Lubec, easternmost community of the continental US, juts out into Lubec Channel, the international border with New Brunswick, Canada. Lubec Channel forms a tight bottleneck between downtown Lubec and Campobello Island in New Brunswick. Twice a day the immense tidal shift of the Bay of Fundy turns Lubec Narrows into a churning sea where seals and birds feed and play. Just inside the channel, Lubec harbors a hard-working fishing fleet and tour boats.
Lubec’s culture is deeply connected to fishing, particularly the herring industry. The waters off Lubec once teemed with herring, pollock and shellfish. The Passamaquoddy Tribe camped at Seward’s Neck during spring smelt runs. The very word “Passamaquoddy” means “pollock plenty place” in their tribal language. During the industry’s heyday, sardine canneries and smokehouses lined Lubec’s waterfront, plus docks, boat yards, and chandleries. People in Lubec fondly recall their days working at McCurdy‘s Smokehouse, the Nation’s last operating herring smokehouse. McCurdy’s is now a Museum on the National Register of Historic Places and a must-see interactive site on the Downeast Fisheries Trail –it still smells a bit like smoked herring.
Lost Fisherman’s Memorial Park honors fishermen lost at sea off the Bold Coast. Names of 111 fishermen are etched into the memorial’s Wave sculpture; many of their descendants and families live in the region today. The Wave’s creator, a sculptor from Steuben who continues the granite cutting tradition, created the Maine Sculpture Trail, a series of large and interactive art installations, sculpted from local granite, located in parks across the Bold Coast. Directly across the channel from the Memorial is Mulholland Point Lighthouse on Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada, still guiding mariners that last leg home. The Park is adjacent to the commercial boat ramp and ripping currents of Lubec Narrows, a beautiful yet sobering spot to sit and contemplate the complex, intimate connection between 200 years of Bold Coast inhabitants and the generous yet brutal sea.
Campobello Island’s only land access is through downtown Lubec. The island’s shear headlands mirror those across the bay on the Cutler Coast. Roosevelt/Campobello International Park is the only International Park in the world. The Park was developed around President Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt’s summer home, where Eleanor held daily teas and inspired many political accomplishments around civil rights. The Roosevelt family descendants maintain ties to the island and park.