Friday, September 9, 2016

Strolling in Salt and Sunsets with Seafood.

On Sunday Emily took us for a couple of short local hikes, driving by fields of Purple Loosestrife flowers, old barns and pretty little cottages, their shingles painted in pastel shades and with wooden lobster trap buoys hanging on their porches. It was a wonderful morning, no humidity and a gentle breeze stroked us as we hiked through the woodlands, huge pine trees spreading above us with a soft carpet underfoot. Many of the older pines had 3.4 or 5 trunks growing up from the base, each as wide as a single tree found down in Virginia. These were magnificent. Yew trees were scattered along the trail too, the scent of their needles like a perfume as we passed.
On the second hike we walked along a path that had once been a trolley track taking tourists out to view the salt flats. We passed a little family graveyard which Emily had used to visit as a kid with her brother and she told us tales of how an old house was nearby where a fisherman husband had died many years ago, and the wife told of seeing her husband's wet footsteps still tracking over the floorboards. She also told us of a house that her family used to rent nearby for vacations which would sleep 14 people with the kids sharing the attic with bats. My imagination ran riot, how cool!
Emily found a Pokemon critter down the trail, but Margie couldn't see it!
The trees cleared and we found ourselves out in another amazing landscape. A wide, flat marsh landscape with some dried up areas, cracked mud coated with white salt, looking like an alien planet. Whelk like shells clung to muddy banks and the tall marsh grass was laid down flat intertwining dead crab shells that had been bleached by the sun. We were the only ones there and it was wonderful. Total silence apart from the occasional peeping from a few birds that flew over or stood in the shallow water studying the flies or shoals of tiny fishes that darted along the water's edge.
I found a great link to the Maine wetlands, explaining the importance of these marshes.
We walked a path along the top of a bank to a point where we could go no further then we walked back. I really loved this picturesque scene of unspoiled natural habitat. A little oak tree on the bank was proudly holding out leaves that were already tinted orange and yellow, an early sign of the oncoming fall, and we commented on how beautiful this place would be in winter with snow and ice.
We decided to head back into Biddeford to try and find any possible urbexing locations.
We were excited to discover an old nursing home but were then dismayed to find that there was no way in whatsoever. An old warehouse had also looked appealing and upon finding a door open, we walked inside to find the stairwell had collapsed and startled pigeons fluttered in a panic, frightening the lives out of us. We passed the old clock again and then gave up on urbexing, deciding that breweries had a lot more to offer. We visited Banded Horn, where I had to buy some more beers to take home, particularly their Greenwarden IPA with spruce tips added, 'infused with the dauntless vitality of northern trees" which smelled like the woodlands we'd walked in that morning. A new brewery, Dirigo, didn't impress me with its beer but had amazing entertainment. There was a young lad, Mike Maurice, playing a piano who caught my attention, especially when he asked for 2 notes. I gave him A minor and G minor. He then proceeded to play, off the bat, an amazingly impressive classical style composition. I wished I'd recorded it. Listen to "Waltz of Despair' on his site, I loved this too.
As the afternoon wore on and we felt that we'd really sampled enough beers, 35 total over our 3 days, we drove back to pick up the lobsters, cooked and ready to eat, from a local store.
Once back at the house I had to work out how I was going to get 16 cans and 4 bottles back home safely. I had purchased a cheap backpack that afternoon and so used all my clothing to turn my carry on bag into a well padded and secure transportation container for my precious cargo.
We then had cocktails at Emily's aunt's house,sitting in the gazebo while watching the sun set over Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and listening to the fanfare that's played from there every evening. In the morning, they play the Star Spangled Banner. It was rather pleasant to just sit, relax and chat with a pink and orange sky overhead, the scent of sea water and phlox flowers, and the lights blinking from the island and moored boats.
As darkness fell we moved back to Emily's house, 8 houses down the road, and tucked into our fresh lobsters. Emily's aunt was a real pro at this, having eaten them for over 60 years and very patiently showed Margie and I how it was done. We sucked and nibbled with relish, grunts of delight and giggles emitting form all of us as we gobbled up every scrap of meat. Emily threw the shells into the cove afterwards and I felt a fleeting twinge of guilt at not having left a little meat in the broken shells. but like I said, it was fleeting, I'm sure there's other food aplenty in the cove for the herons and gooses and ducks.
I was sad the next morning at having to get up and return to the sprawls of Northern VA. I had loved this part of Maine for its unique and colorful cottages, with no McMansions or townhouses to be seen, and its friendly people. Emily had been a rocking superstar driving us here, there and everywhere, not once running out of ideas at where we should visit. Her hospitality was boundless and I'm sure the weekend wasn't as relaxing for her as it had been for us, so I'm truly grateful for her allowing us to experience a little of her world up here. On our way out early the next morning, I took a last shot of the little cove and wished I could go and sit at the water's edge one more time with my book, but it wasn't to be. I had a plane to catch and a cargo to worry about.
It was a fast flight home and I was very anxious as I stood at the baggage carousel waiting for my case to appear. Shifting from one foot to the other I craned my neck looking for my beer stash. And there it was! I couldn't wait to get home and check for damages and was elated to discover I'd packed them up well, not a single spill. Tenderly placing them in the fridge, I left them to cool as I dashed about, greeting the cats, feeding the cats, then unpacking and getting the laundry done, And then I was finally able to settle down and relax on the patio. Just me and my Squeeze.

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