A Maine Adventure In Three Acts
Act one: Cobscook Bay State Park, Edmunds Township, Maine
Cobscook Bay State Park is surrounded on three sides by its namesake. This 888-acre park was purchased with funds from Duck Stamps and was originally a wildlife refuge. The camping area was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937 and it was not until 1964 that it became a state park. Exploration opportunities abound in this area aptly named the Bold Coast. Here, the tides average 24 feet, which equates to the water rising or falling approximately one foot every fifteen minutes in six hours. Cobscook comes from the Passamaquoddy word meaning “boiling tides,” and we understand why when we visit Reversing Falls. As the tide rushes out, the calm water is covered with large ringlets of water, and it seems as if the water is about to start boiling.
Our campsite, number six, is one of a handful of first-come sites in the park that are right on or near the water. Our site can accommodate an RV up to thirty-five feet, over twice the size of Marshmellow. With such a large site and the easy maneuverability of Marshmellow, we spend two hours trying to find just the right spot to park for the week. I pull forward, back-up, get out and stand with my hands on my hips while conferring with Erin, then repeat the process several more times. Exasperated with our indecision, the boys wander down to the shore where they find a bone that looks like a miniature whale’s tail. Finally, we tuck Marshmellow in between the trees, angled just right so we can see the water through the big back window.
Our first night there are intermittent torrents of rain, no leaking window this time. It is still raining in the morning but that does not diminish the beauty of the landscape here, in a way it enhances it. But to our dismay, we have positioned Marshmellow right under a tree that is being ravaged by tent caterpillars. I realize that the plinking sound we heard in the night was the caterpillars relieving themselves all over Marshmellow and the outdoor rug. By the end of the trip, Marshmellow will look as if it has been toasted.
Erin had read that you can roast Pillsbury cinnamon rolls over hot coals, much like the doughboys, and we decide to give it a try. I have bought the extra-large ones, a mistake, and after a valiant effort, the boys and Erin determine that this particular culinary adventure is a bust. It will not be our last on this trip.
In hopes of learning of a great bakery close by, I take the bone the boys found and drive up to the ranger station to see what the bone is and what local knowledge I can glean. A couple in their later years are working this morning. The wife is a tender-hearted woman who is small in stature but exudes an air of confidence and determination often found in local New Englanders.
They give me a list of places to explore, tell me the bone is most likely from a deer, not a miniature whale and that Little River Lobster once had lobster for $3.50 per pound. An amazing price.
“What’s the name of that beach? The one I’m not allowed to go to anymore?” she asks her husband.
“Jasper Beach, he says,” looking up and giving me a wry smile a twinkle in his eye. “One can only bring home so many stones.”
“ I came here as a girl and hardly anything’s changed,” she tells me smiling too. I remember when that big field just before the mobile camping area sign was filled with cows. There used to be a big house on the top of the hill too. I bet that some of the apple trees in this park are two hundred years old. If you see apple trees, that means someone settled there for a time. In the middle of the woods or along the shore, it is a sure sign of homesteading.”
The Pie Ladies is the place to go for all things that we should not eat but do anyway because they are so good. They are just up the road in Pembroke and well worth the 30-minute round trip. Started by a mother and daughter team, it now seems that a third generation is also working here. When Noah and I go for the first time, the grandmother is there, and she embodies the quintessential pie-baking grandma. Short and stocky, with a poof of curly white hair and kind loving eyes, she wears a practical dress and sensible shoes. When we indulge in a dozen cookies along with our cinnamon rolls, she fusses over the fact that the peanut butter ones are all broken. I also get two large cups of coffee because we have run out and my plan of getting a bag of locally roasted coffee has fallen to pieces. All I’ve been able to find is a small can of the mass-produced coffee for $6.99. In the Sixties, my parents traveled through fourteen European countries on $5.00 a day, and now I can’t even buy a can of bad coffee for that much. Oh, the privileged problems we endure while navigating this blessed life that we have.
Our adventure continues next week. Tally Ho!