The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #163

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A reader writes:

Looooongtime reader, but this is my first VFYW contest entry, so I’m probably wrong. But I’ve taken float planes from downtown Vancouver to beautiful Vancouver Island many times.  The 20 minute trip is a blast, and the picture looks just like the view a couple of minutes after water takeoff, passing over their gorgeous park (named after the same guy as the hockey CUP). So to use the old “Clue” game format, I’m calling it Stanley Park, in Vancouver, from a seaplane.


Ticonderoga, New York?  Fort Ticonderoga is slightly left of center.


I approached this VFYW with confidence, armed with the recent pointer from a previous winner: identify bridges. Unfortunately, this view didn’t have any. What it does have is a fort, with an American flag. Now we can narrow the view down to navigable rivers in the United States. The abundance of quaint little churches hints at the Northeast. Perhaps the Hudson or the Susquahanna. The fact that the river seems to be making a 90 degree angle leads me to guess this is where the West Branch and the North Branch of the Susquehanna Merge. If that is the case, this picture was taken from Shikellamy State Park. Wikipedia offers this promising view, which may or may not feature the vista in question. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a fort here. Which means I’m not looking hard enough, or all rivers look the same.

Thanks for a fun Sunday afternoon; this may take over the niche previously occupied by crossword puzzles.


Is it Vicksburg, Mississippi?  Glad to see the Stars and Stripes flying there again …


Thanks for giving us an easier one this week. I know it’s easy because I could get it.

The view screamed Northeastern US, especially with what appeared to be a 19th century fort in the foreground. After a little fruitless searching in the Hudson river Valley (Ticonderoga?), a search for New England forts quickly came up with an identical picture. The contest photo was taken from the Observatory built into the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, looking out over Fort Knox, the town of Bucksport, Maine and the Verso Paper Company’s Bucksport Mill. The observatory has three levels, so let’s guess it was taken from the highest level, center window, as the reflections of the windows behind the photographer are on both sides of the frame.

One of these days I’ll get a hard window, and get on the list of people who can win.

Another sends a view from above:

VFYW Maine Bird's Eye Marked2 - Copy

Another reader:

So after a few tough weeks (Ethiopia? Really?), you ratcheted down the difficulty level. This wasn’t a difficult view at all, but I’m pretty sure you chose this one just to blow my mind. I insidementioned a few weeks back in the Portugal contest how bridges are an important part ofviewfinding and that lately I’ve become obsessed with bridges. Well, well, didn’t bridges go notably absent for a few weeks?

And no bridge here, either. But that’s because – wait for it – the view was taken from INSIDE A BRIDGE! This M. Night Shyamalan twist is from the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, a cable-stayed bridge (like Portugal) that boasts the fastest elevator in Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont. How fast? Fast enough to get you to the top of the world’s tallest public bridge-observatory in the world in one minute.

What you see once the adrenaline wears off is a rather pretty view of bucolic Bucksport, Maine across the Penobscot River, with the slight eyesore of the Verso paper mill to the left. No doubt your submitter is a VFYW junkie on his way to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park who couldn’t resist the urge to send in a view from an unconventional window.


Apparently this is the first, tallest and only bridge observatory in the US, and one of only four in VFYW_7-20_Observatorythe world.  The form of the bridge towers were designed to mimic the Washington Monument, as some of the stone used to construct the more famous obelisk was sourced from nearby quarries.  Fort Knox below was constructed following the Aroostook War, which was never really a war, but rather a state of tension between the US and Britain over the boundary with New Brunswick.  Interestingly, one consequence of the diplomatic intervention which forestalled actual warfare in the Aroostook “War” was the establishment of a railroad right-of-way which would eventually become part of the Montreal Maine and Atlantic railway, most recently in the news for the tragic disaster which struck Lac-Megantic, Quebec and spurring on a renewed debate as to the safety of transport of tar sands oil by rail versus long-distance pipelines.

Another sends a video from the observation deck:

Another reader:

Usually I spend about an hour on this contest every week. But today, I am very, very lucky that I opened this week’s VFYW with my girlfriend sitting next to me. She recognized it instantly as the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, overlooking Fort Knox and Bucksport, Maine. (The tower is technically in Prospect, Maine). She drives past the observatory every time she visits her grandparents, who live just a few miles away. She and I are moving in to an apartment together this month, and now I can’t stop imagining The View From Your Window Book as our first coffee table book! Crossing my fingers that we’re the winners!

There are 18 windows total on the north face of the observatory, so I hope the tiebreaker isn’t whoever guesses the exact window. But if I have to guess, I’ll say that the picture was taken from the top floor of the three observatory decks, the easternmost window on the north face of the tower. I found a 360 degree view of the top floor, and the three western windows on the north face are in the stairway area (it looks like an awkward place to take a picture), so I suppose it’s a guessing game between the three eastern windows.

Details from the submitter:

Should be a pretty easy contest. It’s from the highest bridge observatory in the world on the Penobscot Narrows Bridge in Maine. I think it’s from the third window from the left on the north side of the observatory, top floor. (The elevator only goes to the floor below so you get a 360˚ view).

Driving back from my first trip to Acadia in way too long, we stopped at the observatory. When it was rebuilt as a cable-stayed bridge in 2007 (after the previous 1930s-era bridge was found to be structurally unsound due to corrosion) it was built with what is now the highest bridge deck observatory in the world. It was totally worth the price of admission to zoom up in an elevator and wander around the observatory watching the river below. Usually, such observatories are found in cities, this is in a rural area with a view of the paper mill and the rolling hills in all directions – all the way back to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia.

When you step out of the elevator you’re only two or three feet from the windows, and you’re told to look first at the horizon to dispel issues of vertigo from looking straight down 420 feet. This reminded my girlfriend of the a story about the rickety old bridge. In high school, her cross country team was going on a trip to Acadia for a training camp. The bus driver got to the bridge and refused to drive across. Not because it had been condemned at that point, but because the driver was afraid to drive across high bridges. He would only cross if someone else drove and he could lie on the floor and not see out. Apparently this was deemed too much of a liability, and the bus took the 30-mile detour to Bangor, where the bridges aren’t quite so high above the river.

By the way, If you need me to vet windows, just email me and I can give thumbs up or downs. I seem to have a knack for submitting VFYW contest photos from observation locations – I submitted Enger Tower in Duluth a few years back. And maybe some day I’ll win a book : )

More than 250 readers entered the contest this week and nearly all of them correctly answered the bridge observatory, making it one of our easiest contests ever.  Since more than a dozen correct guessers of previous contests also guessed the correct window this week, the tiebreaker goes to a long-time correct guesser who has entered at least 20 contests without yet winning:

To use a standard VFYW contest cliche, the church spires in the background “screamed New England.” For once, the screaming was correct. A search for “New England coastal forts” produced Fort Knox (the original Fort Knox, I guess). The nearby bridge observatory is the only place that could produce that view.

One more reader sends “a postcard from 1905 showing the reverse view (of the fort from the town, without the bridge)”:

Fort Knox 1905