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The whole fam-damily, part 2

July 30, 2015

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.)

Lighthouse and keeper's house on a rocky cliff in Portland, Maine

Iconic Portland Head Light

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.

Eric, me, Kelly, Andy, and Maddie at the LL Bean boot

Eric, me, Kelly, Andy, and Maddie at the LL Bean boot

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.

Lobstah salad and Patriots glass

Lobstah lunch at Linda Bean’s

Clam Fest

50th annual Clam Fest poster showing cartoon depictions of festival events

50th annual Yarmouth Clam Festival

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).

A crescent of white food booths in the park

Anything you want … fried

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.)

Fish in the Garden booth at Yarmouth Clam Fest

Fish in the Garden

Three blue ceramic koi swim in gravel

Fish in our garden

We also bought prints by Alan Claude, whose Maine coastal art we’ve admired and bought on previous trips.

Maine seacoast prints by Alan Claude booth at Yarmouth Clam Fest

Seacoast prints by Alan Claude

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.

Lawn chairs lined up on the curb before the parade

Waiting for the parade

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.

White cheddah

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.

Five family members around a table at a restaurant patio at night

Andy, Trish, Kelly, Lainie, and Eric at Azure

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.)

White Victorian B&B among trees

White Cedar Inn

The Party

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!

Bagging lighthouses

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!

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19 Comments
  1. Africadayz permalink

    Loved this post! Have always wanted to visit Maine and other Eastern states. Now more tempted than ever. And I especially enjoyed the lighthouse photos. Have always been rather fascinated by lighthouses.

    • You should come! It’s only a short flight! 😉 The lighthouses are spectacular and so varied.

  2. I can’t believe you fit all that into 5 days. :). Looks like a fun trip!

  3. i love the pictures! brings back many memories i have of spending every july 4th in maine with all the quirky small town parades and weirdo things like the lobster car! ha ha ha! i LOVE your garden koi – i will have to check that dude out sometime.

    • Clam Fest was great, so was seeing Eric’s family. Someday I want three more koi in traditional koi colors!

      • how about real koi? can you have a koi pond where you live? seems you’re in a temperate enough environment. i used to dogsit for a house with a koi pond and the guest room where i stayed was next to it – it sounded like a babbling brook all night – i loved it!

  4. D’Arcy,
    What a great family reunion/vacation. I’ve always wanted to visit Maine. L.L. Bean has some quality basics, it would definitely be a stop if I visited. Was it nice and cool weather wise? I heard that your area, getting the heat that they are, is a sure sign of an El Nino for us. Have you read/heard that?
    Have a cool weekend.
    xo,
    Karen

    • Hi Karen! We had so much fun. Maine was warm, but cooler than Seattle! We’re roasting … breaking records every day. Have to get through a few more days before we get a break. Yes, El Nino and the “warm blob” are in the news daily…thank heavens for AC!

  5. I might have to get some of those fish. They’re elegant and unusual. You always find the best stuff. I’m equally interested in a personally recommended inn. Lovely post. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

    • Hi Jo, you’d love the White Cedar. There are a couple of rooms with “your” colors, And who doesn’t need some cool fish in their garden??

  6. Anita JEnsen permalink

    What fun! and I loved the Cheddah!

  7. Judy Huppert permalink

    Eric, you have a hansom family and I know you were happy to see all of them. I loved the light house pictures. I used to say I wanted to live in a light house with its solitude, etc. Can’t wait to see your next projects. We too are trying to stay out of the heat. Here it is running 100 to 102 all week with a heat index around 106.  Way too hot for this old body to handle. Thanks for sharing your famioy reunion, Eric.

  8. What a great trip! I wish we could go back to Maine this year. At least I got to read about it on your blog. I had to laugh at the Long Island accents. That is how my dad’s family sounds, and I have to admit that although I have lived all over the world there are a few words that I still say with a thick New York accent.

    • Except for being away from the furkids, I wish we were still on vacation!

      • It is torture to leave them. They make me feel so guilty when I get back. The worst was returning for only one day and then having to take them to my mother’s and drop them off. I felt like a terrible mother.

      • Fortunately, they have a good sitter, but the cats fight and do unspeakable things while mom and dad are away!

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