Checking Out Eastport, Maine
We decided to return to Eastport, Maine with our E-bikes to further explore the surrounding area on Monday, July 10 before the expected rain that evening. The town is only 30 minutes by truck south of where we are staying, so I looked forward to a short driving day.
Eastport is located on Moose Island which was first settled in 1772 by James Cochrane of Newburyport, Massachusetts. He would be joined by other fishermen from Newburyport and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On February 24, 1798, Eastport was incorporated as a town and was named for being the easternmost port in the United States. Lubec, on the mainland, was set off and incorporated as a town on June 21, 1811.
From 1807 to 1809, the town of Eastport was a center of extensive two-way smuggling during the Embargo Act imposed by President Thomas Jefferson. In 1809, Fort Sullivan was erected atop a village hill, but it was captured by a British fleet under command of Sir Thomas Hardy on July 11, 1814, during the War of 1812 as part of the initiative to establish the colony of New Ireland. England claimed that Moose Island was on the British side of the international border which had been determined in 1783. Nevertheless, the town was returned to United States' control in 1818. The boundary between the U. S. and Canada in that area remained in dispute until settled by the Webster–Ashburton Treaty of 1842. Eastport is the location most recently occupied by a foreign country in the contiguous United States.
In 1833 Eastport was the second largest trading port in the country after New York City. Farms produced hay and potatoes. Industries included a grain mill, box factory and carding mill. But the island's economy was primarily directed at the sea. With tides of about 25 feet (7.6 m), Eastport's spacious harbor remained ice-free year round. The first sardine factory was built here about 1875. The population grew with the emergence of the sardine fishery and related canning businesses, which studded the shoreline by the end of the 19th century. By 1886, the town contained 13 sardine factories, which operated day and night during the season, and produced approximately 5,000 cases per week. About 800 men, women and children worked in the plants. Eastport would be incorporated as a city on March 18, 1893. But the fishing industry would decline and many people moved away. In fact, the city went bankrupt in 1937. In 1976, the Groundhog Day Gale destroyed many structures along the waterfront. Today, catching fish remains the principal industry, although tourism has become important as well.
We parked the truck in the IGA Market parking lot and unloaded the bikes for our trip into town. After an initial ride down the waterfront and the main street, we cruised around the greater Eastport area and found some beautiful homes on the many peninsula fingers and scenic lookouts. On one side road we found a remote mom and pop campground called Harris Point Shore RV, Cabins & Motel with some incredible visas.
We rode back to town and started thinking about a place to eat dinner. We found a wonderful restaurant on the main street called the Waco Diner. It is a delightful and cozy little spot to visit. The friendly staff, delicious food, and welcoming atmosphere made for a truly memorable dining experience. It was time for another lobster roll with onion rings for me and Karen ordered the Seafood Risotto Cakes with a side salad. I ordered dessert this time...fresh baked, warm blueberry pie and a cup of coffee to finish off the evening. We rode back to the truck in a light drizzle and headed back to camp just in time to beat the heavy rain that lasted through the night and into Tuesday morning.