Although they refer to themselves as “Mainers” and everyone else, as “from away,” one must question the mentality of an entire population that seems to thrive in an area where they are constantly immersed in snow, sleet, hail, rain, fog or the ever present “annoying mist.”  The end result is that everything is constantly damp and the people are pale and prunish.  But they are a very clean bunch!  Getting here in time for the annual Lobsta Festival (more about that later) required that we ignore much of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York after our departure from Rochester, Indiana.   A “must see” in New York occurred in the Watkins Glen area where we stopped by the local Elks Lodge, a stately turn of the century mansion converted to a playground for 60-year old adolescents…

I believe this has something to do with the less-than-revealing outfits the beauty contestants once wore to win the coveted “Lobsta Queen” title and the $25 gift certificate from Aubochon’s hardware store…

As intense as their love of lobster, the local lobstermen also share a loathing of whales and the environmentalists who protect them.  This animosity is due to the enormous regulated expense absorbed by each boat to protect a whale that hasn’t been seen in these waters for 150 years.  You don’t want to be caught wearing a “Greenpeace” t-shirt anywhere near this island!  Can you say, “Bait”?   The highlight of our stay was the Lobsta Festival and attending the longest parade we have ever seen…

Each marker buoy holds as many as 10 traps and each lobsterman can have as many as 800 traps.  The “hauls” today contain only 10-15% of the lobster they caught only 5 years ago and the lobstermen seem to stay in the business as much for tradition as for the money they now earn.  Kyle, the young man on the left, from a long line of fishermen with over 100 years of family history on Vinalhaven, has had his own boat since graduating from school 5 years ago…

   Lobsta                                                                       August 6, 2008

Our Rockland adventure also included a side trip to Vinalhaven, an island located about an hour by ferry from the mainland with a population of about 1500 lobstermen…

I have never seen a man age so quickly!  Notice the pale complexion and prunish look?!  Mike has a few lobster connections and we soon found ourselves enjoying home delivered crustaceans at least once a day…

My Bride, in a manner similar to Hannibal charging through the Alps on elephants, blazed a trail of destruction through the local lobster population from which they may never recover…

These sailors are stationed aboard the USS Whidbey Island.   I don’t recall any female sailors during my tenure in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club, but that truly was during the age of iron men and wooden ships!  Thanks for your service to America, guys!!  The winner of the festival’s beauty pageant is no longer called the “Lobsta Queen” but “Sea Goddess” instead…

I think that it is stretching the truth a wee bit to portray this place as a small American town near the Canadian border when it is actually no more that an old hotel and tourist trap, albeit very scenically situated.  Maine, the primary target of this month’s diatribe, was hosting the 61st annual Lobster Festival in Rockland, which is also the home of my “other” brother-in-law, aka: The Nice One.   After 2 weeks of dealing with us, his sense of humor evaporated along with most of what little hair he still laid claim to…

My traveling companion and charter subscriber to “Wine Enthusiast” magazine discovered nearly a dozen “must have” bottles that were soon piled onto the rear seat of our Jeep; and this was from only the first winery we visited!!  Our  RV is now piled floor to ceiling with cases of wine with names like “Merlin’s Merlot”  and “Gwenevere”s  Gewurtz” which we purchased at King Arthur’s Kupboard and Cheap Wine Wholesalers.  After New York, we trekked through to Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, to satisfy our curiosity as to where a town of just 18 voters houses the hundreds of reporters and TV crews that converge upon them for every national election, when theirs are the first results reported shortly after midnight on Election Day…

The event garners attendees from every corner of the world and even the occasional US Navy warship will make a port call so their crews can join the fun…

The change may also be due to the discovery that several of the previous Lobsta Queens turned out to be elderly men when they showed up at Aubochon’s to redeem their gift certificates!  We departed Rockland yesterday and toward the end of the day the sun broke through the clouds, the temperature warmed and small birds began to sing.  I looked over to my Bride and said, “Darlin’, perhaps I have misjudged this place.”  Just then I saw the sign, “Welcome to New Hampshire.”   On such a note I would usually end this torturous excursion into mediocrity…last night, however, we stayed in Keene, New Hampshire.  Their claim to fame: they have the most unsolved murders in the country.  Either they are atop the list of the Mafia’s favorite vacation spots for hit men or they have the Keystone Kops patrolling their streets…

And more than a few of the numerous wineries that dot the shores of the Finger Lakes…

Maniacs!  We have found ourselves surrounded by these folks over the past 2 weeks as we explore the area in and around Rockland, Maine . . .

It is difficult to imagine the number of lobster traps on the floor of the ocean surrounding the island…

We slept with our doors and windows locked and armed our pet goldfish with an Uzi.  Somehow, we made it through the night!!  Hugs, Chuck and Zookie