The steamer left Foster’s Wharf at five o’clock in the evening. On board were Emilie and Victor Loring, their sons, Robert and Selden, and their “maid-of-all-work,” Marion Lynch.
After two preliminary trips to place furniture and see that Stone House was in working order, the whole family was coming this time. The year was 1910, their first, full summer in Blue Hill.
They boarded either the S.S. Belfast or the S.S. Camden. The trip “downeast” was an overnighter, made comfortable with well-appointed staterooms, a splendid dining saloon, and spacious lounging and promenade decks. Tickets cost $4 one way, $7.50 round trip.
In their stateroom was a tour guide kindly provided by the steamship company. I found this part pretty amazing:
“Geographers tell us ‘that the coast of Maine, if measured in a direct line, would be only 225 miles long; yet, such is its irregularity and indentation, that the shore line comprises more than 2,486 miles of seacoast,’ which is a greater extent than that of any other ocean-bordering state either on the Atlantic, the Pacific, or the Gulf of Mexico.”1910 brochure, Eastern Steamship Company
“It is difficult to imagine, much more so to describe, a sea shore region of such vast extent, where the coast line is so rugged and so beautiful, where the islands are almost infinite in their number, size and variety, and where the numerous bays are veritable archipelagos. From Portland to Eastport, there is no spot on the Maine coast that is uninteresting, none that is unimportant from the viewpoint of the summer tourist.”1910 brochure, Eastern Steamship Company
The sun set, the moon rose, and the Lorings slept…
They docked in Rockland at 4:00 the next morning, a time “when the average tourist feels like keeping close to a comfortable stateroom.” (Boston Evening Transcript, 1910). They had just one hour to disembark, make their way to the Blue Hill Line, and board the boat that would take them to North Haven, Stonington, South Blue Hill, and, finally, Blue Hill. They were underway by 5:15.
They now traveled on the S.S. Boothbay, a smaller steamer with fewer amenities. Size was important, because there was little room to maneuver in Blue Hill’s inner bay. The steamer had to back out, avoiding rocks, sand bars, and lobster pots, until it got into wider waters to turn around.
The “Boothbay” was a Blue Hill fixture. It arrived six days per week throughout the summer, blowing its horn to announce the arrival of friends, relatives, and supplies to the small, coastal community. The Lorings took this photo of it from their shore:
The Lorings disembarked and loaded their belongings and themselves into an awaiting carriage that took them the mile-plus to Stone House. (This postcard is a little later, when cars had replaced carriages, but what a great view of the wharf!) They bought supplies at Merrill & Hinckley’s store and celebrated the Fourth of July on their stone veranda, overlooking Blue Hill Bay. (If you had to bet, what color would you say those awning stripes were?)
It was the first of many summers in Blue Hill, one year before Emilie Loring began her long and spectacularly successful writing career. A coincidence?
The Eastern Steamship Company brochure concluded:
“We will begin to believe that all the world comes to the coast of Maine in summer, we will know the reason why, and we will agree with the poet Whittier where he says:
'They seek for happier shores in vain Who leave the summer isles of Maine.'"