Upper Penobscott Bay, part 2: Bucksport, Maine

Bucksport has great attractions: A haunted, spooky grave, a huge granite and grass fort, and an observatory that's 42 stories high

North of Belfast and Searsport is a little town called Bucksport on the Penobscott River which is guarded by Fort Knox. The fort was built in the middle if the 19th century to deter British invasion (the Redcoats closed off the river twice -- during the Revolution and the War of 1812).
The bridge over the Penobscott River has recently been replaced and the new one features the fastest elevator in Maine shooting up to an observatory that offers views spanning from Camden in the south to Mount Katahdin in the northwest. But there's more than a fort and a bridge to Bucksport.
There's a legend.

Begin with the curse of Johnathan Buck
The town of Bucksport is named after Col. Jonathan Buck, a Revolutionary war hero and one of the first settlers of the area in 1762. After the British seized the "plantation" to choke off the lumber communities up river (Bangor among them) from supporting the colonists in the revolt, the town lay dormant. It was resettled after we whooped the king.

But there's more to the story. A whole spooky-lot more. Look at the stocking foot on Col Buck's grave stone. Where did this come from? How could it appear even after replacing the original stone? The curse of Johnathan Buck first appeared in the Haverhill (Massachusetts, Buck's home town) Gazette on Marsh 22, 1899:

"Jonathan Buck was a Puritan to whom witchcraft was anathema. When a woman was accused of witchcraft, he sentenced her to be executed. Then according to the paper, "the hangmen was about to perform his gruesome duty when the woman turned to Col. Buck and raising one hand to heaven, as if to direct her last words on earth, pronounced this astounding prophecy: ‘Jonathan Buck, listen to these words, the last my tongue will utter. It is the spirit of the only true and living God which bids me speak them to you. You will soon die. Over your grave they will erect a stone that all may know where your bones are crumbling into dust. But listen, upon that stone the imprint of my feet will appear, and for all time, long after you and you accursed race have perished from the earth, will the people from far and wide know that you murdered a woman. Remember well, Jonathan Buck, remember well."
Many other variations of this tale are here.

Burn off some steam at America's First Fort Knox!
The other Fort Knox is near Louisville, Kentucky and is full of gold, so you can't run around and play. Fortunately, this Fort Knox is mostly empty, save for some cannons, so running through the battlements and over the grass is perfectly acceptable.

After the drive to Bucksport and viewing the spooky grave, it'll be about time for lunch, the fort is a great place for a picnic. To make it easy, pick up a couple of sandwiches, or (lobster rolls) across the river in Bucksport and bring them over to the fort. Explore for a half hour until you find a picnic spot and then let the kids loose.

If you're a photography freak, bring a tripod for interior shots (it's dark in there and flash doesn't always do justice to what you're looking at). Which reminds me, bring a flashlight. Or two or one for each of you. If the kids each have a flashlight, they'll be busy running around the dark spots and it'll be easier to scare the pants off them in the dark, dark prisoner cells...

Top off the day way up over the bay (well, river to be exact)
One of three bridge observatories in the world, the Penobscott Narrows Observatory has one of the the best views in the state (world?). The other two are in Thailand and Bankok. This 420 foot tall observation tower is part of the new bridge that runs next to the old bridge offering a structural contrast of 20th and 21st century bridge building. Open and accessible to all from May through October, you buy a ticket at Fort Knox, across the river.

Tip: Good place for Leaf-peeping!

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