No offense Plymouth, but Pemaquid has the real deal. Pemaquid was the site of early Native American settlements and the name means “point of land.” We visited Fort William Henry, a Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site tucked into the western shore of Pemaquid Neck (Maine has many “necks”, those being what I call the long fingers that reach out from the coast into the ocean or a large bay).
M/Y Rena (destination: Somewhere Sunny) was anchored off the fort and we could have done the same but opted for a more scenic and protected spot across John’s Bay behind Witch’s Island.
The site features a museum/visitor center, the partially reconstructed Fort William Henry, Fort House, village, Burying Ground, boat ramp and pier. The site has an amazing long and varied history and is the last of many forts we’ve visited by boat. One of the brochures is a detailed time line of events starting at 1605 with the capturing of five Native Americans and ending with a planned village excavation in 2009 (Looks like that was done).
Here’s a few dates of interest.
1614-John Smith explored and mapped the Pemaquid area 1621- Samoset, a Native from the Pemaquid area, welcomed the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation 1622 – area fishermen gave the Pilgrims supplies 1625-ish- a permanent, year-round, English settlement was established at Pemaquid 1677 – Fort Charles was built and the settlement named Jamestown was reestablished having been destroyed a year prior 1689- Fort Charles and the settlement destroyed – again by Native Americans 1692 – Fort William Henry built to prevent France from expanding its territories southward (we had to remind ourselves just how close to the Canadian border we are) 1696- Fort William Henry destroyed by a French and Indian force 1729 – Fort Frederick built on the ruins and a new settlement established
By 1775 the fort was decommissioned (1759) and smartly the town of Bristol voted to dismantle it. You perhaps can guess, this being 1775 and who would want the British to occupy the fort? Not again that’s for sure.
The Fort House was built in the 1790s and a farm established. Beginning in 1869 efforts were made to excavate the site, inventory the gravestones and promote historical Pemaquid. Finally in 1993, Colonial Pemaquid was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark. At some point after the first fort, the huge rock was subsequently enclosed within the walls of the next fort, taking away the “boost up” invaders would use to gain entry. This photo does not do it justice.
Now, did you know any of that? Why is Pemaquid a sorry second cousin to Plymouth? Geography and lack of shops, eateries, parking and all that good stuff that draws in visitors.
The tiny rocky beach offered up a handful of sea glass. One of the displays at the museum showed old pottery pieces and one looked exactly like pieces I’d found at Burnt Island, but still jagged, the ocean and rocks not yet having worked their magic.