Thursday, August 14, 2008

Downeast Trip Day #3 - Connectivity

We woke up just down the road from the West Quoddy Lighthouse – the eastern most point in the lower 48 states. I always thought the name was “East Quoddy Lighthouse”, but learned that East Quoddy Lighthouse is located on Campobello Island, making the one outside of Lubec west of the one on the island, and therefore West Quoddy Lighthouse.

After spending the morning exploring picturesque Lubec, West Quoddy Lighthouse, and some of Campobello – the Roosevelt Cottage and a couple of hours beachcombing on Herring Cove Beach – we drove the 45 minutes around the bay to Eastport.

This afternoon’s tour of Raye’s Mustard Mill, the last remaining traditional stone-ground mustard mill, was one of the highlights of the trip for the children. Big fans of mustard, they were intrigued to see the equipment and process for making it as well as to taste several of the 24 varieties. I was interested to learn of the connection with the sardine industry. Raye’s Mustard was started over 100 years ago to provide mustard for canned sardines. With the decline in that industry, Raye’s has adjusted to focus more on table mustard. And, wow, do they do that! They’ve won a number of awards and recognition, including from Martha Stewart. Needless to say, we left loaded down with future Christmas gifs from the pantry store. We also enjoyed a nice visit with Karen Raye, one of the owners, along with her husband, Senator Kevin Raye, who was out of town on business.

By early evening I realized that we had been two days with only intermittent and weak cell phone and internet service. As we ate dinner on Eastport’s waterfront, my cell phone caught a signal from Canada across the bay, and suddenly several messages appeared – some from my husband, frantic to make sure we were okay, and some from staff alerting me to flooding in southern Maine (although partially overcast in Downeast, there was little or no rain). On one hand, not being tied so much to the phone or email was a welcomed relief. On the other hand, it made me realize how challenging it must be for people living in many areas of Downeast to not have that connectivity that many of us take for granted.

Speaking of connectivity, tonight we gathered in a common living area around the one tv in an Eastport bed and breakfast and watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Squeezed onto couches and carpeting with strangers from a variety of states and Canada, we shared a special enthusiasm and awe in the ceremonies as well as pride in both our countries and the athletes. This was a connection no internet or phone can provide!

Raye’s Mustard Mill

Roosevelt International Park, Campobello

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