We are loving our travels on the Maine coast. It is a as beautiful as anyplace we have been on this trip! On Friday, Sept. 10, we left our pristine Love Cove anchorage for the “big city lights” of Portland. We traveled for about 5 hours on a partly cloudy and warm day with just a little fog and arrived in Portland at 1 p.m. We wanted to arrive early because we had some boat issues that needed attention – the auto pilot was not working properly again and we seemed to have a minor water leak.
Prior to entering the marina, Zendo was inundated with an unbelievable number of flies – in the cabin, on the aft deck, fly bridge - everywhere! Jonny was swatting them like a madman, so much so that the flyswatter broke. We had fly paper taped to the windows and we used duck tape to fix the fly swatter so we could continue the slaughter.
To top it off, as we entered the harbor, the alarm that indicates there is water in the fuel went off and wouldn’t stop. Fortunately, Jonny’s very capable cousin, Robbie was still with us. The two of them did a remarkable job of troubleshooting these problems with excellent telephone consultation from a couple of marine mechanics and they were actually able to fix all the issues without our having to spend a dime. Remarkable!!
We stayed at the main marina there – DeMillo’s – which had both cruising vessels and lots of fishing boats and is right in the center of town. We have never been to a marina that smelled as fishy as this one. We usually don’t mind these smells since we are living on a boat these days. But this one was so strong that we turned on the air conditioning in the boat to freshen the air. Fortunately, the fly problem had dissipated by then.
Despite the rough start, we found Portland to be a very cool little city (the biggest one in Maine). The three of us walked into town in search of some liquid refreshment.
Robbie is a Mainer and is very familiar with Portland. He had some brew pubs he wanted to take us to and we spent a very relaxing couple of hours sampling the local brews. Later on, after showering, we went to a very good Asian restaurant in the “hipster” part of town and had a delicious dinner (no fish for a change)!
We planned to keep the boat here for a couple of days because Robbie and his wife Linda had invited us to stay at their home in West Paris. We’ve been talking about visiting them for years so we could finally make good on our promise. Linda picked us up on Friday and we spent time at the excellent Portland Museum of Art. It had a very impressive display of Maine artists. The Maine coast is extremely scenic with its rugged coastline, historic towns, and beautiful light. It is no wonder that so many artists like Winslow Homer, Andrew, Jamie and N.C. Wyeth, Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe have chosen to live along and paint the Maine coast. Afterwards, we had lunch at a very good Indian restaurant. It feels good to be back in the land of ethnic cooking – not that we don’t love to eat fish!
Speaking of works of art, Robbie and Linda’s home is West Paris is just that. It sits atop Pinnacle Mountain and encompasses 40 acres. Robbie built the house to take advantage of the mountain top views and the best angles of the sun. Not only did he design and build the house, but he designed and built most of the furniture in the house. The bottom floor houses his workshop and the next three floors are where they live. The house is colorful and filled with beams of sculpted tree limbs and unique pieces of furniture that he has made and collected over the years. It is comfortable and warm with a very distinct sense of place.
In addition, they have huge vegetable gardens, an outdoor oven for cooking pizza, a greenhouse and more. Robbie even built a dance studio on the third floor for their daughter Chloe who studied modern dance for many years!
We had a wonderful time together hiking to the top of the mountain, cooking and eating (of course), reminiscing about family and generally enjoying each other’s company.
We also got a very practical chore done by renting a carpet cleaner to clean all the rugs that we had brought along with with us from the boat to Robbie’s house for that very purpose.
On Sunday, Robbie and Linda drove us back to the boat and we had one last dinner together at a very good Italian restaurant in town. We reviewed our itinerary for the next week so we would make it to Boston in time to attend the cousins party that Lynn’s cousin Tanya is organizing at her home in Boston on Sept. 19. What fun!