Inn preserves Lubec’s maritime heritage

By Hilary Nangle
Globe Correspondent / May 1, 2011

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LUBEC — If The Inn at the Wharf were any closer to the shoreline, I could cast a fishing line out my window. Instead, I gaze at lobstermen hauling traps and fishermen unloading their catch, listen to boats chugging along, watch some of the nation’s biggest tides and earliest sunrises, and breathe brine-scented air. It’s not just the location on the eastern shore of the nation’s eastern-most town that makes this lodging special, but also the story behind it.

In the mid-1900s, this town was home to 23 sardine factories. When the final whistle blew in 2001 at Lubec Sardine Co. Factory B, the last one operating, it signaled the end of an era. Five years later, Victor and Judy Trafford spied the oceanfront property with its new wharf and to-die-for views over Passamaquoddy Bay and purchased it.

While debating what to do with the derelict factory, the Traffords began buying lobsters and crabs, and later eels and periwinkles, from local fishermen and using the basement-level holding tanks for sorting and storing, before sending the catch to market. Next they renovated the factory’s upper level into modern guest accommodations, including suites and two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments. After opening in 2009, they started operating the To-and-Fro water taxi to Eastport, renting bicycles and kayaks, and offering whale-watching tours. This summer, they plan to open a lobster restaurant in the factory’s former boiler room.

For guests, the overall experience is an authentic immersion into Maine’s maritime culture and heritage.

The Inn at the Wharf, Lubec, 207-733-4400,, $100 suite, $150 apartment. HILARY NANGLE