Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Maine Maniacs

With the apartment in one piece, the last stitch threaded on the sewing project from Hell, Heather was packed and ready to go to Portland to find her momma!  Cue up the soundtrack from An American Tail and you'll get the picture!  She had not seen her family since the end of June and that was just way too long!
NH Motto: Live Free or Die!

The drive from Clifton Park to Portland, Maine was only 4.5 hours!  We still find it amazing that you can actually get so far in so little time up here.  The actual trip to Maine even crossed a visit to New Hampshire off the bucket list.  Did y'all know they don't have sales tax on anything other than prepared foods in restuarants there?  By 'accident' Heather stumbled into a liquor store and it looked like folks were stocking up for New Year's Eve with carts overflowing with alcohol!  So, naturally, she had to pick up a few things when she realized there was no tax!

Portland Harbor
Maine turned out to have it's perks too.  Beautiful countryside and Phyllis' hotel room at the Holiday Inn by the Bay overlooked the Portland Harbor.  You could see all the way from Fort Gorges to Spring Point and beautiful sail boats and cruise ships filled the bay daily!  It was so gorgeous!  We also learned that Portland Harbor is the second largest oil port on the East Coast, processing nearly 150 million barrels of oil a year.  But you won't just find oil in these waters...the harbor is also the second largest port of call for cruise ships in Maine.  Bon Voyage, baby!

Beach bums
As soon as Heather managed to hit a seagull with the car, fall down a flight of stairs carrying her bags and finally find the room, and get unpacked, we loaded up Phyllis' entourage of other Missouri home economists, Mary Gosche, Kris Jenkins and Brenda Bell, and took off again!  Our first stop was the beach in Kennebunkport.

That dollar won't play slots
Late September weather left the Atlantic Ocean cold!!  The view was beautiful though and we were able to find some neat seashells in the sand.  Phyllis thought she had won the lottery when she stumbled across a sand dollar still intact!  (Granted, they are hard to find)  She has this weird thing for them on her Christmas tree that we've never really understood.  Other families have glass balls and Hallmark ornaments; we have seashells and bubble lights.

G. W.'s summer house
After we had raided the beach of all the pretty, unbroken shells, it was time for some  sightseeing.  There are some impressive, multi-million dollar homes on the ocean but the one to catch in the area is President G. W. Bush's summer home.  It was first built by G. W. Bush's maternal grandfather, George Herbert Walker and has been in the family ever since.  When G. W. was president, he would invite all of his world leader friends over to hang there.  The compound sits on Walkers Point and we felt like paparazzi stalkers while we stopped with dozens of other tourists to take pictures of it.  We're pretty sure the Secret Service was probably scoping us out the whole time...

Downtown Portland
Sure that we had breached national security in some way, we headed back to downtown Portland.  The area offers tons of quaint shopping, cute bistros and cozy pubs.  They even have a huge L.L. Bean outlet tucked away with steals that are sure to turn up on arkansassparechange soon! The city is about the size of Jonesboro, Arkansas at 60,000 people and is the largest in Maine.  Tourists cause the city to swell to about 2 million during the summer season!

Bigger than a MO cat
As New England's second largest fishing port, you know we couldn't spend a meal in Maine without cracking open some lobsta!  We hit the Portland Lobster Company where we bibbed up and took a crack at some of the largest lobsters these Missouri girls had ever seen!  With just days left to go on the Mean Diet, it was nice to find something to eat that was on the approved list that actually was on a menu in a restaurant.

So far, we give Maine two lobsta' claws up! Great holiday fun!