I had a lovely vacation, but let me tell you, returning home right before the fall semester is about to begin is not much fun. I wish I could hop in the car and head out again. But instead I’ll tell you about what we did.
The first part was a trip to my parents’ home outside Rochester where the middle of my three younger sisters got married. It was a great family reunion, a gathering that just keeps getting larger and larger. We were a big family all by ourselves with two parents and seven children, but now we have four spouses, including the most recent addition, two significant others, and one 8-month-old baby, my first niece. Plus two aunts and an uncle joined us. Here I am with my adorable niece. I spent as much time holding her as I could:
In addition to attending the wedding, Hobgoblin and I went walking on the shore of Lake Ontario, visited wineries along the Finger Lakes, walked along the Erie Canal, and watched my brother win a 5K running race. Here’s a picture of Chimney Bluffs on Lake Ontario:
After the family time, we headed out to Portland, Maine, where we spent a much-too-short 1 1/2 days. It struck me as a fun, liberal, artistic, bookish, dog-friendly city, and I found myself wanting to live there, although surely the winters there are tough. We managed to do quite a lot in our short time there: we visited the Victoria Mansion, toured the Longfellow House, shopped in bookstores, went sailing on the Bagheera around the Portland harbor, and ate in as many restaurants as we could.
After that we drove to Mount Desert Island to see Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is cute, if incredibly crowded, at least in August, and Acadia is breathtaking. I love how the park offers both mountains and the ocean:
Here’s what the coast looks like:
The mountains are very rocky with lots of pink granite, which means when you go hiking you do a lot of rock-hopping. We climbed up and down some very steep hillsides:
We hiked every day we were there, and we also went sea kayaking and spent lots of time exploring the Bar Harbor shops and restaurants. It just so happened that Emily and Bob were on the island at the same time we were, so we met up for an afternoon hike followed by dinner and blueberry martinis (everything has blueberries in it when it’s August in Maine). It was lovely to see friends and have a chance to talk about books and to celebrate Emily’s new job.
Muttboy really likes the hiking in Acadia:
We were sorry to leave Acadia, but were cheered up by being able to make a little bookish pilgrimage as we drove through Bangor, where Stephen King lives. Hobgoblin found his address online somewhere, and it was only a short side trip off the highway to find it:
We weren’t the only ones there — a couple motorcycles and another car were lingering on the road just as we were.
We had one more stop to make before heading home — Vermont, where some friends of ours have a summer home. They live near Bromley Mountain, a part of the Appalachian Trail we’ve backpacked through, so it was familiar territory. Rather than staying in the mountains this time, though, we got to see the towns and farms in the area, and rather than carrying everything on our backs, we got to live in luxury, with showers, couches, a comfortable bed, and lots and lots of good food. We took walks through the woods and around Lowell Lake, which Muttboy and his friend Phoebe really liked:
And then it was time to come home.
I didn’t read much while we were gone, but I did buy a whole stack of books, which I’ll tell you about sometime soon.