J: As you'll read in Wendy's last entry below, the last week of vacation was spent visiting friends. Now, the following photo isn't meant to freak anyone out, but the people, sights, smells, and good times I experience every time I visit Maine make me feel at "home." I saw this t-shirt in a store in Freeport and had to pick one up.
J: Below are a few pictures I did not have a chance to upload while on the road. They are from various points of the vacation.
A double mimosa from Sunday brunch at "Sea Dog's."
Our trusty Prius. 8,350 miles total for the trip. Averaged 50 mpg the whole way. $82 in gas to Michigan and $142 in gas from Maine to Arizona.
The old paper mill in Brunswick. These days it is home to a variety of businesses, including a pretty good Thai restaurant.
Now this is how you enjoy vacation!
W: After returning from Jackman, we had a pretty full week. Much of our time in Maine was spent with our good friends Mark and Rob (far right in the picture below). Though neither Joel nor I tend to drink very often (or very much), Mark kept the margaritas flowing whenever we were at his house. On this particular evening, we were joined by my high school classmate, Ron (second from the left), and his husband, Ken. Rounding out the party was Diane, a hilarious and wonderful woman we met through Mark. The evening was filled with laughter and I'm sure we will be talking about "the book" for years to come ("Are you mad?", "Wait, let me get a picture for the book..."). I'm amused by this picture because Rob and Joel were looking right at me, while everyone else was oblivious as they focused on whatever story Mark was telling.
W: On another night, we had a second dinner with John and Dee. John was also a classmate of mine in high school (first love, really, but that was 35+ *cough* years ago). John and Dee are engaged to be married next year, and I'm so happy for their happiness!
W: On a side note, at our dinner with John and Dee I had the prettiest sushi I've ever eaten (and yes, it was good).
W: It was a busy last week for sure. On this night I met up with three classmates. Patti lived on my street and we shared a bus stop from the time we were five until I moved to a different school as a sophomore. She and her husband Barry, along with Peter and Mike and Mike's wife, Vicki, joined me and Joel for dinner. I really enjoyed spending time with all of them and catching up.
W: We spent another of our final days in Maine with my friend Ron (and his animals, haha). Joel tried out Ron's inversion chair, with Molly's assistance, but wasn't a fan of the feeling of having his blood rush into his head. Chapps (Chapperdoo) the cat had a much more relaxing effect.
Ron lives on a lake, a gorgeous spot on a point, and as we walked around the property enjoying the weather and the views, he took Molly out in the canoe so we could see that she's not only a perfect passenger in the car, but in the boat as well.
W: I took a ridiculous amount of foliage pictures (and a few other sights) and rather than boring everyone with them, I've decided to post them all last so you can browse as few or as many as you'd like to see. Some of them are pretty spectacular.
On October 5th, we left the Brunswick/Topsham area and headed north. We got to Bar Harbor in the afternoon and spent the evening checking out the downtown area. The weather was once again perfect! Sunny and not too warm. People were laying out on the grass, watching the boats and cruise ships in the harbor - the place was packed! I guess that's a downside of Bar Harbor, and one reason why I've always preferred Boothbay Harbor. Boothbay is a little less crowded, and they have my favorite shop of all, Enchantments!
W: Every time we pass one of those big wooden pictures with the faces cut out I ask Joel to take a picture in it (see blog from our previous trip to Maine :-) ) and this time I couldn't get him to do that, but at least he was a good sport and sat for a picture with this lobster in Bar Harbor.
J: Now, the Patriots played on Thursday night so one of the things we had to do was find a local bar to camp out at so we could watch the game. We found one and hunkered down. At the bar, I had some awesome Downeast Cider, which I plan on ordering once I get back to Arizona. We stayed through halftime, then decided to watch the rest of the game from the comfort of our hotel room. Better news this week - we won! Hurray.
J: The next day, which sadly was the most gray day we've had, we drove up Cadillac Mountain. The views were awesome and we enjoyed our time on the mountain that is the first to see the sunrise in the United States!
J: After coming down the mountain and driving around the island for a bit, we headed even more north. We were headed to Jackman, Maine, which is near the Canadian border, although not at very top of the state. Now here we saw some color! Beautiful reds, oranges, yellows, dark reds, purples, and greens were everywhere! This area wasn't quite at its peak, but it was pretty darn close.
W: We took so many pictures of the colors that we're going to make them their own blog post. Stay tuned for that.
J: The night we arrived in Jackman we took a drive at dusk in search for a moose. In all my trips to Maine, I've never seen a moose in the wild. Sure, you see all the signs: "Moose Crossing!", "Break for Moose!" ... yeah, yeah, well I've never seen one so they don't exist! Finally, I was proven wrong. We were headed down the highway and we noticed a car pulled over. If a car is pulled over in New England, there's a good chance the car has stopped for deer or moose. We thought what the heck, we'll pull over too, and sure enough there was a female moose munching on a snack on the side of the road! We watched if for a few minutes, then I turned my head to the other side of the highway and there was a male moose eyeing the female moose! I'm told it is rutting season after all... We warned approaching drivers of the moose in the area until the male moose was able to safely cross the road to the female. They disappeared into the grass and we heard.......... moose sounds.......... I'm not gonna ask, we'll just keep driving...
So, yes, I can now confirm that moose do indeed reside in Maine.
W: Please forgive the video quality - it was dusk and that proved challenging for my cell phone camera.
J: The next morning we drove 35 miles east to Moosehead Lake/Greenville. The first thing we did when we got there was drive 8 miles down a dirt road to a B-52 memorial site. On January 24th, 1963 a B-52C bomber crashed. There were three people aboard, one was killed and the other two survived. At the memorial site, which was a .5 mile hike in the woods, we saw wreckage from the plane all over the place. They say that the wreckage was picked up but eventually returned to the site, so we weren't sure if the pieces in the trees and on the ground really landed there, or if they were scattered in the general area after the fact. In any case, it was still cool to see, and the 8 mile drive to the site had some of the best colors we've seen!
W: On our second night in Jackman we took another drive to see if we could find more moose. We were so lucky on this trip! First we saw two females (or a female and a young one, first two photos below), and then a bit further up the road we saw another bull moose. He was practically right next to our car. If that wasn't enough, we also saw a doe and a buck, and the doe (video below) was very curious about our car and approached very closely.
J: Tomorrow, we'll head south back to Brunswick. This time, we won't be staying in a hotel because we got a cabin between Brunswick and Freeport. Should be great!
Our time in Maine has been wonderful! The colors are really starting to come alive, although still not fully. Soon we'll drive up to northern Maine where we think the colors will be more vibrant right now. However, there are still spots in southern Maine where I just say "WOW!"
J: We've gone on three shopping sprees in Freeport, mostly at L. L. Bean. I learned that L. L. Bean stands for Leon Leonwood Bean, who I assume is the creator of Beans. I have never found a pair of jeans that fit me better than the ones I found at Beans, so I bought a few pairs. Also got some shirts and a new pair of shoes. Woohoo! Spending money like I have it...
J: On October 1st we went to the Patriots vs. Panthers game. Sadly, they lost :-( Boohoo. The whole experience, however, was great! We got to the stadium early so we had sushi and looked around the ProShop where I bought a few things (money really does grow on trees here!!!). We were sitting in great seats, view-wise. Right on the 50 yard line, up high, on the home side (also the sunny side!). However, we were sitting next to some guys who've had season tickets for 35 years... man, I thought I was upset when the Pats lost. We got to see and hear some authentic Boston charm from those guys.
W: I took the picture of Joel in the stands to give an idea of how far up we were. Just a few more rows and we'd be at the very top. The next picture, looking across, gives perspective - imagine us just a few rows down from the very top. At least we were center field.
J: We had a nice hike with Ron and his dog Molly the other day. A short hike, but pretty steep. We could see way out over the water, which was surrounded by trees... just beautiful!
W: Patriots logos are everywhere in Maine, as Joel has already mentioned, but I was still pleased to have it on my Dunkin Donuts cup. :-) Ron is my very good friend from high school. He lives in a house right on the point of a lake, which he has named "Camp 365" and for good reason. It's a beautiful spot. We had to choose to kayak or hike on this particular day, but there weren't enough life jackets to go on the lake so we opted for the hike. Molly, his dog, is one of the coolest dogs I've ever met. She always rides perfectly in the car, and she's so pretty! She loved Joel. :-)
J: Evenings and nights at Mark's and Rob's are so much fun! Swimming (yes, I went in twice while here), eating, drinking, Will and Grace, chatting.... it's all been great! They recommended that we try this place downtown called "Portland Pie", which is a pizza place. We did, and we took them along with us! The pizza was good, but my taste buds were not working properly :( :( :( I didn't get the full blown flavor of it all, but what I could taste was really good.
W: I really can't believe how great the weather has been here. It's been sunny and warm(ish) every day, which means we feel compelled to go outside and see things. One day we went to Fort Popham and Popham beach. The fort is really cool to explore (and free), and so is the beach. Last time we were here there were seals in the water, but not this time. Some people were in the water but it was too cold for Joel to do more than dip his feet in briefly. We found the little crab "sunning" on a rock - but it turned out he wasn't sunning, he was dead. :-(. In the picture with the fort below, you can see a house on the right side. It actually sits on an island completely inaccessible except by water. Wouldn't that be awesome?!
W: Heather and I grew up across the street from each other and were BFFs as kids. We met up with her at The Depot (a popular local bar in Gardiner) for a fantastic visit. All of these visits with friends make me aware of how much I miss everyone here.