Monday, June 27, 2016

Paradise by the Sea

Last week, my mother gave Brad and I an incredible gift: she kept the kiddos and the dogs so he and I could sneak away to Maine. When we first started talking about a trip, we really thought we would go to Great Britain. We started planning and planning and planning, and before long we had train routes sketched and itineraries filling. And then we realized we were tired. We have both had quite the year at work, and life keeps us going full throttle. We realized that what we really wanted was a week away to do nothing--guilt free. We wanted to go somewhere near the ocean, away from the internet and cell signals, and remote enough that we wouldn't feel the pull to be on the go lest we miss something. Brad found a set of cottages that have been in operation since 1889 on the Penobscot Peninsula in Maine, and it was exactly what we were looking for and so very much more. Their motto is Cottages by the Side of the Sea, but it really is our Paradise by the Side of the Sea.

We set off on Sunday, and discovered halfway to the airport that our flight was delayed a bit, which left us enough time for a lovely brunch to begin our vacation. It also meant that we were going to miss our connection to Maine. Thankfully, Brad was able to talk to the agent before we took off and rebook us on the next flight--with a first class upgrade--still landing in time for dinner. It also meant we had a long enough layover to get a bite to eat. We landed in Maine to discover that the company through which we had booked a rental car was already closed because of our delay. Thankfully, we hadn't prepaid and we were able to get a another car through another company much less expensively--and they upgraded us to a Jeep! In short, every little blip turned into something fabulous.

On the way to our cottage, we stopped for dinner at a fun little pizza restaurant. They have wood-fired ovens and the best pizza I have ever eaten. We stopped to pick up a few groceries, and then headed into our cabin. When we arrived, we were thrilled to find it was exactly as it had been described online. It was cozy and tucked into the woods with a beautiful view of the ocean. We also had this lovely breakfast basket waiting our arrival:
 The scones were homemade, and the little tags on everything just made it feel so cozy.

Monday was the Solstice, so we decided to set an alarm to see the sunrise. It didn't disappoint. After a brief nap, we headed into town to have lunch and pick up more groceries for the week once we knew how well equipped our little cottage really was! We found our lobster rolls and a tiny place recommended by the locals, and we managed to find our way back to the cabin in time to go down to the rocky shore at low tide:
 The water was way too cold to wade in, but we loved seeing all of the little snails and creatures on the rocks.

We ate dinner at the cottage for the rest of the week:
And I have never been so grateful I married an engineer! We had picked up some coffee that had been roasted locally, but when we got back to the cabin we realized it was whole bean, and we didn't have a grinder! We had picked up Irish Oatmeal in a tin, though (because we had enjoyed what was in our breakfast basket so much). Brad emptied the tin, washed two jagged rocks, and proceeded to crush the beans:
I even caught it on video:

We ended our day watching the sunset on the Solstice. Perfection.

Tuesday, we never left the property. We used the most beautiful day there to hike up to Look Out Rock:
Brad is part mountain goat and hopped up easily. Thankfully, he was willing to give me a hand up. I needed about three more inches of height to make some of the rocks on my own! The view didn't disappoint, though: 

We hiked back down a slightly easier trail that has been there since the cabins opened. We made it home in time for tea and to watch the beautiful day from our front porch:
 Wednesday, we went to lunch at one of the best and most bizarre places I have ever eaten. It's a lunch counter that sits right down at the water's edge. From the road, there is no way I would stop! The menu is on the old Pepsi concession board with the letters that pop out with the day's special written in crayon on typing paper and pinned to the outside. There is only picnic table seating, and they only serve fried seafood. It is also a James Beard award winner and one of the 10 places you must eat in New England according to Gourmet Magazine. The view was incredible:
 The restaurant sits on a reverse fall, which was amazing to watch, and the food was spectacular:

Everything was uniquely breaded, and there was no flavor cross-contamination. All of the sauces were homemade and unique, and I could eat there happily every day! We spent the rest of that afternoon exploring the little shops in the closest town and picking up what groceries we needed for the rest of the week.

Thursday, we hiked back up the trail to the fairy garden on the property to help this lost fairy find her place:
 And then we went down to watch the tide go out on the sandy beach:
 Calling it sandy is a bit of a stretch, but it was a beautiful place to read:
 And watch the tide and spend our last afternoon:
Aside from those few adventures, we puttered around the cottage. I lived in this red rocking chair on the front porch:

 We watched storms roll in:

 And we made friends with all kind of critters. A little muskrat family became frequent visitors along with a squirrel and a chipmunk. We also saw more birds than I could name, a fox, a nesting pair of osprey, and on our last night there a deer walked right by our cottage.

When it got too chilly on the porch, we moved inside:
 We ate breakfasts on the porch:
 And spent lots of time reading and chatting and playing rummy:
 And we spent the week filling these cubbies:
Pine cones from near our cottage, poplar bark and acorns from the Fairy Garden, shells from both beaches, our coffee rocks, champagne and scotch corks, and so many memories of quiet moments.

It truly was paradise for us. I refused to leave Thursday until Brad promised to take me back next year...and every year after.

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