A Whimsical Afternoon by the Sea

Janelle Authur

During the 2020 COVID pause, Unit 8Ars decided to relieve a little stress by using their combined exercise miles on a 15-day journey across the country. The final destination was unknown, but residents were incentivized with the promise of a party, themed after the city/state where their total miles would eventually take them.

Unit residents started tracking their daily walking, biking, and jogging miles on March 17. By the end of the trek, 56 Unit 8Ars had walked and biked a total of 2,971 miles, ending up in Lubec, Maine, the Easternmost town in the contiguous U.S., just at the Canadian border.

On Oct. 24, 2021, 18 months after “arriving” in Lubec, unit residents finally celebrated with “Seas the Day”—A Whimsical Afternoon by the Sea in Lubec, Maine.

The afternoon kicked off with a parade depicting the final miles into Lubec. Grand Marshalls Ernie Nedder and Marci Whitehead led the parade, driven by Bob Townsend in his flower-laden convertible. Maia Schenkel, the day’s Blueberry Queen, followed in full queen regalia: sparkly tiara, sash, and sequined shirt and shoes. George Patterson drummed marching music, accompanied by Shelley Ziegler as parade cheerleader. Paul Thomsen good-naturedly entertained participants and onlookers with his lobster costume. Golf carts were decorated with flowers, balloons, lobsters and lobster traps, a Maine flag, and signs, including “Lubec or Bust.”

As they arrived at the Lubec Visitor Center at the Ranch House, residents were greeted by Lubec town officials (committee members Kathy Nedder, Denise Doepke, Judie Townsend, Kate Thomsen, Betty Ryan, and Janelle Authur) and posed for a group picture at the “Welcome to Lubec” sign. They signed up for an afternoon tour of the town and strolled the streets of Lubec. Landmarks were illustrated through pictures and descriptions, including McCurdy’s Herring Smokehouse, Campobello—the summer home of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Lost Fishermen’s Memorial, the West Quoddy Lighthouse, and Lubec Street Scenes. Tourists also posed for pictures at a giant recreation of the West Quoddy Lighthouse.

The 39 tourists then tested their skills and patience at four Lubec-related games: a lobster toss, fishing, croquet, and a Bay of Fundy relay marathon. After lively competition and tie breakers, the winners were awarded first, second, and third place ribbons.

The tour ended with dessert at the Blueberry Café by the Sea. All the desserts—scones, cake, muffins, and turnovers—were made with blueberries, a tribute to Maine’s state fruit and the role it plays in Lubec life.

As they departed for the day, the tourists passed a “Thank You for Visiting Lubec” sign, a gracious ending to a whimsical afternoon by the sea.

Epilogue: After a day of rest, on April 2, 2021, 60 Unit 8Ars began their trek back to the Ranch, traveling 3,109 miles in 14 days. Round trip, Grand Marshalls Marci and John Whitehead walked and biked more than 650 miles, and Grand Marshall Ernie Nedder walked more than 300 miles.