Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Sunny and pleasant
So, I’m back from my break, and it was a good one. I hope to post some photos in the coming days.
Back on May 10, we left early and drove to Acadia Park in Maine. We left early enough to make sure we got over the bridge before the traffic started — it’s already getting busy here. We drove up to Maine quickly, then took the coastal route all the way up, checking out Camden, eating lunch in Belfast, enjoying the towns.
The Quimby Inn was great, although they’d left us the wrong key, and we had to sort that out. But best mattresses ever — haven’t slept that well in months.
Absolutely loved Acadia Park. What a beautiful place. And so well run! The National Park Service gets some of the credit, but the specific individuals who work there deserve a lot of praise. We went up Cadillac Mountain (it kind of reminds me of Iceland), saw the Bubbles and Bubble Rock, Jordan Pond, Otter Cover, Thunder Hole (which is really interesting, the way the waves and the rocks create the sound), the Loop Road, the carriage houses, etc., etc. We spent the bulk of two days in the park — after all it was why we were there. I took lots of pictures and made lots of notes. I have plenty of information for the one hour drama pilot I want to set there, and got an idea for one of the books for a mystery series I hope to set in Maine.
I drove to Schoodic Peninsula, because I wanted to talk to the people at the Education Center about the Artist-in-Residency program. It’s in Acadia Park, but about an hour from the main section, on Mt. Desert Island, on the Schoodic Peninsula. We made it until about the last two miles, where they were working on a tiny bridge — there was no way I could get past the heavy equipment without falling off. Disappointing.
Ship’s Harbor was wonderful, and down around Bass Harbor. That was lovely. Some serious hiking in the fog.
There’s definitely an eerie, otherworldly quality about Maine.
The park itself was very busy, although it’s big enough that one doesn’t feel crowded. Lots of people there already.
I was less than thrilled with Bar Harbor. I thought it was over priced with a “let’s screw the tourists” attitude, especially now that so many cruise ships come in. If you’re going to charge New York prices, you better have high quality goods/food and New York service. They had neither. The food was okay, but not brilliant, and, not once did any server get the order right the first time. I am someone who rarely sends something back; however, when what is brought to the table is not remotely what I ordered, I do.
The library was terrific, though, just beautiful. It’s a very PRETTY town, don’t get me wrong. And the fire in 1947 or so that destroyed most of it was horrific. But if you’re a tourist-oriented town, I at least expect to find a level of hospitality and politeness (along with skill) that I found sorely lacking. If they’re already over the tourist season as it’s just getting under way, what will it be like by autumn? They were wonderful at the Inn, but the rest of my experience in the town was less than stellar. I mean, really, you open a place for coffee and baked goods at 7 AM (which I happen to think is late in a town near a National Park with hiking trails), and none of the baked goods are ready yet? You have two or three sad-looking leftovers from the day before (at prices that would make Starbucks blush) and you won’t bring out the fresh-baked stuff until you’ve sold them? I won’t be buying those sad leftovers, that’s for sure.
After our time at the park was done, we drove down to visit the family, just outside of Portland. We stayed at my great uncle’s house, although he’s in a nursing home. It was quiet there — no cell phone or internet in that area. I got a good bit of writing done, planning out a new book and writing a few chapters of it, designing the town in which it will take place, etc.
We visited with family, got to see my great uncle, and also spent some time in downtown Portland, and do a few other fun things.
We made a few stops on our drive back down, getting some shopping done, but I didn’t find everything I wanted/needed/expected to find on the trip. That’s okay. I will simply re-think those purchases.
I got a lot of ideas about how to put together my National Parks package for the Mermaid Ball.
Preakness was a great day. I was thrilled that American Pharoh won the second leg of the Triple Crown, and won it so well. Seven lengths in the mud and rain. Excellent. My other pick, Divining Rod, came in third. I hope American Pharoh wins the Belmont. We need a Triple Crown winner.
Went to a Sisters-in-Crime event in Dedham that the wonderful Arlene Kay organized, taught by the equally wonderful Carol Bugge. I’d studied with Carol at the Cape Cod Writers Conference, so it was great to do another session with her. We had a terrific table of people, the food was good, the session was great, and it was a lot of fun.
I worked in the yard — I’d gotten the mulch down before I left, and replanted the tomatoes, borage, and bok choy before we left. They seem to be doing well. I repainted one of the garden statues that faded, got the front and the terraced back mowed. I still have to do the meadow, this coming weekend.
Yesterday, we got much-needed rain. It was a pain the butt to drive in, but the plants and grass needed it. I had a National Marine Life Center Board Meeting in the morning, which went well –we’re on track for the 5K this coming weekend, for participation in Canal Fest, and the Mermaid Ball. We saw some of the rounds with two of the seals — the adorable little Dill, and the very sick Ginger.
Came back, tried to get some work done in the middle portion of the day, then had a Cape Cod Writers Center Board Meeting in the evening. That went well, too.
Up early this morning, trying to get some yard work done, getting some writing done. I have a reference committee meeting this morning, and then I’m back at the library. We have two programs today, and then I’m working tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday.
I’ve got to get a play revised and out by the end of next week, keep working on two books, and get started on the historical play. Plenty to do. Always, plenty to do.
I kind of feel like I spent too much time driving on vacation and not enough time being, but it was still a nice change of scenery. I didn’t get as much thinking, percolating, and contemplation time as I wanted, but if I create the bulk of Memorial Day weekend as a writing retreat, I hope I can get there.
Things are finally blooming — it was lovely to come home and see all the lilacs in bloom. Lilacs are my favorite!
Hope you’re having a wonderful start to spring.