So, one of my good friends has always wanted to go on a road trip to be the first people in the US to see the New Year, a la that Subaru Outback commercial from a few years back, minus the camping, but I’m sure plus the windchill.
Well, consider it done, as a group of us have booked a little cabin at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, in exotic Lubec, Maine, which happens to be the Easternmost town in the United States. And according to the plan, arise (or stagger out in a frozen drunken stupor) at sunrise and boom, we will be the first Americans to greet 2020 on home soil. At first I was skeptical, but that damn commercial does grow on you, and I think it’s actually a pretty cool idea.
We will be spending two nights up there over New Years in a stand alone cabin, with heat and plumbing for the whopping price of $200, total. I have done all the conventional New Year’s, crowded clubs, dive bars, house parties, I even watched the ball drop in Times Square a few years ago, but I might be most excited for this trip, even though he will only be away a few days, I really feels like I’m planning for an adventure, could be because I have been stocking up on long underwear like some sort of ice age extremist, but isn’t that part of the fun?
What I will say is this, I was astounded by the natural beauty of the area, and surprised by it. I grew up spending the summers in Wells Beach, Maine, about an hour and a half drive from Boston, and have since frequented the Maine Beaches and South Coast, and have always loved the rock cliffs that predominate the scenery. What I found around Lubec, and especially once we went over to Campobello Island in New Brunswick, that it looked like what I imagined the Pacific Northwest did, lots of evergreens right down to the water on a semi rocky shore.
Lubec is located right on the edge of the Bay of Fundy, which is kind of a wonderland of geology, home to some of the largest tide differentials in the world, and a place to spot amazing wildlife. On our trip alone we spotted loons, a bald eagle and a bobcat roaming around. Considering it’s technically the dead of winter, that’s pretty good. During the summer and fall months apparently you can see whales breaching right from shore, as well as puffin nests, deer and even moose!
I am already trying to plan a trip back in late summer or early fall, I think catching the changing of the leaves in September, along with the ability to see some animals out and about would be outstanding, and I would highly recommend a trip to Lubec.
Campobello Island was actually a bonus trip, I don’t think we realized how close Canada actually was, just a bridge ride away. The island’s claim to fame is that it was the summer home of the Roosevelts (FDR especially) in the early part of the century, they loved the peacefulness and natural beauty of the island, and I can totally see why. I would virtually demand it as a side trip, we hit up the Herring Cove Park and it was just amazing. I was channeling my Man vs. Wild, and expecting to see a bear come lumbering out of the woods.
I also want to give a major league shout out to the West Quoddy Head Station Rentals, they offer fantastic rental cabins at even better prices, and within walking distance to the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and well as Quoddy Head National Park, a perfect place to stay if you want to get your nature on. I would never plan on staying anywhere else.
So, all in all, an excellent trip, barely any time off work, and less for an entire long weekend than I would have spent in one night anywhere in Boston or especially New York City. Not to mention, of course, another check mark on the ubiquitous bucket list, but more importantly, I found a spot that I absolutely loved, and plan on returning. Moral of the story, being unconventional can be a huge win.
Oh yea, for all you keeping score, the temperatures were mid 40s, I didn’t even pack a piece of my new long underwear collection.