Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Maine Lining

In December of 2007, we were invited by our friends D* and J* to their camp in the woods of northern Maine. It was snowy and beautiful, and we had a great time. This year, they invited us for their annual canoe trip down the Kennebec River, which their property adjoins.

We flew up to Boston, stayed overnight, and then drove up to Maine. It’s very different in the summertime. We always stop at L.L. Bean in Freeport, to stretch our legs and marvel at the retail operation they run in that small New England town. L.L. Bean never closes, and their merchandise is extremely high quality. They sell everything for the outdoorsman, from boots and mittens to chocolate-covered cranberries.

In one section, there’s a tank full of trout with a bubble that kids can crawl into for an inverted fishbowl experience:


We took yet another photo at the big replica of the L.L. Bean signature gum boot. Here’s the photo from 2007 with me, my wife and my daughter.


And the one we took this year, with my wife, her friend S* and our friend D* who owns the camp:


Inside the store, the decoration seems a bit more macabre:


The good people of Freeport have taken great pains to ensure that the character of their quaint New England town isn’t spoiled by development. They’ve allowed McDonald’s to open a restaurant, but it doesn’t look like a McDonald’s:


The drive-through area has an intercom into which you may speak to give them your order, but they’re forbidden by ordinance from speaking back, to keep the noise down.

At the end of the four-hour drive from Boston, we arrived at the camp, which is located at the end of a thousand-foot driveway cut through the woods:


When D* and J* built the camp, they erected a small cabin to live in during the construction of the cavernous barn. Since our last visit, they’ve built this nice breezeway to connect the two buildings.


D* is considering putting up screen panels around the breezeway. I strongly encourage him to do so, because summertime in Maine is very different from wintertime in Maine. Here’s why:


It's been a rainy summer so far in New England, and the mosquito population in Maine has exploded. They were everywhere, clouds of them. I must have given three pints of blood during my stay.

The mosquitoes were relentless and creative. I had mosquito bites on my lips and eyebrows. When I blew my nose, I found a mosquito in the tissue. I learned to keep my mouth shut when I was outside. I wonder how they would taste if you covered them in chocolate?

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