Riding a wave of euphoria after launching Camp Academy, we promptly left the country. I was concerned about leaving behind technology so soon after the site went live, but it turned out to be perfect. My brain and heart needed time to rest and bask in the glow.
We drove up Maine’s Bold Coast from Acadia National Park to Campobello Island. Campobello is a tiny island east of Lubec, Maine. It’s in Canada, but is only accessible year-round from the United States. When I was young my grandfather had a house on Campobello Island, and we’d visit during the summer. I haven’t been since high school and I was anxious to love the reality of Campobello as much as I love my memories of it.
And I do. Campobello Island is full of things I adore: it’s remote, it’s wild, it’s quiet, and it’s remarkably beautiful.
It was Mike’s first time to the island. We were searched by Canadian Border Patrol on the way in, and we watched a man in a bullet proof vest paw through our cabinets while standing in the rain. After getting through we met our hosts, Peter and Bea, who welcomed us to their property for three nights.
We explored Campobello from east to west, north to south. We left no beach undiscovered, no road undriven. Mike took long bicycle rides while I sat in Hobbes and read with the misty sea breezes tickling my cheek. We walked along the rocky beaches, Lemhi running next to us, looking for bald eagles, seals and whales. We drove old carriage roads to remote coves carved out of rock.
Campobello Island is on the Bay of Fundy, which has one of the most powerful tides in the world. We waited patiently for the tide to go down before hiking to Harbour Head Lighthouse, only accessible during low tide. We slid over slimy sea rocks and up tall, wobbly metal ladders.
The island is known for one resident: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR grew up vacationing on the island (like me!) and was at his Campobello house when he became paralyzed from polio. The house is now a national park, and we spent a morning walking through and learning more about FDR and Eleanor’s lives.
The next morning we participated in “Tea with Eleanor,” a tea-and-cookie service where park staff discuss Eleanor’s extraordinary life. I’m now a little obsessed with the woman. She was fearless, progressive, and didn’t take crap from anyone. I’d love to learn a few of those lessons.
I was sad to say goodbye to Campobello. It’s a place that looms large in my memories. I walked along the trails and beaches that I visited with my dad, my grandpa, my grandma…three people who now live only in my memory. It’s a crazy thing to return, after all these years, and love this place just as much.
We spent a long day driving back down the Maine coast, stopping only for gas and wild Maine blueberry ice cream. We stayed a night near Wells Beach, spending the evening with my aunt and uncle. The next day we continued our long drive across New Hampshire to Mikes parent’s house.
I’ve spent the week working and then working more. Hobbes is in the shop for a few repairs, and we’ve completely emptied him with plans of building shelves and re-doing all our storage.
Where to next? We’ll stay in New Hampshire for another week or so, before returning to Maine for a Fourth of July fiesta with friends.
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