If there’s one thing the US Picks can be counted on to do during vacation, it’s to take a narrated bus tour of a big city.  Chris and I did the Boston tour and learned, and saw, a lot more than we would have done on our own.  Our tour guide was a little too heavy on Patriots-related commentary but that was okay.

After the tour we visited the Boston Public Library, which was…unusual.  There were perhaps 100 people inside, all apparently tourists, wandering around taking photos of the artistic interior of the building.  We saw only two rooms with any books in them, and there were not a lot of books.  Not a lot of people in those rooms, either.  Very odd.  Perhaps this one is just a showplace now, and the real library, with the books, is housed in another building?

Got a bit of premium shopping done at Lilly Pulitzer and Fluevog.  This was the first time I’d visited a Fluevog store since Diane came to Seattle in the fall of 2016!  Chris was very generous in the matter of Fluevogs 🙂  Since we had absolutely no extra space in the luggage, let alone for a pair of shoes and a pair of boots, we had them shipped.  They’ll get here Monday.  I’ll post some pics.  At Lilly I got some things in their big After-Party Sale.  The prices there were so good that I’ve decided to only shop at Lilly when they are having one of these sales.  No point in paying their regular prices, and no point in hanging around other retailers waiting for things to go on sale.  But their things are lively and cheerful and they suit me very well.  They’ll also look great in gloomy Seattle winters.

We stayed at the Fairmont; this was our Big Hurrah hotel after staying in the Airstream camper in Bar Harbor, a small Adirondack-style cabin in the woods in Rockport, and Best Westerns in Portland and Portsmouth.  The Fairmont was our treat time.  The restaurant got only middling reviews, but we loved it so much we had dinner there all three nights, and snacky lunch on one of the days, also!

But…another thing the US Picks can be counted on to do is to cut the vacation short.  We have done this so often that it’s kind of a family tradition now!  Chris had been thinking about it because he felt everything after Boston would be anticlimactic; I had been thinking about it because the hotel beds had been bothering my back and shoulders (even at the Fairmont).  We finally broached the topic with each other and decided to fly home on the day we were scheduled to leave Boston, instead of continuing on down the coast.  The hassles we had trying to change the flight – well, don’t get me started.  But we got safely home, and have been loafing around with the cats and Alex all day, doing laundry and sleeping in a proper, supportive bed.

The parts of the planned trip that we missed were a visit to the Pinehills community in Plymouth, MA (a place we’d talked about for retirement); a visit to the Brahmin handbags outlet in Fairhaven, MA; then our next hotel in Mystic, CT.  We would have been in Mystic for 2 nights, followed by a night in New Haven, and then headed to JFK for departure the following day.  But we loved the coastal towns of Maine so much that the idea of a moving to a place like the Pinehills – which is a lot like the developments in Northern VA – didn’t fill us with excitement.  The Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (known as EEE) had an outbreak in southern Massachusetts a few weeks ago, and we didn’t want to risk it.  And Connecticut is very expensive.  All sorts of reasons why it didn’t seem worth bothering with the second leg of the vacation.

So here we are, happy, educated, and back on the diets.  Pfft.

This is in Portsmouth, NH.  We didn’t eat at this restaurant, but I was really taken with the color play in the live plants growing on trellises.  I’ve since retouched the photo to get the subtle overcast-day look.  My iPhone has a tendency to brighten things up, and I have to mess with the pics afterwards to get them to look like real life.


A Few Days Later

Lobster, blueberries, lobster, blueberries, lobster…it’s tough to find a salad around here!  We have had surf & turf, lobster mac & cheese, and lobster roll, and blueberry muffins, blueberry wine, blueberry beer (!), fresh blueberries, blueberry cobbler, and blueberry pie!  Maine potatoes are apparently fairly famous also, but the only potato thing we tried was french fries.  We saw chocolate-covered potato chips (ugh) but didn’t eat any.

Tonight we’re in York, in an inland Best Western, because Amex didn’t show me any of the beautiful coastal inns when I booked the trip.  We’re having some down time; this was not a location we had wanted to consider, but it was a good stopover point between Portland and Boston, so we booked it.  Did some laundry, picked up some groceries.  Found a restaurant with salads 🙂  Tomorrow we’ll be driving to Portsmouth, NH, to spend some sightseeing time.

Last night we took the Maine Brew Bus tour.  The bus takes participants to two breweries and a distillery in Portland.  I didn’t drink much (and you probably all remember how badly spirits affect me), but Chris had a ball.  I enjoyed it from the educational aspect, learning about the breweries and the Portland area, and of course it was great to have someone else doing the driving for a while.

We’re here until Sunday morning, when we head off to Boston.  This is the Nubble Lighthouse (technically called the Cape Neddick Light).  It was cut off by the tide so this was as close as we could get.nubble


Well, here we are a few days into our Maine vacation and are loving it.  Both Chris and I feel remarkably relaxed, and we’ve found countless little gems to investigate.  We started out in Bar Harbor and liked it so much that we started looking at real estate for retirement, but then went further down the coast and found other areas we liked even more.  Starting at the northernmost one, we liked Lincolnville Beach, but when we saw Camden we exed Lincolnville Beach off the list.  Camden is beautiful and we’ve pretty much decided that this will be our destination, when the retirement time rolls around.  We did a couple drive-by examinations of interesting real estate, but of course we’re not ready to buy yet.

Yesterday we had a walking “foodie tour” of Rockland.  This was fun – we sampled a lobster roll, shopped at a local Maine-made market, sampled mead and specialty olive oils/balsamic vinegars, and ended up at a chocolate factory!  Lots of fun.  The mead guy and especially the oil/vinegar guy were both great to listen to, and very informative about their products.  Afterwards we found a yarn store (big surprise) and I got enough Maine-produced shetland-style yarn to do an intarsia project I’ve had on the radar for about 20 years!  Will cast on when we get back home.

Tonight we’re going on a brewpub tour of Portland!