I just got back from a trip to Maine with my Mom. Here are some things that happened:
Friday morning was met with a thick fog that covered the coast. We drove the car through Cape Elizabeth to get a glimpse of three lighthouses positioned from a point on one peninsula. As we arrived in the parking lot at the first lighthouse, a bus full of special needs kids was unloading near the lighthouse museum. These kids probably didn’t give two sh*ts about the lighthouse, but I’m sure getting out of school was an adventure for them. As I looked around at my fellow tourists taking in the splendid view, I don’t think I scoped a visitor under 250 lbs. After we’d had enough of the first lighthouse, we meandered our way along the absolutely gorgeous New England coast in our rental car. Saltbox mansions and summer cottages spanned the shore all the way to the wharf in Portland Harbor. We had to make a detour onto a main highway to get over the bridge leading into the city. Oh my God… If the coast of Maine is the beautiful Ying, the highways of Maine are the ugly Yang. Strip malls, outlet centers, generic steakhouses, malt shops, cartoon lobster shacks… if you were looking for a symbol of American gluttony at a discount price, you’d need to look no further than Highway 9 running through the outskirts of Portland. Not that Minnesota and South Dakota don’t have their fair share of strip malls and outlet shops, but… we have stuff other than that… we have regular malls, and normal independent stores… Maine does not.
On Friday night, our friend Judy took us out to eat at a very nice restaurant on the sea. On Saturday, we headed South on I95 to Portsmouth NH, and then worked our way back up the coast through Kittery, Kennebunk, and Ogunquit. The population of the state of Maine is less than 1,000,000. With the amount of traffic that we encountered between Portsmouth and Ogunquit, I think the population of Maine north of Portland must be around 5… still, the little towns on the coast were quite beautiful. Each of the peninsulas wrapped in coastline and deciduous forest made me feel like saving my money up to buy one square foot of coastline so I could just stand there for a while, later in life of course. A square foot of coastline probably costs the equivalent of my salary for the next 50 years.
On Monday, we drove up to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor ME. The park is on an island, so you have to drive over part of the ocean to get to it. Although it was foggy and drizzly, this park was amazing. We bought tickets for a “nature tour” on a double decker boat that took us by a different island where a number of sausage shaped seals slumbered on the beach. They looked as clumsy as slugs until they hit the water, and then they were off… flipping and spinning around in the cove. My Mom spotted a porpoise alongside the boat, but I missed it. It was pretty incredible to see the tops of island mountains from a boat out on the sea. It’s actually pretty hard to describe… so I won’t.