Friday, July 13, 2012

Knocking About in Millinocket

It's about a six hour drive from Annandale to Millinocket.  As you can see, Eden occupied the time wisely, alternately enlarging her brain through devotion to rigorous intellectual study (mostly sucking on fake fur in the beloved touch and feel book Grandma Bell gave her) and sleeping quite soundly.  Blessed, blessed child!

Our hotel in Millinocket was possibly the weirdest hotel in existence.  You can only access it by cutting illegally through the parking lot of a grocery store.  There are only like three windows.  And our fellow guests could be counted on one hand.  But it did have an indoor pool.  So Eden got to have her first swim.  See me in the picture below?  That's as close as I got to actually entering the water.  Turns out that junk was COLD!  But Kris braved it and Eden did too.  She got a kick out of splashing her feet. 

I won't lie, we didn't do much in Millinocket.  Our somewhat hazy intentions of going hiking or canoeing dissappated quite rapidly in favor of what Kris considers "real" vacationing: lounging around in bed, reading.  Not much to blog about there, but it was relaxing. 

We did make it out of the hotel long enough to drive up to Baxter State Park, where we foraged for wild berries until the hummingbird-sized mosquitoes drove us off.  Then we had dinner at a lovely little lake front restaurant.  The view of Mt. Khatadin was nice, but the crab bisque tasted something like crab steeped in sweetened condensed milk.  I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but sweetened condensed milk does have its limits! 
On our way back to Portland from Millinocket, we drove the coast instead of the freeway.  We really enjoyed all of the little towns, but the best part of that drive was our rest stop at an organic fruit stand.  Perhaps not surprisingly, there were more hippies in that little shop than I've seen at one time since the Rainbow Gathering of '89. It was all Kris could do to tear me away.  Man, I LOVE hippies!  Eden loves strawberries.  But I was not about to let her eat those in any article of clothing she owns, so...

Dear Future Eden, I am sorry for posting that picture.

We had lunch at this little shack, winding up our tour of Maine with a lobster roll. Still not a huge lobster fan, but when we set out to do a thing, we set out to do it!

We stayed the night in Portland and flew home the next morning.  Eden learned to move beyond just steps to full-on walking during our three hour layover at LaGuardia.  The airline desk personnel were placing bets on her distance, and she never let the high bidders down.  Too cute. 

Did I mention that a big part of the reason we got to take this trip was a crazy generous joint birthday gift from my mom and dad?  THANK YOU, Mom and Dad!!!! It was money well spent! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

P.E.I. Favorites

Yeah, I know that this is the fourth post from our vacation and I have officially entered the realm of that old guy you know who makes you watch slides in his basement of everything from his nephew's baseball game to the time he saw a pigeon in Time Square.  But I'm not sorry.  We'll be able to afford a vacation like this again sometime in late 2089, so I'll milk this one for all it's worth!

And it was priceless. So our three favorite things on P.E.I.? Well, first up is the beach.

Eden cried for the first twenty minutes, so unsure of this sandy, wavy, salty thing.  But after her dad snuggled her and brought the beach to her one handful of sand at a time, she warmed up enough to eat every rock and bit of seaweed we encountered. The tourist season hadn't started yet, so we had three miles of surf all to ourselves. It was absolutely idyllic.

These two pictures are from our second favorite feature of the island: the Festival of Small Halls.  There were two fiddle acts the night we went, and holy cow could those boys saw it hot!  Sorry Georgia, but I think that the Devil had best beat it on up to Canada if he's looking to give away any more fiddles of gold.  Kris describes the whole experience as "The closest I'll ever come to attending Bilbo Baggins' birthday party." We didn't get any pictures of the musicians, but this is the small hall it was held in and the intermission refreshments.  We thought it was so quaint that they served cheese cubes and biscuits, which is traditional there, instead of cookies or cake like you'd have at an American event.

So what was our third favorite thing?  We found a restaurant that we actually liked.  Loved, even.  Do you know how rare that is for Kris and I?  This is possibly the first time it's ever happened. Ordinarily we walk away from eating out thinking, "We could have made that better and cheaper."  Not so, 21 Breakwater in Souris.  I will live a long time, attempting to replicate the braised beef and haddock.  Sorry, no pictures. 

Ok.  Only two more posts to go on this trip subject.  Next up, Millinocket, Maine.