Sunday, October 28, 2012

Maine -- an Unusual State

10/20/12 10/26/12
Portland Head Lighthouse
Cape Elizabeth, Maine - First lit in 1791
Matt, Jami, Owen and George 
Maine's Capitol
Gena - scared of the lobsters
Not scared now, cooked them two at a time so they were hot
Never did tire of the leaves
Cape Neddick Lighthouse
Nubble Island, Maine - est. 1879, still in use today
Maine is kind of a funny place. We got the feeling that a penny not wasted gets you lots of pennies. Just many small things like not having public restrooms open (they do cost money and all seem to close after Labor Day), not putting out ketchup, creamer, napkins so that you have to ask for it and then they ask specifically how many you need. This frugality is also evident in their State Capitol building. We drove up to Augusta to see the statehouse and it wasn't fancy, seemed well made, sturdy, functional and it all seemed to be about usable space and practicality.   Barely any ornamentation or artistic beauty and I found it typical of Maine. No other capitol building I've ever seen was as unadorned or cold. We spent very little time there after a considerable drive to see it.  Function over form.

The beaches were no what we expected.  Most of the southern coast where we spent time is taken up by homes owned by the wealthy and there are tiny, narrow paths to the beach called Public Access. This is great, but there is absolutely no place to park within miles of the access trails. We were astounded. We did find a few places where there was access to actual beaches with parking, but they were few and far between. Their beaches, compared to the California beaches John and I are familiar with, are different too. The Atlantic is very flat and you can walk out from the shore about ½ mile and only be up to your thighs. So different, so flat.   We did see lots of clam shells, mussels, crab shells and a few lobster claws. 

We saw several light houses that were neat. You couldn't go up in them, but we looked at them from the outside. Some are totally closed to the public, and a few are out in the water on little islands. Many had been run by the Coast Guard in recent times, but now most are set automatically.

A first for us was eating lobster rolls. I had heard about them and this was on my list of musts. We had two, each from a different place, and they were delicious and a bit spendy. We also bought 6 live lobsters that I steamed for us which was another first. It was weird when I took the lobsters out of the bag and put them into the sink and they kept flipping around and scaring me. I wasn't too scared to eat them though and they were delicious. Price for the 6 was $43.16, unreal price compared to buying one lobster dinner in a restaurant.

We saw our with ex-Idaho friends Matt and Jami, and their two kids, George and Owen, who now live in Maine. We had lunch together and then spent several hours at the park visiting while the kids played. What good kids – they were funny, sweet and nice little guys.

So basically we did lots of sightseeing up and down the Southern coast, and took lots of pictures. We met a couple from Vermont who knew an old boss of mine from Boise – what a small world. Saw two huge white limos at the beach for a wedding – they were taking pictures of the bridesmaids (we missed the bride), and out by our first lighthouse, in dense fog, I saw a man get down on his knees and propose. I was astounded to see that (at least I thought that was what happened and I held my tongue realizing that this was their moment). From there we walked back to our car and the man walked by me and said, “She said yes.” I laughed and told them congratulations and said that for once I kept my mouth shut and didn't question or interfere with their moment. That was pretty neat.

Friday, Oct. 26th, our day to leave Maine.   Hearing about Hurricane Sandy and wondering what will develop. We have reservations for 2 nights in New Jersey right by the Holland Tunnel, right at the NYC harbor and we had planned to take a tour of NYC on Monday and Tuesday, but we're thinking that we will have to change our plans and come back to NYC another time. We had  also planned to go down the coast to Daytona Beach. Weird timing, but all along the trip we've had perfect weather so we can't complain. Best laid plans. Better safe than sorry, so we will make changes according to what is needed. I hope Sandy doesn't do too much damage on the Coast.  She sounds like she is going to be pretty darn powerful so we hope that everyone in her path will be safe.