Maine has magical properties.
Or at least so I've believed that since I was a teenager.
I first went there on a family vacation when I was 14. Of course, my mother's idea of a vacation involved lots of antiquing, which was not really a vacation for us kids.
But one evening we got to go out to dinner and walk around the streets of Ogunquit afterward. I marvelled at the open businesses and the streets crowded with strolling couples and families well past the dinner hour. The warm light of the shop windows and the happy sounds of relaxed people making their way around town filled me with such delight that I decided to live in a place like that when I grew up.
And so I do. But it's not in Maine.
When I was 20, I returned. This time I was in Booth Bay Harbor with a boyfriend and another couple. Sitting in a restaurant, looking out at the passers-by, I recall feeling like an adult for the first time because I was there without family and without obligations to other adults.
A couple of years later, I persuaded a friend of mine to take a day trip up to Maine with me because I was having a hard time in life an just needed to get out for a while. The headache and sinus troubles that had plagued me on the ride up were gone after about 20 minutes of walking around in the cleaner air of Maine.
After I was married, I was going through a particularly hard time careerwise. I had left a very good job and taken a risk that didn't pan out. I was distraught and not sure where to go next. Piper and I went up to Rangeley Lake for nearly a week, did not much of anything at all. It was heavenly, and I returned with a new commitment to the job I had. That lasted me about a year.
Of all the places we've been, that trip stands out as the most peaceful, the most soul-renewing.
So I was interested to see what returning there with children might be like. We were invited to share cabin with another family we know well and spend a lot of time with. They also have two boys and they have gone through a lot of similar challenges as we have with ours.
Still, I was a little nervous about sharing space, especially when I have one child who shows little consideration for, or even understanding of, the personal space of others.
But I was pleasantly surprised by how well it turned out. It was still as beautiful and as quiet as ever, the cabin was just the right compromise between rustic and well-appointed, and our host kept all four boys busy until they crashed after dinner.
Our cabins looked like this but with a porch instead of a balcony.
The boys spent a lot of time on the neighbor's boat. Tigger got to drive.
Pumpkin was focused on jumping off. I didn't actually mean to cut off his head in the photo, but because I did, I can use the picture on the blog.
There was a lot of tubing and a lot of swimming. You've heard of swimming with the dolphins. This was swimming with the ducks. They came very close.
On the other hand, we didn't see any loons this time. Though we did hear them at night.
The town was lovely, and very small. The bookstore had a regionally appropriate punny name.
A lot of the merchandise sold throughout town featured bad moose puns.
Does anyone know why these hot dogs are bright red?
We went hunting for moose (without guns), but we didn't see any. Saw a fabulous sky instead.
Isn't this incredibly peaceful?
So much so that Piper actually tossed out the idea of getting a second place up there someday. I've been saying things like that almost everywhere we go, but mostly we joke about it. This is the first time he's brought it up so I know he's serious.
A vacation home in Maine? Now that's the way life should be.