The East Coast Trip, Part I

I’ve been saying for more than a week now that I’d post about the big trip to the East Coast we made, and it’s reached the point where if I don’t make a start, of any length, it’ll never get done.

I’ve downloaded photos but haven’t yet had a chance to upload them to Flickr… until now. I’ve made a start at last.

I Heart Maine

And can I just say, “I Heart Maine?”

It’s a beautiful state. And it’s a beautiful state of mind.

We flew into Boston after work on a Friday a couple of weeks ago, and overnighted at an anonymous Holiday Inn not far from Logan Airport. As it happens, it turned out to be on the main route (heh) north to the Maine coast. We had packed fairly lightly, with just one checked bag each and a carry-on; the point was to avoid paying the extra baggage charge. I managed to pack what I really needed for the first two days in the carry-on, so I wouldn’t have to dig into the bigger bag.

One thing that made us kick ourselves, figuratively, was that we could have brought one of the tollway transponders with us; they would have been compatible with the ones all the way up the coast and back. Oh, well.

We drove somewhat randomly, with not much of a plan. I had a couple of guidebooks, and one of them mentioned the knowledgeable people at the big welcome centers along the main highway, and how they knew a lot about local routes and things to do. Well, that turned out to be a hot tip; we stopped at the first big center and after browsing a bit, I walked up to a friendly, greying lady at the help counter and inquired about local sights and things. She asked me if we wanted to meander along the coast, or go faster and more directly via the main highway.

Hmm. “Meander,” was my reply.

Out came the local maps – the kind that come with tiny cartoon drawings of footprints to show where a walking tour or cliffside path patters along. She brought out a marker and lined out a route through several villages and townships, linking about 6 maps (front and back) together. We had only the vaguest idea of how far we’d get, and she agreed that at this time of year, we probably wouldn’t have much trouble finding something – it was before the tourist season starts, but the weather was glorious, so there would be some things operating and open for business.

So we meandered. We found our way to a little cliff path along the shore (David took all the photos there, I just puttered along and watched the surf). Then back in the car for more meandering. We drove out to points where there were lighthouses, vaguely looking for someplace nice to have lunch.


This looks like a nice place to stay, right?

Well, not exactly:


It’s probably a bitch to get to in the winter, but you’d never have to worry about sightseeing rubberneckers trying to poke their noses into your business.


Or maybe not.

We meandered some more and found a funky little restaurant that included something called a “lobster pound.” We had a huge bowl of steamed mussles in a wine broth; the waitress showed us we were missing a trick by not sopping up the broth with the fresh baked sourdough bread. Oh, lumme, that was some good eatin’!


It looked like this out back – I took it to be the “local color” quaintness that is meant to attract tourists like me. Well, it worked, the food was great. It was a little place in Port Neddick.

After some more wandering, we decided to give Hyannisport a complete miss and found our way to a beautifully serene nature preserve dedicated to Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring.


It was a nice walk in the woods, very quiet. That’s where I took the picture of the fiddleheads.


Finally, we decided to make for Boothbay Harbor, because the guidebook said it was a pretty village and it was far down a fingerlike peninsula. Also, I’d read an article in the Boston morning paper about Mother’s Day festivities at the new Botanic Garden there, so it seemed like someplace we’d like to spend some time.

I didn’t get any pictures of the area that night when we found our way to a sort of hybrid old-fashioned hotel right on the inlet. But this is what it looked like via my iPhone at sunset.


More later.

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