Back to Canada
We're told that if you've got just one full day to spend in this part of Maine, the place to visit is Campobello Island in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. Even though we can see it from the back deck, just two miles away, it takes a full hour to get there by car (and there's no ferry). As one navigates a huge arc around numerous lakes, inlets and peninsulae, one comes to understand the saying that is heard so often here in Maine: "you can't get there from here."
In the late 1800s, a group of developers purchased one third of the island and built three large luxury hotels. Their goal was to attract wealthy tourists, introduce them to the natural beauty of the island, and then sell them a building lot for a house of their own. Although only a fraction of the available lots were sold and the hotels themselves were either closed or razed within 30 years, one couple that did buy a lot and build a cottage was James and Sara Roosevelt and their infant son, Franklin Delano.
FDR was by far the most famous resident of Campobello Island. He spent every summer there until he was an adult, buying his own cottage right next door after he married Eleanor. They and their children continued to come to the cottage until 1921, when FDR fell ill with symptoms of polio while vacationing on the island. After that, his family continued to return annually, but FDR came to Campobello only three more times in his lifetime, in 1933, 1936 and 1939.
Yesterday, Alison and I visited the island and the Roosevelt Cottage, along with our Eastport hosts, Don and Beverly Bley. For those of you who don't know them, it is quite simple how I'm related to Don:
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