Sunset on Deer Isle
Deer Isle just seemed to float off the map and bob above it. Every time I perused a map of Maine for interesting places to go, this is where I ended up, sometimes spending hours studying the shoreline, place names and surroundings. Weird. So we’re headed for Deer Isle.
Bridge to Deer Isle
On the way, more small towns. Villages really, sometimes just intersections with a couple of houses, but they all have names. There are places in the Midwest you can drive for a long, long time and still not get to a new place with a different name. You’re either still in the same place or in the middle of nowhere with no name. Here you can’t go a hundred yards before you’re in a different place with a different name. And it feels different. The old East Coast is like that.
We’re on narrow, winding one-and-a-half-lane roads wobbling all over the countryside, and I’ve decided, all other things aside, this Cadillac does drive well. These are winter-weary roads, for sure – patched and repatched, crumbling to pieces in many places. Awe inspiring, actually. Just keeping them all in repair must be a serious and expensive chore.
I’m afraid if I meet a truck on one of the hill-blind curves we’ll end up in a ditch. Signs are posted strategically, reminding drivers to “Keep Right” in such places. Terri asks what these signs mean. When I explain, she is silent for a while. Throughout the next week, she will remind me to keep right every time she sees one of these signs. Soon she can recognize the relevant issue, and when there isn’t a sign she grips the arm rest and reminds me anyway. This is one of several mantras for our trip – “Keep Right!”
Pretty country, though. Bogs and streams, wild blueberry fields, old barns with old boats in them. Some of these villages would be to good come back and explore.
It’s almost dusk when we arrive at the far southwestern end of the island. On a small hill at the water’s edge is a cottage hidden in a copse of evergreens, nestled among ferns and moss-covered granite outcroppings as big as haystacks.
We carry the bags through the woods along a path padded with pine needles, and hear the low grumble of a lobster boat heading out of the harbor, then a fog horn from a lighthouse across the water. The lighthouse stands guard over Deer Island Thoroughfare, and moans extravagantly every fifteen seconds, a cadence like slow breathing, or a grandparent snoring. Our second mantra, it will be a maternal hum in our ears for the next four days. We’ll listen for it as we wander around the island, “Can we hear it from here?” When we do it always brings smile, like a mother calling us home for supper.
Deer Island Thoroughfare Lighthouse
on Mark Island, a mile and a half away.
Once settled, we head around the bend in the road to a secret little beach used by the locals. It’s a little crescent at the head of a cove, facing west with nice views of the sunsets. You can sit in the sand, swim, or scramble over the rocks on the shore, but from all you can see across Penobscot Bay to the islands and the south shore in the distance.