"We prop up the sun every day" ~Maine expression I once heard
|Sunrise West Quoddy Head Maine|
Watching the sunrise is a unique experience for a variety of reasons. There's a brilliant color display and crescendo of light that finally brings warmth. I've seen many a glorious sunrise on many different horizons but none compares to the sunrise on West Quoddy Head, Maine. The setting itself is intrinsically beautiful but this point happens to be the eastern-most spot in the continental United States. This is to say, when you stand here, you are standing on America's closest point to the continents of Europe and Africa. So, if you are one who enjoys sunrises, I highly recommend you make it to West Quoddy Head, Maine. (Quddy is pronounced as you would pronounce the fish "cod" with a "y")
How I ended up on the Easternmost Spot in America
I first heard of this location in junior high school from a history teacher. I was surprised to find out that the easternmost spot in America is in Maine; most people believe its in Florida or Cape Cod. Fast forward about 10 years and I'm working in Maine as a ropes course director. I got a day off and borrowed a friends car and set off to see the first sunrise! Leaving southern Maine at around 11:00PM, I had to drive nearly 6 hours to get to this point. Maine is actually a pretty large state for one on the eastern seaboard!
|Looking eastwards towards Sail Rock, the true easternmost spot of land in America|
Finally, I arrived as dawn was breaking. The lighthouse on this point is the West Quoddy Head lighthouse and it looks like a giant, conspicuous peppermint. Believe it or not, I was completely alone at that lighthouse which surprised me. Its not exactly a secret and in the middle of the summer there can be several other crazy people wanting to catch the sunrise. The lighthouse was pretty, but I was endeavoring to travel to the exact spot of land that was dubbed "easternmost". This required a little bit of down-climbing the cliffy Maine coast to the pebbly beach. From here, I simply watched and waited.
|Lobster boat in the distance!|
This location is both gorgeous and quintessentially Maine-ish. The coast is very cliffy and green with pines inhabiting everything up to the very line of high tide. The water is icy cold but brilliantly blue and full of cold-water kelp. Off in the distance I could hear the gentle rumble of several lobst-ah (lobster) boats going out for their morning runs. All of this complimented the fact that I was the only person watching America's first sunrise.
|The West Quoddy Head Lighthouse|
I couldn't have asked for a more poetic sunrise. There were clouds on the horizon which curiously didn't obscure the sunrise while reflecting the rays. Simply put, it was a "light" symphony and sat there for a full two hours to enjoy it all. The main event, the sunrise, was not the end, but the middle. The colors seemed to change even an hour after the sun finally rose. The only thing that could have made it more Maine-y is if I was eating blueberries and lobster right then and there!
Things to do before I die- watch the sunrise on the coast of Maine- CHECK!
West Quoddy Head Maine is located near the town of Lubec, Maine. Getting there requires somewhat of a complex route down several State road. You would be best advised to use Google Maps to get there, but here's a general description.
From just about anywhere, head north on I-95 to the town of Bangor, Maine (pronounced Baang-ah). From here, you head about 40 miles east on State Route 9. Then you will head south on State Route 193 for about 20 miles until you come to US Route 1. Route 1 will take you eastward for 44 miles and though the town of Manchias until you come to State Route 189 with signs for Lubec and West Quoddy Head. Drive 10 miles east on 189 until you see Lubec Road. Take a right and continue for 2.7 miles until you hit a slight left to get on Quoddy Head Road. Drive until you hit water!
Read. Plan. Get Out There!