Here we are again. For 20 years in a row, at some time on a fall morning, in some wonderful location in the U.S., Lori and I have awakened to discover that somehow, some way, Girls Weekend has come to an end much too fast. Today was no exception, but we are grateful for waking up at all, and for having been blessed with another wonderful travel experience together.
This morning we were up at about to start dressing and packing. Lori gave me an echo dot this past Christmas, and had asked me whether I was enjoying using it. My answer was a bit lukewarm, as indeed I had not made much use of it at all, other than to check the weather or ask Alexa to play music. Since we don’t have a “smart” house, none of the cool features highlighted on all the commercials, like turning lights on and off etc., were applicable. Lori brought her echo dot with her for this trip though, and over this past week has been showing me how she uses it on a daily basis. In the mornings we ask Alexa about the time and the weather both here in Maine and in our respective home cities. Then we ask for the Flash Briefing, which is a 5-minute update on world news provided by NPR. Next we play Jeopardy, and Alexa reads us one question from each of six categories, and then we do the geo quiz from National Geographic. Finally, we end the morning routine with a scrambled word game. Throughout the day, if we are sitting around in our room journaling or talking, and we think of something we want to buy or do, Lori just hollers out, “Alexa! Add coffee creamer to the shopping list!” Alexa happily complies, and updates a list that is within the Alexa app on Lori’s phone. Why, this is brilliant, I realize! No more standing in the kitchen realizing I need to add something to one of my 15 lists (What? Don’t you have 15 lists going at any given time?? Don’t judge please) and then completely forgetting what needed to be added by the time I get upstairs to where I left my phone. My echo dot lives in my dining room, well within hearing of my commands both from the kitchen and the top of the stairs. Lori has two of them though, since they can be a bit sensitive to pronunciation at times.
After our brains were suitably warmed up and we knew exactly what weather to expect both where we currently were and where we would end up , we started the process of leaving and checking out of our teeny cottage: showering, dressing, packing, stripping beds, and taking stuff out to the car. I realize we have spent a lot of time griping about our lodgings but not clarifying that our main issue with them is that we felt they were misrepresented in the description on Airbnb. If we had understood about the remote shower and kitchen areas, and that there was no real oven, we would have been mentally prepared and not taken aback. Our little cottage is very nice for what it is, clean and dry with several windows, and there is a marvelous view out the back of the bay on which this property sits. The backyard is pristinely cared for, and slopes down to the water, where a gorgeous sunrise can be viewed on clear mornings. We had noticed what appeared to be another cottage at the bottom of the property, at the edge of the water, but had not really thought to question it. Once we realized that it too was air-conditioned though, and seemed to have a little porch and not be for storage, we became quite curious. During one of our trips to the car this morning, Lori encountered Nancy and asked her about the other little cottage we could see out of our window, down by the water. Nancy calmly said it was the other rental, and asked if we would like to see it. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant. I kind of wanted to leave well enough alone, but Lori was eager to go and so of course I joined her. We navigated our way down the rock path with alternating steps, and Nancy unlocked the door and opened it as we arrived on the little porch. Ho-ly @#$#Q! We stepped in to one of the most gorgeous little living spaces we had ever seen. The cottage interior was ringed with windows and full of light. There was a queen bed, a sitting/dining area, a FULL KITCHEN and a FULL BATHROOM, a lovely wood-burning stove, and double glass doors leading to an absolutely delightful little deck complete with table and a couple of chairs, overlooking the water. We could happily have stayed there for weeks, and it had been empty the entire three nights we’d been up the hill. I decided it was time to let Nancy know of our disappointment with our little shed, and how we felt misled. I explained our issues to her clearly and at length (I know, I know – you’re surprised) and she listened and seemed to really care that a) we felt as we did, b) her second cabin wasn’t listed on Airbnb or we would have taken it, and c) that we had not felt comfortable enough to cook or make ourselves at home while staying there. Our impression that she and her husband were sweet people seemed to be justified. To make amends, she offered to let us have the wonder-cottage (which rents for $1600/week in high season but much less at this time of year) at half price whenever we wanted it next year. Lori may well take her up on that offer and bring her husband Tom out, as he has always expressed a great desire to explore Maine. We walked back up the hill to finish loading our car, feeling at once better for having talked it out with Nancy and quite sad that we could have spent our three days here in the ravishingly lovely surroundings of that little harborside cottage. Difficult though it was, we had to let this go. Lori seemed to find this particularly difficult, and for the remainder of our time together would let out short, sharp bursts of loss out of the blue. While driving down a country road taking in more of the fall foliage she would suddenly splutter, “I can’t believe how great that other cottage was!” or pulling into the departures terminal of the airport she’d say, “If I had known I would have paid the extra, packed, and moved!” and the like. She may well need some guided therapy to overcome this. This is why one should never open Pandora’s box.
Back in our shed, we realized we hadn’t yet tossed our two remaining puzzle pieces representing the four states still in the running for next year’s destination. Lori took the two pieces in her hands, and after a vigorous shaking dumped them out onto the floor. North Dakota landed face down, but the little piece that held all of the other three states was smiling at us, face up, from the floor. Now what? We had no plan in place to decide between the teeny states that were so small they had to share a puzzle piece. We decided to think on it and talk it out on the drive. We finished loading the car, bid goodbye to Nancy, and left to seek out some breakfast and coffee at Mama D’s, the cute place we’d found yesterday. We wanted to spend more time there writing this morning, but found out that unfortunately they are closed on Wednesdays. The Blue Moon, another café, was also closed, and the Red Cup was packed, so we decided to get on the road toward the Portland airport and find somewhere on the way. Note: Although we had flown in to Bangor, we had opted to fly out of Portland because it was further south and closer to Boothbay Harbor. We ended up at a little café in a strip mall outside of Wiscasset, about 25 minutes south of Boothbay Harbor, called the Marketplace Cafe. It was a great place, and full of locals. We were surely the only tourists this place had seen in a while. The food was good - Lori had eggs over medium, English muffins, and oatmeal; I had blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup, scrambled eggs, and bacon. The staff was a friendly group of women who kept calling me “honey” (which I love), and they had Wi-fi, so we were happy campers.
We left the little café at about . We wanted to take just a bit of time to explore Portland before we went to the airport. Nancy had suggested stopping in the Old Port area, which we did, and it was a great suggestion. We enjoyed walking a few of the streets and looking in a few of the shops. I was wearing my boot today to protect my ankle, which was feeling the effects of having had more exercise lately. We decided it was time to head back to the car, but not until we stopped at Beal’s ice cream to enjoy a scoop each (chocolate in a cup for Lori, pumpkin on a cone for me). We arrived at the Portland airport with plenty of time to return the car, check our bags, get through security and head for the gates, making peace with the truth that GW was once again a thing of the past. All the way down the highway, and even as we drove up the tree lined road to the airport and passed a couple of ponds, we were hopeful that we would see our moose.
OH! I almost forgot. The main rule of GW, and the reason for its success, is “She who cares most, wins.” On the drive to Portland, while talking through different ways to choose between the three states on the same puzzle piece, Lori offered that she really wanted to go to Rhode Island, and that, in my opinion, was an excellent way to make the decision. And so, until next year when we write from Rhode Island, take care.
Trip Slogan: Heeeeere, Moosie Moosie Moosie! Here, Moose! Heeeeere, Moosie Moosie Moosie!