Archive for the ‘vacation’ Category

My boss put a word in with a manager of an AcronymCo group over in Massachusetts, letting him know that I was interested in making the move back East, and to keep me in mind for any forthcoming openings. It barely registers as a preliminary step in our goal to move closer to my home state, but the thought of it generated in me a little bit of excitement nonetheless. I immediately hopped onto the internet and started researching towns close to the campus. Bedford caught my eye, but I pretty much immediately ruled it out entirely as a candidate for our future home. Holy hell, is that one exclusive little town. According to its Citi-Data, the median income for a family is $112,000, in a population of 13,800. The median family income for the town we live in now is $68,000, and we’ve got a population of 255,000.

Housing prices drop dramatically over the New Hampshire border (not to mention the non-existence of sales tax), and certain towns in and around Nashua are within a 50-minute drive to the AcronymCo plant, and a two-hour drive to Portland Maine/J’s Oysters/the Old Port/every place I hold dear in this life/HOMEHOMEHOME.

The upshot of all of this being that if I can’t actually be IN Maine, I’ll settle for being CLOSE TO Maine. 120 miles away beats 2,771 miles away, HANDS DOWN. Transferring to the Massachusetts AcronymCo has the added benefit of, you know, not having to JOB HUNT. Hello, tenure. Hello, sabbatical #3 in 2016.

Ih, we’ll see. It’s a long-ish shot. But stranger things, and longer shots, have happened.

———-

Bill and I are working on resurrecting our MojoVation (that’s mojo and motivation). Gradually over the last few years, we’ve let the upkeep of our home slide a little. And as that upkeep slid, so did our positive attitude about, well, pretty much everything. We’re always happier when we’re busy, when we’re productive, when we have projects that we can work on together. So in 2011 we’re going to address ALL THE THINGS. Painting things and drywall things and fixing things and maintenance things and whatnot things. Which will make us happier. Which will, in turn, motivate us. Which will, in turn, inspire us to do MORE WITH THE THINGS.

The upshot of all of that being that when we’re ready to make the Big Move, the house will be in good order to sell, or rent, or sit idle. And if the Big Move doesn’t happen (but OH it will!), we’ll still have a house that we’re happy with. And people can come over and we won’t relegate them to just a few rooms. And we’ll have a guest room in which to put up the people that we really like.

Like you.

———-

It’s January of the calendar, which means that I have begun considering vacation destinations for this year. August’s trip to MotoGP in Indianapolis is already arranged but for the flights, but that only covers a few days and I have a full 21 days to schedule. THAT is a happy lunchtime occupation, let me tell you. That we’re going to Maine is a given – I was going to try to go for my cousin’s baby shower, but my aunt just called me two days ago to say it was being held the last Sunday of THIS month, which is too short of a notice to give my boss. So! Bill and I are probably going to go in the first part of June, when the weather is nice but the tourists aren’t overwhelming and we can meet the baby in person. I have made it clear to my uncle that he has to sit down with me for a couple of solid days, while I scan all of our old family photographs. Someone has to be there to tell me who the hell all the people in them are.

And then I got to thinking… it’s only a five hour drive from Portland to Montreal, and Montreal has this little race that’s held in the first couple of weeks of June every year. You might have heard of it… Formula One? So I thought, how COOL would it be to fly into Portland, hang there for a day or two, drive up to Canada for three or four days for the race, then back down to Maine to finish our vacation? Fast on the heels of that tentative plan was a G-chat message to my good (and handily-located) friend Sherry, who not only LIVES in the Montreal area, but has also been to that F1 race and has all the inside deets!

I swear to God, I don’t know how any of us got anything done, let alone had any FRIENDS, before the Internet.

Anyway, no plans are set in stone yet, but usually once we have a thought like this, for a vacation that we can get very enthusiastic about, we tend to run with it. Case in point.

———-

So! I get to wrap this day up by going over to Discount Tire to get the two rear tires replaced on the truck. Bill had to rescue me from the AcronymCo parking lot a couple of days ago, when I discovered upon trying to leave for the day that the rear driver’s side tire was flat. I called him, he did his Man Thing involving jacks and cursing and whatnot, and I was on my way again in a little more than half an hour. Beat THAT, AAA! We took the tire to Discount Tire, where it was discovered that the hunk of metal was embedded to close to the sidewall to be able to fix. They placed an order for new tires, which came in today, and that’s what I’m doing after work instead of drinking BEER. THEN we have to drop the truck off early tomorrow morning at the dealership for some scheduled maintenance, which may interfere with our plans to go up to Prescott for the day. Though if we can secure a rental car we might be okay.

Ain’t it grand to be a grown-up? $450 bucks that we didn’t anticipate having to spend and there goes my new flash. Thanks a lot, LIFE.

So, you guys have any grandiose plans for the weekend? Dish!

I’m off work this week (AcronymCo, that is), which of course means I have a honey-do list (self-imposed, that is) a mile long. The very first order of business, though, is to venture forth and purchase a new coffee pot. I broke the carafe last night while getting the coffee ready for the morning, and as anyone who has ever done the same thing knows, it’s just easier to buy a whole new coffee pot than try to track down a replacement carafe.

I recall promising Bill that I’d get up with him and run out to the nearby Dunkin Donuts to procure some coffee for him to have with his morning paper (he’s as routine-oriented about his morning cup as I am), but what I DON’T recall is the alarm going off this morning. I woke up when he kissed me goodbye. Ah, well. Hell. Road. Good intentions. Whatnot.

I got up at 6:45, brewed a cup of tea and toasted some rye, and spent the next hour-ish balancing the checkbook and doing a spot of financial planning for the new year. I always approach such tasks with dread, and then feel a sense of relief and accomplishment when it’s over. Stupendously enough, we’re still in the black and didn’t put ANY of our Christmas on credit cards. Go us! That’s a first, I’m pretty sure.

On deck: doodie duty. And major, epic grocery shopping. And wrapping Bill’s presents – I got the kids’ out of the way yesterday. And folding laundry before it gets too far ahead of me. Clearly, I know how to LIVE IT UP when I’m on vacation.

As an aside, how many of you have seen the original True Grit, the one with John Wayne? When I expressed interest in seeing the remake in theaters, Bill waxed enthusiastic and said we’d have to watch the original first. Make a day of it – watch the original at home (I bought it from Amazon, should be here any day now), go have lunch, watch the new one at the nearby AMC. Sounds like fun to me.

As an additional aside, we watched “The A Team” this weekend – twice. I was a HU-YOOGE fan of the TV show when I was little. I don’t know why, but I was completely and thoroughly entertained by this movie. I mean, utterly. Especially by the cameo appearances by the original “Face” and the original “Murdock” at the very end. The VERY end, after the credits – the brief clips that only the die-hard theater-goers (or at-home fast-forwarders) get to see. I’ve taken to fast forwarding past all the credits in every movie we watch, now, just in case there’s an extra tidbit at the end.

Do you guys do that, too?

I’m working on a new project for UpTake, which involves creating “playlists” for vacation destinations. It’s a really neat, really FUN concept. Check out my first one, “One Day in Portland, Maine“.

I’ll be on vacation next week… well, from AcronymCo, anyway. I’ll be working on these playlists throughout next week, as the editors would like as many as possible completed by early December. But they’re so fun to do that it doesn’t seem like work. Wish ALL of my gainful employment worked out that way.

Thanksgiving plans worked themselves out. Bill and I will be headed to his sister Karen’s, and I will only be obligated to provide supplementary food items. We haven’t hashed out the menu details yet, but I’m going to suggest that I bring Connoisseurs Vegetable Casserole, THE Pie(tm), and this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Pie provided by the lovely and talented Pioneer Woman.

I have something REALLY REALLY cool to share but it will have to wait until I can scan some pictures. In the meantime, I will amuse you by telling you that Bill got drunk the other night and ordered one of these. When queried, he retorted, “No, it does NOT light up.”

Oh, the humanity.

Monday Meta

Posted: October 4, 2010 in Arizona, Friends, photography, vacation, work

– I haven’t been writing here as much as I’d like. The reason? I’ve been busy. Verra, verra busy.

– We are officially OVER the 100+ degree temps in Arizona and are headed, finally, into autumn. Today’s high is 93 with a good chance of thunderstorms – one of which is brewing outside of my window as I type this. Tomorrow’s high is 88 with more storms. The highest it’s going to get over the next ten days is 92, which I am more than capable of dealing with. Thank you, October.

– I had a photography gig at the home of one of my co-workers on Saturday. She hired me to photograph her daughter and her daughter’s two best friends, for a full-page spread in their yearbook. I was a little nervous at first, but once we got going we had a great time. Two hours and four outfit changes later, I left with over two hundred photos to post-process. I was very pleased with a lot of them. I’ll share them with you on my Flickr account after my client has seen them, but for a Double Secret Probation Unauthorized Preview, go here.

– If you had to decide between a vacation to Washington DC to explore the Smithsonian, a long weekend in Monterey, or a road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which one would you choose and why?

– Work this week is going to suck ass. Because I was off for a day and a half last week, and because I’ll be in training Tuesday through Thursday of this week, today’s workload was challenging to say the least. The aforementioned training is to acquire my Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. We Must! We Must! We Must Increase Our Bust! Reduce Waste and Variation! I’ll be at the “other” AcronymCo campus, which of course throws off my routine. I HATE being thrown off my routine. We’ll also be required to shut down our laptops and pay attention (dammit), so blog reading and tweeting and e-mailing will be relegated to an hour-long frenzy at lunchtime.

Kim and her family suffered a horrible loss over the weekend. Dear Kim, when you get a chance to read this, please know that Bill and I extend our heartfelt sorrow and are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers.

More MotoGP Pics

Posted: September 4, 2010 in photography, vacation
Tags:

Been working on the MotoGP pics today. I have probably half of them up, which you can see here. Meantime, here’s some of my faves.

He said he dented the tank.  I don't disbelieve it.

He said he dented the tank. I don't disbelieve it.

Woman's got her priorities straight!

Woman's got her priorities straight!

BMW in one of the infield tents.

BMW in one of the infield tents.

In the Honda tent.

In the Honda tent.

Nicky Hayden.  Three words:  OM NOM NOM.

Nicky Hayden. Three words: OM NOM NOM.

Ben Spies, who we were rooting for all weekend, came in second in Sunday's race.

Ben Spies, who we were rooting for all weekend, came in second in Sunday's race.

Valantino Rossi, aka The Doctor.

Valantino Rossi, aka The Doctor.

Practice runs - go go speed racer!

Practice runs - go go speed racer!

Leeeeaaannn...

Leeeeaaannn...

A grand ol' chasing ground.

A grand ol' chasing ground.

For once, I wasn't the only shutter bug!

For once, I wasn't the only shutter bug!

My handsome boy.  And check out the reflection of the track in his sunglasses!

My handsome boy. And check out the reflection of the track in his sunglasses!

Ben!

Posted: August 30, 2010 in best things, Friends, Motorcycle, photography, vacation

One shot of a million billion zillion.

Ben Spies during practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, 8/27/10.

Ben Spies during practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, 8/27/10.

Oh my FUCKING GOD, did we have a good time. I have eight thousand things to do over the next few days, so if you’re craving recappy goodness, Taoist Biker is being his usual loquacious self over on his blog!

I have three very specific reasons for feeling bouncy today.

Before I get into them, let me just state for the record that I am more inclined, in general, to be bouncy than to not be bouncy. My husband is fond of commenting that, while he needs a specific reason to be in a good mood, I need a specific reason to not be in a good mood.

I think that’s a good quality to have in a wife, don’t you?

Anydoodle. The first reason for my bounciness is our oft-mentioned, oft-gushed about (yes, TB, you have been gushing) trip to Indianapolis to see the MotoGP race. I am STUPID excited to be meeting TB and Dys in person, finally. There’s also the possibility of seeing Heather, too (she lives a few hours away and is trying to figure out if she can come hang with us for a day). So, there will be:

  • Non-hundred degree weather.
  • Gearhead-oriented conversation.
  • Hot boys with motorcycles.
  • Hot girls who congregate around hot boys with motorcycles.
  • Meeting good, good friends in person for the first time.
  • Seeing a good long-time friend in person after a long parting.
  • Food that doesn’t contain calories because we’re on vacation.
  • Photographic opportunities galore.
  • Some good old-fashioned RACING.
  • Long days that fade into late nights because I GUARANTEE, everybody will be having too much fun to sleep.

I will be blogging if/when I can, Tweeting often from the track on my Crackberry, and posting pictures when I can. TB will be doing the same in his various on-line methods. It’s gonna be SICK.

We’re leaving Thursday morning and I have an epic ton of stuff that needs to get accomplished between now and then. Which leads me into my next reason for being bouncy. I asked my boss, and received permission, to extend my vacation by one day. So I have tomorrow off in order to accomplish all the things that need to get done, pre-trip. That I was running out of time was starting to stress me out a tad. Now I know I’ll be able to get everything done.

My third reason to bounce has got me WICKED geeked. See, you all know that I write for a photography website. The job has gotten me several fun things in the way of perks. One is the ability to rent lenses for free from Pro Photo Rental, as long as I write reviews about the lenses and mention where I got ’em. NOOOOOO PROBLEM. Because of this, I have been able to bring some fantastic photography equipment with me on many of our vacations, and I am able to bring a sweet telephoto lens with us to MotoGP. It arrived yesterday via UPS. It, and another box that I was so thrilled to see that I SQUEE’D.

See, about a week ago on a whim, I contacted the folks at Lensbaby to see if they had a lens that I could borrow, in order to write a review. I have always been interested in the Lensbaby line, and though I intended on buying one myself, the timing wasn’t right to purchase one for review purposes any time in the near future. Lo and behold, they wrote me back almost immediately, and said, “Hey, here, let us give you stuff for your very own! When you write your review, let us know!”

They sent me a Lensbaby Composer. AND an accessory kit that includes a wide-angle and a telephoto adapter, plus creative apertures. For my very own. To keep.

How cool are they??? Fantastic and generous and their customer service ROCKS. I spent a happy hour geeking out and playing around with this cool little lens system. It’s so creative and unique and CLEVER. I can’t wait to write a review about it. I’ve got a thousand ideas.

If you’re not familiar with Lensbaby, check out their photo gallery to see what their different products can do. I plan to own as many lenses, optics, and accessories as I can get my hands on.

So! Any one of those things is enough of a reason to put anybody in a good mood, right? Let alone all three!

Today is a good day.

(Here’s Part Four, Part Three, Part Two, and Part One.)

Tuesday July 20th was my thirty-sixth birthday. If we could spend every single one of my birthdays doing exactly what we did on that day, I’d be perfectly happy.

Well, except for the getting lost part.

We checked out of the hotel in Portland at about 7:30 a.m., planning on driving up to Poland, picking up my sister, and heading up the rest of the way to Bar Harbor. We hopped on the freeway near the hotel, intending on taking the 495 to the Gray exit and driving from there to Poland. Except, stupid me, we took the 295 fork instead, headed along the coast instead of further inland, and I didn’t twig onto the fact that we were not where we were supposed to be for another half-hour.

So we had to backtrack, get off in Freeport, and take the back roads towards Gray. The back roads that I haven’t REALLY traversed in twenty years. That look… well, rather different than they did. More overgrown. Some new houses. A few new turn-offs. And the ever-present vague signs. I misdirected us a couple of times, causing Bill to get more than a little frustrated. But, seeing as it was my birthday, he didn’t unload on me like I probably deserved. I made him stop in Gray so I could pee, then we had to stop again to get gas, THEN we made it to Poland but missed the right-hander at the blinking light. We stopped at a gas station where I asked a random guy if he happened to know my sister’s family, which he did (it really wasn’t that much of a long shot that someone hanging around the local gas station would know where the Chair(wo)man of the Town Selectman Board lives). He got us turned around the right way, and we finally got to my sister’s an hour behind schedule, at around 9:15.

Wendy left her car parked at the bottom of their hill (after chasing away some random guy that wandered his way up their private drive – she was suspicious and concerned about her kids, who were holding down the fort). I tinkled in the woods one more time (yes, I did – we were, literally, in the middle of NOWHERE and I didn’t want to risk Bill’s wrath by asking to stop at yet another convenience store somewhere along the way), then crawled in the back seat of the Camaro and let my longer-legged sister sit up front.

The drive up to Bar Harbor necessitates that one take the I-95 (hello tolls!) to Bangor, then head on over to Ellsworth, before finally getting back to the coast and Mount Desert Island. It takes about three hours, from Portland (it actually took us a bit longer, because of road construction around Ellsworth). One could traverse Route One all the way up the coast (which we have done before), but that takes more like six hours. Anyway, the ride up was all about catching up on family and friend gossip, talking about Maine politics vs. Arizona politics, and listening to some more of Taoist Biker’s Sunny Mix (I THINK we got through the whole CD during the trip). Wendy regaled us with anecdotes of Town Living Out Poland Way, and we laughed. A LOT.

It was about 12:30 when we got to our hotel – usually too early to check in, but they were happy to accommodate us. It also happened to be the same hotel that President Obama had been staying in, just a few days before. Man, were we grateful that we avoided all of THAT hot mess. I can’t imagine how crowded it got, with the gawkers and the secret service and the cruise ships. Those poor locals.

Anyway, it was getting on towards 1:00 and we were starving (no breakfast), so we headed up the road a very short way, to Jack Russell’s Steak House. I got a crab cake sandwich, my sister got the stuffed portabello mushroom, and Bill got a… burger? I think? Maybe it was a grilled chicken sandwich… oh, hell, like you guys care. Plus brews all around (natch). The Tour de France was on the bigger-than-life television, and the perspective it afforded made me dizzy in short order. We gabbed with a couple of the other patrons, and the bartender told us of the woes of having the President and the Secret Service invade the island.

Now comfortably full, we hopped back in the car, paused at the hotel long enough to off-load our belongings, then headed over to downtown Bar Harbor for some strolling and sight-seeing.

Bar Harbor with the tide out - from the pedestrian's walkway.

Bar Harbor with the tide out - from the pedestrian's walkway.

Flowerbeds were placed anywhere there was enough space.

Flowerbeds were placed anywhere there was enough space.

We strolled along the waterfront for a bit, then elected to get out of the sun and have a beverage at Quarterdeck. I had a blueberry mojito, didn’t take a picture of it. Didn’t particularly like it, so I switched to whiskey. That’s always a safe bet.

The harbor-side park from the vantage of the Quarterdeck second-story deck.

The harbor-side park from the vantage of the Quarterdeck second-story deck.

The Margaret Todd as seen from Quarterdeck.

The Margaret Todd as seen from Quarterdeck.

Wendy and Bill enjoying the view.

Wendy and Bill enjoying the view.

We hung out for a good hour before getting up to wander around some more. We sat in the grass of the harborside park for a little bit, watching the Margaret Todd come into dock, and watching the people enjoying the view and the weather.

The Margaret Todd

The Margaret Todd

The shore path

The shore path

Wendy and Bill wanted to ditch me temporarily so they could buy me birthday presents (yay!), so we strolled along the shops, split up, reconvened, and split up again. I bought the kids their obligatory Bar Harbor sweatshirts and t-shirts. Then I had a weird hankering for a cigar, so I scored a few and abruptly became the opposite of sexy. There’s a picture. You’ll have to go dig it up from my Flickr, cuz I ain’t posting it here.

Crowded Bar Harbor

Crowded Bar Harbor

Wendy and Bill, carrying mah loot.

Wendy and Bill, carrying mah loot.

Dinnertime rolled around, so we headed to Testa’s. Bill snagged the camera and took these shots:

Me at Testa's

Me at Testa's

Me at Testa's again.

Me at Testa's again.

Wendy and I both had the Seafood Newburgh, and Bill had… steak? The prime rib, I think? Man, I didn’t pay attention to his plate at ALL, I was so busy stuffing my own face throughout the entire trip. We noshed and moo’d and laughed outright when the waitress asked if we wanted dessert. Then it was back out into the cooling evening air. The lengthening rays of sunset had me grabbing my camera yet again as we headed back to the park to sit on the grass and watch the harbor.

I love sunset.

I love sunset.

And zoom out.

And zoom out.

Handsome devil.

Handsome devil.

Obligatory Wendy taking a picture of me taking a picture of her picture.

Obligatory Wendy taking a picture of me taking a picture of her picture.

The hill upon which we sat.

The hill upon which we sat.

The next stop on what turned out to be an all afternoon/all evening pub crawl was Stewman’s Lobster Pound, or more accurately, it’s deck-side bar the Eagle’s Nest. We sat and GABBED AND GABBED, and observed the lobsters being steamed down below us. Patrons would stop by the lobster tanks with their children, who got to touch and/or hold the lobsters before they (the lobsters, not the children) met their doom. Morbid, really. But oh so very tasty.

Bill's a happy camper.

Bill's a happy camper.

So is Wendy.

So is Wendy.

So am I.

So am I.

The ever-busy Margaret Todd, out for a sunset sail.

The ever-busy Margaret Todd, out for a sunset sail.

Lots o' lobsters steaming away...

Lots o' lobsters steaming away...

We finally decided to head back to the hotel for the evening, where I was presented with a beautiful silver necklace from Bill (I’ll have to take a picture of it to show you guys), and this amazing ensemble from my sister:

The things I do for you people.  The t-shirt says, "Say no to Pot."

The things I do for you people. The t-shirt says, "Say no to Pot."

So, backstory on that “crown”. When I was, oh, about eleven or twelve, my sister was staying in my Grandmother’s apartment for a while. One morning Grandma left Wendy a note, asking her to weed the garden for her. Wendy, believing me to be spoiled and also a slacker, wrote at the bottom of the note, “Why don’t you get Princess Tiffany to do it?” So I wrote underneath that, “That’s QUEEN Tiffany to you!”

She still has that friggin’ note. Anyway. She was looking for a princess tiara for my present, and the crab crown was the closest she could find.

We got in our jammies and got comfy, and my sister pulled out a copy of this movie, which we watched on my laptop. It was actually written, directed, and produced by her TOWN MANAGER. The cheese. Oh God. You guys, the CHEESE. It was EPIC. Completely full of awesome.

Especially if you’re a little bit buzzed.

Dammit. Okay, Bar Harbor will not get wrapped up in just one entry. I have another entire day full of exploration to tell you guys about. I’m stopping here.

Our route is in green.

Our route is in green.

We took advantage of another free day on Monday the 19th to explore more of the “fingers” along the Maine coast. With Taoist Biker’s Sunny Mix in the tray, we re-traced part of our steps up the coast on Route One to Wiscasset, and took a quick run down 144 to Georgetown Island just to see what was there (trees. houses. quaint little villages. natch.). We’d skipped breakfast and it was getting on towards noon, so we didn’t pause but headed back up to the main drag and picked up route 27 down to Boothbay Harbor. Along the way we saw a somewhat greater density in population – more houses, a bit more traffic, lots of B&B’s sporting “solar-powered dryers”. Bill blinked at the sign – I chortled and said, “Clothesline.”

We found parking at the area Grange, guarded by a truly ancient and altogether adorable veteran gentleman. I’d just popped out of the car to give him our $7.00, so I didn’t get a picture of him. I think he was rather too dignified to stand for it, though I’m sure he would have endured with aplomb. He called me “dear” (de-yah) and slowly, carefully, shakily unfolded a walking map of the town. He pointed and said, “You’re here (hee-yah). You go this way, you find shops and food. You go that way, you find shops and food. Pretty much walk any which way, you find shops and food.” I told him, “Well, that’s what we’re here for!” He patted my hand (aww!) and I walked back to the car, grinning from ear to ear.

We made a beeline for McSeagulls, finding it almost from memory. Not tough, really, since it’s on the waterfront and the ocean is pretty damned hard to miss. It’d been over three years since our last visit, but it didn’t seem like it was that long ago at all, once we settled down on the deck with our beers and menus.

Bill, beer, and menu at McSeagulls.

Bill, beer, and menu at McSeagulls.

I guess I’m getting a little bit out of the habit of taking pictures of my food – a fact I’m sure Bill is grateful for. I had fried clams, he had shrimp scampi. We sat and breathed and endured the fussy newborn behind us, and the rambunctious three-year-old at the neighboring table. The family bought him a stuffed seal. The general consensus was that the seal was to be named “Sammy”. The boy decided “Bob” was better. Way to fight against the obvious, kid!

After lunch we took a short stroll among the shops and along the shore. Our visit was at the height of the summer tourism season, so it was vastly more crowded than our last visit. Still, it wasn’t horrible, though I’m sure the locals have a different idea of the definition of crowded.

Boothbay

Boothbay

Pedestrian Bridge

Pedestrian Bridge

Boothbay Harbor

Boothbay Harbor

Bought some blueberry jam at the Village Store.

Bought some blueberry jam at the Village Store.

Captain Sawyer's Place B&B

Captain Sawyer's Place B&B

We reclaimed our car (“Good to see ya, dear!”) and navigated our way out of the congestion that had accumulated while we’d been exploring. We took a quick turn around Southport Island, but any views of the water were obscured by the trees once we got away from Boothbay any distance. If we wanted any vistas we’d have to traverse some of the private drives, which we weren’t prepared to do.

So, up to Route One once again, we hit Damariscotta (pronounced dam-rih-scot-ah). Oh how I LOVE that little town. Historic and the very definition of quaint. (As an aside, I’ll have to go back and count how many times I’ve used “quaint” during this summarization.) We cruised slowly through, and spotted a likely little pub that we kept in mind for our return path. We headed down 129, taking the right-hand fork toward South Bristol and Christmas Cove (and isn’t that the best name EVER for a town?). The road just… stopped. Altogether. No signs, no warning other than the narrowing path and encroaching buildings until all of a sudden, hi! There’s the ocean. We paused and gazed for a few minutes, but then I saw a point on the map that I really wanted to see.

Back the way we came, waving at folks tending their yards (which is why I didn’t take many pictures of the villages – the folks living there were out and about, tending and doing, and probably wouldn’t appreciate strangers taking photos of them), nodding at the seldom car coming in the other direction, back up to the fork and turned onto 130 in the direction of Bristol, then New Harbor. I would totally live in New Harbor. Quiet, lovely old homes, secluded, peaceful. Did I mention secluded? This would be THE spot on the planet to go if you wanted to get away from it all. They probably don’t even have cable. Actually, I’ll betcha they don’t. Sure as shootin’ we didn’t have any cell service while we were down around there.

Past New Harbor we came upon Pemaquid Point. We paid the park fee and parked in front of the Pemaquid Point lighthouse, where we spent the better part of two hours wandering, gazing, and taking a million pictures.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Lighthouse and Bellhouse

Lighthouse and Bellhouse

Wandering around on the rocks.

Wandering around on the rocks.

Bill is enjoying himself.

Bill is enjoying himself.

More rock wandering.

More rock wandering.

Splish.

Splish.

Antics

Here I am observing the antics of another patron, who was climbing in a very precarious way among the rocks getting nailed by the encroaching tide. His wife finally gave up screeching at him and went back to the car to allow fate to decide his demise. He made it okay, so I guess she had the opportunity to hasten his demise herself.

We tore ourselves away from the waves (watching the tide come in can be mesmerizing), hopped back in the car and headed back up to Damariscotta. Tucked in a teeny nook between buildings along the main street, we’d spotted King Eider’s Pub on our way down to the point. We found on-street parking fairly close by and, taking note of the one hour limit, walked down the sidewalk to the pub.

King Eider's Pub in Damariscotta.

King Eider's Pub in Damariscotta.

We scored a couple of beers and a whiskey (after pausing at the bar inside for a moment – we were fascinated that the barkeep stepped out the back door and picked fresh mint from the garden in order to make another patron’s mojito), then sat out on the minuscule deck and watched the bustling little down as dusk fell.

Rogue and whiskey.

Rogue and whiskey.

After finishing our drinks, we ducked into a nearby store really quick to see if we could find Bill some new shoes – his Columbia’s were starting to come apart at the seams. No luck, though, so he scored some superglue to perform emergency repairs. Then it was BACK in the car, BACK onto Route One, and headed back southwest to make our way back in the direction of the hotel (back back backety back).

We hit a bit of traffic and were both doing the pee-pee dance by the time we hit Woolwich and pulled into the always-necessary Taste of Maine Restaurant. It may be somewhat of a cliché to the folks who live in the area, but there was MANY a Mother’s Day that found me and my family escorting Grandma to a nice early dinner there. In fact, Bill and I took here there during the last visit home shortly before Grandma passed away (source of the infamous “I’m over here!” story). Their television commercial hasn’t changed ONE BIT in my entire lifetime. Still the lobsterman on the sign throwing his thumb over his shoulder and saying, “Taste of Maine Rest’runt. Route One Woolwich, just north of Bath.” Throw a fully loaded Maine accent in there and you’ve got the picture.

Taste of Maine sign.

Taste of Maine sign.

We requested a table out on the deck so we could watch the fading light over Harrison Bay. I wasn’t very hungry so I just ordered a bowl of clam chowder. Bill went to town on a surf and turf.

The view from our table.

The view from our table.

As we sipped our beverages we started to notice some very clear bird calls. Bill cast his gaze around, and spotted the osprey tower off to the side of the restaurant. Apparently about twenty years ago the owner of the restaurant built the tower, confident that the osprey would find it and build a nest. Five years later, that’s exactly what happened. For fifteen years the same mated pair have been coming back year after year to lay eggs and raise their young. A few years ago, they installed a webcam which streams a live feed into the lobby, and the BioDiversity Research Institute maintains a blog about the ospreys’ activities. Our visit was fortunately timed such that the male, female, and both chicks were still inhabiting the nest.

I fitted the camera with the 2x converter and the 70-200mm telephoto lens, and handed it to Bill. He spent an enthusiastic half-hour snapping shots from the deck and from the outer-wall staircase along the side of the building closest to the tower.

Mama osprey and her two chicks.

Mama osprey and her two chicks.

A wider shot of the nest and tower, webcam off to the left.

A wider shot of the nest and tower, webcam off to the left.

We spent a very pleasant hour enjoying the weather and the fading light, and fielding several phone calls from my niece Sable, who wanted to know when we would be back in Portland so she could stop by with her boyfriend for a visit. She’d actually been calling all day, but we were out of cell reception most of the time. I guess if we ever move back to Maine I’m going to have to get a satellite phone.

Back on the road, I got these shots from the car of the cranes at Bath Iron Works, while we were crossing the bridge over the Kennebec River. My uncle used to work there nights all throughout my childhood. I would LOVE to get a tour of that place sometime, and get up close to the AEGIS destroyers they build there. I keep wanting to get to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, too, but somehow we never end up there.

Bath Iron Works

Bath Iron Works

BIW

BIW

We finally got back to Portland at about 8:00, and immediately got started on doing a couple of loads of laundry to see us through the duration of our trip. A very nice guy, who rents a room right across from the laundry, provided us with some soap and dryer sheets. Sable arrived at about 9:00 and hung out with us for an hour or so. We all sat around the room gabbing and surfing the internet on my laptop, looking at vacation pictures and listening to music of Sable’s choosing. Then she and her boyfriend headed back out, Bill and I wrapped up the laundry situation, and we hit the sack.

(I think I can wrap up this recap in two more entries – one about our stay in Bar Harbor, and one about our stay at Grandma’s house. That’s what I’m shooting for, anyway!)

You can see Part One here and Part Two here.

Our plans on Sunday the 18th were to meet my cousin Laurel and her husband Eric for an excursion to the Portland Head Light. Laurel is three years younger than me, and she and I grew up together. She’d spend weeks with me at Grandma’s, and I’d spend weeks with her at Uncle Fred’s. Laurel and Eric got married just a couple of months after Bill and I did. Neither of them had ever been to the PHL, even though they are Maine natives and life-long inhabitants. So, after getting up at a fairly decent hour, Bill and I had a late breakfast in the hotel’s cafe, then went up to Top of the East to sip greyhounds (vodka and grapefruit juice) and wait for Laurel and Eric’s call. I occupied myself with taking yet more shots of the view.

Hazy Portland Harbor

Hazy Portland Harbor

A mansion on High Street

A mansion on High Street

Boat dock thingy on the far side of Portland Harbor.

Boat dock thingy on the far side of Portland Harbor. Love that telephoto lens!

Laurel called to say they’d arrived and parked, so Bill and I went down to the sidewalk to meet them. Hugs and yay’s and happy to see you’s commenced, then we piled into the Camaro (an uncomfortable fit for four adults) and drove over to Cape Elizabeth. Our initial plan was to grab some lunch at the Lobster Shack at Two Lights, but the line was approximately three miles long, out the door and across the rocks. We clambered around on the rocks for a bit, took pictures of the view, checked out the gift shop, and decided to see the PHL and then grab lunch in the Old Port.

Two Lights Point

Two Lights Point

One of the two lights, and a windcatcher.

One of the two lights, and a windcatcher.

It was a beautiful, if hot, sunny day. We actually didn’t spend as much time there as I would have liked – Eric wasn’t wearing the right kind of shoes for rock clambering, and the 90-degree breeze-less day was a bit stifling. So we did the obligatory walk around the light – I paused to chat with a couple of artists selling paintings and photographs of the light and head, but as I have fifty million perspectives of this particular landmark, I didn’t buy anything.

Portland Head Light... again.

Portland Head Light... again.

Eric, Laurel, and me.

Eric, Laurel, and me.

Bill, Eric, and Laurel.  Gabbing.

Bill, Eric, and Laurel. Gabbing.

The PHL.

The PHL.

We then walked away from the light, down toward the rocky coastline and the paths that lead the visitors down toward the waves.

Coast path.

Coast path.

Standing on the rocks, taking pictures of Casco Bay.

Standing on the rocks, taking pictures of Casco Bay.

On the rocks, looking back toward the PHL.

On the rocks, looking back toward the PHL.

After we were done clambering around on the rocks, we headed back up the path toward the light (which is called Fort Williams Park, by the way).

Fort Williams Park.

Fort Williams Park.

A view of the PHL from the walking path.

A view of the PHL from the walking path.

By this time it was going on 2:00 and we were getting pretty darned hungry, so we bailed back to the Old Port, parked, and headed to Bull Feeney’s for lunch. I had an Irish BLT, which features rashers instead of bacon, and it was mighty fine. After lunch we went back up to the hotel and hung out at the Top of the East for some iced tea and, of course, more views.

Portland Harbor at sunset, with the Casco Bay Bridge open to allow a ship to pass.

Portland Harbor at sunset, with the Casco Bay Bridge open to allow a ship to pass.

We hung out in the room for a while, looking at pictures on-line and talking talking talking. Before we knew it, it was 8:30 and Laurel and Eric needed to head home to tend to their animals. Bill and I walked them out, and I learned of the plans that her father (my Uncle Fred) and his girlfriend Simone were making for us for later on in the week. Bill and I then wandered down the street a little ways to Mesa Verde – Maine’s take on Mexican food. It wasn’t half bad, really. Back to the room for a little TV, then crashitude.