A couple of months ago, Michele was invited, along with several other women, to see the fall color at Gail Cousins’ new home in New Hampshire. Then, a couple of weeks ago, she had the brilliant idea that I should join her in Boston for our anniversary. A couple of days ago, we started thinking it would be fun to go to Acadia National Park, instead, and that is where the trip finalized.
I flew to Boston Saturday, October 26th, to join Michele. All day Saturday, it turned out, when the flight, with a stop in Denver, was added to the time shift. Michele had booked me into a hotel in Winthrop, theoretically near the airport, but pretty far away in a cab whose driver didn’t know the way. The next morning, however, I could get up, walk about 200 feet to see the boats in the cove and, behind them, the planes taking off from Logan.
After a walk on the beach,
I caught a bus to New Hampshire where Michele was going to meet me. It was the first time I had taken a bus in, probably, fifty years and I don’t think much has changed. When I say bus, I don’t mean a city bus around San Francisco or Rome. I mean an interstate type bus; a bus where you buy a ticket at a counter and then stand in line, a bus where they put your luggage underneath in a special compartment, the kind of bus Patricia Neal got on in Hud.
Michele met me with Karen Amy and we had lunch in Nashua, New Hampshire, my first picturesque New England City but far from my last one.
That night, we had an excellent lobster dinner a Gail Cousins’ home and watched the Red Sox beat the Cardinals 4-2. It was a great start to New England and I forgot to take any pictures.
In the morning, we got serious on the trip part of our Trip driving to the coast. Michele was driving and I was navigating because I hadn’t yet been added to the drivers’ list on our rent-a-car. Michele driving and my navigating is not our best combination. I suck at navigating with a smartphone, primarily because I have no idea of the scale, what with the pinching and un-pinching the map back and forth, from an overview of the western hemisphere to one mile to the inch. Looking out the window didn’t help much either, everything looked pretty much the same.
We did finally reach the coast and then drove about 150 feet north into Maine for a planning lunch.
In the mid 70’s, I went with a friend to Death Valley for the first time as an adult. I had a long list of things I wanted to see and the friend said something like, I don’t care what we see, but I want to really see it. I don’t want to not see a whole bunch of stuff. That advice has informed all of Michele and my trips. We might not see much, but we take our time and do see what we see. We decided to take our time driving north along the coast, stopping often.
Michele also like to base a trip on a theme to give it coherence. At the restaurant where we had lunch, it was oysters-on-sale day and they had a list of featured oysters, with handy descriptions, many from Maine. We did not know that, in some circles, Maine is as famous for oysters as lobster but we were learning. Michele’s mom loved raw oysters and the quest for great oysters screamed Me, me, you won’t regret it! We decide to get to the Damariscotta River Estuary that night, the home of the famous Wiley Point oyster (firm shell, large, light in texture, high salinity).
Immediately, we began to see the actuality of what we were doing. First off, the coast of Maine is long, a little over 200 miles as the crow flies, but about 3500 miles if you walk the tideline. Then it is dense, very dense in the south. And populated; and picturesque, except picturesque with powerlines every where. And urban – especially in the south – with, by and large, wall to wall houses on most of the shoreline. The best views were when we crossed bridges but those were the hardest places to stop; they were often narrow with no place to walk.
The good thing about all the urbanity was that we ran into an Enterprise Rent-a-car place pretty quickly and I was able to get authorized. Then I could drive and Michele could tell us where we actually were. We got to Kennebunk – The only place so named. the sign says – as the light got good. Then it was on to Kennebunkport, the home of the Bush Families Museum which we didn’t have time to take in, but we did stop at the local Heretic House.
In the fading light, Michele took a couple of pictures of the local flock – probably Republicans – and I took some bridge and beach photos.