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      WATER WATER EVERYWHERE small navy logo
STORY & PHOTOGRAPHY  BY DAVID McBRIDE
Rockland Breakwater Light as seen in American Public House Review
ROCKLAND BREAKWATER

For New Englanders in the 18th century, Maine was as much beautiful and bountiful as it was challenging and demanding.  The Gulf of Maine provided a living for most and a fortune for more than a few.  But it also could be a bitter bedfellow, and often a lethal one.  So while some towns may photograph like a painting, others bare the evidence of that formidable relationship between New Englanders and the North Atlantic.  Some say it is in those places where the sea, and not tourism, is still the center of life that you will find the soul of Maine.

One of those towns is Rockland.  Located near the picture postcard settings of Owl’s Head and Camden, Rockland feels more like a true down east working port.  The character and personality of the city is revealed in its most thrilling landmark, the Rockland Breakwater Light.

Rockland Harbor as seen in American Public House Review
Rockland Breakwater Light as seen in American Public House Review
ROCKLAND HARBOR
ROCKLAND BREAKWATER LIGHT

In the mid-1800’s, more than one intense nor’easter battered Rockland harbor, destroying part of the waterfront and a few ships as well.  Realizing the potential the city had to be a major seaport, it embarked on a project to construct a breakwater that would bring shelter from the storms.  The Rockland Breakwater, and the lighthouse situated at the end, took a herculean effort and almost twenty years to build.  But it was worth the effort, and it stands today as a monument to the perseverance and toughness of the people who tamed this difficult environment. 

So take the walk out to the end of the breakwater and enjoy the unique and breathtaking view of the Gulf of Maine.  Stroll Rockland’s streets and explore its museums, galleries, and shops.  And when the time comes to rest your sea legs, try a place called the WATERWORKS RESTAURANT for a drink. It provides the perfect backdrop from which to enjoy the results of man’s best alchemy with water. They have an outstanding selection of Maine microbrews.

Waterworks exterior as seen in American Public House Review
THE WATERWORKS RESTAURANT

When first viewed the building appears rather unassuming, but it too holds historic significance to the town’s upbringing. For the better part of the last century this utilitarian brick structure was used to house and maintain the equipment of those charged with providing fresh water to a community surrounded by salt and brine. In 1994 the Water Company moved on, and fittingly the location emerged as one of Rockland’s favorite watering holes.

Waterworks Bar as seen in American public House Review
Waterworks interior as seen in American Public House Review

Inside the bar area, it is hard not to notice the stone fireplace that dominates the room. After some investigating and a nice conversation with the bartender, I came to find that this room was where the company stabled its team of horses, the mode of transportation for the fresh water.  So that huge fireplace, which would be impressive in even the most posh  mansion, was built not for the company’s owner but to keep the equine employees from the elements, which can be more than just a little harsh in the winter.

Waterworks fireplace as seen in American Public House Review
Water works dining room windows as seen in American Public House Review

Whether you are at the bar in the Waterworks, strolling the streets, or taking pictures of the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, you can’t help but be reminded of the city’s working past and present.  Where some harbors seem to center around tour boats and expensive rooms-with-a -view, Rockland still centers around what it knows best, the hard work that can be the sea.  But don’t get me wrong.  As much as Rockland is the quintessential working down east Maine harbor, it is also worthy of a painting in its own right.

Rockland Harbor with painting
A  REPAST FOR THE SOUL AS WELL AS THE BODY




WATERWORKS RESTAURANT

7 LINDSEY STREET
ROCKLAND, MAINE 04841
(207) 596-2753

www.waterworksrockland.com



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