Skip to content

Mr. Geography explains “down east”

09/05/2013
How can the "easternmost point in the U.S." be in the West Quaddy Head Lighthouse? That's what happens "downeast"

How can the “easternmost point in the U.S.” be in the West Quaddy Head Lighthouse? That’s what happens “downeast”

Minnesotans go “up north” to the cabin.

Mainers, and folks from all over New England, go “downeast” to camp.

The terminology is different but the concept is pretty much the same: People jump in their car, drive a few hours north to relax, have fun, and sit around a large body of water.

The thing that messes me up is the “north” and “east” stuff. Which way are we really going?

Jen and I headed “downeast” for a little Labor Day weekend getaway. The actual act of driving “downeast” feels a lot like driving “up north,” only the hills are bigger, the woods are deeper and the farm fields feature blueberry barrens instead of corn rows.

We drove all the way “up” (or is it “over?) to Lubec, Maine.

Lubec a tiny coastal village connected to Canada by a rickety, metal, arch-top bridge. The bridge crosses a narrows that roars with action as the tide sucks water out of a small fishing harbor and into the Bay of Fundy.

Near Lubec, we ran into “Mr. Geography” at the West Quaddy Head Lighthouse, a red and white striped tower with a neat little museum and art gallery.

Mr. Geography informed us that the lighthouse, and its surrounding state park, is the easternmost point in the United States.

But weren’t we at the West Quaddy Head Lighthouse?

Jen and I stood at a chain link fence and looked out over what must have been a 300-foot cliff. The sun had just burned off a mid-afternoon fog. The waves crashed below us.  An unseen buoy banged and groaned somewhere out in the dark, blue, rocky waters.

Mr. Geography said the land we saw a mile or so eastward in the Bay of Fundy belonged to Canada

When you’re downeast “down is up” and “west is east.”

I suppose in Alaska, Canada is the “far east.”

Anyway, Mr. Geography started talking about the other directional extremities of the United States.

“The northernmost point is in Minnesota,” he said. “But you have to drive through Canada to get there.”

“Or take a canoe,” I said.

And paddle north?

Advertisements
One Comment
  1. John permalink

    The term “down east” originates from sailing days when the coast of Maine was downwind and east of Boston. Locals will ask visotors if “they are down for the summer” for this reason even though they have come from the south.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Revisiting Montana's Historic Landscape

30 Years in the Big Sky Country

RoadsideArchitecture.com -- the companion blog

roadtrips & posts documenting vintage signs, statues, buildings, and more

Outside In Duluth

Outdoor. Kid. Fun.

Digital Storytelling | University of Minnesota Duluth

Featuring student work from the University of Minnesota Duluth Journalism program.

Laura's Birding Blog

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

Outdoors with Sam Cook

Exploring the North Woods

365 Days of Birds

Duluth, Minnesota based birder / photographer. Sax-Zim Bog naturalist.

Mark in Maine

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

Ed's Big Adventure

He farms! He writes! He paints!

Zenith City Online

Celebrating Historic Duluth, Western Lake Superior & Minnesota's Arrowhead

Perfect Duluth Day

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

Time to play b-sides

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

Digital Nomad

Travel Dispatches from Robert Reid

SUBSTREET

history under ground

Czechesotans

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

Little Brown Mushroom

Little Brown Mushroom

Penobscot Marine Museum

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: