Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Weekend in Maine

When we booked our flight to Maine several months ago, Kathy and I decided to add an extra couple of days at the end of the trip to do additional exploring. By Friday, with the lack of sleep and the extra effort of watching Suz's three kids, Kathy was ready to skip the extra days in order to relax at home, going so far as to look into the cost of going back on Saturday. Alas, there was nothing available, so we were "forced" to spend those days on vacation.

We left the house Saturday morning, and made it a whopping 1.5 miles down the road before I spontaneously decided to pull over, so we could take a trail walk in the marshes. It was lovely and peaceful, and I was a bit amused that we had stayed so close to this spot without exploring it sooner. Still, it was a good way to signal the break from our week at the beach, and 45 minutes later, we resumed our trip North.

Next stop was Freeport, and damn is that a silly place to visit. Headquarters of L.L. Bean and a massive array of "outlets" that seemed to be offering products at retail price, we wandered there for about an hour under ominous skies. Before leaving, however, we stopped at Derosiers, which has a good selection of local beers that I purchased for later, and ate an inexpensive lunch. We learned that while Emelia is quite comfortable in a high chair, she's not yet ready for a booster chair.

After Freeport we continued to make our way up the coast. We drove around Bath, but didn't stop -- nothing looked inviting enough for us to wake up a sleeping baby. In reading the brochures we picked up at the Visitors center in Freeport, Kathy noticed that Boothbay Harbor is home to the Maine State Aquarium (and Kathy's an aquarium junkie), so we turned off U.S. 1 and headed there. And while the aquarium was a disappointment (it's one large room that took less than 20 minutes to look at), its location was a treat. It's right at the edge of the harbor, across from the town, and we must have stayed outside there for a solid hour, enjoying the picturesque views while Emelia was feeling fairly miserable (not sure what the problem was, but she wasn't happy).

One other note about our time in Boothbay was that right when we sat down outside the aquarium, someone with a toy Doberman came over. Emelia has always loved dogs, and not been intimidated by them in the slightest. But she was terrified of this friendly three-pound dog named Grace, and wouldn't stop crying until the owner took Grace away.

While we thought about staying in such a nice coastal town, we wanted to see more of the coast, so we pressed northward. We stopped at another beer store right on U.S. 1, but otherwise didn't stop until we reached Rockland, where we grabbed one of the last rooms available at a hotel across from the ferry station, loaded our stuff into the room, and walked around town some before stopping for dinner. After we ate, we returned to our room, got Emelia to sleep, and went outside onto the little balcony for conversation, enjoying the beautiful evening as the sky gradually darkened, and drinking three of the beers we had bought that day.

The next morning we took our time getting rolling, but eventually checked out and made our way to the Maine Lighthouse Museum. It was by no means large or particularly impressive, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, as there were many exhibits and lots of information to take in. Afterwards, Emelia was tired and went back to sleep as soon as we put her in the car, but we only let her rest 15 minutes before we got out again to walk on the Rockland breakwater (though we didn't walk the 7/8-mile to the lighthouse at the end).

Back into the car, but already we were approaching lunchtime, so we picked up sandwiches at a Subway just south of Camden, drove through the town, entered Camden Hills State Park, and drove up Mt. Battie to enjoy a beautiful setting with our lunch. The skies were clear, and below us we could see a good chunk of Penobscot Bay.

From there we drove north to Belfast. Belfast seemed like a town we'd want to explore, but with Emelia sleeping, we limited ourselves to a drive through. After Belfast, we decided it was time to start making our way back to Portland. Rather than retrace our path, we elected to drive to Augusta, the state capital. We didn't see much to do in town, though we did give Emelia the opportunity to crawl around some in Capitol Park, across from the Capitol building. Next stop was a brewpub conveniently located less than two miles away, The Liberal Cup, where we enjoyed beers and a snack. We would have liked to stay longer, but Emelia wasn't up for it, so we hit the road again, to make our way back to the Portland area. We stopped at a Super 8 on the edge of town, took a quick swim, and realized that it was too late for us to go into town for dinner as we had intended. So Kathy hit a supermarket for carrots, hummus, and a loaf of French bread, and upon her return we sat in the stairwell next to our room while we (unsuccessfully) tried to get Emelia to sleep. It ultimately took a couple of hours for Emelia to go to sleep, and that was only when we went to sleep ourselves.

On Monday morning we did a quick drive through some of Portland before we went back to the airport for our 12:20 flight, and you already know what happened next. Still, we had a great couple of days, and by the end both Kathy and I were glad that we weren't able to come home early.