Our Vacation – an exercise in my summarizing skills

Posted: May 17, 2007 in best things, booze, Calvin, Food, Journal, Maine, photography, vacation

I didn’t provide too much detail during the week Calvin and I were in Maine, because, well, I wanted to be OUT DOING instead of IN WRITING. So you got your little drabs and your BIG amounts of pictures, which I hope helped to tide you over. That is, if you needed tiding. Perhaps you were completely and entirely disinterested. Who knows what goes on it that brain of yours, anyway?

Moving on.

The problem with going home is that at least two days out of every vacation are fully occupied with travelling. We left Arizona at 7:30 in the morning Arizona time on Saturday, and got to our hotel in Maine at 7:30 in the evening Maine time. That’s flights, layovers, and the drive from Manchester NH to Portland ME. Coast to coast travel is a bitch, people.

Saturday, The Remainder:

The hotel (The Portland Regency, and I doubt we’ll ever stay anywhere else, the place was AWESOME) was a MUCH WELCOME sight when we finally rolled in, even though we only paused long enough to shower up and change clothes, then we were out prowling the Old Port.

Portland Regency Hotel
We stopped in the Armory Lounge, the hotel’s bar, for some alcohol soaking food (Chicken Gorgonzola for Calvin, lobster salad on a croissant for me), and then went down the street and around the corner to Bull Feeney’s, an Irish Pub that was packed and happenin’ (and did YOU know that lobsters love Guinness? I didn’t.).

I already mentioned the oddity that is Cinco de Mayo in Maine, with the Irish drinking songs and the VERY WHITE GUYS sporting very black fake moustaches and sombreros. There was “Fred”, who loved everybody, and told everybody that fact repeatedly. There were these two guys that were wasted and standing, weaving, calling catcalls and encouragements to the live entertainment, and trying with little success to sing along. Calvin and I enjoyed ourselves hugely, drank tequila (which is per our standard, but the folks in the bar thought that was Very Authentic of us), got hugged by Fred about twelve times (who, it turned out, was just back from Iraq), and finally stumbled our way back to our hotel a little after 1:00 a.m.


Tequila = ow.

I already described how I woke up ridiculously early and how Calvin was forced to get out of bed against his will. How he could sleep through the constant calls of the seagulls was beyond me – they woke us up pretty much every morning. If I lived there I’d probably get sick of it, but at week’s end it was still novel to me. The hotel is one street up from the harbor, and with all of the fishing boats coming and going, there was a lot of seagull conversating going on.

“Mine? Mine? Mine?”

We ate breakfast at Twenty Milk Street, the restaurant in the hotel. They had a very fancy-schmancy Sunday Brunch going on, but we ordered more standard fare. Calvin had corned beef hash made with actual corned beef (not those weird little Dinty Moore cubes) and poached eggs Benedict, and I had eggs over medium with bacon and toast. Good LORD people, can I just rhapsody a moment over the bacon? I don’t know what they do to the pigs in Maine, but whatever it is makes the bacon taste like meaty strips of heaven.

Me at breakfast at 20 Milk Street
You do know that this entry is going to be primarily about food, don’t you? Maine is very VERY big on producing and selling locally grown produce, dairy, meats, and of course seafood. Very little (if any) of the food we ate was from “away”. Except for the tequila (and some guy randomly told us in Bull Feeney’s that there’s a tequila manufacturer in Maine. I’m not sure I believe him. A cactus would never survive the Maine winters, even indoors.).

Anyway. We took the car out (valet parking at ten bucks a day plus a fiver tip every time you take it out) and drove “out New Gloucester way”, taking the drive I used to commute every day to and from work (and whoever thought I ever would have wanted to do that for fun??). From there we drove the back roads to Freeport, stopped briefly at LL Bean for the required souvenier gifts for the gang back home, then wandered back toward the Old Port. Lunchtime rolled around and, utilizing the directions we got from the bartender at The Armory the night before, we went to the Amato’s on India Street for my Mecca Moment. I tell you what, we had to wait for over a half an hour for those darned sandwiches – the folks behind the counter couldn’t get their acts together and misplaced our VERY SIMPLE ORDER (one large regular, one small roast beef, guess which one was mine), like, three times. But we finally made it back to the hotel room with the Italians and the Humpty Dumpty salt-n-vinegar chips (an institution, and what an awesome website MaineGoodies.com is!!!), and the Sam Adams.

I think I ate that entire foot-long sandwich in three bites. Oh, the pickles! Ohhh, the bread. Ohhhhhh, the fact that I’m three thousand miles and God knows how many months away from having another one…


After lunch we went looking for a sports bar with a TV that would sport the Suns game (“The who? What game are you looking for?” (“Basket. Ball.”) “Uhhh… the Red Sox are playing…”) We walked into one place and turned around and went back out almost immediately, having assessed their TV-less-ness. A (rather drunk) guy standing just outside the door looked at us funny and said, “What’d you do that for?” Calvin bristled, still operating on Arizona Standard Defense mode, and said, “What do you mean?” So the guy slurred, “Why would you wanna walk into a bar, then walk right out again? Oh, you have a camera. You’re trying to (hic) capture something…” I just laughed and pulled Calvin away, reminding him that in Maine, any questionable circumstance would most likely turn out to be well meaning but weird, instead of violent and confrontational.

We finally settled in the Old Port Tavern. There was absolutely nobody there (it being Sunday afternoon), and the more beer I drank, the sleepier I got.

Calvin at the Old Port Tavern
Calvin got a little annoyed that I would want to take a nap (don’t worry, the irony kicks in later). After about an hour of fighting it, I finally gave in and we went back to the hotel. I crashed in the room for ONE HOUR AND TWENTY MINUTES, that’s it. He hung out in The Armory to watch the game (and have two more beers, and a PORT, of all things). He came back up to the room at about 5:20, at which point I woke up and got up to get myself ready for another evening of prowling around the Old Port. As I was in the process of dressing and grooming my hot self, he FELL ASLEEP. Fully clothed. Watching the game.

So. I figured, okay. I’ll let him rest. I needed a nap too, after all. I grabbed the camera and went down toward the wharf to take a bunch of pictures.

I can has buckit?
I was gone for probably an hour or so, taking my time and enjoying the evening and the weather and the light. I wandered back up to the room at about 6:30. Tried to wake Calvin up. Got a grunt and a snore. So I sat at the computer and photoshopped the pictures. Tried to wake Calvin up once every half an hour or so. Finally gave up at 8:30 and let Calvin sleep. For the rest of the night.


I went down to The Armory with my book (The Dreamhunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and I have to say I didn’t particularly like the book), grabbed a burger and gabbed with the bar guys while they ROARED over The Family Guy. I don’t get that show At. All. There was a random 10-minute sequence where the dad on the show battled it out 007-style with a man-sized chicken. For no apparent reason. And then just stopped. Again, for no apparent reason. Something was lost in translation for me, that’s for sure.

When I was done eating I went to the Map Room (which I never actually took a picture of, but it’s a lovely sitting room with leather and mahogany furniture and model ships and maps everywhere) and read for about an hour. Then I went back up to the room, didn’t take too much particular care to not disturb Calvin (not that it would have made a difference because I would have needed a marching band AND an earthquake), and went to sleep.

Aaaaand obviously I can’t “summarize” to save my life, so I’m going to post this stuff in chunks. More tomorrow! I’m sure your riveted.

  1. […] remodel. Seven ceiling fan installations. Three new toilets. Four trucks. Four motorcycles. Three trips to Maine. One trip to Hawaii. A million trips up north. One three thousand mile road trip. Seven thousand […]

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