On Sleeping in the Car in New Haven, CT (Maine Recap Part 3)

On Saturday morning we rented a four passenger motor boat from the owner of the house. After a couple of trips cruising the enormous lake, we eventually all made our way to the other side directly across from the house, to a spot the locals call Sandy Beach. This area was ideal for the little ones. The water depth was only 12-18 inches deep at it’s shallowest point and maybe 3-4 feet at its deepest. The water here was warmer than the rest of the lake, a few notches above the roughly 70-75 degree lake temperature, and the sandy floor was almost perfectly flat. The scattered remains of freshwater mussel shells discarded by the birds are all that break up the perfectly smooth sand. It was on this side of the lake where we saw the resident bald eagle. He (or she) glided gracefully over our heads, swooped down and then perched high above us on a tall tree about 100 paces away. Every so often he would let out a shrill cry, to which we would immediately turn our gaze and wonder whether it was directed at us.

The remainder of the day shaped up quite like the previous two – relaxing, enjoyable, and with a serene ending with more s’mores.

Clouds and rain took over late that evening and refused to vacate the region through Sunday night. We headed out to lunch on Sunday, to the Cyber Cow Cafe in Withrop – a town 15 minutes away. Yes, my brother and I could not resist logging-on and catching up with sports scores and preseason football news. While online we also took a gander at our rainy day options in and around the Monmouth/Augusta area. The Cyber Cow’s food was inexpensive and tasty, but the service left a little something to be desired. Their milkshakes, despite being 100% vanilla ice cream with chocolate/strawberry flavor added, really hit the spot.

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From there we drove into Augusta, the state capital, to visit the Children’s Discovery Museum, Old Fort Western, and the Maine State Museum. The first, which we were most looking forward to, was closed for renovations (a notice on the front page of their website would have been appreciated!).

The Old Fort Western, located on the edge of the Kennebec River, is a 18th century cluster of buildings which served as the storage depot for Fort Halifax 17 miles up river. Famous traitor Benedict Arnold used this fort as a launching point for his attack on Quebec in 1775. Interesting fact: The Old Fort Western is the oldest surviving wooden fort in America. There were reenactors, dressed in full regalia, on site telling the story of the fort. Very neat. The kids all liked touring the living quarters and the lookout tower stocked with guns they were allowed to hold and cannons they could touch. They also enjoying running around the large open area between buildings. Admission is a reasonable $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6 and up , and free for the real young ones. AAA discount of $1 per person is available.

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The Maine State Museum is located a stone’s throw from the capital building in downtown Augusta and boasts an attractive and relatively expansive display of artifacts, history, and replicated scenes and wildlife from Maine’s past and present. Admission is a mere $2 and all the kids were free. This was a great value and a wonderful museum. We spent over an hour walking the numerous paths and hallways looking at vibrant examples of Maine’s history as a fishing, logging, and textile giant.

We had a very good late dinner at Margarita’s, a local Mexican mini-chain, to round out the evening and the vacation. They provided a nice treat for the kids, too: a balloon for each, weighted down with a small package of fruit snacks and something called Wiki Stix (wacky little wax coated twisty sticks you can make stuff out of), which kept them all busy while the grown-ups talked. After dinner, we said our goodbyes and hopped right on to I-95, beginning what would become an 10-hour drowsy adventure.

I was feeling the weight of my eyelids before we crossed the Maine border. Not a good sign at all. The Mrs. and our little girl were fast asleep which made staying awake all the more difficult. I managed to make it all the way to New Haven, CT where, after a sizable swerve at 2:30am I pulled into a rest stop and we, as a family, slept in the car for 2 hours. I awoke in a panic, nervous that we would not make it past New York City before the Monday morning rush hour began. Fortunately, we cruised over the George Washington Bridge a smidge past 5:30am and escaped the NY metropolitian area before the heavy onslaught of commutors began to dominate the roadways.

The long weekend in Maine was not nearly long enough, but we knew that going in. The drives were tough, and in hindsight flying into Manchester NH on Southwest Airlines would have been very wise.

Maine is a beautiful state that we will definetly visit again, especially since the only moose we saw were hanging on the cabin wall and on display at the museum!

A big thanks to my brother’s family for the hospitality in opening up their vacation house to us and allowing us to blog the experience.

Out With The Kids


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