We don’t live in Boothbay Harbor. We don’t live anywhere near Boothbay Harbor. But every once in a while, when we’re feeling Huffy, we load up the chariot and go places and see things. We went to Boothbay Harbor this summer. We had to drive a long way, dead east, to get there.
Boothbay Harbor ain’t Boothbay. They’re two different burghs. More people live in Boothbay. That’s not to say a lot. Only about 3,000 people live in Boothbay, and about a thousand fewer live in Boothbay Harbor. Add them both together and our town is about the same size, and we live at the edge of nowhere. Our town is big if you go by the dotted lines, however. It looks more like a county on the map if you’re from a wee state like Rhode Island or something.
Of course those are the population numbers for the winter. In the summer, the population of Boothbay Harbor is Boothbay Harbor in the winter, plus all of Massachusetts and New York, with a smattering of flyover states, by the look of it. It’s nice in the summer and people go there.
It’s in Lincoln County. That’s Downeast, which you get to by going up and to the right on the map. Boothbay Harbor and thereabouts was big into shipbuilding, and fishing, but it’s mostly just a vacuum cleaner wand for tourist wallets now. The ocean is still there. I know. I checked:
Boothbay Harbor has the hahbah right through the middle of it, in a loop. They built a big pedestrian causeway across it. I was standing on it while taking this picture. They built little rest areas along it, with benches, and we sat and drank coffee and watched each other’s noses turn red from the cloudless sunshine.
Right in the middle of the pedestrian bridge across the runnel, there’s a private residence, man. Neato.
It’s perfectly maintained, and has a sign warning you that it belongs to someone so go drink your coffee somewhere else, so we did. I think I could just about stand to live in that house. But only because it’s about perfect. No other reason.
But I think I’d rather live in this one. It’s more than about perfect. There are little streets around the harbor, mostly circles that dip down and loop back up to higher ground. The streets were plenty quiet enough to ride bikes on, but a little hilly.
Head downtown, and they go all Greek on you. They were selling trinkets or tchotchkes or something in front of the library, and we stopped and sat in the shade for a little while. They have a nifty flying carpet statue out front. I imagine they’ll replace it with a statue of a tween girl surfing the internet when they get enough bronze. Libraries try to stay topical nowadays. That’s why there are no books in them anymore.
In the center of town, hard by the water, the tourists and their money part company. If you need stuff and junque, they got it.
We didn’t spend a lot of time in this part of town. It has a Potemkin village vibe. It’s a cartoon of the Maine seacoast. The real deal folks with whales on their pants and spinnakers in their forecastles live in Boothbay, and sail off private moorings and docks, in my experience.
A young woman came out of one of the shops to get a breath of fresh air and complimented my wife on her bike. Well, it technically was a compliment, but we translated it into a desire to watch that bike whenever we parked it.
If you look hard enough, you can find two Adirondack chairs in a quiet spot and eat your lunch. Then again, you can find that in my back yard, too. The bird bath is much smaller than the Atlantic, however, and the gulls don’t favor it quite so much.