What stood out the most on my trip to Maine? To be honest that’s a very hard question to answer. There were so many times I stopped along the way and simply stood in awe at the view before me.
One of my favorite days started on the second day I was staying at the Oakland House Cottages by the Sea. They had cabins spread out and an old family hotel, but I stayed in the Acorn hostel. I shared a kitchen, bathroom, and sitting room with several other people because there were six bedrooms in the two-story home.The mattress was pretty worn, but the price and the view more than made up for the uncomfortable bed.
It’s a beautiful place, a bit past its prime, but still charming. Sitting on the water between Penobscot Bay and Deer Isle, it has a lovely view and the flower gardens were spectacular!
I started the morning watching a three-masted schooner pass by on an early morning walk. That in itself thrilled me!
I headed out to Stonington to catch the mail boat to the Isle au Haut. In Stonington, I parked at a church and inquired in a nearby office how to find the mail boat. She hurried me along because it was 10:15 and it was scheduled for 10:30. Down the hill I flew, not wanting to miss the boat! (Insert giggle)!
I found the ferry, however, they were only running one boat and it wouldn’t go out until 2:30. I didn’t have a decent breakfast, so waiting wasn’t a problem. I thought I’d find food and preferably blueberry pie. I asked the ferry cashier about the town and she said, “We don’t have many shops.” She did point me in the direction of a cafe.
Stonington is on a hill. A person is either walking up hill from the pier or walking down hill to it. So off I started walking back up the hill and I had the most pleasant surprise.
Stonington is beautiful with the abundance of its colorful cottages and flowers. They had plenty of shops to see and prowl through. I guess the ferry cashier had lived there long enough to be immune to all the quaintness of her town. There were cafes, a coffee shop, bookstores, and a few stores selling souvenir, art, and boat items. No, none were large stores, but all were interesting.
After stopping at a ‘junk’ store where I purchased an old cream pitcher from England for a dollar and visited with a man who was untangling more rope than I’ve ever seen, I stopped at a cafe.
Being a table of one while everyone else is sitting with other people can make a person feel conspicuous and when traveling alone that is a drawback. If a counter is available, I usually always sit at the counter. However, this cafe didn’t have one, so I sat at a table in front of the window with a nice view of the street.
I can’t even describe how wonderful Maine blueberry pie is to you, but once I discovered it, I always had it first. I loved it warmed up with vanilla ice cream. This cafe had it sitting in the ‘pie box’ near the counter and I ordered it instead of an entrée. My phone battery was dying, so I plugged it in near a booth near me and chatted with the man I had to disturb to get it in the plug. I watched out the window, listened to the conversations around me, and smiled at the three woman at a table close by while I waited for my pie.
It wasn’t long before that scrumptious blueberry pie arrived. It brought some ‘oohs’ from the ladies and we started visiting across tables. Two of the three were teachers and the three were vacationing together and had ferried across from Swan Island to sight-see. One of them noticed a picture hanging on the wall next to me. She took a picture of me and it. We visited while eating, which made my ‘oneness’ so much nicer.
The three hours on Stonington passed quickly while I explored taking pictures of the cottages, boats, and people. I stopped for coffee and the lobster men coming in with their shorts on and rubber boots made me smile. I visited the quaint stores and made idle conversation with the workers. Overall, I loved that fishing village! It was exactly what I thought Maine towns would look and feel like. A wee bit touristy, but mostly it felt like it was a working town.
I walked back to the ferry to buy my ticket about 2:00. when I arrived the cashier apologized to me because although she could get me on the 2:30 boat to Isle au Haut, she couldn’t get me back until the last boat departed from there because the in-between mail boat would be full from passengers from Duck Island.
I couldn’t help but smile. It was perfect! I wouldn’t be rushed to hurry and explore that island and I could take my time. She even gave me a discount for inconveniencing me. I bought my ticket and waited to board the boat.
There were lots of packages that were loaded first and then the people. I was at the end of the line, so the outside seats were full and the inside ones too. I found a place to stand beside the packages inside, near the windshield, across from the ‘captain’ and his deck-hand. It was perfect for asking questions about the island, lobstering, and simply listening to the banter.
After buying snacks, water, and a soda from the general store, I walked the road and then the path that led to the lighthouse on Isle au Haut which is called Robinson Point in Acadia National Park which is part of that island.
The lighthouse is automated and the lightkeeper’s home is now an Inn, but it’s one of the joys of the island to see. I literally drew in a breath as I walked through the trees and the view opened up.
After checking out what I could see of the lighthouse, I wandered to the chairs that set around the lawn and enjoyed the view.
I had a diet coke and a snack from the island store, and so I sat soaking up the beauty before me. The view was breathtaking! I sat, watching the waves and the light glinting off the water. Occasionally, I’d hear couples talking. Someone was sitting in a chair reading a book, facing the ocean. I thought how wonderful the weather was to experience it on this day, but I wondered what it was like when a storm blew in or winter covered the ground? I bet it was still breathtaking in different ways.
Back toward the landing, an enterprising group of kids set up a table at the end of their driveway selling sea glass, shells, and homemade postcards. I bought a few for a dollar and a half. The small boy beamed when I picked out his painted postcard. I visited the church and smiled at the postoffice. The population of the island is less than a hundred people normally, so a tiny post office is all that’s needed.
While walking, I visited with a lobster man setting up his new lobster traps and a park ranger about the large whale bone that was on the porch of the ranger station.
Back on the boat, I visited with a park ranger and her dog coming off of her shift and a grad student who was creating a website about the various people who lived on the island. I learned that the island school goes from K-8 grade and after that the students get to pick which high school they want to attend on the mainland.
What an idyllic life it seemed as the conversation flowed between the people as we ferried back on that small boat.
On the recommendation of the ranger and the captain, I stopped to eat at a Mexican restaurant called El Frijoles near where I was staying. To be honest, the first time I passed it, I thought I’d made a mistake. I wasn’t expecting to see a restaurant in back of a home. I say the ‘first time’ because the traffic was so backed up, I had to turn around three times before I could find a place to park.
The restaurant was in a barn-like building behind a residential house. They had lights strung in trees and picnic tables were sitting around the yard, so people could eat outside. The building was full of people. There was also a screened porch area with tables. I arrived about an hour before closing time.
I made my way to the counter and placed my order for nachos with shredded chicken and then went outside and sat in a lawn chair waiting for my name to be called. I watched kids and parents playing badminton and kids swinging on a swing set. It had a park-like feel as people ate at picnic tables and kids played around the lawn.
As the traffic lightened, I made my way back inside and found a table near the door. I listened as the workers called orders and chatted with one another and the people eating. I was sitting alone when my name was called. He said, “Becky from Texas, who has all the time in the world.” That was funny because when he took my order and told me it might be awhile since they were packed, I had told him ‘No hurry, I’m on vacation from Texas and I have all the time in the world.’
I picked it up and smiled at him. Soon, I was joined by a man who asked me. “Where in Texas?” I usually replied, ‘East Texas’ since practically no one knows where Longview is, or I’d say ‘Two hours east of Dallas and one hour west of Shreveport, Louisiana.’
What surprised me was this whispered question, “What is the derogatory name for people from Louisiana?” Now, I was stumped. I told him the only one I knew and he said, “Nope, there’s another.” I couldn’t think of one worse, so I smiled and shrugged my shoulders and he sat and joined me.
I had the pleasure of eating dinner with Bill, the Merchant Marine, who had never been married and had returned to Brooksville to take care of his mom. He kept the conversation lively and fun. I had no idea what a Merchant Marine was before visiting with him. Before I knew it the owner who had called my name, came over and gave me a box for my left overs. He said, “I’m not saying you have to go home, but you have to go from here.” which totally cracked me up. I packed my leftovers, we said goodbye and headed to our cars.
Back at my hostel, I chatted with the people in the sitting room; two woman from Cape Cod and the couple from New York City, before heading to my bed. From beginning to end, my day felt like an adventure. I crawled on top of that uncomfortable mattress, preparing myself for sleep, feeling so very wonderful about my day!