We had a full day on our agenda today. We started by driving 12-13 miles to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. This is a beautiful bridge across, what else, the Penobscot Narrows.
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is a 2,120 feet long cable-stayed bridge (I explained this term a few days ago, in Boston…) that carries the highway over the Penobscot River. It replaced the Waldo–Hancock Bridge, built in 1931.
The old bridge was state of the art when it was built in the 1930s, but it was discovered be be suffering from corrosion and was in danger of failing in 2000.
The Penobscot Bridge is also home to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, the first bridge observation tower in the United States and the tallest public bridge observatory in the world. The tower reaches 420 feet (128 m) into the air and allows visitors to view the bridge, the nearby Fort Knox State Historic Site, the Penobscot River, and Bay. To get an idea of how this thing is:
Bunker Hill Monument: 221′
Statue of Liberty: 305′
Penobscot Observatory: 447′
Washington Monument: 555′
This thing is tall!
We admired the bridge from below, then took the high-speed elevator to the observatory at the top on the tower.
The views were spectacular!
The approach and abutments from the old bridge can be seen below:
The new approach to the new bridge requited 158,000 cu. yds. of granite to be carved out of this hillside:
After the bridge observatory we went to see Fort Knox. No, this isn’t the one with all the gold – that one is in Kentucky. This one is a perfect example of locking the barn after all the horses have been stolen. After being attacked during the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary war, and the War of 1812, Congress authorized the building of this fort. It was a state-of-the-Art fort, built between 1844 and 1869, but it was never actually finished, and it never saw any action in any war.
It was a fun tour, though. The cannon bays, the soldiers’ quarters, and the general design were all very interesting.
There is a replica of a period-accurate cannon that they fire every hour on weekends. Once you hear this cannon fire , you can just imagine what it must be like to hear 30, 40, 60 cannons firing continuously. Just this one is deafening! Every time we hear its BANG! I instinctively looked around for a scoreboard…!
Next on today’s agenda was a drive over the bridge to the town of Bucksport. It had a nice harbors, but most businesses looked woebegone and wretched. When we arrived we ran into the tail end of their anniversary parade. We parked out of the way, and walked the main street. Post-parade they had a festival along the waterfront. But what could not be ignored is this town is going “paperless”. In late 2014 the local paper mill closed, and today it is being dismantled. Unfortunately, this town has no reason for being. I hope something in the local economy springs up to support the town, but it is pretty sad today. A water-front house, a 13 room colonial, 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 3,200 square feet, is asking $168,000 – about $50 per s.f. Another New England town is about to bite the dust.
You get a nice view of the bridge and fort across the harbor:
Finally, we are off to Camden, Maine. It is a cute little town with a cute little harbor and it is home port for many Windjammer antique sailing ship cruises. The harbor area is dripping in charm. There is no real industry here other than tourism. We walked around the town, enjoying the sights and the views, and even some of the shops. We had lunch on the waterfront, and all was great.
We returned to the Villa, stopping for groceries along the way. We went for a walk on the beach; Lynda found this baby eel in the tide pools:
Happy hours ensued, and an enjoyable time was had by all…