HOME BLOG
BACKBAR
JUKEBOX
PUBLICAN'S PERCH
AD INFO
ABOUT
CONTACT
FREE SUBSCRIPTION
COCKTAILS


    A BOOTHBAY HARBOR WELCOME
small black logo
BY DAVID McBRIDE


The Thistle as seen in American Public House Review
The Thistle

There are some towns in the world that just look like they were made to be on postcards.  Places where nature and history have combined to make the perfect image of what a tourist wants to see.  One of these places is Boothbay Harbor, Maine, located about an hours drive north of the city of Portland.  Here a picturesque natural bay lined with tall evergreens and rocky shoreline combine with seaside cottages, wooden piers and tall masts to produce the kind of quintessential New England harbor one envisions.

People come from all over the continent to visit this town, with its seafood, shopping and sightseeing.  The harbor is encircled by hotels, all claiming to offer the best views of the North Atlantic.  The piers are mostly occupied by visiting yachts and tour boats offering excursions to see the areas lighthouse, islands and wildlife or perhaps to find the best fishing grounds in the area.  In between those vessels, you can find dozens of beautifully worn lobster boats, still the backbone of the small community's local economy.

However you look at it, either from the tourist or local point of view, Boothbay Harbor is surrounded by the sea.  The same can be said for its local watering holes, of which there are many.  Though it may not have the "view" offered by taverns located closer to the water or inside the expensive hotels, THE THISTLE INN is consumed by the spirit of the mariner.


The Thistle's Dory bar as seen in American Public House Review
THE BAR WAS CONSTRUCTED FROM A WORKING DORY



Like many of the larger homes found along the Maine coast, the house that became the Thistle Inn was built in the 1860's for a wealthy and prominent captain.  About 100 years later, it became an Inn.  In the late 1960's, a local doctor donated a wooden dory that navigated the waters around Boothbay to THE THISTLE INN and it has served as the bar ever since.  Also dotting the walls of the tavern is an oar donated to the Thistle by the U.S Coast Guard who patrolled the harbor.  There is also a life ring from the Cuckolds Light, which is also believed to have been donated by the Coast Guard.
Cuckolds Light life ring as seen in American Public House Review



The Thistle's whisky guard as seen in American Public House Review
THE GUARDIAN OF THE SPIRITS
The Thistle's back bar as seeen in american Public House Review
THE DORY'S BACKBAR



This lighthouse is one that has fascinated me since my childhood. Its loneliness and solidarity is haunting.  But at the same time, one can instantly see how important it was to the survival of those who worked these waters.  Located just off the tip of Southport Island, the light sits on top of an island of rocks and is surrounded by even more barely visible ledges.  The Cuckolds, as the rocks came to be called, was a deadly obstacle for mariners in the fog and dark. How many lives this lonely lighthouse saved is impossible to calculate



Cuckolds Light as seen in American Public House Review
THE CUCKOLDS LIGHT



As a child, and now into my adulthood, my father and I take to the harbor's sheltered waters in a yearly search for the soul of such places as the Cuckolds.  We go back every year and stare at the same lighthouses and uninhabited islands, or just to feel the tide pass below my father's boat.  It's a somewhat spiritual and often unspoken pilgrimage to Maine's coast and it sometimes flows past us like the waves over waves crashing onto the Cuckolds.  But after a day on the water, with the salt still in your mouth, the breeze still in your hair, and the sea still rolling you side to side, to have a seat at THE THISTLE INN'S dormant dory and drinking one of Maine's many terrific beers is a perfect way to bring it all into perspective.



Boothbay Harbor sign as seen in American Public Hpuse Review
The Thistle sign as seen in American Publid House Review



Like so many lighthouses along Maine's coast, the Cuckolds is in disrepair.  Since modern technology allowed for the lights to be automated, many have been slowly decaying.  Nature has battered the proud guardian of the sea, but thankfully there is now an effort to save the light from an inevitable and natural destruction.  They call it the Cuckolds Rescue Team and they are endeavoring to restore the Lighthouse to its former glory.  The hope is that someday soon, with the help of others, the team can make the Cuckolds Light beautiful again and bring people back to these ledges to experience this unique place.




To learn more about the history of the Cuckolds and the effort going into saving the lighthouse, I would suggest checking out www.cuckoldslight.org, the website for the rescue group.





Cuckolds Light at sunset as seen in American Public House Review
NO CAPTION IS ADEQUATE NOR NECESSARY




THE THISTLE INN

55 OAK STREET

BOOTHBAY HARBOR, MAINE  04538

(877) 633-3541



www.thethistleinn.com

DIRECTIONS





AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW text, images, and music © 2007-2009. All rights reserved. 
All content is subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. Email: ed.petersen@americanpublichousereview.com for permission before use.

HOME BLOG
BACKBAR
JUKEBOX
PUBLICAN'S PERCH
AD INFO
ABOUT
CONTACT
FREE SUBSCRIPTION
COCKTAILS