Monday, November 7, 2016

Maine: What We Did

Last Thursday in the span of two hours I donated blood, got a flu shot, and walked right past the carts full of discount Halloween candy at the grocery store. (And there were pumpkin-shaped Reese's in those carts!)

I was feeling so righteous that it would not have surprised me had I been taken right up into heaven in a whirlwind a la the prophet Elijah, but suddenly I realized I had not yet blogged about the promised places of Maine. So there I was on Friday, as yet un-raptured and overloading the cyber-circuits with my pictures. Then I waited another two days.

But finally, without further ado, What We Did in Maine.

Well, just one more tiny bit of ado, which is a disclaimer: We arrived in the very nick of time to see much of what we saw. In fact, the picture above was taken on Peak's Island, where we were greeted by Mike of Mike's Golf Cart Rentals.

"You ah the last customers of 2016, and ya got one hour," he announced. Well, alrighty. But after we had taken possession of the cart and started out on the 35-minute circumnavigation of the island, we realized we were not really up for much more than that. People, it was COLD.

Husband checked his weather app and at that moment back at home it was a balmy 82 degrees. We were in the low 50s, but the brisk stiff ferocious sea wind made it feel like we should be chipping ice off of our barnacles. We had planned to do some beach-combing but we jumped out of the cart only long enough to have a passing stranger snap a picture of us (I apparently was smuggling pumpkins under my skirt), then it was back to the island inn for lobster rolls. Be ye not fooled by the beautiful blue skies. Cold.

So attractive. So cold.
Fortunately, the beaches in the areas where we alighted were not particularly amenable to combing so braving the wind was not much of a temptation. This shot was taken on the other side of the island, and even Mike warned us to be careful on the rocks.

In fact, the weather was not particularly cooperative for many of the four days we were there, but we mostly didn't complain because we were there. One of the best things about Maine is that it's relatively small. In Kansas, if you want to see Boot Hill, and the Big Ball of Twine, and the Agricultural Hall of Fame, and the Garden of Eden, you'd better be blocking off several days because mileage. But in Maine, you could get anywhere in an hour. (That proclamation was in the rulebook that also said every meal would cost $20.)

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for example, was about that far south down the road, and we spent a delightful day in this sailing town that had really spooky fall street decorations.

The guy in the Kansas shirt is not part of the decorations

Or you could get to the L.L. Beane headquarters in Freeport, and find out they're having a pumpkin carving contest.

For years Husband has given Stonewall Kitchen jams and jellies as major client gifts at Christmas, and if you stop at this company's mother ship in York you will be able to eat your body weight in sample jams and jellies, although your body weight will continue to increase as you eat those samples so you're continually having to stuff more jam into your mouth to keep up. Yummmm.

We also took the aforementioned ferry ride to Peak's Island, freezing our keisters but loving the view of Portland from the east side.

Perhaps my two favorite stops on the trip, though, were unplanned. As we drove through Brunswick toward L.L. Bean, we decided to sidetrack at Bowdoin College. Husband remembered that Joshua Chamberlain had been a professor there before he fought in the Civil War, and later was the hero of the movie Gettysburg. So we set off to find Chamberlain's grave in the cemetery near the college.

We drove up one tiny lane and down the other, circling back and peering at stones that have been worn almost smooth by a hundred New England winters. Finally, on what we had decided would be one last look, we found it.

A more modern stone now marks the grave of this man who became president of the college after the war (and was the last person to die of Civil War-related injuries), and visitors leave tiny tributes on top of the marker. A stone, or a penny, or a beautiful leaf. It was a lovely remembrance and one of those pennies is mine.

A cemetery also adjoins the tiny country church where we worshiped Sunday morning. We met every single person in the congregation, not a difficult task when there are only 20 or so in attendance, but the kindness, gentleness, and self-control reminded us that geography is a man-made overlay on the spiritual map.

And then we walked back across the street to our AirBnB home for the four days, a studio apartment in a residential neighborhood that fit our schedules and personalities perfectly.

Oh, Maine. I miss it already. The next time I'm as righteous as I was last Thursday, I hope the whirlwind drops me right back there.

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