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History buffs often rely on written testimonials and a keen imagination to make historically significant stories come alive.  For many, history exists only on the pages of books or in film, and a visit to an actual historical site isn’t possible or hasn’t been pursued. For those considering a Maine vacation or trip excursions to other New England states this summer, a visit to a significant spot in our country’s history is a near certainty, even for those who don’t mean to visit them at all!  For those who do, Maine is chock full of rich history that can come to life with a bit of research and a visit to the right place.

Maine was part of Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War. One of General George Washington’s most valued and trusted confidants at the time of the war was Benedict Arnold. Before his name would become synonymous with “traitor” Arnold was an important figure in the war. One of the many stories linked to his experiences is his trek through Maine to Quebec, where he intended to affect a siege on the Canadians and hopefully win the war against the British. Much of the land Arnold traversed can be visited today, and much of it is still as difficult to meander through as it was then. Arnold and his ragged troops went from Fort Popham up the Kennebec River on their way to the forests of what is now Northern Maine and into Canada. His efforts weren’t met with success, but the trek is an important piece of our country’s history and our journey to independence.

If you are looking for a way to blend your interest in history into a relaxing Maine family resort, consider a visit to Fort Popham. A lovely place to stay while satisfying your history craving is the Sebasco Harbor Resort.

Fort Popham

Fort Popham

The Fort Popham State Historic Site feature not only a historic fort but excellent photography opportunities and a chance to see some amazing wildlife. Fort Popham is well-known as a coastal defense land battery. It was one of several forts that were built near the mouth of the Kennebec River over the past three centuries. It’s original construction was approved because of growing concerns about the effectiveness of Confederate naval ships preceding the Civil War. It is composed almost entirely of granite blocks and utilizes a unique crescent shape that spans almost 500 feet in circumference.

Spiral Staircase at Fort Popham

Spiral Staircase at Fort Popham

Construction of Fort Popham was began in 1862, however it was never to be completed as construction ended in 1869. It was to be used to help fortify and protect Maine’s capital, Augusta, from a confederate invasion. The granite needed to complete the 30 foot walls of the fort was taken from the nearby Fox Island and Dix Islands. Within the walls were 36 cannons that were arranged with two separate tiers of casements. Each cannon, individually weighed around 25 tons and could fire shot that would weigh up to 480 pounds. On the opposite, or back, side of Fort Popham a low moated curtain was built that featured 20 musket ports around a central gate. Unfortunately, in 1905 construction began on Fort Baldwin which is located on the headland above Fort Popham. Fort Baldwin was to feature longer-range guns and would immediately render Fort Popham obsolete.

Before Fort Popham, the site was still utilized for military purposes. Originally, a minor fortification was constructed during the American Revolution and in 1808 the Federal Government added a battery that became known as an “embargo fort”. It was actively manned until 1815 and saw action in the War of 1812.

Fort Popham

Fort Popham

The Fort Popham State Historic Site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. However, many visitors grab much more than just a history of Maine’s coastal military tradition on an average visit. Many people enjoy the nearby fishing opportunities that have become well-known for being a great way to spend a day. There are also more photography opportunities than any single person could take advantage of. From the fort architecture itself, to the wildlife and surrounding land. Often visitors snap excellent pictures of otters, seals, and a wide variety of beautiful birds. There are very few areas that are fenced off (for safety reasons), so there is ample opportunity to take a day and just explore the in’s and out’s of the Fort Popham State Historic Site.

Many people want to make sure that they always have the right flavors on hand for any meal. One of the most popular condiments that can be found on the table is maple syrup. There are many great uses and perks that come along with this particular type of condiment so take a closer look and find out.

There are many different gifts out there that usually include this type of syrup. This is simply due to the fact that it does give everyone what they need to have fun with the gift. Look for these gift baskets and even choose to find your own bottle that you can give to the one that loves this condiment the most.

Of course maple syrup is always great for the pancakes and the waffles that people like to consume on a daily basis. Take the time to make sure that you have the very best, especially if you have had people coming over and staying the night. You will want to make sure that you impress them with your taste and knack for cooking a full meal.

You might even get the chance to learn how to make this syrup all on your own. There are different kits and recipes that anyone can look into so that they can make their own products. Try this out a couple of times and find out what the ending result is.

The internet is a great place to find the right gifts and products. Even the hard to find products can be located here so make sure that you take advantage of different sites and prices. Do a simple search and see what comes from that.

It is very easy to find the top maple syrup products that people love to have. Those who are looking for the right buys should start looking. Keep in mind, there are great gifts as well that you should be able to enjoy.

Fort O'Brien Machias Maine

Fort O'Brien Machias Maine

The Fort O’Brien State Historic Site is a great place to be a part of a unique experience. Visitors spending the afternoon picnicking, walking, relaxing, and exploring are common sights at this historic location in Machias Maine. The fort was originally built in the late 1700’s and has been completely destroyed at least two times during the course of its storied history. However, it continues to guard the Machias River. While it has changed dramatically over the last century, it remained active over the course of three wars, the American Revolution, War of 1812, and the Civil War. Unlike many forts in the Northeast, especially Maine, Fort O’Brien has been fairly active throughout its history of conflicts.

Fort O’Brien was built in 1775 and saw the first official naval battle of the Revolutionary War which was fought just off of its shoreline. It was then completely destroyed by the British fleet later the same year. The fort was initially designed to play the important role of protecting the Machias River and the surrounding towns. This purpose never altered throughout the entire history of the fort.

It was rebuilt and refortified in 1777. Unfortunately, the British destroyed the fort again in 1814. However, the earthworks were well preserved and were used to erect a battery of guns in 1863.

In 1923 the United States Federal Government decided to deed the site over to the State of Maine. It was made a State Historic Site in 1966 and has been maintained by the Bureau of Parks and Lands ever since.

Fort O'Brien Machias Maine

Fort O'Brien Machias Maine

While visitors stroll around the area, many will get to see a bronze cannon, known as “Napoleon”. This cannon is very unique as it fired 12 pound cannonballs, canisters, or spherical case shot. The tube of the cannon weighs an astounding 1216 pounds and was created nearby at the Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee in Massachusetts during the year 1862. “Napoleon” originally sat on a carriage made of wood, which in its own right weighed another 1128 pounds. That total combined amounted to almost 2500 pounds of combined weight. The cannon was designed to fire a cannonball 1600 yards because that is the distance it takes to cross the mouth of the Machias River.

Plan your trip to the Fort O’Brien State Historic Site accordingly, because it is only open to the public from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year. It will continue to provide visitors with some insight into the battles that raged in the Northeast as well as a picture perfect view of the iconic, rocky Maine Coastline.

Fort McClary

Fort McClary

The Fort McClary State Historic Site has stood its ground for more than 275 years. It was built to protect enemy approaches towards the Piscataqua River near the southern gateway to Kittery, Maine. It was named after Major Andrew McClary, who was a native to New Hampshire. He died heroically in the Battle of Bunker Hill in the Revolutionary War. The fort still stands as one of the most historic forts in all of Maine. It has done an excellent job of preserving the military history and changes in military architecture as well as military technology. It offers visitors access to not only a well known historical site, but also an excellent museum.

The site itself dates back to the late 17th century when Sir William Pepperell, a wealthy land owner, erected a crude defensive structure. Later in 1715, the Massachusetts Bay Colony created a permanent breastwork of six cannons for defense of the Piscataqua River.

Fort McClary

Fort McClary

Fort McClary was officially built in 1808. Between 1808 and 1868 Fort McClary saw numerous additions including the blockhouse, barracks, rifleman’s house, and granite walls. All of these features where built in separate stages and share a unique perspective into military architecture. There were further plans to expand the fort to make it more similar to its other Maine brethren, such as Fort Knox. However, as military structures and weaponry continued to advance, Fort McClary eventually became obsolete.

In the 1910’s, the fort as a whole had fallen into severe disrepair and its condition caused the fort to be officially abandoned in 1918. During its stint of active use, it was minimally used during the War of 1812 and the American Civil War. The State of Maine purchased the property from the Federal Government in 1924. Soon after, many of the dilapidated structures were tore down and never replaced. Civilian forces decided to use the remaining portions as a potential defensive structure during WWII. Today, only the blockhouse remains intact and standing and has been turned into a museum in 1987.

Fort McClary

Fort McClary

Today, the Fort McClary State Historic Site only serves as an educational tool for visitors from around the country, but also as an excellent seascape. Many people come to the Northeast, and specifically Maine, for the idealized scene of the ocean crashing on a coastline of treacherous black rocks and cliffs. However, many of these spots along coastal Maine have been turned into high-volume tourist areas and many people are shocked to see how landlocked many of these places actually are. The Fort McClary State Historic Site gives visitors a rare chance to see the iconic Maine coastline the way nature intended.

Penobscot Narrows Bridge

Penobscot Narrows Bridge

The Penobscot Narrows Observatory caps of one the most impressive engineering structures in the world. It was built in conjunction with the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. OK, it is not really a Maine historic site but if you are looking to really see the Mid-coast region of Maine and even Mount Desert Island, then the Penobscot Narrows Observatory has everything that you want and more. The top of the tower is 42 stories above the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. The Observation Tower can be accessed through the Fort Knox State Historic Site. Patrons are brought to the top by the tallest public bridge observatory in the entire world.

Penobscot Narrows Observatory View

Penobscot Narrows Observatory View

The view is impressive to say the least. Visitors are directly above a bridge that spans 2,120 feet over a steep, plummeting gorge and is a site within itself. The Observation Tower opened in 2007 and almost immediately became the most popular attraction in all of mid-coast Maine. This is largely because the glass tower on the top of the Penobscot Narrow Observatory gives visitors a 360 degree view of the entire region. On clear days, patrons can see more than 100 miles in any and every direction. This view spans from Camden Hills, which is where the mountains and sea collide, to Mount Katahdin, which is the highest mountain in Maine, and even the terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

Penobscot Narrows Bridge

Penobscot Narrows Bridge

The new Penobscot Narrows Bridge was built to replace the Waldo-Hancock Bridge, which was finished in 1931. It is one of only two bridges in the United States that uses a cradle system. With this system, the strands are carried within the stays from the bridge deck. This creates a continuous element and eliminates the need for anchorages into the pylons.

Each strand is composed of epoxy-coated steel and is inside a 1 inch tube. Since each strand may act independently, strands may be inspected, removed, and replaced on an individual basis instead of by groups of cables like most other bridges. The cable-stay system utilizes super-pressurized nitrogen gases that help to defend against corrosion.

Penobscot Narrows Observatory

Penobscot Narrows Observatory

The bridge is also being used to test carbon fiber strands, which are supposedly stronger and more durable than their steel counterparts. Six reference strands have been placed within the bridges cables and will be monitored to evaluate how effective they really are. Amazingly, the bridge was completely built within a 42 month period.

By stopping by the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, visitors get to see several marvels of engineering as well as breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding 100 miles of Maine landscape, which include thick forests, mountain, ocean views, and the busy Penobscot Bay.

Fort Knox Maine State Historic Site

Fort Knox Maine State Historic Site

Fort Knox State Historic Site is the home of the Maine’s largest historic fort. It is has a full and rich history even though it has never actually been involved in any battles. It features amazing architecture and unparalleled master craftsmanship. It’s construction took place between 1844 and 1864, however was never able to be fully completed, even though over $1 million were spent. It stands alone as the New England area’s most impressive unmodified example of military architecture of that particular period. It is also Maine’s very first granite fort.

It is located along the narrows of Penobscot Bay in order to protect the area from pending naval attacks. Its initial goal was to defend Bangor, Maine, a major source of ship-building lumber, from the British during the Maine-New Brunswick border dispute. This dispute was to resolve the border conflict that lingered after the Aroostook War. It stands as a pillar representing Maine’s first struggles for freedom. While never firing a shot, it garrisoned troops for both the Spanish American War as well as the Civil War.

Fort Knox Maine State Historic Site

Fort Knox Historic Site

Fort Knox was named after Major General Henry Knox who was America’s first ever Secretary of War as well as the Commander of Artillery throughout the American Revolution. He lived the last years of his life in Thomaston, Maine, which is very close to the fort. It was dubbed a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

It was designed to have two batteries that would face the river. Each battery was equipped with a hot shot furnace. The purpose of this was to heat the cannon shot to the point that it would be able to set opposing ships on fire. However, as ships shifted from wood to ironclad ships, this was much less useful and often disregarded completely.

Fort Knox Historic Site

Fort Knox Historic Site

The state of Maine purchased the land and the fort in 1923 when the Federal Government labeled it excess property and put the fort, along with its 125 acre property, up for sale. The state of Maine only paid $2,121 for it. Along with being a historic landmark for the state of Maine, it also serves as an entry site for the Observation Tower of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, which was opened in 2007.

With the excellent views of the Penobscot area as well as beautifully constructed architecture, the Fort Knox State Historic Site should be on the itinerary of anyone visiting in the area. It provides a unique experience of New England military history and military construction. Admission for Fort Knox serves as a 2-for-1, as it also gives you access to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory.

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