to coastal Washington County, Maine with kids this year? Or maybe you live in the area, but have never ‘played tourist’ with your kids? The Bold Coast region of Maine is known as the place where one goes to escape throngs of tourists. You won’t find go-carts and mini-golf every mile. Instead, you’ll be able to unplug and reconnect with nature. Especially now, when kids are hooked on technology (face it, we all are), it is a good opportunity for families to get outside and just…well… to be cliche… commune with nature. Always check an event calendar for the area — almost every month there is some festival or celebration weekend in some part of the county.
Here is a list of 16 things to do with kiddos — some/most are seasonal, with the season opening for most places sometime in May, so always check ahead if you’re visit is during a shoulder or off-season.
1) Head to Machiasport’s Jasper Beach for the ultimate in beach combing.Jasper Beach is one of the most unique beaches in the world — instead of sand dunes, you will need to climb dunes made of ocean-smoothed rocks.Listen to the singing of the waves as they gently crash, tumbling the rocks.It’s a great place for every age for beach combing. Learn more about Jasper Beach HERE
2)Learn how they get salt from the ocean to the jar at a fascinating free tour of the Maine Sea Salt Company.Have you ever thought about how salt gets from the sea to your salt shaker?Learn the answer here in a free tour of the factory where salt is made.It’s sourced locally, from Bucks Harbor in Machiasport and then evaporated in greenhouses.Free tours are offered May through December.
3)Hop aboard the Kandi Leigh and take a sightseeing trip to see the cutest little animals on the planet.One of the highlights of any trip to Down East Maine is a boat trip to see the puffins.The three hour boat tour is available May through Augustto Petit Manan Island to see Puffin and other shorebirds.These tours often fill up months in advance so plan early.Robertsons Sea Tours also offer whale watch and other scenic tours as well.
4)Take a picnic lunch to any of the charming little pocket parks in the area.This corner of Maine is beautiful and there are so many little parks tucked here and there, most will views and lawns — great places for picnics and romping.Here are just a few in the area:
5)Spend the day strolling and dipping your toes in the mighty Atlantic ocean at Roque Bluffs State Park.At the end of one of the fingers that reaches into the Atlantic ocean is one of Maine’s most beautiful state parks.There is a wide stretch of sandy beach — one of the very few sand beaches in this part of the world.Across the lane, there is a fresh water pond.The park also has restroom facilities and 182 miles of walking trails.
6)Tour a historic stone mill and see where mustard is made at Rayes Mustard Factory in Eastport. Visit a shop and mill that has been around for four generations.Sample different flavors of mustard and pick up some of the tasty condiments at their general store.
7)Pack up a lawn chair and enjoy one of Machias’ free outdoor movies for children at the Boxcar.Every other Friday in July and August, the Machias Bay Chamber of Commerce offers free movies at their visitor center/boxcar.Bring a blanket, chairs, bug spray and popcorn.
8)Take a day trip to Wild Acadia Fun Park in Bar Harbor.Enjoy the afternoon at this family fun park which includes an aerial park, zip lines, a water park, go carts, mini golf and more.The Wild Acadia Fun Park is located on the road to Bar Harbor, just south of Ellsworth.It’s open from June until Labor Day.
If you are visiting the area a little earlier or later in the season, Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf in Bar Harbor is open from mid-April through October.
9)Learn about sea life at the Mount Desert Oceanarium in Bar Harbor. Open from mid-May until late October, the Oceanarium is a lobster museum and hatchery.While you are there, take the Marsh Walk to learn basic and important ecological principles.
10) Visit a local farm and learn to farm. Pet a goat.Many farms in the area welcome visitors to learn about the farm.Some through Open Farm Day, usually held in July.Others with advance reservations.Two nearby farms are Tide Mill Organic Farm in Edmunds and Hatch Knoll Farm and Garden Side Dairy in Jonesboro. (As a side note, both sell products that are unbelievably delicious — head to their websites to see where you can purchase some yummy organic food).
11)See a show with Ray Murphy, the Chainsaw artist in Hancock, Maine.Chainsaw Ray performs his show in the world’s first Sawyer Art Theater building. The audiance can not hear the noise from the chainsaws. Instead, they only hear gentle music.Chainsaw Ray performs one of the most unique shows in the world and has been performing for over 50 years.Shows start at 7pm nightly from Late June until the end of September.
12)Splash around in the indoor pool at the University of Maine Machias.I remember when my kids were small — we lived surrounded by the ocean but all they wanted to do was go to the pool.Daily passes to the pool at UMM can be purchased for $5.Currently the pool is open for kid visitors on weekends from 10-2 on Saturdays and 10-3 on Sundays.During the week, the open pool is shared with lap swimmers.
13) Really enjoy learning about nature.I have two vacation rental homes in Machiasport and I have both scavenger hunts and bird and wildlife identification books in both homes.The scavenger hunts were easily printed from online hunts and I stapled the lists to brown paper lunch bags.I have two different hunts for two age groups – kids can hunt from everything from “dispose of a piece of trash” to “listen to the sound of wind through the trees”.Besides looking right in your own yard or neighborhood, there are so, so many good places to hike in the area.The Bold Coast Trail in Cutler is breathtaking for older kids.For younger kids, there are fantastic walking trails that surround the campus of the University (UMM).Other great places to walk are can be found at mainetrailfinder.com/trails– an invaluable resource for looking for outdoor adventures – where you can input location, degree of difficulty, etc.
14) Bike on the Downeast Sunrise Trail.The Downeast Sunrise Trail connects Pembroke, Maine (almost to the border of Canada) to Ellsworth (and the Appalachian Trail beyond). The trail is multi-use, so you might see walkers, horses, ATV’s, snowmobiles and dogsleds on the path, but no automobiles.The trail is usually closed during ‘mud’ season in the spring but reopens sometime in May.Check their website for maps and updated news.
15) Head to Milbridge every Friday evening.The Milbridge Theater has a ton of great, family friendly entertainment every Friday in summer.These performances range from puppet shows to live music to game show nights (interspersed with kid-friendly outdoor movies).The evenings kick off at 5:30 and rain dates are on Sundays.
16) Back to that scavenger hunt theme, what about geocaching? Geocaching is something that can be done no matter where you are (my kids were interested in it and I was amazed that there were several hidden within a block from my house in Massachusetts). Go to the website and sign up for a free account. From there you can enter whatever destination that you want and it will give you a list of all of the locations in the area. Find a geocache box, sign in and record your finding. By this summer, there may be a few additional locations in the downeast area…wink, wink.
Feel free to email me or make a comment with other fun things to do with kids!
As the owner/manager of several properties in coastal Down East Maine, I am asked often where the best place to swim in the ocean is in the area. By far, my answer is always Roque Bluffs State Park. Located about 10 miles from the town of Machias, the park is 274 acres of beach, water and walking trails.
We recommend that you download the brochure or stop by the Machias Bay Chamber of Commerce to pick one up with all of the information about the park.
The below information comes directly from the Maine.gov website — please head there for even more information.
Hours / Season Open 9:00 a.m. to sunset daily from May 15 to October 1. Fee Charged. Visitors may continue to enjoy the park during the off season by parking outside the gate and walking in during these same hours. Please be aware that facilities are closed during the off season.
Roque Bluffs State Park provides visitors with a great diversity of coastal landscapes to enjoy in 274 acres on Schoppee Point (south of Machias). A beautiful, half-mile crescent of sand and pebbles along Englishman Bay is backed by the shallow waters of 60-acre Simpson Pond – allowing for bracing saltwater swims and much warmer fresh water soaks; no lifeguards available. Between the beach and the pond are several picnic areas and a children’s play area adjoining the parking area. A 6-mile trail network just inland from the shore leads through old orchards, fields and woods, with paths that follow the rocky shores of Great Cove and Pond Cove. The town’s trailerable boat launch is adjacent to the park on Schoppee Point Road.
The diverse habitats at Roque Bluffs State Park support abundant wildlife, and bird watchers enjoy interesting sightings at all seasons. Bald eagles frequent the area year-round and many migrant species stopover during spring and fall. Birders occasionally spot less common waterfowl, such as Barrow’s Goldeneye, Redhead and Gadwall ducks, and Hooded Mergansers. During summer months, pipers, plovers and interesting species of gull (like ring-billed) frequent the beach.
Both Englishman Bay and Simpson Pond can be explored by canoe or kayak (with rental kayaks available for use on Simpson Pond). The pond is stocked so anglers can fish for brook trout in the spring and brown trout through much of the summer. Bait fishermen use the pond in fall and winter.
From the south, turn right off Route 1 onto Roque Bluffs Road in Jonesboro. At the T-intersection in 5 miles, turn right and continue south on Roque Bluffs Road to Schoppee Point. From the north, turn left on Roque Bluffs Road approximately one mile south of the Machias town center and continue 8 miles to the village of Roque Bluffs (where there is parking for hiking trails) or continue down Schoppee Point to reach the beach and boat launch.
Carry out all trash.
Dogs are not permitted on the ocean beach. Elsewhere, keep pets on leash (less than 4 feet) at all times. Do not leave pets unattended and clean up after them (carrying out bags with waste).
Park rules prohibit use of intoxicating beverages.
Camping is not permitted.
Do not feed, touch or disturb wildlife.
Do not leave valuables unattended in your vehicle.
Consider lending a hand. Contact us if you would like to help with stewardship or maintenance work.
The trailhead parking lot is a quarter-mile east of the beach parking lots (up the hill toward Roque Bluffs village). Five hiking trails (with the longest loop approximately 4 miles) allow visitors to meander through fields and woodlands bordering Pond Cove and Great Cove.
Pond Cove Trail (2 miles, approximately 1 hour) leads through meadows and woods (over largely flat terrain) and offers scenic vistas over Pond Cove.
Houghton’s Hill Trail (1.5 mile, approximately 45 minutes) provides a woods walk back to the trailhead from the western end of the Pond Cove Trail, passing over Houghton’s Hill (with moderate terrain suitable for fit walkers). A picnic table located halfway along the trail offers a place to rest or snack.
Blueberry Camp Trail (1 mile, approximately 30 minutes) cuts back from the coast to join Houghton’s Hill Trail, ascending that hill on the way back to the trailhead.
Mihill Trail (2 miles, approximately 1 hour) is the longest loop back from the end of the Pond Cove Trail, passing along the shore of Great Cove before turning inland. At the fork (Larry’s Loop), take the left trail for the most direct route back to the trailhead.
Please enjoy Roque Bluffs State Park during daylight hours: the main area is gated at night.
Bring potable water with you as there is none on site. Visitors are welcome to swim in Englishman’s Bay and Simpson Pond but no lifeguard protection is offered. Those who fish off the beach on Englishman Bay should be careful of nearby swimmers. For more on saltwater angling, consult the Maine Saltwater Angler’s Guide.
Kayakers can launch their boats from the beach on Englishman’s Bay, but the State does not own any nearby islands so public access is not guaranteed. Only experienced kayakers should paddle the open waters of Englishman’s Bay, given the potential for fog and wind.
The sand/pebble beach at Roque Bluffs State Park is an unusual geologic feature along the Downeast coast, much of which is marked by bold cliffs and cobble shores. It resulted from an accumulation of sediment that eroded from a prominent glacial moraine lying to the east. There is a bedrock outcrop at the eastern end of the beach where visitors can see glacial striations (deep groves in the bedrock left by the glacier’s movement toward the southeast). The evidence here of glacial history has made the Park stop #29 on Maine’s Ice Age Trail (to learn more, visit http://iceagetrail.umaine.edu/).
This unusual beach has long been popular with area residents and visitors. The Maine State Park Commission used proceeds from a public bond to acquire and protect the land in 1969.
Offshore, visitors can see Libby Lighthouse (formerly known as Machias Lighthouse because it marks the entrance to Machias Bay). This historic structure, built in 1817, is still an active beacon.
Susie had a killer vacation home in Machiasport, Maine.Because she wanted to offset some bills,Susie decided to make it available as a vacation rental.Since she loved her home and area, she was excited that she could play ‘virtual tour guide and innkeeper’ to the guests who stayed in her home. She paid upfront for an ad on a major online vacation rental listing site and happily answered questions about her home and many questions about the area from potential guests via phone and email. When the guest was ready to book, she made payment arrangements, usually through a check or credit card payment.
Once upon a time, Bobby wanted to go on vacation in down east Maine.He logged into a major online vacation rental site and clicked on the region – DownEast Maine.He was given a list of about 200 properties in the area.Bobby was able to narrow down with filters exactly what he was looking for —- and decided to choose Susie’s home in Machiasport.He had some questions about Puffin Tours and possibly ordering a custom cake for his wife’s birthday.He was able to contact Susie and she provided him with the information that he was asking for — phone numbers and websites of tour companies and local bakeries.She also gave Bobby information on how to pay the deposit and he mailed her a check.
Today in Vacationland…
Susie wants to offset some bills so she decides to make her wonderful vacation home available on an online vacation rental listing site (now known as an OTA for Online Travel Agency).Instead of buying an ad outright, she must now agree to pay a commission on every reservation (at a much higher rate than she used to pay for her ad). She must also agree that she will use only the OTA’s payment processing system for all reservations.
Bobby wants to take a vacation to down east Maine.He logs onto an OTA and starts his search.There are no regions in Maine and, in his first search attempt, he sees properties from Kennebunk to Houlton to Calais – thousands and thousands of them – vacation homes, rooms in people’s home, motel rooms and more.
So he decides to input just one town into his search – Machiasport.The results seem more manageable and he looks at a property and thinks it looks perfect.As he plans his trip and dates, he notices something odd.There is mention of a passport needed for Americans.At closer look, he sees that the property he is interested in is not in Machiasport at all, but in New Brunswick, Canada!
A closer look at his list of Machiasport rentals shows properties in Cutler, Addison and Blue Hill mixed in with Machiasport homes.So now Bobby has to start his search again and take a close look at just where exactly the property is located. Now he knows that a search for a property in Machiasport does not necessarily actually show properties just in Machiasport.But he perseveres. He comes across Susie’s listing which looks perfect.But he has some questions about puffin tours and bakeries.He looks for Susie’s contact info but there is no phone number and no email, but he can send a message through the OTA, which he does.
Susie is happy to answer Bobby’s questions.She knows a fantastic tour company to visit the puffins and knows of an excellent bakery to bake the birthday cake.But she doesn’t know Bobby’s phone number or email or even his last name.She can only respond to his questionsthrough the OTA system.So she takes the time to write about the fabulous things to do in the area and passes along the info that Bobby has asked for.
Bobby received the reply from Susie.Unfortunately it looks like this…
You can get more info about the company that provides puffin tours at their website: XXXXXXXX. The phone number to the bakery is XXXXXXX.
Unfortunately, the OTA system blocks out any and all identifying information.So Susie is forced to try again, with a cryptic message –
If you do a google search for Robertson Sea Tours their website should pop up. The phone number to the bakery is 2 zero 7 five 5/5 ninety one o 6.
Susie feels awful because she knows presenting information in this manner is just lousy customer service but it’s the only way that she can get the info to the traveler.Bobby decides to book her home.He must pay the rent via credit card through the OTA and is very surprised when there is an additional $250 fee added to the total amount.That, Susie, explains, is the service fee that the OTA tacks on to the traveler’s total.Unfortunately, that pushes Bobby’s vacation over budget, so he must keep looking for a less expensive house.(Overall, Bobby has spent about four hours on this rental search so far and still has no rental).
So what can Bobby do to make his travel less frustrating?
Book directly from an owner or small management or listing company!
Here are my four reasons to #bookdirect rather than through VRBO or AirBnB:
1) No Service Fees.Did you know that all of the major online travel agencies add on a service fee to the traveler?
*fees and terms subject to change – check the individual sites for the most up-to-date information.
That’s a heck of a lot of lobster and ice cream you’re giving up in order to stay at your rental house.And often, these fees are non-refundable if your plans change — even if the homeowner is willing to refund some of the rent, good luck getting that service fee back.Instead of searching on the big sites, look to smaller regional sites who usually don’t charge extra traveler fees or try to find the owner directly.
2) Communication between the guest and the owner.Traditionally, sites like HomeAway and VRBO and others were a way to connect owners with travelers who wanted to rent.It was an advertising platform — nothing more.Today, on virtually all of the OTA’s, all phone numbers, emails, websites and all identifying information is masked and direct communication between owners and guests is impossible.
3) Avoid Geographical nightmares. At one time, vacation areas were broken up into popular regions.Now, the geographic region has more to do with the secret algorithm of the OTA (reading between the lines — which homes and regions will bring them more money).The actual home location may be in very small print on the listing and a potential traveler may be looking at a home miles from where he may actually want to be.Again — look to regional sites to simplify your search.
4) Know that it’s really a home.The newest change to the listing sites are the addition of hotels, motels and B&Bs and inns to all of the listing sites (in addition to advertising spare rooms in occupied homes on AirBnB). Just to confuse your search more, there may be dozens of listings for motels and hotels on a site that claims to be “Vacation Homes By Owner”.You may see a photo of a beautiful pool and think you’re going to stay in a luxury home.Surprise!You just booked a room at a chain motel.
The oh-so-interesting phenomenon of reversing falls can be seen in the narrows between Dennys Bay and Cobscook Bay in Pembroke, Maine.
Because the tides in the area are among the worlds highest tides, that, combined with the large rock ledge, makes the falls appear to reverse several times per day.
Fun Falls Facts:
*Reversing Falls is a town park.
*Historically it was a farmstead.
*The cemetery remains (on the right side).
*Opposing currents create reverse waterfall at low tide.
*There are strong currents at all sides.
*There is an old shipwreck on the left hand shore.
*Check the tide table to be there at low tide.
From Machias, it is about a 45 minute drive north on Route 1 to Pembroke.
It is a right hand turn off of the highway just before the post office (if you pass it, turn around at the gas station).
After turning right off route 1 north, go to the end of the road, turn right then a quick left onto Leighton Point Road where there is a sign (well, sometimes not) that says “Reversing Falls”.
Go 3 3/10 mile up that road and take the right onto Clarkside Road. There is also a sign that says “Reversing Falls & Cobscook Trails” (high up on a telephone pole).
Follow that to the end and take a left at the intersection.
Follow that to the end (about 1 1/2 miles on a dirt road).
Are you looking for moose? I’ve been going back and forth through, around and in the state of Maine for almost 20 years now and I’m pretty convinced that moose are more of a mythical creature, like a unicorn, than an actual animal.
Nevertheless, I still have a goal of seeing and photographing a moose someday. I have, however, found an excellent place to continue my moose-sighting quest — The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Baring, Maine.
Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge consists of nearly 30,000 acres of federally protected lands in eastern Maine. The refuge’s landscape is varied, with rolling hills, large ledge outcrops, streams, lakes, bogs, and marshes. A northern hardwood forest of aspen, maple, birch, spruce and fir dominates the upland. Scattered stands of majestic white pine are common. The Edmunds Division boasts several miles of rocky shoreline where tidal fluctuations of up to 24 feet occur twice a day.
This habitat diversity supports many wildlife species. The staff at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) manages the land to protect the Service’s “”trust resources””. which include migratory birds, endangered species, and wetlands. By improving habitat, the Service ensures that wildlife will thrive on the refuge.
Woodcock, ruffed grouse, moose, deer, and a variety of songbirds prosper only in a young forest. In the past, wildfires revitalized the forest, while farming maintained open areas. However, wildfire is a rare event today, and farmland acreage has decreased dramatically. Habitat management programs, including timber harvesting and controlled burning, mimic the effects of wildfire and farming by providing clearings and early growth forests.
Approximately one third of the refuge is designated as federal wilderness. The two Wilderness Areas (one in each division) are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. They are managed with a “hands-off” philosophy and granted special protection to maintain their primitive qualities. Internal combustion engines and mechanical means of transportation (i.e. bicycles) are not allowed. Habitat management is kept to a minimum to allow the areas to develop into old- growth climax forests.
Bald eagles, frequent both divisions of the refuge, feeding on fish in the streams, ponds, and flowages. In recent years, as many as three pairs of eagles have nested at Moosehorn NWR. Eagles are frequently sighted around Magurrewock Marsh on the Baring Division and along the shore of Dennys Bay on the Edmunds Division. Osprey nest in several of the refuge marshes with as many as four pairs using platforms along the Charlotte Road.
The woodlands of Moosehorn NWR are home to many songbirds, including neotropical migrants, species that breed in North America and winter in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. In mid-May, migrating warblers fills the forest with song. Twenty-six species of these diminutive birds nest on the refuge. In addition, northern forest species, such as boreal chickadees and spruce grouse, are present.
Moosehorn NWR has a mobile phone App that allows people to digitally explore the refuge. The App contains information about the refuge trails, Auto Tour Route, wilderness areas and other refuge related programs. The App can be found at Moosehorn.toursphere.com.
Besides hiking, there are several visitor options at the refuge including interpretation programs and wildlife education programs. There are programs and activities that educate visitors to things like invasive species and birding and they host the following annual events:
Downeast Bird Festival (Memorial Day Weekend)
Children’s fishing derby (June)
Warbler and amphibian walks
Two trails – the Woodcock and Charlotte trails are wheelchair-accessible.
More info on planning your visit can be found here.
Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is located off Route 1 southwest of Calais, ME. It can be reached by taking Route 1 North from coastal Maine, Route 1 South from northern Maine, or Route 9 east from the Bangor area. Watch for the Refuge Office sign along Route 1
The Woodcock Trail
¼ mile paved, wheelchair accessible trail introduces walkers to the American woodcock. In April and May, the trail is a great place to view its spectacular courtship flights, for which it is famous.
The Habitat Trail
1¼ mile wooded trail stresses how important proper habitat is for wildlife. Markers point out signs of wildlife that might otherwise be missed.
The Bird Walk
¼ mile trail through forests rich in birds. Over 220 species have been identified on the refuge, including 26 species of warblers alone.
50 Miles of Dirt Roads
Refuge roads are closed to private vehicles. This makes them ideal for hiking and biking in the summer, snowshoeing and skiing during the winter. The roads allow access to almost all parts of the refuge, passing through the habitats of all kinds of wildlife. Maps are available at the office.
The Wilderness Area
Many people enjoy the solitude of walking through the wilderness area, where nothing mechanical is allowed. Trails through the wilderness areas of both divisions receive minimal maintenance. We strongly recommend hikers bring a topographical map and compass.
Fall Auto Route
Get out and enjoy nature in all of her colorful fall finery at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge! From October 1st to the 27th, a 3.3 mile route will be open to private vehicles at Moosehorn Refuge. Traverse a variety of wildlife habitats including blueberry fields, forests and wetlands and observe waterfowl, wading and songbirds and maybe even a moose or black bear! The auto tour route will begin at the Headquarters Road gate. Call (207) 454-7161 for more information.
Everyone loves a good pirate story, don’t they? After we purchased one of our vacation rental properties – Featherbed Island House – in Machiasport, we discovered that it has a connection to the notorious pirate, Cap’t Black Sam Bellamy.
Although Cap’t Black Sam Bellamy had a career as a pirate captain for under two years, he is known as the wealthiest pirate in recorded history, according to Forbes Magazine. His nickname was the “Prince of Pirates” and his crew was know as “Robin Hood’s Men”.
A lot has been said recently about Cap’t Sam down on Cape Cod. You see, his pirate ship, the Whydah, sank off the coast of Wellfleet, MA, when the Captain was only 28. Rumor had it that he was going to make a stop on the Cape to visit his lover, Goody Hallett. Tragically, the boat sank in a dangerous nor’easter in 1717. The ship went down with 143 people on board. A hundred and three bodies washed up on shore, none of which was identified as the captain.
All was forgotten for quite some time until the wreckage of the Whydah was found off the coast of Cape Cod in 1982 and it contained considerable loot. At the time of its sinking, the Whydah was the largest pirate prize ever captured, and the treasure in its hold amassed roughly 4.5 to 5 tons, including huge quantities of indigo, ivory, gold, and 20,000 to 30,000 pounds sterling, divided into 180 sacks of 50-pound (23 kg) each according to an account on Real Pirates.
There is currently a museum in Yarmouth, MA devoted to the pirate ship, The Whydah and her history. Currently, they are running DNA testing on some of the contents, hoping to prove once and for all if this wreckage was, indeed, the pirate ship of Cap’t Bellamy. (It’s quite an exciting development – read more about it here).
But what happened to the rest of the loot that wasn’t in the ship? And what’s the connection with Machiasport, Maine?
According to a Seattle Times article, Cap’t Bellamy had high hopes to establish a pirate utopia in the Machiasport area of Maine. The grassy stretch of riverbank between Renshaw Point and the Old Rim Bridge was the parcel of land where Cap’t Bellamy planned on building a “pirate retirement community”. (Our property, Featherbed Island House, abuts Renshaw Point).
W.C. Jameson, in his book, Buried Treasures of New England: Legends of Hidden Riches, Forgotten War Loots and Lost Ship Treasures, writes about the Machiasport fort. According to the book, around 1716, Bellemy chose a region, easily defensible, where the entire bay could be observed from its vantage point. A fort was erected — the first part of the captain’s kingdom where he could command the entire east coast. An underground vault was dug and in it was placed considerable treasure — the location kept secret, because after it was constructed, Bellamy ordered the workers killed. The loot is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars. Within a few weeks of Bellamy’s death, the fort was abandoned, it’s walls decomposed and today there is no trace of a fort.
So is the treasure still out there? I’ve spoken with several of my neighbors who all said they tried and tried to discover the buried treasure as children in the neighborhood. But no one has stumbled up on it yet. I wonder if it could still be there, just waiting to be found?
Access to the Downeast Sunrise Trail is just minutes away from most of our properties. It is a multi-use corridor connecting eastern Maine and the head of the East Coast Greenway
from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida. It is part of the ‘ice age’ trail.
That’s right. You could feasibly take the pup for a walk down the entire eastern seaboard.
The trail has a website and facebook page where they update trail conditions — very important with winter snows and spring muds.
One of their newest features is an app where one can enhance the appreciation of the ice age. This is what is written on the app’s website:
The Ice Age had a profound effect on the Maine landscape. This effect is very pronounced in the Down East region, where a vast sheet of glacial ice sculpted Cadillac and surrounding mountains, carved out the Sommes Sound fjord, and left spectacular sand barrens.
The Ice Age Trail is comprised of the finest and most accessible of these features. It follows the margins of the last great North American continental ice sheet and coincides with many Down East tourist attractions.
We invite you to use this interactive trail map and guide to enhance your appreciation of the Maine landscape during your next visit or to take a virtual tour. In either case, we hope the time you spend here will be both informative and enjoyable for you.