Saturday, June 2, 2012

Maine 2012 - Spring Road Trip Thursday

Thursday, Spring 2012 Road Trip

I’m actually writing this on Friday, but this blog is about yesterday (Thursday) the last day of our Spring 2012 Photography Road Trip.  We had husbands and kitties at home anxiously awaiting our return and a Dar Williams evening concert to attend at The Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River.  But before we actually started the drive south back to Massachusetts, we needed to make one more trip down to Perkins Cove.

We actually got up early this morning.  Not by plan, but more maybe because we had that one last site to explore in Ogunquit before we headed home and we wanted to leave ourselves enough time to pack up, eat breakfast, load up the car, and then drive down to Perkins Cove to leisurely walk The Marginal Way.  We often consult Trip Advisor’s website to see what some of the favorite attractions are in the area we’re visiting, and The Marginal Way was #1 on the list with five stars.

The Marginal Way, to borrow a few words from the website is “one of New England’s only paved, public shoreline paths.  This vacationland jewel, which spans a little more than a mile along a spectacular coast, connects Perkins Cove to Ogunquit Beach.  Vacationers in search of peace can feel the salty air and catch panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean from one of the many benches along the way.”  And we decided it might even be considered sacrilegious were we to have visited the area and not explored this highly regarded walk.  And who knows - perhaps we might even see #41 out cruising the harbor on an early morning boat ride (but likely not with Barbara in tow).
It was early when we arrived in Perkins Cove.  When we want to, we can be quite the efficient little beavers (sorry, I know beavers inhabit freshwater swamps, but I couldn’t think of a good critter pun to go with ocean, saltwater, sandy beaches) and get our act in gear.  The parking lots were only just starting to fill up.  Not that we planned on sitting in the car while we admired the view, but we did get a spot in a lot right on the water side directly facing the ocean.  And then we headed out on The Marginal Way.

The path does indeed run directly along the ocean at the very edge of the cliff.  In several areas there are metal fences made out of piping to keep people, or more likely small children, from stopping to look at the view and taking only a step or two off the path to maybe get a better look.  That one step or two could easily end up being a fall down into the cold ocean water.  Nasty, nasty, nasty.

And the benches, the lovely, lovely benches, are indeed scattered along the path.  In areas where there are tall shrubs or trees, benches are located in the shade and there are also benches located in wide-open areas where you can sit in the sun and let the cool ocean breezes waft in off the water to keep you from getting too hot and just let your head go mindless.  That’s what I did about halfway down the walk while Lily continued on to take photos.

I picked my bench and I just sat and watched for the swells as they started to build up far out and came closer and closer to shore, and then I’d wait for them to turn into waves and for the peak of the wave to start cresting followed by the wave rolling its way out to both ends.  Then I’d watch to see which waves were the largest as they crashed and washed over the rocks below. Pretty soon I was almost hypnotized as I attempted to fathom what the wave pattern was.

Every coastline no matter where it’s located, has its own unique wave pattern.  I never did figure out the pattern in Perkins Cove, but I was certainly relaxed and oh, so mellow by the time Lily had walked to the end of the trail, turned around and arrived back at my bench.  She decided to sit awhile with me and we talked some about the mysteries of life and all the big questions that everyone spends their whole lives searching for answers.  I don’t think we had any major earth-shattering breakthroughs to the mysteries, but it was a pleasant way to spend the last few moments of our trip sitting in the sun as we overlooked the big, big ocean.

Then a walk back to car. Wait a minute Lily!  One last stop to smell the beautiful fragrance of the beach roses.  And then finally, reluctantly back to the car for the drive home.  The trip was safe and uneventful.  And we were back to reality.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Maine 2012 - Spring Road Trip Wednesday

Day Three, Spring 2012 Road Trip

Well let me just say, when you’re tired and you’re trying to type the day’s blog in too much of a hurry, it’s very easy to hit some mysterious key located at the bottom of the keyboard which deletes everything, and I mean EVERYTHING you’ve just written.  And of course, when you’re in a fast typing groove and the words are rapidly appearing on the page as if by magic, you often forget to occasionally stop and save the work you’ve already created.  How many times has this happened to me and why haven’t I yet learned my lesson???

But then again, it does go with the theme of the day.  Lily and I overslept this morning.  I know.  Hard to believe.  But we did.  Neither one of us woke up until near 8:30 am.  We were very tired when we went to bed the night before.  And then when we did wake up this morning, we futzed around doing stuff and didn’t get our tushes down to breakfast until 11:05 am . . . 5, five, FIVE minutes too late for breakfast.  And the staff had already cleared the food from the buffet line with the exception of a bowl of fresh fruit.  I took a banana; Lily took a Granny Smith apple.  The fruit was okay, healthy, but it’s not a substantial, hearty Maine breakfast to get us through the day.  So we hit the road looking for a place to eat a real breakfast.
The Egg and I.  I and the Egg.  Eggs, eggs, eggs.  Right down the street from our hotel.  Seems we weren’t the only ones partaking of a late breakfast.  There were maybe a dozen people who were also having breakfast at the same time.  The food was very good.  Nothing overly spectacular with the exception of the breakfast hash.  I opted for hash to go with my over easy eggs.  I love hash, and this is The Egg and I’s own homemade hash consisting of shredded corn beef.  I asked for it crisp and I got it with a nice crisp outer skin on it.  Add a dab of ketchup here and there and it was wonderful.  So if you’re a fan of hash for breakfast, this is the Maine breakfast restaurant where you should order it.  Check out the entire menu at and see what else they have to offer.  The restaurant got lots of great reviews on the web.  One site said it was the best breakfast place in all of Maine.

Fortified, our next stop was the Simon Pearce store in York.  Simon Pearce makes the most extraordinary handblown glass and handmade pottery.  The flagship store is located at The Mill in Quechee, Vermont; but, the store in Ogunquit has a beautiful display of their pieces.  There are no glass-blowing demonstrations in Ogunquit, but if you’re curious about who and what this Simon Pearce is, you can check it out at where there is all kind of information about the history of glassblowing along with videos showing how it’s done.

Next it was on to the Wiggly Bridge.  Located in York, the Wiggly Bridge is the world’s shortest suspension bridge and is located over the inlet/outlet of Barrel Mill Pond, a tidal pond created in 1726 (primarily used back then to cut ice).  The bridge itself was built in the 1930s and it really does wiggle.  Lily went first.  She gave it what I would consider a very tentative wiggle.  And it did, maybe, jiggle a little.  I went second and I jumped up and down which gave it quite a good wiggle.  And then I rocked side to side by switching my weight from my left to my right foot and back and forth again several times.  The Wiggly Bridge wiggles side to side too!

After we got through playing with the bridge, we continued on into the Steedman Wood Preserve and hiked around the perimeter of the preserve.  We came across a variety of wildflowers and also one quite nice surprise that we took more than a few photos of.  I’m sure Lily will include at least one photo of our “surprise” wildflower.  You can find information about the Wiggly Bridge and the Steedman Woods Preserve on several different sites on the web – the best site being where there’s information about the creation of the tidal pool, the construction of the Wiggly Bridge, the Steedman Woods Preserve, as well as some photographs of the area and the bridge.

After we came out of the woods, Lily wanted to check out Sayward-Wheeler House located on the opposite side of the main road from the Wiggly Bridge.  She thought the house might have photo potential.  So we started off down Fisherman’s Walk, a short walking path that meanders along the edge of York River and passes right by the Sayward-Wheeler House, an early eighteenth-century building overlooking a once-bustling waterfront.  The home belonged to prosperous merchant, judge, and leading citizen Jonathan Sayward.  You can visit to learn more about the house (more history for you to research) which is open from June 1 – October 15th, the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.  

Okay, enough of this history stuff.  Now it’s time to hit the road and travel all the back roads up the coast from York north to Wells.  We had studied our map really well and knew where we wanted to depart from the main roads down the side streets to the dirt roads that hardly anyone ever travels as a tourist.  And so we meandered up the coast, stopped at all the beaches we found along the way, stopped to checkout and savor all the little coves and inlets, and decided that the southern coast of Maine has very dark, almost grey/black sand.  And in most places where the public can access a beach, the wrack line of high tide almost always reaches the very upper reaches of the beach where the sand ends at a stone wall or a rock outcropping.  We don’t know where the poor people visiting this area go to sit on the sand when it’s high tide.  Perhaps they float around in inflatable chairs!

An unexpected but ever so grand surprise was finding Hartley Mason Park.  It was one of the most beautiful small parks I think I’ve ever visited.  The park is located where in the past three different large summer homes blocked a view of the sea.  Mr. Mason had an early vision for a park for the area, and he purchased the land and homes as a site for his park.  The park is beautifully landscaped, has several benches for contemplative viewing of the ocean, and also a monument for sailors lost at sea.  A recent addition to the park, which is located on York Harbor across the street from the York Harbor Inn, is the most intriguing sculpture by Sumner Weinbaum titled “people enjoying the park”.  I will let Lily’s photos speak for themselves.

As morning turned into afternoon, and afternoon turned into very late afternoon, breakfast was wearing off and it was getting to be time to think about dinner.  We made a stop at a small gift shop we had visited earlier in the week, and the kind ladies at the counter, when queried about a good local Italian restaurant, highly recommended Varano’s down on Mile Road.  So here’s my last dinner foodie part of the blog.

I had no trouble picking out my entrée.  I ordered Braciole Al Saltimbocca.  Translated that is a double-cut all natural bone-in pork loin, stuffed with fresh sage, Italian prosciutto and mozzarella cheese.  Topped with sweet onion brandy glaze served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.  I opted to substitute linguine for the mashed potatoes.  Excellent!  Lily’s choice was Gamberi ‘Stile Scampi’.  Translation:  Jumbo shrimp sautéed in olive oil, garlic and white wine over linguine with vine ripe tomatoes and baby spinach.  Lily was very, very happy with her entrée choice.  Of course, I must admit, we both left with garlic breath strong enough to easily knock over The Hulk should he have walked up to us to introduce himself. We’ve both already brushed and brushed and brushed our teeth and tongues and mouths and will assuredly brush again before we go to bed.  Lily had ideas of ice cream for dessert, so we left the restaurant and headed out to look for an ice cream place.

And boy did we ever find THE ice cream place.  Within a stone’s throw of Varano’s, we found the most delicious, delectable, divine ice cream parlor called “Scoop Deck”.  Lily’s photo are more than description enough.  You must click on her photo to enlarge it and read the lengthy selection of ice cream flavors.  Dream your little heart out!

Now we’re back at our hotel finishing up yesterday’s and today’s blog.  Tomorrow morning we pack up to leave for home.  But since we do not need to be home until supper time (we have tickets for an 8 pm Dar Williams concert at The Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River), we are going to take time in the morning to walk The Marginal Way, a cliff walk that starts in Perkins Cove and runs along the shore.  TripAdvisor says it’s the #1 attraction in Ogunquit and we figure we would like to see what all the attraction is about.

Perhaps one more blog about tomorrow which we will post when we have returned home and it will likely not be up until at least Friday.  Maybe Saturday.  But it will be up.  We promise.

Maine 2012 - Spring Road Trip Tuesday

Day Two, Tuesday, Spring 2012 Road Trip

            Ah, quiet has returned to the region.  Yesterday late afternoon/early evening, when we were out and about and Memorial Day was nearly over and the long holiday weekend was fast coming to an end, and people who needed to go to work the next day would, you think, be returning home, people were still walking around everywhere, filling up the restaurants, and all the parking lots were filled to capacity.   We thought the Oquinquit/Wells area had been inundated with people who were up here vacationing for the entire week.  After all, at 7 pm on Memorial Day night, when people are still milling around, you figure they’re most likely going to stay overnight.

But no – that was, thankfully, not the case.  It seems quite a few did stay overnight last night.  But they must have gotten up early this morning, loaded up their vehicles, and took off for home.  I say that because today everywhere we went was near deserted.  Hardly any cars parked on Oguinquit Main Street, the parking lots down at Perkins Cove were nearly empty (even the parking lot attendants weren’t in attendance and because there was no one to collect parking fees, parking was free).  The shops were near empty.  The beach parking lots were empty.  The restaurants had way more empty tables than customers. There were very few cars driving down the side roads closest to the water.  It was wonderful.

We decided we would spend the morning driving from our hotel north up to Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.  Then in the afternoon, we wanted to drive back down to Oguinquit and visit the Oguinquit Museum of American Art.  So we started out driving the little beach roads that run along the ocean between our hotel and Kennebunk.

We saw a few good photo ops.  One turned out to be a déjà vu experience of something that happened on our Bar Harbor trip.  I was driving and whenever we spotted something we thought had possibilities, Lily would either photograph it from the car with the window open (we have this technique down pat now) or she would hop out of the car and take a few quick photos.  It was so misty and foggy that every time she got back into the car, she had to use lens cleaner cloth to dry her lens off.

We happened to pass on my side of the road a beautiful little beach house backed up to a salt marsh.  I said to Lily, “Look at that row of colorful miniature bird feeders lined up on the trim at the top of the front door!   We should take photos of that.”  Lily thought not.  I said we did need to take that photo.  It could make a good greeting card.  So she somewhat reluctantly said she’d do it.  I stopped the car, she hopped out, and pretty soon I see her walking around to the side yard so she can photograph something down the hill at the back of house.

She hops back into the car and shows me the photographs she’s just taken.  Turns out the miniature birdhouses look awesome.  Even Lily admits they do.  We talk about what a great card they’ll make.  Then she shows me what she was photographing behind the house. Turns out there was a row of those metal lawn chairs that you can sit in and gently rock because of the way the legs twist under the chair, and the home owners had painted each chair a different bright color to coordinate with the colors of the little birdhouses up at the front of the house.  And on a grey day with fog rolling in off the ocean, heavy mist in the air, and the back of the lawn bordered by tall marsh grass, those colorful chairs just popped in the photo.  Those two photos are going to be a lot of fun to edit and work on!   Ah, Lily.  Almost exactly like what happened up in Bar Harbor when I spotted the row of colorful wooden Adirondack chairs at the bottom of the inn lawn and you weren’t sure we should bother stopping to photograph them.

Now up along the ocean to Kennebunkport.  Lily had never seen the summer home of George H.W. Bush.   #41 has summered at his home on Walker Point for many, many years and it’s a very easy house to find.  From the street overlooking Walker Point, you can park along the side (a few parking spaces are even provided by the town for that very purpose) and gaze across a small cove area over at the house.

There is of course a gate house out at the end of the street and unless you’re someone in the know, you can’t drive up his driveway.  We wondered if he and Barbara might be home because there were three or four cars, including a light-colored large SUV, parked in the driveway.  But the only person walking around outside was a young man dressed in casual clothes (shorts) who ended up riding a bike from the house down to the gate house.

So, after having made our celebrity house “find” for this spring’s road trip (check previous blogs for our other celebrity house finds), we decided to head back down to Ogunquit to visit the Ogunquit Museum of American Art.  The museum, which is only open in the summer, collects, preserves and exhibits 19th century art.  The grounds are spectacular.  There are quite a few outdoor sculptures exhibited on the lawns and amongst the beautiful gardens.  Lily took photos of most all the sculptures and the gardens and I will leave it up to her to pick her favorites.  
The museum is located on Shore Drive in the Perkins Cove area and “visitors are invited to enjoy the Museum grounds, three acres of landscaped gardens, lawn and oceanfront ledge.  The grounds include numerous large sculptures, a reflecting pool, and secluded benches for quiet contemplation.”  We went to the museum specifically to see the current exhibit “Light, Motion, Sound 2012:  A Collaborative Exhibition with the Maine Museum of Photographic Arts”.  We quite enjoyed that exhibit as well as the other pieces on display from the museum's permanent collection.  If you’re interested in the museum, you can read about it at  where you’ll find information about the museum, the grounds, the permanent collection and the new exhibits.

After all that intellectual stimulation, we needed food.  So it was off to supper.  Several locals had highly recommended a restaurant called “Barnacle Billy’s” located on Perkins Cove.  It’s one of  #41’s favorite restaurants to eat at when he’s up at Walker Point.  And we figured if it was good enough for Bushie, it was good enough for us.

The restaurant had good food.  I wouldn’t say spectacular.  But then again, we both ordered a barbequed chicken dinner and Barnacle Billy’s is known for it’s wonderful seafood.  Almost everyone else in the restaurant was eating boiled lobsters or steamed clams.  I think we might have been the only two eating cluck that night.

What we did get out of our visit to the restaurant were answers to the many questions we had about when Bushie visits the restaurant.  And a very nice busboy was able to satisfy our curiosity.  Bushie drives his cigarette speed boat from his home at Walker Point over to the restaurant and the restaurant owners let him tie up his boat at their dock.  He does the driving, not the Secret Service guys.  Bushie is in a wheelchair now, and the Secret Service gets very nervous about him docking his own boat because in the past, he has run into the dock.  Barbara doesn’t like to ride in the boat.  She usually drives over and back by car.  This past Memorial Day weekend, the entire Bush clan, #41, Barbara, their daughter Dorothy, her children, and her children’s children, all came for lunch.  Four generations.  It seems the Bushes are very gracious whenever they go to Barnacle Billy’s.  This past weekend, #41 posed with tourists for photographs, signed autographs, and shook hands with everyone at the restaurant.  

They have their own special table in the corner out on the deck and the table is located right under the flagpole flying the American flag.  How appropriate.  I had to ask about tourists letting the Bushes eat their meal in peace.  It seems the Secret Service sits at the tables around the Bushes and keeps the common folk at a distance.  Also, in case you’re curious, the Secret Service also get to eat at the restaurant along with the Bushes.
Now if all this information isn’t a good enough scoop on Maine celebrities, I don’t know what else would be.  Oh yes, I know what else you might find interesting.  A list of the celebrity guests that the Bushes have brought with them to Barnacle Billy’s: Bill Clinton, The Oak Ridge Boys, Bruce Springsteen,  andTom Brady.

And then, after a little stroll around Perkins Cove to see if things looked any different than yesterday, or if anything exciting was going on, we were off back to our hotel to write yesterday’s blog and then to bed for a good night’s rest.