Spending a week in the tiny town of Stonington, Maine has become the perfect family tradition. I hope it continues for a long time (we’re on our third year!) because I can’t imagine ever getting tired of our little spot on the coast. Granted, I haven’t been to many Maine towns, but I’m pretty positive ours is in the top 10.
The trip began in Boston and Aunt Mary Beth drove us up the coast. We were eager to get there before dark, but allowed ourselves two pitstops for the official L.L. Bean headquarters and lobster rolls.
The L.L. Bean store has been on Mom’s bucket list for years apparently. This was not your average store. Imagine lots of taxidermied animals, lots of rugged men in plaid, and ponds full of trout. Above: Dad gets to peek into the aquarium in the hunting and fishing section.
I texted the siblings: “Mom’s finally giving Dad the boot!” Sean: “They really do amuse each other.”
We weren’t up for waiting in line at the more famous “Red’s Eats,” so we headed across the street for lobster rolls that I’m sure were just as good.
Just as the sun was setting, we pulled into Deer Isle. This was especially important given the proximity of our house to the dock, and Mom’s fear that we’d drive right into the ocean if we arrived after dark.
Above: That moment of fear at every rental house when you wait to discover if the key really is in the lockbox/under the doormat/ in the flower pot.
The house we stayed in was the perfect mixture of coziness and creepiness. A slight element of spookiness helps keep things exciting. You know: Black and white pictures of stern-looking women, creaky staircases, wind whistling through the roof all night, and plenty of closets. Really, closets should not be allowed in Maine rental houses. OK, maybe only Anna and I were scared. We are not used to such darkness and isolation. We’ve read “In Cold Blood.”
Anna was not able to join us until Thursday, so I may or may not have chosen to sleep in Aunt Mary Beth’s room before Anna arrived. Mom toured me through the three other empty bedrooms in attempts to make me bunk in them. “But Mom, why are there scratch marks on the window?” (There really was!) and “What’s this funny little door in the corner?”
I was a bit embarrassed, but the spookiness really added to the authentic, old-fashioned Maine experience. I’m sure the 1800’s people who lived in this house had family bed.
It was exactly how a Maine house should be. Worn wooden floors, a reading nook, huge windows framing the harbor, lobster pots that rattled on their shelf when you stepped on certain floorboards, lace curtains and quilted beds. The house was so perfect in fact, that it was hard to leave. Why drive an hour when you have the best view from the living room couch? It was a constant struggle: Take advantage of exploring Maine or just cuddle up in the house reading and watching the lobstermen?
Quintessential JT picture: Slippers, reading material, a chair, and a graphic T. I’m sure there’s a glass of red wine and a cup of coffee hiding in each back pocket.
This was the view from the living room. We were quite pleased with it. Even though the cars aren’t as scenic, they were a nice reminder that we were in an authentic, working fishing village. The headlights rolled in around 4 a.m. (Mom would get up to watch them) and then their boats would embark into the pitch black water. Really makes you appreciate lobster knowing someone has to go out there in the cold, dark morning to catch it.This tree was smack dab in the middle of our view and we all agreed it should be cut down. There’s a time and a place for a tree. This was not it.
On our first morning in Maine, we awoke to lobstermen out the back window and construction workers out the front window. A girl’s dream house. No skinny, hipster NYC boys in tight jeans here! Though there is a little cafe in town that serves breakfast, it was always too hard to leave our cozy living room early enough. Quite possibly the best back porch on the East Coast. One of many pictures of Dad pointing. And yes, many of the local fishermen were also wearing shirts with lobsters rolling around. Everyone appreciates a pun-ny shirt.
Everything in Maine is so perfect that, as Laura pointed out, even the dogs look like Beanie Babies. The best were the lobster boat dogs, though, unlike a sheep dog or firehouse dog, I’m not sure what their exact role is.
After breakfast, we walked the two blocks to Main Street to do some shopping at Dockside.
Strip malls in LA are on one end of the shopping spectrum and this was on the far opposite side. The one time shopping can be called therapeutic.
We didn’t want to get too crazy our first day in Maine, but we did manage to take a little walk up to the lily pond. Go get ’em lobstermen!Turns out there aren’t any more lily pads in the fall. Naturally, we salvaged the trip by going to the cemetery across the street to lunch. If you haven’t lunched in a Maine roadside cemetery you haven’t lived.
More of Maine to come!