Friday, August 13, 2010

Back to Winter Harbor, Gerrish’s and Acadia National Park

This last Friday was our 27th wedding anniversary. As a treat to ourselves and to get away from the asphalt and humidity of the city, we loaded the Grey Ghost with clothes for the weekend, pointed ourselves north and headed up I-95 in the general direction of Canada. The plan was to stop short of the border in Orono, Maine, to visit Susie’s sister Joyce and her husband Carl.

It’s been more than two years since we’ve been in the Great North Woods and we felt a return was overdue. Our first summer back in the US was spent in the cozy, seaside village of Winter Harbor where Susie got her first job as pastry chef at “J. M. Gerrish’s Café and Provisions.” In terms of professional development that summer of 2007 was defining for her: the freedom to create and bake, the ease and comfort of small town life, the joys of living so close to Schoodic Point, part of Acadia National Park, dwarfed the occasionally darker edges of that portion of our journey.

So, Susie picked me up from work at about 1pm on Friday and we drove to Orono, arriving just in time for burgers and billiards with Joyce and Carl at Woodman’s Grill. The weather up north was incredible: 73 degrees F., 40% humidity and it was even better by the ocean.

On Saturday we headed southeast toward the ocean, traversing the two-lane mess that leads toward Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island. Just short of Ellsworth we veered hard to the northeast and drove another 25 miles or so until we curved down into Winter Harbor. Not much had changed during the past three years, although the road to get there is under construction – about 30 years overdue.

Schoodic Point was the same, though – and the four of us spent quality time strolling along the ocean. I even broke out my scooter. I can now say with confidence that I have scootered on Schoodic.

We headed back into Winter Harbor for lunch. Gerrish’s was still lively and is now run by a young couple bent on producing scratch food of the highest quality. Service was, of course, a bit challenged (and challenging) this being a resort community after all. The four of us sat outside munching on sandwiches, watching the world slip by, and enjoying a day of peace, quiet and just being together.

That even we grilled food at home – sadly Joyce had to work and so it was a threesome for dinner.

The next afternoon the four of us headed back toward Bar Harbor, this time driving right onto Mount Desert Island and into Acadia National Park. We parked near the famous “Thunder Hole” and strolled for a while along the top of the cliffs. Another gorgeous day and a grand time all around.

It was late in the afternoon by the time we drove back into Bangor. Joyce and Carl suggested we eat at the “Green Tea,” not far form their home, and where we were treated to some of the best Asian food we’ve ever had.

After a round of goodbyes Monday morning Susie and I were back in the Grey Ghost retracing our steps from Friday, heading south toward the heat, asphalt and life we’ve created for ourselves here in Providence.

I just keep telling myself say brih tah knee -- and Susie keeps studying French at Alliance Francaise. More of that next time.

Ciao for now,


Monday, August 09, 2010

Melissa and Daniel get married - looking back at 2003

Seven years ago Susie and I spent a wonderful afternoon watching the second of the Bergman girls get married -- this time it was Melissa to Daniel Parker:

Sunday, August 08, 2010

A Birthday and Anniversary spanning half of New England

Providence in the summer is not ideal to be sure. Heat, humidity, dirt and grit amidst a degenerating infrastructure make for a somewhat degraded quality of life. The proximity to saltwater and a widespread number of incredible restaurants at all price levels does do help to alleviate the situation to be sure but still this is only a way station to the next phase. (Did anyone say “Brittany”?)

And of course there's always the nearby East Bay Bike Path to provide some much needed relief from the fields of asphalt and pockmarked pavement that is in fact the defining character of the city. (photos below: a haven of green, lush life, which was directly opposite of an "autoliner" from Japan, and further down the path one often finds the quiet of Narragansett Bay.)

The good news is -- and there is plenty of good news -- the good news is that Susie is trying to fast forward through starting her own baking & pastry business. She’s an incredible trooper about it all but it’s no rose garden trying to crank a new career for yourself when your approaching say, the golden years. She’s learning to network, to craft a marketing strategy, to think about financing a start-up and to hone it all in a business plan. Whew! It makes me tired just writing about it.

As for me, well I’m forging ahead with learning more than I ever dreamed about being a digital image librarian – and work is good to be sure. I miss writing about travel, though, and feel sometimes as if I have strayed from the path of truth, knowledge and sublime enlightenment.

And things will certainly be different in my neck of the woods, the “Jewelry District” which is rapidly giving way to becoming the “Biotech District.” That, we are told, is the plan once Brown University’s Herb Albert School of Medicine and Trumpet Studies kicks off.

But for us it's been a grand and glorious last week or so -- August kicking off with Susie's birthday celebrations, first in Point Judith and then in Douglas, MA. (photos below: the birthday girl herself,  the group gathered and Susie's Uncle Frank.)

Right now we're in Maine, in the far north woods in a sleepy little town called Orono, celebrating 27 years of marriage. Hovering on the outskirts of Bangor and hosting a large university, Orono is at the edge of the known world -- heading north or east from here takes you into the lands still untouched. Or so many would like to think.

For us, though, the really most salient point is here is where Joyce and Carl live and here we have come to refresh our spirits. Yes, I thought is sounded hokey, too until it crystalized in my mind yesterday driving to Schoodic Point how incredibly important it is to get away, to put the trials and stresses of the moment on hold, to breathe fresh air, to soak up the clear blue sky, to walk along pitch dark streets, to catch your breath before the next round of life's little twists and turns vie for your attention.

So, more photos to come tomorrow, with a revisit to Winter Harbor and J. M. Gerrish's and trip to Bar Harbor Acadia National Park are in store for today so stay tuned!

Friday, August 06, 2010