After another long day in Quebec City, Kim and I jumped in the car and drove 6 hours to Portland, Maine. Our original plan had been to stop by Bangor, ME to see Stephen King’s house, but we ended up driving through a little late and didn’t have the time to stop. We did, however, see a moose. And it wasn’t just chillin like moose do, eating a branch or something, it was galloping alongside the highway – no joke. The customs guard told us that it’s their mating season, “The moose have been going craaaazy lately!” He said, “they’ve just been runnin all over the highway, so make sure you keep an eye out!” For some reason, he was amazed we’d seen one in Canada, despite all the moose crossing signs, “Yeah, I only ever see ‘em in Maine! Never hearda somebody catchin site of ‘em cross the border.” Maybe it’s because you never cross the border, I thought.
We arrived a little past ten at our comfy Econolodge one town over (we quickly found that it’s not easy to make last minute reservations in a vacation town over labor day weekend), spent the night and headed into Portland the next day.
We decided to take a cruise on a sailboat at 1pm with Portland Schooner Company and headed down to find some Maine lobster before getting on the boat. The cruise suggested we bring a picnic or bottle of wine to enjoy on board, so we stepped in the wine shop across the street from the pier. On our way out, we asked the cashier where the best place to get lobster was. “You see that guy dressed up in a lobster suit across the street?” We nodded. “You should go to his place.”
“His place”, Three Sons Lobster and Fish, was a dingy, dirty looking place with a few inches of water gathered on the cement floor. It wasn’t a restaurant, it looked more like a mini fish warehouse that sold whole, live lobsters, and frozen lobster tails by the pound. It looked like a cool local place, but not exactly a sit-down restaurant, so Kim and I moved on. After another swing and a miss, we ended up at this little place called J’s Oyster. It was exactly what we were looking for. We just barely beat the lunch crowd and ordered, were served, ate, paid and left in less than 45 minutes. Definitely try the lobster roll.
We made it to our cruise with time to spare, and waited around until the launch. Finally, we got on the sailboat and were off! The crew found some adorable little kids to help them hoist the sails, and then wandered around talking to people the rest of the time. Kim and I pulled out our bottle of wine and I went in search of a wine key. Turns out there was no bottle opener to speak of on board (either that or the crewman I spoke to didn’t feel like going through everything to find one). That was a bit disappointing, since they had advertised on their site and brochure to bring wine or beer. The group next to us had the same problem.
Our inability to partake of our wine did not prevent us from enjoying the scenic views, however. It was so calming to be on a sailboat cruising around the beautiful bay for two hours. It wasn’t exactly a historical tour – there wasn’t a tour guide or somebody dressed like a pirate, but it was exactly what we wanted that day – relaxation and some pretty things to look at. That’s what vacation should be, right?
After the cruise, I drove Kim to the airport, and she went home. Then I headed back to the Econolodge where I had left my camera charger. On my way back to Portland from Brunswick, I stopped on a whim at this cute little diner called the New Brunswick Dinerand had dinner there.
I ordered the Lobster roll – which is apparently what they’re famous for – and it was delicious! I asked for some cocktail sauce on the side for my french fries and the waitress scolded me, thinking I was going to put it on the sandwich, “And what exactly are you going to put the sauce on?” she demanded. “The fries!” I squeaked, a little intimidated. “Well OK then,” she said, and brought me the sauce. In the end, I did sneak a little onto my sandwich when she wasn’t looking.
Eventually, I made it to my airbnb hosts’ house in Portland and spent the evening doing a (much needed) load of laundry. In the morning, one of my hosts, Martha, made incredible scones with blueberries and yogurt for breakfast. As it turns out, she is a fiber artist, and she gladly answered my questions about her work, even going so far as to demonstrate how to use a spinning wheel!
After completely repacking my car in Martha & Joe’s driveway, I headed back downtown to explore, then took off to Boston, my next destination.