Friday, October 1, 2010

Ellsworth Who?

Gateway for tourism best describes Ellsworth, Maine, which isDSCN2608 one busy place from May to September. If you’re motoring to Acadia National Park or Bar Harbor, you will pass through this town. Do yourself a favor and stop in awhile, just don’t expect to find any sidewalk seating because there isn’t any downtown.

Here’s a quirky fact, founded in 1800, the city is named for Oliver Ellsworth, lawyer, politician, Continental Congress member, and third U.S. Chief Justice. So you would think he was a native son or connected to Maine in some way? NOT, true Ellsworth was a New Englander – BUT from Connecticut – born, lived, died and buried there. Maybe someone in the city naming dept. was having a bad day? But then, Jim Thorpe, PA is also named after someone who was never born or lived there.

Ellsworth has a small downtown area of eateries, galleries, coffee shops and several specialty shops. This gift store was a former Newberry’s store – complete with the original tin ceilings. DSCN2563



Way in the back of the store, the former Newbury sign is hanging on the wall . The new store sign is very similar in lettering style.

DSCN2569 Ellsworth is referred to as down east (or downeast). Downeast towns include the southeastern part of Maine: Lubec, Calais, Eastport, Machias, Bar Harbor, Blue Hill, Ellsworth and Acadia National Park.

The term down east is associated with New England. Sailors hauling cargo to the northeast of New England, observed that the prevailing winds came from the southwest, pushing their schooners “downwind” in an easterly direction. Today it is associated with the state of Maine.

Ellsworth has been through two disasters in the 20th century. DSCN2724In 1923, the Great Flood surged along the Union River and washed away many wharves and warehouses and marked the end of Ellsworth's prominence as a shipping center, including the metal bridge. A concrete bridge was finished in 1924.

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The other disaster – The Great Fire of 1933 – ravaged most of Ellsworth's downtown commercial district, on the east side of the Union River. New buildings were built in brick, mainly in Art Deco style and the unique Ellsworth City Hall dates from this period.

DSCN2577 DSCN2582 DSCN2579 The First Congregational United Church of Christ is an impressive structure church located behind city hall.

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John Edwards Market is an upscale organic market and grocery store featuring Maine products, freshly brewed coffee, cookies, fresh baked goods, wine, and lots of local produce. We were very envious.


DSCN2539 Grenville and I took a walking tour through Ellsworth on an overcast day that did not include rain (yeah). And, since you couldn’t join us, come on along through these photos, but we couldn’t include the cup of coffee and home-made donut we enjoyed along the way (sorry).


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DSCN2698 DSCN2700 street lites (3) DSCN2534

And (finally) HERE it is – fall color (more to come).

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And, some good ole New England fog … LOTS more of that to come.

DSCN2765After leaving Ellsworth, Grenville opted for a scenic route that took us through Winter Harbor, Maine, a classic down east fishing village in Hancock County. Ready for another town name story? This one is much less complicated – the town got its name because the harbor did not freeze over in winter. For obvious reasons, this made it an attractive port for the local fishermen and today, it still has a full active fleet of lobster boats, which we spotted despite the fog.
Did I mention we have seen lots of fog this week?

boats in fog (2) boats in fog (8)






 boats in fog (9)

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Grenville posted earlier about the unique Winter Harbor libraryDSCN2813 housed in a former Unitarian chapel. It has a very unique card catalog system. When was the last time you saw one of these?

 DSCN2798 DSCN2801 DSCN2808 This weekend (weather permitting) the adventures continue with a 10-mile train trip on the Downeast Scenic Railroad from Ellsworth on the historic Calais Branch Line to Ellsworth Falls, then to Washington Junction and back to Ellsworth.  DSCN2751 DSCN2754Grenville is a train buff and had to see the trains before the trip.


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Are we having FUN or what?


Lois Evensen said...

Yes, that is wonderful fun! I am having so much fun with you on your road trip. I must admit, though, when I think of Ellsworth, I think of a character from the HBO Deadwood series. I'm staying tuned for your next installments. :)

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Lois, thanks for the compliment because we are having as much fun sharing our adventures. And, you are also keeping us entertained on board your cruise. And, we must confess we have never heard of Ellsworth or the Deadwood series - not TV watchers, but internet junkies instead.

Elaine said...

Ellsworth looks like an interesting place, even if it seems to be a little confused on its naming.

Anvilcloud said...

In Canada, the Maritime provinces are also Down East. We go Down East but Out West. Curious.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Elaine, I hd thought there would be a local connection with the town being named, but searched and could not find anything typing the town to its namesake - very odd, but then Jim Thorpe, PA had the same situation. If you get to PA again, that's an interesting town to visit.

Thanks AC, I have just learned something new today...even if a bit confusing.

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