Monday, May 31, 2004

Boothbay Harbor

We woke up early and went to a bagel shop we had seen the night before to get some breakfast. Then we took our bagels and coffee to the waterfront and ate them while watching boat activity at the dock. We checked the boat tour prices for future reference and bought some postcards. Dan decided to take a picture of the fire boat tied up at the pier.

The trip to Boothbay was pleasant, with lots of nice towns to drive through on the way. We found our B&B and were impressed with the chattiness of our hostess, who rivaled Kay in Vermont for talk and odd stories. She gave us directions to a beach that supposedly had a lot of good trails. As it turned out, we didn't have much luck with the trail, which seemed to vanish after only a few hundred feet, but we spent a couple hours climbing over the rocks and had a good time.

After all that work, we were hungry and went back to the B&B to change into civilian clothes. Then we went to a deli down the street where I had a hummus wrap and Dan had a chicken caesar salad. Dan had a peanut butter cookie for dessert and I had the best blueberry bar ever made. Then we crossed the bridge into the main part of town where we did a bit of shopping for friends back home and for ourselves. Dan got a very nice rain jacket and I found some bracelets on sale.

Then we returned to the B&B for some tea and to make some dinner plans. Our hostess recommended a few places to us, so we went back across the bridge to check out one of her recommendations. As it turned out, the place we went to wasn't fully open yet for the summer season, but we had a nice light dinner in the pub and then strolled through town a bit more.

It was chilly though, and I was glad to get back to the B&B. We sat in the parlor and had tea. I wrote some postcards and Dan worked on downloading the day's pictures into the computer. We finally ran out of hot water for tea, so we went to bed.
Fire boat in Portland harbor Posted by Hello
Rocky coastline near Boothbay Harbor Posted by Hello
A pier in Boothbay at dusk Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Heading Down East

We got up early and packed to leave for Maine. We had breakfast at Paul's on our way out of Cheshire and dropped in on Grandma. Then we headed north to Maine.

The drive was pleasant but took a little longer than we had expected. We stopped in Kennebunk to visit the Seashore Trolley Museum, something I had been interested in for a couple of years. I was a bit disappointed that most of their vast inventory of old trolley cars was not available for public viewing. But we went for a trolley ride and saw a lot of old trolleys including a double-decker trolley from the UK, some cute 1920s trolleys and one from the early 1900s.

By the time we had finished at the Trolley Museum, it was too late to also make the Shaker Museum at Sabbathday Lake. At this point we had also realized that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to travel over Memorial Day weekend without a hotel reservation. We decided that Portland, being the largest city in Maine, would be our best bet for being certain of finding a room, so we headed there.

We had no idea where to go in Portland, but the waterfront sounded like a good idea and we soon found ourselves in the historic quarter fronting the harbor. We found the prices at the Garden Hilton pretty reasonable for what they offered, so we got a room and then went to explore the area. It was obvious that a lot of renovation had been going on in the past few years because all the old brick warehouses had become restaurants, shops and ice cream parlors. We had a nice dinner and browsed a a few stores, enjoying the street musicians and trying to avoid the street preachers.

Back at the hotel I went to the gym and then we got online and settled on a place to stay in Boothbay Harbor the next night. After our reservation was made, we relaxed with a bit of television and tea.
Trolley Posted by Hello
A street in Portland Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Happy Birthday to Grandma!

I woke up early and went for a run at the linear park (rail trail). It's a lovely place to run and I envy Connecticut residents of the area for having such a great resource! Early in the morning there's no one out there except a few retirees, which is especially nice. It's like having the whole thing to myself, except for the company of the occasional bird or rabbit. What a fine way to start the day!

I got home and found John working on Grandma's birthday breakfast. I showered and dressed, then helped him figure out how we would get everything to the nursing home. Dan helped us load the cars and we set off for Miller Memorial Home in Meriden. Grandma seemed a bit quiet and confused by all the fuss, but was very nicely turned out in a blue and pink pantsuit that matched the pink in her birthday corsage.

Breakfast was quiche, caesar salad, dates and my chocolate cake. We all ate heartily, except for Grandma who only picked at her food. She often appears self-conscious when eating in front of us, although she always wants us to join her for meals. Go figure. After we were done, John and I took the leftovers to the employee break room for them to enjoy-- a whole quiche and half the cake.

With the entire day ahead of us, John and Susan offered to take us to see some of the local sights. Most times we visit, we are only in town on weekdays and they're too busy with their jobs. So it was a nice treat to have them to ourselves for once. They took us to a trail leading to the top of a waterfall, which was fun. I don't think I had ever seen a waterfall from the top before. Then we went to a local park where we saw some Canadian geese, and then we went for ice cream.

Dan and I took a little nap and then Susan took us to Hammonasset Beach, one of the few public beaches in Connecticut. Dan thoroughly enjoyed the beach, as he does all beaches. Then we went to Middletown and had dinner at a Thai restaurant. By the time we got home it was after midnight-- an unusually late night for my aunt. It was about bedtime for me and Dan too, so we didn't bother trying to get online and just went to bed.
Grandma's 98th Birthday Posted by Hello

Friday, May 28, 2004

Off To Connecticut

I got up early and hurried around finishing packing while having a light breakfast of some honeydew melon. I wasn't really hungry but it would just go bad if someone didn't eat it. We got to the airport in good time and I finished off my breakfast with coffee and yogurt while we waited for our flight. Dan, ever the less calorie-conscious, had some breakfast tacos. He figured if there was a line of pilots and flight attendants trying to get some, they must be good. He said they were okay, but not like what you can get in the barrio. No surprise there.

Our flight to Philadelphia was uneventful except for the non-stop chatter of the four year old behind us. Thank goodness for earplugs! I don't want to listen to someone who never shuts up, much less someone who can't tell me something new.

The Philadelphia airport was impressive. It was like a shopping mall with every type of store imaginable. I browsed the mall a bit just out of curiosity, and then Dan and I had lunch. I had made wraps of blackened chicken, goat cheese, calamata olive spread, lettuce and shredded carrots and zucchini on whole wheat tortillas. I also brought crackers and granola bars, so we ate pretty well.

Finally we got on our flight to Providence, RI, which was quiet and uneventful in spite of being surrounded by infants. They must have all been from some other planet because not a single one started shrieking from pressure in their ears. Odd.

Once in Providence, we were a little confused how to pick up our car, but we finally figured it out and got on the road to Connecticut. We stopped in Mystic to shop at our favorite bookstore, which didn't seem to have as many must-buys as in other years. Maybe they have a new buyer. Nevertheless, we got a few books, including two from my wish list. Then we got coffee and oatmeal cookies and headed toward Cheshire, eating the last of the chicken wraps on the way.

We got to Cheshire early enough to go for a walk with John and Susan at the rail trail. We then went to dinner at Cheshire Pizza, where I had an enormous Greek salad and service was abysmally slow. Well, the company was good, so it didn't matter too much. Back at home, we visited a bit and I frosted Grandma's cake so it would be ready the next day. Sadly, we learned that our little buddy of previous years, John and Susan's black and white cat, had passed away. It hardly seemed the same without her there. She had been such good company in other years, helping us not miss our own cat so much. We'll miss you, sweetie!