Post-Cruise Maine

img_5238I learned several things in Maine. First, leave stereotypes behind. I’d pictured Maine as a pretty “white” state, but the first two Maine residents I saw when I got off the plane were Korean. Next, one of the women working at our car rental place wore a hijab. And then I ran into some black folks. Maine, clearly, is not as white as I’d assumed.

I learned that most men wear beards (cold winters?). Lots of people in Maine are at least a little overweight (cold winters?). People there, for the most part, are incredibly friendly and helpful and welcoming. And hooray! Maine has no billboards and is astoundingly free of trash.

Maine is old. Old towns, old cemeteries, old houses. Some houses we saw listed for sale were 200 years old and more. Maine is full of hills. They call some of the big ones mountains, but if you’re a Westerner, they’re hills.  Yes, yes, I exaggerated and there are real mountains, though they’re more rounded, softer looking, than the ones I’m accustomed to. And the tallest one is not as high as Bisbee.

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And, everywhere we went, around every curve, across every field, in every village and town, there was beauty.

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But to the story.

The schooner sailed and motored slowly into the harbor, gently rocking its way slowly to the dock. We all gathered for a group photo, hugged goodbye, and made our way up the gangplank. We didn’t have to carry much because the crew members jumped up and began carrying things for us.

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Once on land, Kathy, Barbara and I said our goodbyes to Cousin Jill and her husband Bruce, who was there to pick Jill up. Bruce is my blood cousin, but since he married Jill, I now have a wonderful female cousin too.

The remaining three of the group got into our car and headed north, past Camden (recently voted one of the ten best small towns in the US) and Belfast, then up towards Bangor. The two-hour trip took us nearly four because of all the stops we made at lovely spots.

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Downtown Camden

We finally arrived in Old Town where we’d be staying the next four nights with Andrea of Clear Light Midwifery. We’d found her on Airbnb. And, wow! Once again, we couldn’t have picked a better place.

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We had the whole upstairs of Andrea’s house. She stuffed us silly with her wonderful baked goods, pointed us to interesting places to see and even let us wash a few loads of clothes.

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My sweet room

We all fell in love with her two dogs and two cats. We quickly became family – walking the dogs, feeding the chickens, and sleeping next to purring kitties. In all, it was a wonderful stay and I highly recommend Andrea and the beautiful place she lives in.

Our first morning there dawned gray and drizzly. We pulled on warm clothes, grabbed our rain gear and headed out. We roamed a cemetery and some back roads, finally ending up in Bangor. What to do on a drizzly Sunday? Browse the stores and have a good lunch.

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We were all impressed by the quality of shops in downtown Bangor. No big chains, just lots of independent places and tiny chains of just four or five shops. Mexicali Blues is highly recommended!

On day two it was sunny but windy. We again donned warm clothes and headed out to Moosehead Lake searching for the ever-elusive moose. We saw none, but we sure saw warning signs.

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We also saw lots of fall color and ate lunch at the Stress-Free Moose Pub and Café. More killer clam chowder!

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On our third day with Andrea, we headed out early to Acadia National Park where we got in for free on my Senior Pass.

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We drove the loop, saw seals, stopped for gorgeous views. We were unable to get into the park’s restaurant because it was totally reserved before we got there!

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Then we headed up Cadillac Mountain. It is known for being the first place on US soil to receive sunlight for five months out of the year—mid October through mid March. This is due to its far eastern position and its 1500+ foot height.

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The only negative at Acadia was the crowds. Well, and we couldn’t get into the restaurant. We hadn’t thought it would be busy but we were wrong, wrong, wrong. W-a-y too many people and we had a difficult time finding parking spots when we wanted to stop. But it was lovely nonetheless.

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Busy!

After lunch in Bar Harbor, we headed back to Old Town carefully not stopping at another LL Bean outlet. Whew!

When we got home Andrea was gone—delivering a baby! Also, a friend of hers had arrived for the night. Andrea eventually came in tired and in need of a shower, smiling about the beautiful new baby she’d helped bring into the world.

We left on Wednesday taking a pretty straight shot south. We wanted to be near the airport on our last night since we had a 7 AM flight. We walked Old Orchard Beach, succumbed to a serving of fried dough, walked it off, then went back to the restaurant Barbara and I had gone to our first night in Maine. Clam chowder!

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Fried dough

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Old Orchard Beach

Up early, returned the car and made it to our flight.

Goodbye Maine! We love you!

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