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)

The Mottram’s Do Costa Rica 2.0

Two years ago we did a trek across Costa Rica. 6 people, 2 cars, San Jose to Guanacaste with a touch in Arenal and Monteverde. This year, to celebrate a life, we returned to Costa Rica.  Sadly we lost one of our travel buddies this past summer. It still doesn’t feel real, like he’s just going to walk in the door one day and say “Gotcha”. Costa Rica was a place he loved. A place that he and his wife planned to retire. So we wanted to join his wife and celebrate his life in a place that he loved.

Why we all love Costa Rica:

It’s full of life! Costa Rica is vibrant. Between the monkeys, sloths, iguanas, poisonous frogs, and sharks, the wildlife is amazing. The people and the towns are vibrant, colorful and relaxed. The country has volcanos, jungle, mountains and beaches. It really is a pura vida (simple life). I also really love that 95% of the country power is made with renewable energy.

Where we stayed: Villa Sol, Playa Hermosa

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This year we flew to Liberia and stayed on the coast of Guanacaste in Playa Hermosa. We rented a villa in a gated resort and stayed in one place. Only 20 minutes from the airport, this place was a gem. Playa Hermosa is a quiet little spot and the villa we rented was on a resort complex. This gave us access to the beach, pool and other resort amenities. If we wanted, we could have added an all inclusive package to our villa. But the grocery stores are close and have everything you could want. If you want Lucky Charms, Doritos, and Oreos, you can find them. If you want charcoal and local meat to cook at home, you can find that too. We loved the quiet and secure feeling of Playa Hermosa while only being a few minutes away from Playas Del Coco with more shops, restaurants, and grocery stores. All the villas on Villa Sol are privately owned. Our villa wasn’t fancy, but it felt like home. The beds were a little hard and the wifi was a little slow, but everything else was perfect.

We spent our afternoons relaxing in the plunge pool, better known as the “punch bowl” and our mornings sipping coffee on the veranda. Of course we went diving and this year we did another ATV + zipline adventure with our friends. I will warn you, if you do an ATV tour on the coast during the dry season, it will be dusty.  This year we got to ride through the river a few times which made the ATV ride a whole lot more fun! It’s 90, it’s sunny, and even though you’re covered in dust, you still get burnt. Even though we stayed in one place this year, we always add a little “adventure” into our vacations!

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We stayed in Playa Hermosa, but we also spent time in Playas Del Coco.  One of our favorite finds was Zi’s. We had brick oven pizza and happy hour drinks. How can you argue with a $4 margarita! This is also where we went on our diving adventure. Sadly the diving was a little “green”, but we love to dive and we know you can’t control the ocean. We saw rays and puffers and starfish. There is still plenty to see in the ocean, even if the visibility was poor.

And even though we took ventured to Playas Del Coco, you wouldn’t have to leave Playa Hermosa at all. Between the resort amenities, the grocery store, and the restaurants nearby; we had everything we needed.

Costa Rica, you will always hold our heart. Until we see you again, In loving memory of our dear friend Bill Vining.

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