The wind, the fog and the whispers of his past continue to shape Lubec

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The storm was fierce. She tries to hold on to the stilts that have tied her up all these years, but her brittle bones are shattering from the last bite of a January storm. His scream was horrible, although no one heard it. At that moment, the howling wind, the surf pounding merciless blows in the midst of the white-clad darkness, she lets go and flies away. Thinking back to Lubec – a place she has seen grow up, almost die and now in full rebirth – her home for 110 years says goodbye to her. She walks on the water, then her light goes out.

*******

Down East is special. Walking along its coastline is a treat, but the real gems of this place, where the whispers of history reside, are its small coastal towns. Every city I visit is like opening a wrapped package, a gift. I carefully remove the paper, respectfully, unraveling a treasure of uniqueness shrouded in beauty.

Lubec is a city where the wind blows and where the whispers of its past are found on every street corner. It is a place that sits on the edge of America where the sun is seen first each morning before sweeping across the rest of the country. At first it was a fishing town. It still is today, even if time has changed it and its inhabitants too. The sardine industry made the city and then gave up, but the fishermen survive here today and keep the story alive. Originally named after a town in Germany, Lubec wrote tales of smokehouses, herring and sardines, gold from seawater, and celebrated a man named Hopley Yeaton, who s ‘retired to the city after serving as the first commissioned officer of what has become the United States Coast Guard.

One thing that is a constant in the East is change. Change is everywhere, offering a glimpse of the past and present to anyone who comes to a coastal city. Her embrace is saturated with the salty air and friendly waves of people eager to sit down and chat about where they live. Lubec is no different.

The wind is pushing change down Water Street, past the wharf, shops, harbor and onto the Canadian island of Campobello, once FDR’s summer home. It’s a circular route, a constant in a sea of ​​change that surprises me every time I visit. This easternmost city in the United States is also home to a famous lighthouse that sits atop West Quoddy Head.

In spring, the city receives travelers with the touch of a spotless hand as it flees the cold after a long winter. Fresh paint flies and neatly sewn “open” flags are ready. An icy pint from the Lubec Brewing Company awaits the desiccated on their journey back to the edge of this nation’s most northeastern point.

The memories of this old brining shed lost in this northeast of January 2018 linger. Its clusters of wood peek out at low tide. Loaded with suds and black over time, it’s a snapshot of the good old days. Downeasters pulling the line, the herring booms full then empty, the fish dried, then processed and canned. Women, children and men living side by side, working long hours in the middle of the ocean, tides and time, their stories now kept in the McCurdy Museum.

People gather along Lubec Narrows to view the remains of McCurdy’s smokehouse herring brining shed. The building traveled about 100 meters offshore before clinging to pylons. Credit: Courtesy of Craig McCaslin

Fog, a tolerable companion, is like a web floating in the air across the city. When the fog sets in, residents make room for it, cutlery and all, “Why fight it,” they say. “Sit a spell, my friend, in front of the fire and let’s pull up the covers together.” When the fog lifts, change is everywhere as residents manage by creating memorable moments to calm down and, of course, inspire summer guests. This place is home to painters, potters, poets, musicians, writers and photographers, and hosts an international marathon while providing breathtaking shore views, while greeting its Canadian brethren on the other side. some water.

On a stroll through town you will find notes of music and art, surrounded by the history of a small fishing village still clinging to a bygone era. SummerKeys offers workshops in everything related to music, writing and photography; The souls of Down East lost on the water are now found on a fishermen’s memorial where their names rest in granite, forever; fishermen wave to boats as they make their way through a morning haze of brackish soup; seagulls defy gravity, and a breath of air shakes the museum’s herring racks up the street. On the uneven sidewalks pushed by time, you are guided by whispers through the streets surrounded by water just in time to see the return of the tide. You can say, “Is that it? But then you realize how hardy and ingenious these people are to make something out of nothing. Everything is there, if you stop to feel the wind and listen.

*******

The soul of a place will speak to you if you listen carefully. In Lubec, it comes from roofs and glazed windows in memory, old and new houses, the voices of young and old. Their stories will welcome you, wish you good luck, and comfort you when you stop. The art of the city will guide your walk from one end of the city to the other. And, just maybe, a low whisper will rise up and touch your ear, a child of the January storm of yesterday, her voice still carried by the wind.


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