downright downeast charmed
It might be hard for me to see a lot of things in line with George and Barbara, but their choice to set up compound in coastal Maine will no longer be one of them. The place is so crammed with that Americana charm flag-draped weathered barns, hand-painted mailboxes, canoes on bricks in yards, floppy-eared dogs hanging out the back of pickup trucks and wildflowers along gravel road that it squeezed the ennui right out of our embarrassingly-jaded city sensibilities.
On our first bike ride in Kennebunkport, pedaling past rusted tractors and stone fences which I suspected had a single piece of black volcanic rock in it's proximity, I did what I suppose a lot of people who work off their Clam Shack lobster rolls with a four-mile stint from Cape-Able Bike Shop to Goose Rocks Beach must: I imagined a simpler life for us there. We'd rob a bank or four on our way out of Manhattan and never look back. We'd get two golden retrievers, one tan and one brown, and a little house and slap up some of those wood shingles and stay as long as it took for them to turn from beige to mud to Cape Cod weathered grey. I'd get us one of those porpoise-shaped things that point the direction of the wind and bake blueberry pies for all of my friends who came to visit. We'd know our neighbors by name and by their stance on butter vs. mayo lobster roll debate.
On Peak's Island (thanks Holly!), we rented bikes again, this time mine was no sleek mountain Trek, but a rusted maroon-framed three-speed with a tan leather seat I haven't seen in 20 years, so aged that every time I stepped on the pedal it let out a groan as if it resented being removed from the sidewalk outside the bike shop. (I felt its pain, but a day later.) I don't know how they do it magic? but the island's five mile circumference is downhill both ways yet still leaves you feeling fit enough to treat yourself to a cone of Whoopie Pie ice cream, which is about the best allegory I can think of for life post-vacation.
As a combined result of my OCD and your helpful suggestions (especially these guys), a list of stops on the tour, each better than the previous:
- Portland Head Light
- Royal River Grillhouse in Yarmouth
- Old Orchard Beach
- Vignola in downtown Portland
- Clam Shack for lobster rolls in Kennebunkport
- Cinque Terre in downtown Portland
- Goose Rocks Beach and Kennebunkport
- Peak's Island
- Fore Street in downtown Portland
Glad you enjoyed New England.
I just got back from a week in the Midwest - what a different photo set I will have.
Livestock and State Fair Food.
Yes, life is good.
Thanks for the update and the pictures.
Maine sounds heavenly. :)
Seeing that lobster roll made me even more excited about my next couple of days! Bar Harbor here I come! Maybe on the way back to NYC we will also make a stop or two along the southern coast.
Did you see the Aurora Borealis by any chance? That's one of the main things that I want to see, or else I gotta go to the Yukon territories.
3 | mary | August 21, 2006 09:44 AM
Yay! I'm so happy you visited Peaks. It's a great little island.
So, not in love with lobster & boiling your food until it's dead huh? Oh well, more for Alex.
Beautiful pictures! BTW - I think that "hibiscus" is a beach plum...but I could be wrong.
Totally unrelated - my friend & I were in the city yesterday (went to see Hairspray) anyway - she wanted to us to slow down & look at the people around us just in case we saw a celebrity. To which I replied, "I'd much rather just see that Deb-smitten-girl, now that'd be cool!"
I recommend the Inn at Portsmouth (nice bed and breakfast) :) I try to go back annually. http://www.innatportsmouth.com/
I love the pics from Maine. I grew up in the area that you visited and seeing the pictures made me miss it. I came to DC for school and work, but I wish the ocean was just out my back door again.
7 | C | August 21, 2006 12:44 PM
Sooo what is the exciting news you made us wait all week for? Besides Steve & Gail getting engaged.
Hey Deb - just came across something on the web I thought you might like, or maybe you've already seen it. This guy has the most amazing food porn!
9 | Nicole | August 21, 2006 02:55 PM
did you and alex go to celebrate your anniversary? Has it been a year yet?
looks like you had a lovely time!
10 | hannah | August 21, 2006 03:26 PM
Glad you had such a nice time. I loved Maine so much when I was there (especially Portland, ME) I almost wish I lived there. If I could afford it, I would eat in Cinque Terre every night.
I have ALWAYS wanted to go there! It's a far piece from here, though, so it takes a lot of planning!
You should visit our Outer Banks sometime - I think you'd love it. (It's also a great place for pics!)
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Don't even try to be cute. I have read that novel at least 10 times in as many years.
Got it, didn't I?
I saw the King here in St.Pete last year, just before "Cell" was released, my gf Tina is a student at Eckerd College and he spoke there. He actually read a short story aloud that he said will probably never be published. It was my only time ever seeing him in person and I swear, if I hadn't been with T. I would have bum-rushed the stage and thrown my panties up there. Of course, when I blurted this out on the way home she goes "I would have been fine with your(insert overexuberant display of zealous loving here), you should have just gone for it. Damn, propriety!
O, kindred spirit and baker of amazing homemade oreos :)
ps... did you know you've been bumped up to the # one spot on Google for "smitten?"
Oh, and great customer service at that "other" smitten, btw, and a "huge" inventory :)
Jez - Shawshank, you totally got it. I meant to link the volcanic rock reference, but it seems I forgot. God, I love that movie.
Abby - Hurricane Margs (sometimes shows up here) and a group of us went out to the Outer Bank for a week several years ago and I LOVED it. We were actually thinking about going there instead of Maine, but Maine is infinitely more driveable and we had car access.
Neil - If you liked Cinque Terre, you'll love Vignolas. It's new from the same people, and so good. (Right around the corner.)
Hannah - Anniversary is next Monday. Soon! And oh, how I wish I could vet out anniversary present ideas with you guys, but then it wouldn't be a surprise for him. :(
welcome back and grand pictures as always.
We're so glad that you had a great trip! Your pictures reminded us that ohmygod we left Maine for Pittsburgh...??!
I loved Maine!!! I went around the Bangor and Orono area and had a great time with my wife and kids. As a Canadian from a mid sized town called Barrie in Ontario I did not know what to expect. I had been to Chicago before and found Americans there to be gruff and even rude. But the Maine people what a lovely bunch of folks ! With hearts as big as the statue of Paul Bunyan they have there. The scenery pristine and clean and the New England cities were all lovely. I'm so glad you had a great time there we are planning to go again this summer.
17 | George Kordonis | August 24, 2006 02:32 PM
You ought to put Watch Holly back in your links, now that her site is up and running again. Just a suggestion. :)
18 | M | August 24, 2006 02:55 PM
I love love love your photos. What hotel did you stay in?
19 | Gretchen | August 28, 2006 07:14 AM