The name Bean is probably a name you are familiar with, whether you know Maine or not. Most likely, you’ve heard it in the brand name L.L. Bean, creator of the infamous Bean Boot that, in 2014, was on an indefinite backorder after Christmas because of high demand.
But L.L. is not the only one who has made a name for himself in the state of Maine. L.L.’s granddaughter Linda has become quite the businesswoman in Maine as both the heiress to the retail company, as well as entering the lobster industry almost ten years ago now. And it's her name plastered on the first building you see as you walk off the ferry on Vinalhaven.
After a little over 24 hours of leaving the Vineyard, I guess off-island life was getting to be a little too much. We crossed Penobscot Bay on a ferry boat out of Rockland, accompanied by gulls, lobster buoys, and a couple of porpoises, and washed ashore into a small fishing village on the south side of the island. Littered with lobster traps and buoys, the road to the main street village was quiet and calm.
The Downstreet Market Bakery & Café was the first thing to catch my attention (quite possibly due to their sign on the street with the word coffee written in large cursive). What pulled me in was the quaint look of the outside and the maroon screen doors that invited in passing guests. Inside, the walls were decorated with shelves of china and glasses. The bay windows cast a bright light throughout the entire café and lit up the wooden counter that displayed an array of cookies, coffeecakes, and other breakfast desserts. After getting my go-to iced americano, we took a seat at the window countertop and watched the town stroll by in the calm of the off-season.
A walk out of town and across a bridge led to a trail on Lane’s Island Preserve. A little hiking and a little rock hopping along the coast line led to the most gorgeous views… and a bit of a sunburn.
One of the best things about visiting new places is getting the “inside info” from the locals. We wandered into a small one-of-everything shop that moved into its current building about five years prior, taking the place of an old bakery. The wooden beams on the ceiling have been kept in place as the building has been passed from business to business, a building that dates back 200 years on the island.
Lunch at a restaurant called Homeport uncovered news of the island’s year-round population, one that drops to 1,200 in the off-season. That’s less than half the population of my rural Maine hometown (…and I thought that was small!).
•the history of an old granite industry with granite blocks scattered all around the island
•names for restaurants on islands are not original (i.e. Homeport, Sandbar)
•lobster boats crowd the harbor, but in the most beautiful way possible
•pick-up trucks seem to be the car of choice
•almost everything in town was closed, but there were two restaurants that caught my eye that I encourage someone to check out: (R) and Salt