In July we planned a short trip to Maine for August to visit Dan's extended family. Dan found an off-the-grid cabin in Maine which the owners allow to be used as a sort of rest spot for families and couples serving in the ministry.
We planned to stay there for three nights. The drive up to Maine consisted of a lot of random stops every time I saw historical landmarks and every time Dan saw a Farmall tractor- particularly the cubs.
We stopped to see this Quechee gorge. It's very deep as you can see, and there were signs tacked and tied with zip ties to the bridge begging people to seek help and reminding readers that they were loved. I found out later that it's the number one spot for suicides in Vermont. Pretty crazy.
When we continued our drive, we went on the back roads mostly and we were starving hungry (despite the fact that I packed a lunch for us). After looking for a place to eat for about two hours, we found this little gem.
We indulged in some amazingly greasy food. Gwen enjoyed watching us eat. Until we were nearly finished. Then she cried until Dan took her to look at the gift shop.
We stopped to take a picture of this dam and beautiful covered bridge.
And we finally made it to our cabin after getting lost a little bit. Neither of our cellphones worked the entire time we were there in Maine. At least the Data. Mine didn't work for anything but a camera. Dan could sometimes have enough service to place a phone call when he was in town or something.
This is the cabin where we stayed. It was very nice. Very, away-from-it-all. It ran on solar panels, so we took short showers and were very careful to not waste any water. Since it was off-the-grid, there was no internet, TV's or electronics. It was nice. When we were there in the evenings, we spent time playing monopoly and banana grams. I also read four Louis L'amour books since they were on a bookshelf.
The first night we arrived, Dan just HAD to try lighting a fire in the firepit, which was actually a wheelbarrow! How neat! I will say...considering I don't normally like s'mores, those were AMAZING.
When we woke up the next morning, we did a little searching on the Maine Atlas that was provided for our exploring needs. We saw a few attractions in the area, so headed towards the first, the oldest wire bridge in the US.
I'll be honest, just walking across it was scary a little because the whole thing was giving and shaking with just me walking! I hate to know how it would have felt if a car had driven across.
It was neat though.
When we finished looking at that, we headed to Farmington, where Dan insisted he would be able to find the house where we were to meet up with his family the next day. Since we went to Farmington, we stopped at McDonalds (to use the wifi primarily) and found a church to attend the next night (Wednesday evening). I told Dan that we should just text his aunt and ask for the house address, but he insisted he could find it based on his spectacular memory from childhood. We searched on every street in that town...(or that's what it felt like at least). Dan would tentatively turn the car onto a street and say "Oh, YES, I remember now! Its this street for sure. Middle street. I remember it...we'll drive up here and the house will be on the left...and its yellow..." and there'd be a dead end with no house. I got a good laugh out of it, and didn't mind, since we didn't have anywhere else we needed to be. We did finally find the house. It wasn't yellow though. :D
As we were headed back to the cabin for the evening, I saw a brown sign indicative of a historical site ahead. We followed it and drove up a driveway to a homestead. This homestead was where Lillian Norton (Nordica) was born. I had no idea who that was, so we just walked in and paid the small fee to do the tour. Apparently, Nordica was a world famous opera singer in the 1800's. Our tour guide was very well-informed and made the tour fun. The house was full of antiques and the photos and paintings of Nordica as well as her costumes and dresses for the different roles she played in operas in Europe and America.
It happened to be the hottest day of the summer that day, so our tour guide gave me a fan to use. Gwen was thrilled with the tour.
This was a fan Queen Victoria gave to Nordica as a gift.
It was neat to learn something new. I definitely enjoyed the tour more than Dan. He liked seeing the old stove and examining how someone restored the house and put drywall on all the walls and things like that. He wasn't so much into the opera singing- fancy dress-wearing Nordica. I got into it though. Our guide was so happy we stopped that she gave me a free Nordica tee shirt.
We went back to the cabin and that evening it was SO hot in the cabin. To save money, I had brought along a pre-baked lasagna (a big pan), eggs, squash, and things for s'mores. So we only ate out that one time when we were driving up to Maine.
The next morning, we referred to our Atlas yet again, and then drove to a hiking trail and hiked to the waterfall. This is me, wearing my Nordica shirt.
After we finished that hike, we were driving around, simply exploring, when we drove by this tiny sign that said "Cemetery" with an arrow. Dan knows I love visiting old cemeteries, so we parked at the locked gate and walked back a pathway til we got to another pathway, slightly overgrown.
We kept seeing more signs for the cemetery, so we kept walking further and further into the forest.
Sadly, we had to give up because we came to a giant sign saying that it was a wetlands. I nearly stepped into a boggy, lily-pad covered marsh area not knowing it. SO we turned back. But I really wish we had found it.
We saw what was left of this windmill...
And then the rest of that day we spent with Dan's family. It was very nice to see his aunt and uncle and grandmother again. That evening we went to a church where Dan's family used to go when they would visit their family. The pastor still remembered him!
That was Wednesday night. It was nearly 9pm when we got back to the cabin because the rain was SO bad. Poor Gwen's bedtime is at 8, so she was in an inconsolable frenzy, screaming and screaming. She woke up several times that night screaming as well, which is very unusual given the fact that she's been sleeping through the night now for about a month.
The next morning, we woke up early and packed everything up so we could get a head start on our drive back home to NY. Before we left though, Dan and Gwen spent a nice time chatting.
The drive back seemed to go super fast. When the GPS said we had about two hours left, Dan really wanted to go a little out of our way and visit the Vermont Country Store. I didn't know what to expect because I'd never even heard of it. But he said his mom used to order things out of their catalog when he was a child.
It was really a neat store!
Dan got some sea-salted caramels and I got one chocolate covered cashew cluster.
Gwennie got to ride her first tractor in the form of a tire swing. Or maybe it was a tire swing in the form of a tractor?
It was a neat place to get Christmas presents for kids. I told Dan that someday we need to go there to get Christmas presents because they have old-timey games and toys made of wood and leather and things, not plastic junk with batteries in it.
We made it home safely, even after being pulled over by a policeman. Dan was driving at the time and was going 65mph in a 45 zone. The officer was extremely kind and generous in just giving him a warning instead of a ticket. You can be sure that he was watching the speedometer the rest of the way. :D
It was a nice little vacation for us. We were happy to be home after it though.
That's the last of our adventures in August. I'm very late posting this. Today is the first day of AUTUMN!!!!!
Crazy how time flies. Soon, it'll be snow that's flying...