The Lake: Maine Style

So, my husband is from Maine, and I consider myself a transplant even though currently he’s living in New York for work. I told him the minute I saw Maine, that I would definitely move there if I got a house on the lake. Haven’t quite secured that one yet, but the more time I spend on the water, the more certain I become of it’s future existence. We love to travel, but home is definitely Maine with our family (blood or otherwise).

Last week was a tough week for us. It was the anniversary of a life cut too short. We got together to celebrate a life, and mourn our sadness about the year spent without our fearless leader. The one who kept all of us “ducks in a row”. The one who was never afraid of an adventure, even if the roads were sketchy and the steps were +/- 700 down into the abyss. We may have laughed, we may have cried, and we may have sent fire messages into the unknown. But we were together and we were loved. We move forward, but we certainly never forget.

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At 9pm the night before our day at the lake, we made homemade cucumber jalapeño margaritas. Recipe If you make them ahead of time, they get spicier! Bill loved a good margarita.

Panther Pond 2018-4645Thankfully, there are no pictures of me and my first attempt at paddle boarding. I know they are out there, hoping they don’t show up on social media! But if they do, I own it. Paddle boarding is not for the birds! The black and blue marks on my knees are proof that I need a lot more practice. Don’t get me wrong. It was fun, I’ll try it again. But I am a far cry from those amazing people who do yoga on their boards. We did go kayaking though! And that is one of my favorite things. If you get the chance, Panther Pond in Raymond, Maine is a spectacular lake! It’s quiet, clean, large enough for motor boats, but not so large that kayaking gets scary or dangerous.

Fishing, boating and family time, including some, but not all the kiddos.

I swear he lives 500 miles away – I guess this one is just genetics!

And to round out the rest of our week: (I worked, he was on vacation) We played board games with our friends, visited family, tried this disgusting bourbon drink (it has Montreal steak seasoning on the rim – it mostly tastes like liquid Montreal steak seasoning). Got a little loving from the fur kids, had bourbon and hard seltzer with Uncle Charlie, ate dinner out at a few of our old haunts with friends and family. Had lobster, cooked and eaten the right way (ie: cook it at home, fresh, outside. Eat it outside because it makes a huge mess!). And mostly just ran around to see as many people as we could possibly fit in. If we missed you, we are sorry. If we got to see you, it was a blessing. And if you’re just looking for some great recommendations for lake vacations in Maine, we highly recommend Kool Palms Travel or Vining World Travel

In loving memory of Bill Vining. You may be gone, but I still swear at you when I go through every road construction site. (Especially the bridges – I know you’re taunting me)

Adventure, Nature, and a few Fairy Houses

Another great birthday adventure in the books. Honestly, I think I have as much fun as the kids. Maddie: “How do you know that fairies exist” Me: “I don’t, I just believe”

Like every great early start to a birthday adventure…we started with donuts. I mean come on, who doesn’t love donuts. And it’s a really good excuse to eat them on you adventure day where anything goes!

Once we fueled up, on a sugar high, we headed to Mackworth Island to adventure. Mackworth Island has a trail around the island and it’s scattered with fairy houses. We went to enjoy the outdoors with a “hike/walk” breath in the fresh air, and get some inspiration for building our own fairy houses at home. If we caught a fairy, even better. We found a wing, rescued one from being eaten by a bird, and caught (but released) a third. It was magical.

After our adventure, collecting our treasures, and re-fueling again. (this time sandwiches) we headed home to build our own fairy houses. Here is the grove we created, we hope to attract our own magic.

We made a little magic this day! Possessions are just things to be forgotten, but memories last a lifetime. I love making memories with them, even the silly, fanciful, magical moments.

Maine: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Boothbay Harbor Whale & Puffin Cruise

They say you should write about what you know, and there are always adventures to be taken around home! We just happen to live in Vacationland! And I love Boothbay Harbor! Every year for the kids birthday we do an adventure. Madison turned 9 in April, but she loves the water, so we postponed her birthday adventure until we could take on the great Atlantic Ocean! One of her favorite things are Penguins. Well we don’t have those, but we do have Puffin’s. So on a whale and puffin adventure we went!

8:00 am 1st stop, donuts! When you’re off on an adventure, you should always start it with donuts!

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From Auburn it’s about 1.5 hours to Boothbay Harbor. Since it’s a long drive I opted to get a little exercise in on this trip as well. One of my all-time favorite places in Maine happens to also be in Boothbay Harbor!

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9:30 am – Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens! If you love flowers, nature, and Maine – this is the place! I have a membership and seeing the gardens through all the seasons is magical, but this time of year it is a riot of color and the kids area is whimsy and fun. We checked out the fairy houses, the bears den, the greenhouse, the story house, the coloring shed, and the little lake! Then we ventured down the trail to the waterfall and moss garden and then around the middle of the gardens to see the beautiful sculptures. If we had more time, we may have ventured further, but little legs can only go so far, and we needed to have lunch before we ventured on to our “real” trip of the day.

11:30 am – Lunch. We opted to have lunch at the gardens. Call me lazy, but it’s easy and the food is good. I had lobster! When you are this close to the coast, the lobster is good everywhere you go. But they also have “land” options for those who are a little less adventurous!

12:30 pm Stop 4 – batteries! Oops, Madison’s camera needed new batteries and thankfully they are the kind you can grab at the grocery store! We took the brief break to lather on the sunscreen which we promptly got all over the side of my car. So when I got home at 8:30 at night, my car got a bath! Thank goodness for long summer days and it still being light outside!

1:00 pm – Parking and finding our “ride”! We parked along the harbor, in hind sight I probably would have found somewhere farther away to park. $20 for the day and I think we may have taken the last spot in the lot. Sometimes convenience is worth the money though. And this time, it was good we did. We get all the way on the boat and Maddie realizes she left her camera in the car! LOL, kids…sometimes you just have to laugh. So we hurried back to the car, collected the camera and back on the boat we went.

1:30pm – departure! Don’t be late for the boat, they certainly don’t wait around! We sat on top in the open air and watched as the harbor slowly slid by. Islands and lighthouses, if you haven’t seen the Maine coast, a harbor cruise is just beautiful! But we were here for the puffins and whales! After a long cruise out into the Atlantic, we finally make it to the area where the whales have been having out! We saw a pair of humpback whales which showed off for us! (see youtube video below, but don’t judge me on my video…I’m still a beginner! )

4:00 pm – By 4 we were headed to Easter Egg Rock to check out the puffins. Take binoculars and a zoom lens because these little guys are tiny! Adorable, but tiny. Because you can’t get overly close to the island with a big boat, the puffins appear quite small. They fly in and out from the island and you still get to see them. But deciphering them from the other birds hanging out around the island can be more challenging. Next time, maybe I’ll have an even bigger lens to capture these beautiful creatures. Or I’ll see if I can’t get in with the scientists!

5:00pm – Headed back to the harbor. The ride back always seems so much shorter than the ride there. We were back in the harbor by 5:30 and headed back to the car! Since Madison doesn’t like seafood we headed out towards home in search of dinner. Although I am certain that there are turf options at all the local restaurants which serve some of the best seafood around!

6:30: Dinner at Taste of Maine. Boothbay Harbor is off of Route 1, so there are plenty of places to stop on route 1. We picked Taste of Maine because it’s easy to get to and it’s a fun family owned business that’s been there since the 70’s. I had seafood again and Madison had chicken tenders and fries. They have something for everyone including live music! After our bellies were full, we headed home completing our 12 hour day trip full of fun and adventure!

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Until the next adventure! ~ Emily

Big shout out to CAP’n Fish! What an amazing adventure!