Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Day Exploring Owls Head, Maine

The town of Owls Head was named for an image of an owls face that appears on rocky cliffs near the Owls Head Lighthouse that is only visible from the water.  We mistakenly thought the town had an over abundance of those majestic nocturnal birds with big eyes and rotating heads, but we were wrong.  The one thing we were right about was that it would take us a whole day to explore this little coastal town just south of Rockland.  Of course, there was a lighthouse and lunch in the mix and we also threw in a state park, winery, and museum. 

The adventure started at Owls Head State Park – a 13-acre park which is home to one of the area’s scenic lighthouses.  Originally constructed in 1825, the white and black cylindrical beacon safely guides mariners into Rockland Harbor.  Interestingly,  the lighthouse is number one on Coastal Living magazine’s most haunted lighthouse list.  Lore claims there are at least two ghosts at the lighthouse.  One is known as the “Little Lady” who is frequently found in the kitchen or looking out a window where doors slam and silverware rattles but people say her presence is more peaceful and calming than ominous.  The other spirit is thought to be a keeper from beyond the grave who still makes his home there.  We didn’t experience either of the supernatural while we were there, just some beautiful views. 


Another state park in Owls Head is Birch Point Beach State Park which is a small park located on the coast which is a nice place to cool off in the ocean on a hot summer day where the beach is broad and the water shallow.  It is also a nice place to walk along the shore looking for sea glass or enjoy a picnic under the plentiful shade trees or on the rocks in the warm sun. 
My first intention for lunch was to hit up the general store known to slap some beef on the flat top and deliver a warm and juicy burger nicknamed the “5-napkin burger” by locals.  To our disappointment, it was closed with a big “For Sale” sign on the door.  Plan B was to scoot on over to the airport for another eatery I had been reading about.  The Salty Owl Cafe is located inside the terminal which was easy to find since the airport is tiny (even though it’s the biggest airport around) and the most populated place in the terminal followed only by the two TSA agents sitting outside.  The 20180527_121516owners describe themselves as “two kids from away (Arizona actually) that moved to Maine site-unseen to open a little cafe at a little airport in a little town called Owls Head.”  This duo took their experience in restaurants and baking and set out in their home kitchen to perfect the hand pie.  These neat little tasty packets are popular in Michigan where they are called “pasties” but let us tell you the Salty Dog’s are way better.  Instead of tasteless, pasty filling that needs tons of gravy or ketchup to make them palatable these little packets are elevated to a gourmet level with flavors like pork chili verde, roasted curried vegetables, and lemony ricotta chicken.  They also have amazing salads and polenta bowls – all of which are sure to please the wandering gormand.  So next time you think about overpriced boring airport food just know that is not always the case.  No one in the restaurant was catching a plane, they were just there to eat good local food at more-than-reasonable prices.

The Owls Head Transportation Museum is a very popular destination.  The facility is jam packed with airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, carriages, motorcycles, engines and more.  The concept grew from two guys living in the area who thought it would be neat to see old airplanes flying around Owls Head.  It didn’t hurt that one was the head of IBM and the other had a last name of "Rockefeller."   This place is more than a static museum as there are hoards of visitors for events going on all summer long from airplane fly-ins to antique trucks coming to show themselves off to antique car auctions and lots of family-fun events. 


Before heading home, we stopped in at Breakwater Vineyards for a taste of their wines and to pet their goats (and to taste the competition since I am working at a winery this summer).  They are located on a 32-acre farm up on a hill overlooking Rockland Harbor which makes for a scenic and relaxing place to spend time and sip wine  Most of their wines are made from grapes that come from America’s best known wine regions like California and Oregon but they do produce Maine-grown wines from their 3,000 vines growing on the property.  The tasting price of $3 for four pours is a great bargain and good way to sample their wines that include a mix of sweet, dry, and fruit varieties. 


That was a full day.  For a tiny town of roughly 1,500 residents it sure kept us entertained and vowing to come back. 

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