Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Maine Event

We went to Maine for the last week in July and stayed in a lovely cottage on the coast near Boothbay Harbor (the area is actually called Ocean Point). Starfish Cottage even has its own Facebook page, so Maine isn't quite as cut-off from civilization as you might think. The cottage even had a wireless network so we were able to check e-mail despite the fact that no one had any cell phone coverage at all!

Technical considerations aside, we were in Maine because my parents rented the house and invited my brother and me to bring our families along for the week. Mom's idea. Yay, Mom!

It took us a while to get up there - a flight from Philadelphia to Manchester, New Hampshire and then about 2 1/2 hours in the car. But I have to say, I think it was worth it!

Maine is bee-oo-ti-ful! The house had this incredible view of the bay, lighthouse, boats, rocks, wildflowers... stunning.

Maine is also rainy and foggy much of the time, leading to quite a bit of in-the-house time. Luckily we had a challenging puzzle, several decks of cards and three kids who haven't played together in a year or so. The novelty of my gorgeous nephew was enough to keep my kids playing nicely almost the whole time!

The fog also ensured that we could enjoy the blast of the foghorn every 30 seconds for approximately 5 days straight. Honk.

On the first full day of our vacation, the rain was coming down and the kids spent the entire day in their pajamas building forts in the "bunk room" - where no children wanted to sleep, but they all loved to play.

Mid-day we found this note on the door.

The guns were made of Lego, so we weren't all that concerned.

Late in the afternoon, the rain stopped and the kids (mine still in their pajamas - but with jackets) went out to explore the rocks and tide pools. They each came back with a bucket of crabs and snails and they were SO happy about it. Check out the smiles!

In the morning we found that most of the snails had attempted to make a break for it and were scattered around outside of the buckets. Oops. After we gathered them all up, they were swiftly returned to the ocean.

But our big adventure was a whale-watching boat trip.

Tater has some motion-sickness issues, so I was worried about his sea-worthiness and dosed him with Dramamine before the boat trip. He slept part of the way out to sea, but woke up when we got to the whale feeding area, said "A whale!" and scampered off to see.

I, on the other hand, took a Dramamine just in case and totally should have taken 2 (or 3 maybe...) Luckily the whales came close enough to the boat that I could see them without standing up. And luckily Mike was taking pictures. Because standing and focusing were so totally not on my list of things to do while out on the open ocean.

The next day my parents, my mother-in-law-in-law and all the kids went on another boat tour to see puffins. They really enjoyed it - but I have no pictures since I wasn't there. I was shopping in Freeport, which was very entertaining in its own way!

We set up a badminton net out front and there were several heated tournaments.

Three Interesting Badminton Facts:
1) I can totally smash the birdie over the head of a 6-year-old.

2) Saying shuttlecock is funny no matter how old you are.

3) My mom totally rocks at badminton.

Not much story here except how cute are the lobster hats?

And Tater lost a tooth while we were away (see the enormous - or as he would say "hue-normous" hole in his smile) AND the tooth fairy TOTALLY found him in his bed in Maine. That is one smart fairy.

Because where we were was on a point out into the ocean, there was a west-facing side that looked out over the water. This means a sunset over the water.

Of course, that only works if it isn't foggy and/or raining. My Dad went and saw an amazing sunset, but the night that we all went it was pretty much a big cloud with light around it, which was cool anyway.

This is our group of grown-ups at the "sunset party" (except Mike, who took the picture). At the moment when the sun disappeared over the horizon, someone fired a cannon (an actual cannon!) before lowering their flag.

Cannons are loud, especially when you aren't expecting them.
I am surprised none of us fell off the rock.

Here is the younger set enjoying the sunset - and climbing around on the rocks.

I think they enjoyed the rocks as much as they do a sandy beach. With all of the climbing and exploring, they thought it was very exciting!

We couldn't really swim near the house since it was freezing cold and so rocky, but we did find a "real" beach about an hour away and went there on our last day.

Here are the sandcastle builders at Reid State Park Beach.

The day started out very nicely, but soon after we finished building our sandcastle, the rain started to fall and we had to high-tail it out of there.

Hmmm...other highlights of the trip:

1) Both kids tried lobster, and of course both liked it. Sprout, who complains bitterly when she is served chicken again, declared it to be "sort of chewy", but she will surely order it again!

2) My sister-in-law taught Sprout to play double-solitaire.

3) We finished a 1000 piece puzzle that was crazy hard. My brother was utterly obsessed and did most of the work.

4) S'mores.

5) More fort building.

6) Several highly competitive rounds of Monopoly.

7) A giggly game of Rummy 500.

8) A more-than-3-mile walk along the more-highwayish-than-we-thought road to the store.

9) Lots of smiling.

10) Quality time with our far-away people.

I have to say I would totally make the Maine coast my go-to summer destination if it wasn't so very far away. The cool weather, beautiful scenery, laid-back atmosphere, smell of the ocean, cute shops...all good stuff.

Just have to remember next time - more Dramamine!

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