Maine Vacation: Lighthouse Trip to West Quoddy Head

There are so many great places to visit when we go to Maine but sometimes it can be a bit of a drive to get to them.  In the past when I had driven 18 hours to get to Maine, we didn’t make too many long trips on top of that.  This year we didn’t have as much time to take long trips; we flew from Memphis to Maine but then there was 4 hours of driving on top of a day of flying.

One of our adventures this year was to drive to the easternmost point in the United States to visit the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and have some lunch in the town of Lubec.  (Despite its eastern US location, the lighthouse is called West Quoddy Head because there is a lighthouse further east on Campobello Island (Canada) that gets the name East Quoddy Head.)  

Jack remembered visiting the lighthouse a couple years ago and he remembered posing in front of the granite that says “Easternmost Point in the USA”.  This year, he became a little camera hog, posing multiple times in front of the sign and directing everyone else to get in or out of the pictures.  It was a refreshing change from the faces he’s been making lately when I take pictures.

Casey rarely turns down an opportunity to pose for the camera.

Jack is also a big fan of getting his photo taken in any type of wooden cutout with a place for his head.

After walking around the lighthouse and checking out the displays inside the lighthouse, we walked down to a set of stairs that lead to the beach.  There were lots of rocks to climb on and rocks to walk on and rocks to throw.

Grampie followed Casey pretty closely around on the rocks.  It’s so hard to watch her climb on them because every time she takes a step she appears to lose her balance and looks like she is going to fall.  She didn’t have any big falls which I thinks was a combination of supervision and that fact that she can climb on them despite how it looks.  She gained a lot of confidence in her rock climbing while we were in Maine but that only made her braver and more likely to fall because she was being silly at times.

We had lunch at a restaurant in Lubec, Maine overlooking the water.  The lobster boats were to the left and the bridge to Campobello Island was to the right.  It was a beautiful day.  The kids and Grampie climbed around on the breakwater and played on another beach.

On the way out of town, we stopped at Monica’s Chocolates to find some treats.  Monica grew up in Peru and bases some of her chocolates on recipes she remembered growing up with her family.  She met us at the door and immediately gave the kids balloons and a chocolate lollipop.  She then treated the grown-ups with some samples.  We all walked out with bags of chocolate and I even found a cute Peruvian necklace to buy.  

It was a great Maine adventure…we drove on some dirt roads, saw a lighthouse, climbed on the rocks, ate lunch overlooking the water and got some Maine/Peruvian chocolate 🙂

Elmo’s Rescue

We are now Tennesseans and survived our move.  We got settled in our new house and a few weeks later headed to the airport for our trip to Maine.  We had a great week there and there are more stories to tell.  But this is just about our trip back to Tennessee.

On our way home from Maine, I decided to schedule late flights out of Maine.  We had to drive four hours to the airport so I figured we might as well make a day of it and I would deal with the consequences of leaving Portland at 6pm and not arriving in Memphis until 10:30pm (which felt like 11:30pm).  
We were feeling a little rushed on our way to the airport but got there an hour before the flight.  Of course there was a long line to weigh baggage and they were making announcements on the speakers that a plane that had just landed was the plane to Atlanta and we should get to the boarding area.  In reality, after waiting 10-15 minutes to check baggage and 10 minutes to go through security, they hadn’t even started boarding yet.  But once they did start boarding, Casey of course decided she had to go to the bathroom.  
We had a layover in Atlanta and had to switch concourses to get to our next gate.  While we were going down an escalator I was trying to tell Jack that we might be going on a shuttle to get to the next concourse.  I said the word three or four times and he couldn’t hear me & didn’t understand what I was trying to say and I was getting very frustrated.  When we got on the shuttle and he heard the announcement that it was called the “plane train”, he just looked at me like I was crazy for calling it a shuttle.  “It’s a plane train Mommy!”
We waited about an hour for our next flight.  I enjoyed some people watching.  Casey acted like she was going to go to sleep but spent 15 minutes trying to get just right with her blanket and pillow, 2 minutes pretending to sleep and then sat up and said, “Good morning Mommy!”  To which I meanly said, “We’re not playing that game.  Either sleep or sit up and find something to do.”
We were among the last people to get on the plane, which was fine because I knew we had three seats together and that all our carry-ons would fit under the seat so we wouldn’t be struggling to find overhead space.  While we were in line, I said, “Does everyone have everything?”  I glanced at all our things and it looked like we had all our bags.
While we were buckling our seat belts, Casey whimpered, “Where’s Elmo?”  I started to panic a little and said, “Isn’t he in your bag?”  A quick look around determined that he was not to be found.  Casey started crying hysterically.  My first thought was that it really was the end of Elmo.  I said, “That’s really sad, Casey.”  Jack chimed in with, “I’m kind of sad too because that used to be my Elmo.”  
That’s when I realized that I couldn’t let Elmo go without a fight.  I asked the flight attendant if I could go search for him and she said I could as long as I had my boarding pass.  I gave a brief moment’s thought as to whether I should just leave my two children on the plane by themselves.  I wasn’t really worried about them but more about whether others would think it strange that I left them.  
I ran down the ramp and out to our seat but Elmo wasn’t anywhere to be seen.  There was a man sitting near our seat and I asked if he had seen Elmo.  He said a janitor had just come by and taken him. I couldn’t see the janitor on the concourse at all.  I wanted to run after him, but I didn’t dare to go away from the plane.   I was so dismayed after running all they way out there to rescue Elmo and I couldn’t even do it.
I explained to the ticket agent what had happened.  She said the janitor shouldn’t have taken it but should have brought it to her, but that was all she could do for me.  
I walked back onto the plane empty-handed.  Casey broke down crying again and it made me start to cry.  She calmed down a little and asked if she could get a new Elmo and I told her she could have any one she wanted.  
Then I saw the ticket agent walking onto the plane and I saw a little flash of red in her hands.  I quickly wiped the tears off my face.  When she got to us, I was so thankful.  She said the man sitting out there had tracked down the janitor and gotten Elmo for us!
I wish I could have run out there to thank him personally but I will never forget the kindness of that man in saving Elmo for us.  

Funny Summer Memories

Last week, we were driving somewhere and it was dark.  I don’t even remember where we were going but we really don’t leave the house much after dark so it made Casey comment about all the pretty lights.  She wanted to know if there were pretty lights all over the world like this.  I told her there aren’t this many streetlights all over the world…places like where Grammie & Grampie live in Maine don’t have many lights.

This developed into a conversation about the fact that there aren’t many houses by Grammie & Grampie’s house because the two buildings on either side of their house are not houses.  One is my dad’s extra garage.  It used to be a fire station and it is still fire station red.  Jack wanted to know why there were desks and chairs in the upstairs of the fire station and I told him that it used to be a school house before that.  They were kind of fascinated by that for a minute or two and then backtracked a little bit.
Jack said, “There was a fire station when we went to that nut party.”  What?  Nut party?  I had no idea what he was talking about but I hoped I hadn’t missed out on a fun-sounding party.  A nut party and a fire station?  After I composed myself I asked him what he was talking about.  “You know, that one at the school where we used peanuts and then we got to pick out prizes at the end?”  
Ohhh.  It made sense to me at that point.  It was called the Peanut Fair and it is part of the International Festival when we visit Maine in the summers.  We pay a couple dollars for a bag of peanuts and the kids go around and pay a peanut for each game they want to play.  After they play the game they get a coin or two and at the end they “buy” prizes with their coins.  It’s a pretty fun time for the kids.  
And yet there is no fire station near across the street from the elementary school where the Peanut Fair was held.  There is a big garage across the street that kind of looks like a fire station.  And that just makes me marvel at Jack’s memory.  The fact that he remembered some random building in Maine that looked like a fire station to him and then brought it up six months later.
And because I didn’t post any pictures of the peanut fair this summer, I might as well do it now.

Maine: Mornings on the Beach

I think we’re back to normal around here since returning home from our trek to Maine.  Everything is unpacked and mostly put away.  I’ve put our pictures on Facebook and Shutterfly.  Now I should write a little bit about it.

The kids had a great time on the beach in front of the cottage this year.  Another year older means they can climb on the rocks better and explore more and find more treasures.  Casey did really well climbing around on the rocks although it’s better to not watch her.  If you watch her, it looks like she is going to fall at any given point.  She doesn’t seem to have any intuition that would guide her toward the flatter rocks or a simpler path.  And she wasn’t interested in me trying to explain that it would be easier if she went for the flatter rocks.  She’s a girl that’s going to blaze her own path.  Luckily her path didn’t inflict any serious boo-boos this year.

Both Jack and Casey were fascinated by every item that wasn’t a rock and some items that were rocks.  They collected and collected and collected.  No one ever returned from a trip to the beach empty-handed.  To me, the best treasure is the sea glass…the sea glass that has been rubbed smooth by the tide and rocks and sand over many years.  Jack and Casey collected every bit of glass they found and were working on being able to tell the difference between the sharp (not ready) glass and the smooth glass.  They found mussel and clam shells, broken pottery, periwinkles, scallops, urchins and crab shells.

One day when the tide was low, there was a little crab hanging out on the beach.  Casey likes her crabs to be already dead so she screamed and panicked about the little guy who was at least 10 feet away from her even as she was backing away.  I decided that taking her out in the lobster boat wasn’t going to work this year.  I thought she might end up swimming trying to get away from the crabs and lobsters in the boat.

The night before we left for Maine, I spread out all the treasures in a couple of boxes and told them to choose their favorites for their summer collection.  They each had a bowl and filled them up with various things that I haven’t even looked over yet.  The rest went back to the beach, probably to be collected again next year!      

Quotables

It seems as though Jack has been talking non stop since we arrived in Maine.  Jabber, jabber, jabber!  I think it’s more than normal because it doesn’t seem like he chats this much at home.  Maybe it’s because he’s had more of an audience lately.  I should have more funny quotes from him from this trip but he’s talking too much for me to remember it all.

This morning while Casey was sleeping, Jack and I were talking about the new model airplanes that Grampie gave him and Casey.  He said, “I’m going to let Casey play with me with my aircraft carrier when we get home because she has jets now too.  But only if I’m there with her because I don’t want her to do anything foolish if I’m not there.” 

Casey has been playing shy when she first meets someone but give her a few minutes of your attention and she will start to talk your ear off too.  And then she’ll give you a hug.  Then she’ll give you a kiss.  Pretty soon you’ll find yourself with a Casey-monkey wrapped around you and she’ll be the most affectionate person you’ve met.

When we were on the beach last week climbing on the rocks and walking through some seaweed, Casey said, “This is junky.”  I wasn’t quite sure what she was talking about but she went on to say, “The seaweed is junky.  It’s getting my feet all junky.”  Maybe slimy was what she was looking for but it was a lot cuter with junky.

It’s raining in Maine and we’re a little bored.  I have lots of pictures from our fun adventures so far but they’re still on the camera.  I just killed a little bit of time by asking the kids all their favorites. 

Favorites – Casey then Jack

Movie: 
Rapunzel
Star Wars: Episode II and III (even though he hasn’t watched III yet, he’s sure it will be a favorite)

TV Show: 
Caillou
Star Wars: Clone Wars, Max & Ruby, Cat in the Hat

Breakfast Food:
Waffles
Yogurt

Food:
Bananas, Cheese
Pizza, Muffins, Pasta

Fruit:
Watermelon
Watermelon

Vegetable:
Zucchini
Zucchini

Dessert:
Chocolate Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Stuff

Ice Cream:
Vanilla
Chocolate

Season:
Fall
Winter

Animal:
Zebra
Elephant, Dog

Color:
Pink
Blue, Green

Toy:
Princess Flashlight
Star Wars Legos, new car

Letter:
A
J

Number:
2
5

Restaurant:
Nana and Pop Pop’s Restaurant – “the one where we smashed crabs”
Greene Turtle

Store:
Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s

Jack is now telling me that he is tired of talking about these things.

The Castle on Red Beach

On Saturday morning, Grammie took Jack and Casey down to the beach in front of the cottage.  The tide was way out and we walked out to meet it.  On a sand bar, Grammie started building a castle and Jack and Casey eagerly helped, turning it into a castle fit for King Neptune.  They searched for shells and glass to give it windows, then dug a moat and built a bridge and erected a flagpole. It was quite a creation, but doomed from the start as the tide turned while we were out there. 
Jack and Casey stood on their own island for a bit as the tide swirled around them.  They moved to the “island” where the castle was and hung out there as the tide came in around that as well.  We watched the castle get swallowed in the water and then headed back up the beach where Grammie then turned all manner of beach items into delicious food.  Casey only had to be told it was pretend food a few times. 
Jack, Grammie & Casey getting ready to build a castle

I didn’t realize Casey got in this picture but I love the way it turned out.

The Castle
Grammie, Jack & Casey on their island.
Holding their ground on their island, but the tide wins.

Here comes the tide.

The castle returns to the sea.