Sunday, December 28, 2008

Rockland- wintry wonderland in Maine

Blame it on the movies, or Irvin Berlin’s song, but the season of Christmas bespeaks of images of white snowy scenes. At this time of the year, imagine this winter wonderland to be Rockland.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 25s, f/22, 47mm, ISO 100, +1.0EV

Nuzzled deep in mid-coast of Maine, Rockland sits in Penobscot Bay, one of the most scenic bodies of water in the Eastern seaboard of the United States. The county boasts of scenes that seem to leap straight out of a picturebook, with numerous 19th century wooden houses, quaint museums, inns and churches. More like a big movie set, it reminds me a lot of the hit TV series Murder, She Wrote. In my first visit in the summer of 1991, I was almost expecting Angela Lansbury to bike her way around the streets.

Rockland sunset
Rockland sunset from the Tradewinds Motor Inn
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/125s, f/3.5, 10.3mm

In the late 19th century, Rockland was a leading port for the export of lime rock. It still shows remnants of its industrial past: numerous limestone quarries and kilns, boat builders and shipyards, a hauntingly beautiful if not spooky lighthouse that sits at the end of ¾ mile-long granite breakwater, numerous boat landings and monumentally large marine relics everywhere. It also has homesteads, farms and plenty of museums.

an antique giant anchor near the public wharf
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/320s, f/3.5, 7.1mm, 2/3 EV

public landing
a giant bell/buoy in the same park
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/1000s, f/3.5, 7.1mm

Thanks to its lace-like coast, Rockland is accessible to scores of islands and a dozen of historic lighthouses. It is reputed to be home of the largest windjammer fleet in the US and is a self-proclaimed lobster capital of the country.

at the public landing, Rockland, mid-coast Maine, the US, 4:33 PM, after sunset
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 13s, f/5, 35mm, ISO 100, -1/3 EV

Today, its charm is not lost to the tourists whose number seems to grow each year. Like most other places in scenic mid-coast Maine, the city has undergone not so subtle changes. Touted as a new England idyll, Rockland, with barely 10,000 people living within its limits, is overrun by visitors every summer.

scene near the Rockland breakwater
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 15s, f/10, 22mm, ISO 100

In winter though, it is a different story. Being way up north, by December, the sun sinks early and it becomes dark before 4PM. Temperatures would already be near zero Celsius in the morning and would dip below freezing at night. Snow comes ahead too, before most part of Eastern US.

spooky Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/250s, f/5.6, 7.1mm

By Christmas, Rockland would be white. Like clockwork, Rockland always manages to slide back to its rustic backwater self, slow and silent.

it's December
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1.3s, f/5.6, 55mm, ISO 100

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