Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Our Northeastern Vacation

I had grandiose plans for detailing every wonderful aspect of our trip to Maine and New Brunswick, and those plans have stopped me from writing for almost a week. It is time to sit down and type out something, even if it's not a perfect account, so that I can get the weight of it off of my shoulders. Pictures will be added once I find the little card reader thingie and the camera in the same place at the same time.

So, we headed out on June 24th. Geetha was kind enough to take us to SFO, and then take care of our house and critters while we were away. Awesome! By some strange stroke of luck, our connecting flight out of Chicago was right on time, and we made it to Boston by a reasonable hour. Our luggage was ready right away. We waited over an hour for the "courtesy" shuttle to the hotel. The only person who didn't seem the slightest bit bothered by this was Elise. Sure, she was a little bored and a little hyper and a lot hungry, but she really kept her cool and was an example to us all. In fact, to prove her wonderfulness, she pointed out how the solar screening stuff on the van windows made all of the street lights look like jellyfish. And then she told us stories about the jellyfish. Based on that alone, I don't think I should ever travel without a four-and-a-half year old again.

By flying into Boston, we had an opportunity to see my friend Annie, her daughter Amy and her granddaughter Jane. The six of us had a fantastic day at the Public Garden, riding swan boats, looking at the ducks, eating a picnic, playing at a playground and eating the most expensive ice cream of our young lives. It was pretty much a perfect day. I wish it could have been longer, or several days in succession.

Of course, the day just kept getting better as we took the train to Jaya's place for a lovely, lovely dinner with her and a lovely sampling of her friends. Elise loved having the nice big courtyard in which to run around until she was pretty much worn out. It was a fantastic treat to see my cousin for a second time in as many weeks. We're getting very spoiled with family visits. :)

On the 26th, we (read: Andy) picked up our rental car and we got out of town. Drove right up the coast, had a lovely lunch in Portsmouth, NH. I love that we can drive on a highway 1 here and we drove on a highway 1 there.

By the end of the day, we found ourselves just outside the teeming metropolis of Ellsworth, Maine. (It's not really a metropolis, but it is the county seat so that counts for something.) The proprietors of the Twilite Motel were extremely nice and helpful. They even lent us a copy of One Morning in Maine, by Robert McCloskey. Having just left the setting of Make Way for Ducklings, we were excited to see Little Sal (of Blueberries for Sal) a little older and living near where we were visiting. Our hoteliers also recommended Pat's Pizza for dinner. I've never had better breadsticks, and the pizza was great as well. Don't let the pictures on the websites fool you-these are what I'd call "down home" establishments. Nice, but not a lot of polish.

We needed to be in Lubec by 5pm on Friday, so we pushed on. I booked a room for us at the Calais (pronounced "callous" by the locals, and don't you forget it) Motor Inn, and that's my one regret of the trip. Not only was it a deceptively difficult distance from Lubec and all of the festivities, but it was dingy and mildly comfortable. Not bad, just not likely the best choice we could have made. It was good enough, and the price was right.

Friday evening, we headed for the big party at the house being rented by the Bogan family for the week. It was so good to see Job and Sarah again, and to see them so happy. And surrounded by family which I think pretty much always guarantees the two of them a whole lot of joy. The food was good and the company was good. Elise had four boys to play with. It was interesting to see how she quickly realized that her loud voice and willingness to use it were an advantage. You can make just about any kid flinch if you stand close enough and shriek in his face.

I am actually going to depart from my narrative at this point because I want to write a separate entry about the wedding. It was absolutely beautiful, and deserves its very own blog entry at least.

On Sunday, we headed for New Brunswick. Crossing the border was a breath of fresh air, even through the fog and rain. You know how at Niagra Falls, everybody who knows anything heads for the Canadian side? Calais and St. Stephen are about like that. One side of the checkpoint is dingy and sad, the other is quaint and pretty. Feel free to speculate about which is which...

Our first stop was St. Andrews. There is a whale watching outfit there that looks really good, and so of course I wanted to give that a try. Unfortunately, while the pouring rain was not a deterrent the fog was. We never got up on the Bay of Fundy proper. Oh well. St. Andrews was very cute, and even had a little aquarium. We had fun with the touch tanks and the inadvertently retro-chique exhibits. Then lunch. Then, off to St. John's, because outside of souvenir shopping in the rain there wasn't much to do.

I was hoping to get it all into one post, but it's bedtime for me, and I'll have to pick up where I left off another day.

To be continued...

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