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Maine Lighthouse Road Trip: Lubec | West Quoddy Light

I recently went on a solo road trip up and down the coast of Maine. If you'd like to take a peek at some other posts from this adventure, you can follow these links to see some more beautiful scenery and lighthouses:



In past visits to Maine, Bar Harbor is the furthest North we've ever stopped to explore, so I was pretty excited to drive all the way up to Lubec, which is the Eastern-most point in the continental U.S. My biggest motivation for making the trek up here was West Quoddy Lighthouse. I've seen pictures online of this little lighthouse for years, and have wanted to see it in person ever since, so once I read more about Lubec, I was even more convinced I had to drive up here. It's just over two hours from Bar Harbor, and honestly, even though I only spent a night here, it was a trip highlight for sure. I'm so looking forward to telling you all about it.



TWO THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING LUBEC

1. It's very close to the Canadian border. When I pulled into the West Quoddy Lighthouse parking area, my phone said "Welcome to Canada!" so I'm really not kidding that it's so close. Our cell company didn't charge us for international data or roaming, but it may be something to keep on your radar when up this way.

2. I loved Lubec. So much. That said, it's probably not a place for everyone. The actual town itself is very small, and I could see how some may describe it as run down. I didn't see it that way, and I loved all the perfectly weathered buildings and shacks, and the fact that there wasn't really too much going on. If you're in no need for a "town" feel during your stay, and are looking for a way to slow down and get in touch with nature, this is your place.




WHERE TO STAY IN LUBEC

I stayed in some really cute places during my entire trip, and especially loved my room in Boothbay Harbor. But guys, I think my favorite of them all was my hotel here, which was the Inn on the Wharf. I actually only ended up booking here because it was the only place that was open in mid-May that was right in town, where I wanted to be. And their website isn't quite as updated as most places, so I honestly wasn't exactly sure what I was getting myself into. But once I got there, I was in coastal New England heaven and didn't want to ever leave. I've thought about going back to this exact room pretty much daily since getting back. It was also one of the least expensive rooms I booked during my whole trip.

View from my little deck space at the Inn on the Wharf.


The rooms are very basic on the inside, but incredibly clean and have everything you could need (including a fridge and coffee maker). But the views - that's where it's at with this place. I had a sliding glass door and my own covered deck space that overlooked the water, and there were fishing boats, little tree-lined islands and fishing shacks within my direct eye line. It was spectacular. The room I had was called Rum Runner, and there are a few rooms at the inn that provide this same exact view. You do kind of share your deck space with your neighbor, but it's roped off and made to feel pretty private. After dinner, I grabbed my book, sat in my chair on my deck and watched the sun go down, and it was one of the highlights of my entire trip. 

Walkway leading to my room.

View just to the right of my deck.

We had a cloudy sunset, but the color of the water was still spectacular. View of the sunset from my deck.




The Inn also has an in-house restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I had dinner and breakfast here, both of which were very good. Not the best food I had during my trip, but it was very tasty and worth coming here. The fish stew at dinner was especially good, and if you sit outside, you can overlook the water (there are only a few tables outside, though). 

THINGS TO DO IN LUBEC


West Quoddy Head Light & State Park

Let's just jump right into my main reason for coming - this beautiful lighthouse. West Quoddy Lighthouse is about 10-15 mins outside of the main town of Lubec, and is also surrounded by a little state park that has some scenic walking trails as well as a few moderate hikes. 




The lighthouse itself overlooks Quoddy Channel, which sits between the U.S. and Canada. And, as I'm sure you've gathered, I loved it here. I actually spent about two hours just enjoying the scenery and snapping some photos and had a really nice little morning. I didn't do any of the trails in the state park, except for part of the Coastal Trail close to the lighthouse, but I've read great things about all of them online.






Hiking

Since we're talking about hiking, the main reason I didn't do any of the hikes in the Quoddy State Park was because I had researched some other ones I wanted to do later that day. I had planned to do two: Hamilton Cove and Boot Head Preserve, but my schedule only allowed me to do one (because someone spent too much time staring at fishing boats in town), and I went for Boot Head Preserve. This one is located about 15 mins outside of town, and very close to Hamilton Cove, so if time allows, you can easily do both back-to-back.




I did this trail right before sunset on an overcast weekday in May and I was the only one on the whole thing, which was amazing. And let me tell you guys, I was so impressed with the views on this trail. And I had just come from Acadia, which is known for some of the most beautiful coastline views in the Northeast. I'm not sure if I just had low expectations or what, but I was completely blown away and think this part of the state is super underrated. 

Boot Head Preserve is a pretty easy trail without a lot of upward incline, and I recommend doing the entire loop. If you do the entire loop, you will first stop at a really nice little sandy beach, which would be especially enjoyable on hot days when you can go swimming. After the beach, you'll keep going on the loop to make your way up to the coastal overlooks. To do the entire loop, you'll want to go left when the trail splits, and follow signs for the beach. If you want to skip the beach, go right when the trail splits, which will take you on a shortcut to the overlooks. There will be signs, but they're a bit confusing, so just remember: left for the beach and the overlooks, right for the overlooks only.

The first major overlook area will take you to a spot with a scenic little log staircase and plenty of places to see dramatic coastline. It has a spot at the top of the staircase that makes you feel like you're on top of the world. It was amazing.






The second major overlook area will take you to a viewing platform and a bench where you can take in another insanely gorgeous coastline view. I'm just going to let the photos speak for themselves.






The walk back to the parking area is very easy after these, and I actually got a hint of sunshine peering through the trees for the first time during the hike. The sunlight illuminated the moss-covered grounds, and it made me realize that I had actually never seen so much moss before. Ever. So this was actually kind of cool for me (but maybe not as exciting for some people).

The moss-lined trail on the walk back to the parking area was a little magical for me.

I've never seen moss like this before - it was so pretty.

Walk Around Lubec's Town

As I mentioned before, the town itself is very small, but I found it it to be absolutely lovely. 






McCurdy's Smokehouse Museum is one stop to definitely make, even if you don't go inside the actual museum. I didn't go inside the museum (I'm honestly not even sure if it was open when I was there), but the exterior will most definitely send you back in time. This was Lubec's site for smoking/packing cured herrings, and it was the longest lasting smokehouse for this purpose until it was the last of its kind to close in 1991. Each building still has the sign up, noting what it was used for, and while the buildings are roped off, you can still get close enough to take in the scenery from outside.






During non-COVID times, Lubec is also a short drive over to Campobello Island in New Brunswick, home to a park and a lighthouse. I was secretly hoping that the Canadian borders would open just before my arrival so I could get over there, but that obviously didn't happen. All the more reason to go back someday, though. If you plan to do this, just be sure you have your passport since you'll be crossing the border.

But even without actually going to Canada, you can actually see Canada from most points in town. While I was walking downtown, I was able to very clearly see Mulholland Point lighthouse, which is in Canada. It's crazy how close you are when you're there.

See that lighthouse? Yeah, that's Canada.


There are a few shops around the town area, but most of them were closed while I was there since May is still considered off season up here. Monica's Chocolate's was open, and while I didn't stop there, it has great reviews online. To get there, you do have to drive outside of town for a few mins, though. Beyond that, most of your time spent will be taking in the simple pleasures of a small fishing town. 

If you're here more than a few days (which, I wish I had been) and have more time, you can also visit the neighboring towns of Eastport and Calais, which I will definitely be doing next time. Both look to be picturesque towns with a similar feel to Lubec, though maybe with a few more things to do. 




For a really unique experience, you can also stay in a lighthouse during peak season about 30 mins South of Lubec in a town called Cutler Harbor. This was something I stumbled upon while planning my time in Lubec, and had it been open, this would have definitely been something I would have considered. Little River Light Station hosts guests for overnight stays, and the whole experience sounds so fun if you're into lighthouses. For your stay, you're picked up from a dock on the mainland, and brought over by ferry to the island. Your accommodations are inside the lighthouse, and it has three bedrooms, and one full bath. It sounds as though you have the whole island to yourself during your stay, but I'm not 100% sure on that. I also had a lot of questions about how it works if you're just a couple or small family (as in, do you share a bathroom with other people staying in the other rooms?), and how/if you bring your own food to the island.  But honestly, the whole thing sounds incredible for a once in a lifetime experience. For more information, click here.



And there's what I have for you for Lubec. I was so surprised by the hiking opportunities and thrilled with the quaint and authentic fishing village feeling. It's a great place to base yourself for exploring the Northeast corner of Maine with lots of day trip options (especially when Canadian borders are open) and I can't imagine it gets too crowded, even in summer, since it's so far north of Acadia. I loved it all, and if you think you would too, I can't recommend it enough. 

Next up, I start to head back down the coast, spend the next two days in Camden and visit quite a few lighthouses (including my favorite from the whole trip).







I traveled to this destination in May 2021, just after the CDC announced its recommendation that face masks were no longer suggested for indoor and outdoor activities for those who were fully vaccinated. I was fully vaccinated for this trip, and followed all local Maine guidelines, which still mandated wearing a mask indoors. That is why you won't see me wearing any face masks outdoors, though. If you're not fully vaccinated and plan to travel, please follow CDC and local state/country guidelines, and protect yourself and others by wearing your face mask in public settings when social distancing is not an option, especially indoors. 

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