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Water, Water Everywhere

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The Inn at St. John, where we stayed Wednesday night, had a "European-style" setup in which bathrooms are separate and down the hall from the bedrooms, but the bedrooms have a working sink, as well as bathrobes and towels. After the slight awkwardness of washing up in a hallway bathroom and dashing back to our room in towel and robe, Tony drank coffee, I dropped Nutrigrain bars for the road into my purse, and we headed out. As recurred through the day, our outdoor plans were dampened by the fitful rain. We'd intended to walk through Portland's Old Port area, but after driving around for a bit, decided that we'd instead start the drive to LL Bean before noon.

The LL Bean campus in Freeport really does stand out, even in that area of yuppie outlets (going in and out, we passed North Face, Abercrombie, et al., along with the nicest McDonald's I'd seen since Milan*). There's separate buildings for Home Furnishings, Hunting & Fishing, as well as the original gear for hiking. We looked around the latter, but the most desirable thing found was the Archery Range. I talked Tony out of paying $12 per person for the Range's use, pointing out that in Michigan we could use his own archery set for free. There is the minor problem of finding a place for archery; my suggestion of the golf course on which we'd previously gone sledding was quickly shot down as likely to incur liability at worst, and the wrath of club-wielding golfers at best.

For lunch, we stopped at the famous Red's Eats lobster shack along Route 1 in Wiscasset. The restaurant is reputed to have the best lobster roll in Maine, and they are generous with the fresh chunks of meat in the sandwich. Still, at $15 for plain lobster with an oversized piece of toast folded underneath -- not to mention the lengthy wait to order and receive -- it tasted a little overpriced. Aside from the wallet pinch, it was a good time: the rain had stopped, and the tables set up outside Red's, shaded by trees and umbrellas, offer a gorgeous view of the water.


Unfortunately, we were met in Camden by more rain. At first we thought we'd tough it out and stick to our original goal of camping out in Camden Hills State Park for the night. We'd made a Target run on Wednesday before we reached Portland to pick up a sleeping bag and small tent, and were making plans to bake dinner in the coals of a campfire. As we drove into Camden, however, the drizzle became a downpour and the various bed-and-breakfasts lining the road increasingly looked like a wise alternative to pitching an unfamiliar new tent in the rain.

We used the internet at Zoot Coffee to check prices on said B&Bs, but they were all $85 or more. Eventually we decided that in order to cut back on the length of the haul from Maine to Prince Edward Island on Friday, we'd drive a bit further today. We picked a B&B in Bangor, which is two hours from Camden and would put us back on 95 North to get to the Canadian border. The process of finding a place to stay was time-consuming and one we'd love to improve upon.

As noted previously, one thing I really wanted to do in Maine was get on a sailboat. We quickly nixed the $55 dinner cruise, leaving us with two different $35 cruises that didn't include any food or drink, but did welcome passengers who brought their own. If we couldn't cook dinner over a fire, we at least could economize with BYO wine, cheese and carrot sticks. We picked the larger boat, the Appledore Schooner, where we were joined by several friendly passengers and three crewmembers. The captain's comments ran a little heavily toward pointing out the homes of the rich and famous that line Camden's harbor, but this harmless gossip was outweighed by interesting stories about the boat's and its crew's prior adventures. And the experience was well worth having, as the rain held off until just as we were docking. We watched the sun set, mallards paddle around us and porpoises dive in our wake. The air smelled wonderful.

A view from the Appledore II of an old lighthouse

A view from the Appledore II of an old lighthouse


Sunset from the deck

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