A quick trip to Maine
This month, it was Eric’s turn for a family reunion, so we were off to Yarmouth, Maine. (It’s not Eric’s home, but his four kids moved there as middle- and high-schoolers.)
Now in their 20s and 30s, his kids are scattered around the eastern half of the US, so seeing them all in one place is a rare event. A few months ago we decided to go to Yarmouth to experience Clam Festival, a community celebration that we’d heard a lot about over the years. Turned out, we weren’t the only ones in the family who had that idea, and soon the quest for Clam Fest evolved into an engagement party for Eric’s son, Andy, and his fiancée, Kelly, who were coming up from Jacksonville, Florida.
Is bean a verb?
bean | intransitive verb \been\ :to shop at L.L. Bean. Example overheard at breakfast: “I beaned yesterday, and I’m going to bean again today.”
Being among the first to arrive, we had much of our first day to ourselves. Our B&B was just up the road from Yarmouth, in Freeport, the home of mega-retailer L.L. Bean’s flagship store. Whenever we’re in Maine we make it a point to drop some bucks at Bean. Their pleasant campus houses individual buildings for apparel, hunting and fishing, home, and bike, boat and ski stores—something for everybody. Of course, everyone takes a photo at the boot. We beaned three times in four days.
Bean’s preppy clothes aren’t necessarily my style, yet I always find something to buy. And since downtown Freeport is really just a big outdoor outlet mall, there are plenty of other opportunities. I found a couple of floaty batik tops in a little import shop that was wonderfully scented with incense and patchouli … true to my hippie-chick roots. Those tops did a good job of perfuming our room for a few days. (Now, they just smell like Kirkland laundry soap … meh.)
We paused for lunch—delicious lobster salad, although I found drinking out of a Patriots glass to be deflating. Boo.
Nothing says “summer” like a small-town celebration. This was Yarmouth’s 50th annual Clam Festival, and we were finally there to take it all in: A crescent of white food booths lined the Memorial Green, each benefiting a philanthropic or school organization, offering fried clams, fried shrimp, fried burgers, fried dough (we chose fried clams and strawberry shortcake).
We wandered through acres of tents for the invitational art fair and the juried crafts fair. I found the one booth I was hoping to find: Fish in the Garden. When Eric bought me two large ceramic koi at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, we discovered the artist, Tyson Weiss, was from Falmouth, Maine, just down the road from Yarmouth. I intended to drop by his studio, but of course he was at Clam Fest instead. Koi No. 3 has joined his brothers in our Japanese garden. (They are waiting to be mounted on their supports, which will float them a few inches off the ground.)
We also bought prints by Alan Claude, whose Maine coastal art we’ve admired and bought on previous trips.
We had to smile at the local tradition of using lawn chairs to stake out prime viewing territory along Main Street, days in advance of Friday night’s parade. No one disturbs them.
The parade’s theme was Flashback Friday. The only float that gave me flashbacks was a crazy commemoration of Woodstock. Also impressive were the FLUKES (Falmouth Library Ukulele Society) and the enormous unicycle club, which couldn’t all fit into one photo.
And of course, at the carnival and Saturday night fireworks show, every teenager in town—and then some—came to see and be seen. (I remember those days.) We didn’t ride anything, but I am drawn to colored lights like a June bug.
After meandering around Clam Fest all Friday afternoon, we went back to Freeport and ate dinner on the patio of an Italian restaurant. Just as we were finishing, I noticed Andy and Kelly sitting nearby, with two women we assumed were Kelly’s aunts. We joined them and were introduced to aunts Trish and Lainie, from Long Island, NY. Wine was flowing. “We’re staying just down the street,” I mentioned to Trish. “So are we!” she replied in her Long Island accent, “At the White Cheddah.” I may have snorted. “You mean the White Cedar?” “No,” Trish insisted, “I’m sure it’s the White Cheddah.” A quick web search proved that even entering “white cheddar inn” pointed to the White Cedar Inn. “I’m going to put you in my blog!” I threatened. We laughed and laughed … and will always call it the White Cheddah Inn now.
Speaking of the White Cheddah … if you’re ever in Freeport, I highly recommend the White Cedar Inn. Rock and Monica run a first-class B&B. I think this was our fifth stay with them, and I hope it won’t be our last. (Our room: second floor, right.)
We had a great time catching up with Eric’s kids and meeting extended present and future family members. Can’t wait to see everyone again in Florida next spring for the wedding! Just as with my family reunion last month, we didn’t get a photo of daughter Ellie and our three grandkids. Next time, Ellie!
Even though our days were busy festing, beaning, and partying, we always found a few hours in the morning to chase down some lighthouses. “Bagging” (photographing) lighthouses is Eric’s goal when we’re on any coast. We didn’t have a lot of time to drive, but there are so many lighthouses in Maine, we didn’t have to go far.
We packed a lot into five days. Now we’re home, trying to survive another week of 90-degree summer heat and, believe it or not, making a lot of progress on projects! I’ll get back to that in my next post—promise!