Despite a not-so-great weather forecast, we decided to head north. Canada is just 15 to 20 miles from our campground and we were told there is a quaint town called St. Andrews that would be fun to visit. So, off we went. But, as you all know by now, we enjoy the journey as much (or sometimes more!) as the destination. And today was no different.
Once again we traveled along Route 1 and found several reasons to stop along the way. We first came upon a rest area from which we could see Canada across the river. Since it was overcast, the picture isn’t as pretty as it could be, but it still amazes me that I was looking at another country just miles away! I know - I am easily amazed.
From the rest area, we continued along Route 1 and passed the international historic site of St. Croix Island. This was the first settlement in the “New World” north of Florida and was founded in 1604. Unfortunately, the settlement didn‘t last because of the extremely harsh weather. It sits midway between the US and Canada in the St. Croix River. The St. Croix River empties in the Passamaquoddy Bay in Canada.
We came to one of 12 milestones that mark the distance between Robbinston (where we are staying) and Calais, the town just before the Canadian border. What’s so special about a milestone? We certainly see these every day, right? Well, not like these! These 12 milestones are more than 130 years old! There were set out by a Calais lumberman, James Shepherd Pike, who owned a summer home in Robbinston. He also owned champion pacing horses and he liked to time them as he traveled between his homes. So he calculated each mile from Robbinston and placed a stone there until he reached Calais. Each stone had the distance in miles chiselled into its face. Pretty neat, huh?
In a county whose land mass is as large as the state of Connecticut, Calais is the largest town with a population of about 3400 folks. I guess when you have towns like Robbinston whose population is just 525, Calais is a big town! We found some really neat architecture here as well as a Wal Mart! Thank God - how can you get along without a Wal Mart!! And, yes, we did stop in - had to get some milk and tea bags!
The Canadian border came next. We had a bit of a wait as the border guards check each vehicle’s passengers for ID. They ask why you’re coming into the country. They did let us in. From the border we had about a 30 minute ride to get to St. Andrews. Once there, we walked down the wharf and took pictures of Passamaquoddy Bay on which St. Andrews sits. It was founded by the British in 1783. This is another quaint town that seems to thrive on its tourism. Lots of whale watching tour companies, local restaurants, shops filled with local art, and of course, gift shops!
The rain decided it had held off long enough, so we figured it was time to start back to the campground. It’s not fun walking in the chilly, September rain. We crossed back into the United States without incident. Our border welcome sign isn’t near as nice as Canada’s though! It was good to be back on American soil and not have to think in kilometers!
Hope you enjoyed this little history lesson. :) I really like learning about the places we visit. But, as I told Randy today, no matter where we’ve been, all of the towns and people are familiar in that they are working hard and trying to live life as they think they should. We are all very similar in that.
We plan to go to Lubec tomorrow to see West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. Hope the weather is better!