Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Guest Gets the Best...

There is a definite season for visitors to Maine. Summer brings them in droves, with visions of lazy beach days and idle strolls through cobblestone streets, ducking into shops for treasures to bring home. We Mainers have a love/hate affair with this time of year. We enjoy showing off the beauty of our state and basking in the envy of tourists who remind us how lucky we are to live here. On the other hand, we brace for the increase in crowds, the "creative" driving habits of some of our neighbors to the south (dubbed massholes) and count the days until late fall when we can reclaim our state, breathe a sigh of relief and resume our quieter lifestle. Only the hardiest of souls venture across the Kittery Bridge after November 1st, fearful of becoming trapped by the blizzards they believe we get non-stop from then until May.

Last summer, my sister and niece came for a long weekend in early August. They enjoyed themselves so much, they decided to make it an annual tradition. I did my best to put my hometown on display last year and, as a result, they clamored for more.

Our first stop was Deering Oaks Park and the Farmer's Market Saturday morning. That was an encore request from last year so off we went.

They loved the many colors of flowers and the tables and stalls mounded with fresh produce everywhere.

It was total sensory overload and we loved it!

Everything we saw looked so fresh and delicious.

It made us hungry just walking around.

And the flowers were spectacular. They almost made me forget those sub-zero, blizzardy February days.

Even the dogs were feeling upbeat and sociable as they conducted their obligatory "sniff and greet" routines.

Once we had surveyed all the offerings (and Lynny had purchased her usual "kitty" paraphenalia from the craft vendors) we headed up the coast to have lunch at Five Islands Lobster Company in Georgetown. I'd love to show a picture of that beautiful spot and our lunch but it's impossible to steady a camera with both hands wrapped firmly around a roll crammed full of delicious lobster meat picked fresh from a lobster that had probably been pulled from the water that very morning. No mayo, no other stuff, just lobster...precisely the way God intended us to eat that ambrosia. Man, they were good! Brendan and I have been there and taken pictures many times before so this is the view we had from our al fresco dining spot, courtesy of a previous visit. It looked exactly the same.

Next it was on to nearby Reid State Park, known for it's long beautiful beach seen in the top picture. There is a rocky outcrop overlooking the beach so we climbed up (despite Lynny's case of acrophobic jitters). Once there, she refused to venture anywhere near the edge, although she admitted it was a spectacular view. Here are some of the pictures from there.

Lynny and Melissa against the pine and ocean backdrop.

Brendan and Melissa made Lynny VERY nervous with their proximity to the edge. (It actually slopes down to the water pretty gradually but she was convinced a rogue wave...or a great white shark...was on its way in to snatch her baby and my hubby!)

OK, I'll admit it does look a little scary, especially from Lynny's vantage point practically hugging the trunks of the pine trees up above for dear life.

We finally came down from the ledges and decided to walk along the beach for a bit. It was tough going, the sand was griddle hot and the water was too churned up (and VERY cold) to do any leisurely wading.

So Melissa decided to send her boyfriend in New York a message, writing it in the sand and attempting to snap a picture with her phone. Clueless beach people kept ambling right over it like zombies. It took her four tries before she got a shot without somebody's big hairy feet stepping all over it.

Some people just ain't got no couth...or appreciation of young love and great artwork. :-)

We finally headed home, with bellies full of lobster and a little sunburnt, having introduced Lynny and Melissa to another spectacular coastal spot.

Sunday was overcast, threatening rain so we headed downtown to visit Brendan at the bakery where he does his usual Sunday morning gig. We indulged ourselves with some more lobster in the form of a frittata at the Porthole and then did our best to give the local retail economy a shot in the arm in the Old Port. Tough job but somebody's got to do it.

We spent much of the weekend poring over old photos, regaling (or boring) Melissa with stories that she has probably heard before about growing up in the fifties with our quirky family and dissolving into fits of laughter at forgotten events and images. In short, we had a wonderful time together.

Distance separates our family, much as it does so many families today but those rare times when we can reconnect bring us back immediately to earlier times that seem so much simpler. They weren't all sweetness and light...my siblings and I bickered and argued like nobody's business...but we now realize the value of having each other, the strength of the bonds forged by years of shared experiences of joy and grief, with the common everyday in between. We recognize each other's imperfections and idiosyncrasies and despite them, perhaps even because of them, we love each other to our cores.

Thanks for the wonderful visit, Lynny and Melissa. Can't wait for next year's summer visit! I'll alert the lobster boats you are on your way so they can stock up!

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