Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Family visits, Portland, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire

When I look back on this last weekend from the middle of the week, I get the distinct impression it was quiet for the two of us here in Rubetown -- and yet when I start scratching beneath the surface, I am soon disabused of that notion and realize we actually did quite a lot in s 48-hour period of time.

Our nephew Jonathan and his wife Naomi drove down from Maine late Friday to spend the night here; they had a wedding to attend in West Kingstown on Saturday and needed a place to park until then.

After a leisurely morning sampling Susie's pastries on Saturday morning they followed me to Susie's shop to get the full experience of the French Tarte. And afterwards the Tarte herself joined us for a quick drive to nearby Lippitt Park where the summer Farmers' Market is in full swing through the fall -- before they move indoors to Hope Artiste Village.

center: Susie, Naomi and Jonathan

We bid adieu to Jon and Naomi; they were off south to the Rhode Island coast. Susie returned to the shop to get ready for her afternoon class and I headed back home to do whatever I do when I'm actually doing something. 

At a little after 8 a.m. Sunday morning we packed ourselves into the Mini and pulled out of our driveway, making our way to I-95 north for a rendezvous with Dick, Dorothy and Susie's sister Joyce at  a Panera's just outside of Portland. The weather was grand and the traffic light as we cruised through Boston on I-93 before returning once again to the dreaded I-95 for the final run through New Hampshire and on into Maine.

my BBQ chicken salad -- a bit too sweet I htought
We had a pleasant visit, sitting outside eating some tasty food -- one must hand the folks at Panera for knowing how to do "fast food" right.

We eventually had to say goodbye, a bit bittersweet for the siblings to be sure. We don't know when we'll get back up to Maine next or when the group will be together again. After getting back on the highway and retracing our morning ride up north we soon found ourselves caught in the stop-and-start traffic of half of New England heading home after a weekend in Maine.

But for us as soon as we crossed the Piscataqua River into New Hampshire we pulled off to explore "historic" Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

We strolled through the historic downtown, along with several thousand other like-minded folks; traffic was pretty much jammed up but we had wisely chosen to park on the periphery of the city after pulling off the highway. Anyway, it was a grand day for a walk and to explore a place we had so often driven by but never stopped to see. Lots of shops selling bric-a-brac, clothes, jewelry and just about everything else.

We did stop into "Popovers" and bought one of their eclairs, which, stuffed with some sort of odd-tasting filling, was not very good. Nor was the choux puff up to French Tarte standards, either.

downtown Portsmuth

waterfront dining, of course

a gorgeous private garden open to the public right new the waterfront

After a pleasant hour or so of casual strolling we headed back to the car and found our way onto the highway where we once again rejoined all those other folks returning home after a weekend up north. Not wanting to return through Boston at this particular time of day we decided to take Dorothy up on her offer of fresh-picked green beans from their garden and so swung off onto I-495 to I-290 and through Worcester picking up Route 146 south.

After a pleasant chat with dick and dorothy over a glass of sparkling cava rose we grabbed our bag of beans, joined with fresh cucumbers and tiny tomatoes and headed home.

That night we enjoyed fresh corn (from Saturday's farmer's market) along with beans and leftover pork.

Not a bad weekend at all, I'd say.

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