Ambush Rock

What the marker in Eliot, Maine, doesn’t mention is that Major Charles Frost and Dover’s Richard Waldron concocted the mock wargame that led to the hanging of Native men sent to Boston and the sale of about 350 Penacook women and children into slavery in the West Indies.

This was hardly an attack on an innocent party, then. The Natives waited years to extract revenge, and did it at a time and place that spared others.

My history Quaking Dover adds details.

It’s our principal ‘big city’

Bangor, Maine, population of 31,753, is the third-largest city in Maine. For us in Way Downeast, it’s also where we go for airline flights, medical specialists, the mall and big-box stores, and much more. It also has the region’s daily newspaper.

Well, a bald eagle did fly over just after I shot this and put my camera away.

Thomas Hill Standpipe overlooks the city and valley below.

Oh, yes, it’s still a 2½-hour drive from Eastport.




Sometimes a small city can have a big impact

Bangor, Maine, has about the same population as Dover, New Hampshire – 30,000-plus.

But it’s the center of a wide region and has the spotlight to itself. In fact, though I live a 2½-hour drive away, it’s the place we often turn to for what many folks take for granted.

Here’s some perspective.

  1. It’s where the Penobscot River meets the ocean, so historically it was the world’s leading producer of lumber, which was floated down from the North Woods, milled, and then packed on ocean-going ships.
  2. Well, that did lead to Old Money, which can be seen in the remaining stately homes and churches built by lumber barons in the 19th century.
  3. The river also separates the city from Brewer, which adds another 10,000 or so to the metro population and provides some of the services and products we seek.
  4. Not just the mall and big-box stores, though some of them do deliver way out to our fringe of the state. Don’t overlook new auto dealerships and their service departments, either. Well, we do have one dealer out here in Sunrise County, but it’s not Toyota.
  5. The vast Northern Light Eastern Medical Center on the bank of the Penobscot River is the hub of an integrated health system spanning much of the state. Frequently, that means this is where your specialist is.
  6. Bangor International Airport. It’s where you have to go if you need to a commercial airline connection or are meeting an arrival.
  7. Media. Starting with the Bangor Daily News and Maine Public’s studio.
  8. University of Maine in neighboring Orono. Well, its impact spills over into downtown Bangor, should you be looking for funky.
  9. By the 1880s, Bangor was also a leading producer of moccasins, more than 100,000 a year. Should that be a footnote?
  10. The downtown was struck by major fires in 1856, 1869, 1872, and 1911 – the last one destroying the high school, post office, custom house, public library, telephone and telegraph companies, banks, two fire stations, six churches and a synagogue, about 100 businesses and 285 residences.


I’m not the only one around here hungry for more

Last month we had our first indoor contradance this far east in Maine since the outbreak of Covid, and it was a blast.

I’ve posted before about the New England tradition from colonial times, which hippies then spread around the globe. Not that you have to identify as one to attend. Let’s just say free spirited?

A typical contradance is something for all ages and abilities, singles and couples alike – you do mix during the evening – and the live music is reason enough to come out for a substance-free environment. As we say, if you can walk, you can dance. Besides, a caller has us practice the figures, as they’re termed, before the music begins. It’s a great community-builder, for sure. A great way to meet neighbors of all kinds, or even a potential mate, if you’re unattached. It’s low-pressure, OK?

The whole point is to have fun, mistakes included. Just keep smiling. As I tell the newbies, we experienced dancers make just as many mistakes, mostly because we’re too busy talking.

Our dance last month had mostly beginner dancers, and they were delightful. I’m hoping and expecting to see them back Saturday night at the Eastport Arts Center, bringing a few friends in tow. Frankly, that’s how we all got addicted to this activity, word of mouth with an invite, or even being dragged, as I was, to show up.

Not that you need that much to enter the door.

Remember, just keep smiling.

Our Coast Guard icebreaker

When the icebreaker Thunder Bay visited Eastport last summer, I wondered why the Northeast would need one. And then I learned about the Penobscot and Kennebec rivers this time of year, as well as the mighty Hudson. Yes, they ice up even in the navigable tidal stretches.

Here’s how the Penobscot Narrows look from the observatory atop the Fort Knox bridge: