Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Escape to Coastal Washington County and Avoid the Summer Heat

By August, the heat of the Maine’s summer can still be brutally unrelenting. Those searching for cooler temperatures should explore coastal Washington County, where cool sea breezes bring pleasant relief to stifling summer temperatures. A perfect destination for those looking to escape is the small town of Eastport (Delorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 27, A-4). Despite its diminutive size, Eastport provides a large number of opportunities for hikers, campers and fishermen, guaranteed to keep even the most energetic outdoorsman busy. To have enough time to explore all Eastport has to offer, individuals should plan to stay overnight at Seaview campground ( This pet friendly campground has numerous cottages to rent and tent/RV ocean side lots that border the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. During the summer season reservations are strongly suggested so please call 853-4471 for more information.

Visitors to Eastport looking for less rustic accommodations should consider staying at the exquisite Kilby House bed and breakfast ( Located on Water Street, guests are only a short walk to local shops and restaurants. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-853-4557. From Water Street, a short stroll down Sea Street brings visitors to one of the best lobster rolls Down East, served fresh caught from the fine folks at Quoddy Bay Lobster. Combined with coleslaw, roll and the impressive water view and you’ve got all of the ingredients necessary to create the perfect lunch. Quoddy Bay Lobster will also pack lobster to go, so that those not lucky enough to come to Eastport can also enjoy!

After lunch, consider heading out on the pier to take in the expansive views of Passamaquoddy Bay and Canada’s Campobello Island. Seals and Minke whales frequent these waters so be on the look out. Anglers looking to try their luck may fish off the pier and are often treated to Flounder, Pollock and Mackerel. In fishing for flounders, the most successful fishermen use worms, either the garden or sand variety instead of clams as this tends to keep the bait from being constantly eaten by the Sculpins. Those fishermen looking to explore the salt waters beyond the pier, should book a trip with Fundy Breeze Charters ( or phone 207-853-2849. Captain Skip Harris offers off shore fishing for Cod, Pollock, Halibut, shark and Giant Bluefin Tuna along with light house, puffin and whale watching tours aboard his 33 foot sport fishing boat the Vonnie and Val.

Just a few miles outside of the city of Eastport sits 95-acre Shackford Head State Park. Managed by the Bureau of Parks and Recreation, this hidden gem contains miles of family-friendly hiking trails and a chance to see over 100 different plants and 28 species of birds, including nesting bald eagles. Parking and start of the trail system is next door to the Marine Trades Center. The park is pet friendly and has picnic tables but does not have drinking water or restrooms so plan accordingly. The 1.2 mile trail from the parking area to the "Viewpoint" is an easy hike that can be accomplished by young and old alike. From the Viewpoint, hikers will enjoy panoramic views of Campobello, Lubec, Perry, Pembroke and a sweeping view across Cobscook Bay. For a longer more challenging hike, continue following the Schooner Trail to its terminus at Ship Point. This trail leads hikers through grassy meadows, patches of wild blueberries, along several impressive rocky granite outcroppings and through thick pine and birch woodlands. Upon reaching the point, be sure to keep a watchful eye on the expansive Cobscook Bay as whale sighting are always a high probability. Another nearby local secret is state-operated Gleason Cove Park (Map 37, E-3).

Upon leaving Eastport on Route 109 drive to Route 1 and take a right in the town of Perry. Drive approximately half a mile, crossing the Little River and immediately turning right onto the shore road. Follow the shore road for a few hundred yards and turn right onto Gleason Point Road. There are no signs but continue down this dirt road three quarters of a mile until reaching the park. The park is a great place to take kids as it contains miles of great beach-combing opportunities and broad vistas of Passamaquoddy Bay and nearby Deer Island. Picnic sites are available and offer the perfect location for families to enjoy a lunch packed by Quoddy Bay Lobster. For boaters there is an excellent launching ramp where anglers can access the western passage and Passamaquoddy Bay.

Remember when hiking that Maine’s weather and temperatures in August are notoriously fickle and can change dramatically in a short period of time. Make sure when hiking to bring along plenty of water and always carry a rain jacket. Also, tides in Cobscook and Passamaquoddy Bay can fluctuate daily by more than 20 feet so when exploring the shoreline always keep an eye on the ocean.

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