Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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.

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