After Massachusetts I was on my way north to visit a wonderful friend in Maine. Lee was once upon a time my supervisor at work in college, and she took me in as sort of an adopted daughter for dinners and tv watching nights with her family. While visiting Lee told stories of people she’s met who sounded in dire straights and she wanted to invite home, I thought, yep, sounds familiar! I was not in dire straights by any means but didn’t have much of a social life with not being a big party person back then, working a lot to pay my tuition, and taking too many classes and student teaching.
She and her husband found this fabulous spot on a peninsula north of Portland and renovated and build a small compound of cottages on the water. As was the case with their other home, this place is a design dream. Open, modern, and beautiful. I can’t say enough what a paradise they’ve created with just a little help from the gorgeous view. They even have a little lobster boat. They graciously let me stay for a few days and as usual, she fed me and made me feel like part of the family despite not seeing one another in years. A huge draw of this trip is to reconnect with people and my last 2 stops were a great start to this.
Anyway, Lee gave me the tour of the towns around which included some lovely views of old forts, expanses of pines, and magical sunsets over the water. The next day I wandered through the cute town of Boothbay Harbor (after my hours spent a tad waylaid) and had a nice walk through the woods in a nature preserve.
After this nice recharging visit it was onward up the coast to the city of Rockland, where I had hopes of taking the ferry over to Vinalhaven to see where Brockie drew so much inspiration for his paintings, but the fates weren’t with me on that, but I enjoyed my day in town just as much. I got to check out the Puffin Project visitor display (sadly not puffin season), see some great Wyeth family-heavy Maine art at the Farnsworth Museum (they really need some Brockie in there), and get some great food from a recommended cafe which I took out to the local Owl’s Head park and lighthouse for a picnic.
That evening continued on to Bangor, where I checked two tourosty roadside attractions off my list before spending a little while chatting with friendly locals at a hotel-adjacent brewery taproom. The first couple I met in the parking lot parked next to me and they were very intrigued by the van and offered to buy me a drink inside when they heard about my travels. Very kind, but the bartender rightly cut them off (but still got my free drink- score!) which they were none too pleased about, but after they left I chatted with another couple next to me who, coincidences abound, also have a Transit Connect they’ve turned into a camper. Of all the things!
These folks were super nice and we traded travel stories and compared vans- theirs sounds more practical and utilitarian (perhaps they’ve got the right idea since I’m guessing nothing is threatening to crash down in theirs) and have more stealth spot finding guts than I have yet. Sarah, one half the couple, kindly invited me to her free yoga class the next day which was a wonderful reset after the morning fixing up things in the van. Good van people vibes!
Later headed back to the coast to the town of Castine, which was beautiful but I also had the ulterior motive that one internet source mentioned that the overall character of this town was one of the influences for the fictional Cabot Cove of my beloved Murder, She Wrote fame. If Cabot Cove were a real place it would murder city, USA. Seriously. Like Cabot Cove, Castine dots the coast with white clapboard houses, manicured lawns, has a small but bustling dockyard, seems populated with mostly upper-middle class white folks, and is very proud of its local history. I mean there must have been a historical marker sign on every corner. Some more interesting than others… my favorite was one that stated the building formerly in this space was captured by the revolutionaries and promptly recaptured by the British the same day. Thrilling.
The town is home to the Maine Maritime Academy, and thus has a big boat and students practicing boat stuff and walking around in uniforms. I wandered the streets, admited the houses, walked through another nature preserve, and generally wondered what sort of murder Jessica Fletcher would uncover at each stop. Luckily zero actually occurred before yet another fantastic sunset (accompanied by a swarm of mosquitoes) ended my time in this picturesque spot.