Aug 9, 2005

Down East Days

Back from the cool and breezy and into the hot and sticky. A bumpy transition yesterday, what with Will's loud whining and wailing in Trader Joe's, and his pushing a lady's cart in front of her, and the lady muttering "Jesus!" and Will refusing to apologize until she was too far away to hear. And the gorgeous yellow and green bowl I got at Isleford pottery was broken by the cat today, still in its box and wrapped in a bag. And John saying "You shouldn't have left it on the counter." So I now realize I've got to write up something about the Maine trip before it becomes completely erased by the dog days of a Pennsylvania August, and its attendant grumpiness and whininess. And no camp or school.

Our cottage was near Southwest Harbor on Mt. Desert Island. We could take a little path down to a rocky beach, where the boys loved to pick up crab claws and shells that had been dropped by seagulls. In the distance we could see several islands and a couple other harbors of Mt. Desert. Great Cranberry Island was the closest. (Isn't that a great Roald Dahl kind of name?) We heard the distant clinking of buoys, the occastional hum of a motorboat, gulls arguing as they wheeled close by, and a dog barking across the bay. We smelled the brininess of the sea, but also a fresh wind blowing through the wild roses by the shore. At low tide we could wade a little in a tiny bit of sand.

We went to Sand Beach and were amazed that some people were actually swimming in the 50-degree water. We did swim a little in Echo Lake, though, and Jack and Will dug the biggest hole in the sand ever with some French children. We ate at several lobster pounds, a restaurant at the Atlantic Brewery, and a couple other places with great food that didn't mind kids around. (No fast food on the island, and no chains of any sort. How do they do that?) We rented bikes and rode around Eagle Lake and Witch Hole. Jack was on a trailer bike and Will on a child seat that he was a little too big for. Another day we took the passenger "ferry," just a small boat really, to Little Cranberry Island, which was peaceful and quiet. Children sold us lemonade and cookies out of a wagon. I got some napkin rings at an artists' co-op there, and the ill-fated bowl.

It's not a Maine cottage without a quirky collection of books. For children, Burgess's Animal Stories, E. B. White's Trumpet of the Swan, Franklin's Secret Club (which we had to read to Will about four times a day). For adults, a book on raising pigs, the Foxfire books, a bunch of thrillers, and a book called Gay-Neck, an Indian story about a pidgeon. Really. There was even a Victrola, but no records, and it made excruciating shrieking sounds when you turned it on or off.


mc said...

I think SW Harbor is quite possibly heaven on earth. We spent a long weekend there last September, and I'm having a hard time envisioning going anywhere else this year. I know the gorgeous weather had a lot to do with it, but it was PERFECT. (BTW, I am here via Scrivener somehow... your writing is lovely.)

mcbetty said...

There are some children's books
(not by Dahl) called Cranberry Halloween, Cranberry Thanksgiving, Cranberry Christmas, etc.

Scrivener said...

It is amazing how quickly vacations can get swallowed up into the everyday routine, enit?