Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Moose in Maine!

This is a Zoo?
Today is our last day in Portland, Maine. Since we have little hope of running into a moose in the wild, we decided to go the Maine Wild Animal Park. It is a bit north, which will allow us to enjoy more fall foliage on the way. You see, I get just as excited about moose, as I do horse-drawn carriages full of Amish families!

Once arriving at the park, there was no one in the ticket booth, so we just walked on through, thinking we would just pay when we saw someone working in the park. The only employees that we ran into were maintenance workers and people feeding the animals.

The animal park was set in a forest which made walking around, smelling the pines, a great adventure. They had a vast array of animals, that were either injured, humanized or orphaned. I loved the porcupines and the albino racoon! Of course, the large cats and bears were also fun to view, as were the owls and falcons.

BUT! The most exciting animal was the moose! Two bucks and a baby. There were signs on the bucks enclosures that said that they were "irritable" due to the mating time of year, but I found that singing "Hush Little Baby" to the moose that was lying down, put him right to sleep! hahaha It was SO funny.

As adorable and impressive as the big bucks were, Maggie, the baby moose was the star of the show. She was the little moose, who was abandoned and befriended by a German Shepard. You may have seen the video. She was only 25 lbs. when the Maine Wildlife Park picked her up, and today, four months down the road, she is nearly 200lbs!

Look how BIG she has grown?
She is absolutely adorable, and ever so friendly, which unfortunately for her means a lifetime in an enclosure, as she is too familiar with humans now, to be released back into the wild. While this is a bit sad for me, if they had not taken her in, she would not have survived. She was a kick to watch!

All in all, it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

On our way back towards our hotel, we stopped in old town Portland and had a delicious sushi dinner. Oddly enough, when I planned this trip six months ago, I thought that I would eat lobster till I was sick, and that just has not been the case. We literally only shared one Maine lobster the entire time we were here!

After dinner, we found a local bakery where we bought some more Whoopie Pies to bring back to the room. Tubby time and jammie time before 7 pm; MAN am I a Whimp!!

Tomorrow we head back to Boston for one night; I am hoping to have the energy to enjoy a bit more of Boston before we leave.

Maine, we will miss you!

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Sung this big bad boy to sleep! lol

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Simple Simon in Maine?

Finally! Red Leaves!
We started off the day at "Simple Simon's" a fabulous breakfast and lunch diner; breakfast only on Sunday, which is perfect for me, because it took me until noon to get moving and out the door.

I have resigned myself to the fact that CML and my medication has permanently moved me into a late afternoon, evening person as it just takes me until noon to get moving. On the upside, the early birds have already caught their worms and many times lines and crowds are at a minimum.

After "breakfast" we headed out to Bradbury Mountain State Park, just outside of Freeport, Maine. It was our hope to finally see some fall color! We have traipsed from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania, to Rhode Island, through New Hampshire and now Maine, and practically everywhere we have gone, the leaves have been GREEN! Lol

Granted, we have seen random red, orange and yellow trees, but we have mostly seen green trees. On our way to Bradbury Park, we did start seeing fall colored leaves, and once we started hiking, we saw more. Unfortunately, some of the beautiful leaves had already hit the ground, but once we reached the summit, the view did not disappoint! It was stunning.

While we were there, I noticed two women carrying birch bark. Being the crafty, sort of nosey person that I am, I could not help but ask what they were going to make from the birch. They told me that they were going to make small boxes. I told them that I had seen such boxes, and remarked what a lovely "souvenir" the birch bark would become. They were from Germany, and we had a lovely little visit.

We then decided to continue around the Boundary Trail, which was a picturesque walk through the woods. It so reminded me of growing up in Marion, Va. One of the most impressive things that we saw, along our way, was a rock wall, that extended for several miles; we wondered who had built it, and how long it had been there.

After a while, I began to wonder when I would see a sign for the parking lot! I was quickly becoming tuckered out! Lol I heard a noise behind us and saw two young men catching up to us. We decided to let them pass, as I know, that I am VERY SLOW! That is when I heard them say, "I sure hope that this is the right way to the parking lot" to which I replied, "It had better be, or you are going to see an old lady cry!" Lol

Alex, Me and Christopher; my new friends!
They stopped, turned around and cracked up! We began chatting and learned that they were from Manhattan, and had recently bought a home in Connecticut. Christopher was a horticulturist, creating gardens in Manhattan! What a fabulous, creative was to bring green into a city full of concrete; he plants gardens on rooftops and terraces of high end "apartments." He was actually toting a few small plants home from Maine, to plant at their home in Connecticut, as a tribute to their trip, and one year anniversary.

I am not sure what Alex did for a living, as we ran out of trail, but I am grateful for their company, as they made the last half mile of our trek fly by. Such a pleasure making new friends!

Best Clam Chowder!!!
After leaving the park, we decided to go to dinner. I knew if I went back to the hotel first, that I would never leave again! Tubby and jammies were calling my name!

We decided to go into "old Town Portland" and find a place to eat. We ended up at DiMillo's On the Water. The restaurant is actually on a boat; a docked boat, but it was right on the water, so we had a fabulous view of the harbor. As we were sitting there, I looked up and guess who was sitting at the next table???

It was our new friends from Germany! Hahaha....we waved and said hello, and they were able to show us photos of the little box that they had made, and what they were hoping to make with their new found birch. I just love how the universe makes me smile!!

We finally had some GREAT clam chowder; thick and creamy, with tons of clams and the perfect amount of seasoning. Joe had a fried sampler platter with haddock, shrimp, clams, calamari and scallops, and the best cocktail sauce ever!

I should have stuck to the original plan and just shared his plate, but not wanting all of that fried food, I opted for Lobster Mac n Cheese! Because all of that cheese and cream was SO much better for me than the fried food, right?Lol  I was only able to eat about an 1/8th of the dish. I know that this will reheat in our microwave and be just as delicious tomorrow, and the next day, and the next!! So I vote, Lobster Mac for the win.

GREAT food, GREAT service and GREAT ambience!! I just love when we make GREAT choices!

Time for bed, tomorrow is another day!

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Goodbye, Rhode Island; Hello, Portland, Maine

My greatest regret in leaving Rhode Island is that I won't be able to have stuffies for dinner! We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Rhode Island, but Portland, Maine is calling our name.

As we continued to drive north towards Maine, the trees got prettier and prettier, with more fall colors and fewer green trees. We were also happy to be getting some use out of our "toll road gizmo"; we figured that by now, we might have reached our $120 benchmark!

Our home for the next three nights is a Quality Inn & Suites, in South Portland. This hotel was also perfectly located and checked all of our boxes. Inexpensive, refrigerator, microwave, clean, comfy bed, and a bathtub! I mean really, what more could you want?? We also chose this location because my cousin lives just south of here, in Old Orchard Beach.

Since we had a little time before the sun went down, we drove out to The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, in Cape Elizabeth, Me. This time we actually had a whole lobster, and another bowl of clam chowder. The lobster was very good, and the chowder was so-so; it really sucks when you can make better clam chowder at home, than you can get, on the water, in New England!

Since I love lighthouses, this was a great place to eat. Sitting inside the nautically themed restaurant, and looking out at the ocean and lighthouse makes for a perfect dining experience!  They even had Whoopie Pies, that we bought, to take back to the hotel for dessert. After we mangled the lobster, we went for a short walk on the rocks, near the water, and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Maine. It doesn't really matter what time of year it is, I always love the ocean.

We were lucky we had just enough daylight to make it to see one more lighthouse, the Portland Head Light, at Fort Williams Park. I was sorry we could not go inside, but was happy to walk around the grounds, looking out to sea, and seeing two other lighthouses, in the distance.

We also saw two ships, passing in the light!

Before heading back to the hotel for the night, we took a stroll through the park and a drive past the old forts. All in all, it was another great day. I am beginning to feel the repercussions of all of our travels, and am hoping to hang in there for the next few days. We still have much to see and explore.

Prayerfully a good night's sleep is in store!

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Two Ships Passing in the Light!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The "Summer Cottages" in Rhode Island

The gates at The Breakers
Last night was the first good night of sleep in days.....I just cannot understand how I can be so exhausted, but just cannot sleep; it is so frustrating. It didn't hurt that the room was dark and there was actually a heavy blanket and comforter on the bed. or maybe there was something in Flo's crappy food?? lol

I have been really grateful for my own pillow and Goosebumps blanket, but I really appreciate having decent bedding in hotels, too.

Today was a beautiful, sunny, fall day; it could not have been more perfect. We spent most of the day traipsing through the Newport "Cottages" which of course, are actually opulent mansions.

The most opulent of them all is 'The Breakers"; the Vanderbilt's 70-room summer home. The gold and marble were astounding and the artwork and furnishings were stunning. If you have seen castles in Europe, then you will have an idea of what I am talking about.

I am sure that they were trying their very best to replicate European "old" money, with the "new" American wealth. As a matter of fact, Vanderbilt's daughters were "encouraged" to marry Duke's, for status, and to join the old wealth, with the new.

Despite the glitz and glam of the Breakers, I believe that my favorite rooms in the mansion were the kitchen and butler pantry! Lol

We also toured the "Marble House", Alva Vanderbilt's vision; It contains 500,000 cubic feet of the most beautiful marble I have ever seen. It is not as large, or quite as gaudy as the "Breakers", but it did not disappoint.

Loved the audio
An interesting tidbit is the bathtub has four faucets; any idea what each one does? I was surprised that I actually guessed; hot/cold and salt/fresh water. I cannot even begin to imagine living in such a space......the artwork, the furniture, the fabrics and the views; all remarkable.

The last house that we viewed was the "Rosecliff"; this was not a Vanderbilt cottage. It was the home of more "new money"; Tessie Oelrichs. Tessie knew that if she was to "be" anyone, in this land of status and wealth, she would have to build a home that did not pale in comparison to her neighbors.

four knobs
She made certain to build a party home, that was later featured in many movies and is rented out for events and weddings, still today. I would have loved to dance around on the great big wood floor in the formal living room; I can only imagine the parties and celebrities that have graced these halls!

I loved walking through these cottages and hearing the stories from years gone past. I also find the location of the mansions interesting. Not the easiest to get to, but stunning views, right on the water. Truly magical.

LOVED the kitchens!
By the time we finished touring these three mansions, my feet and body were exhausted, and ached from head to toe! Walking around on all of that marble is tough on this old bod! I could scarcely make it back to the car, which was the perfect excuse to do the Ocean Drive, around Newport; no walking required!!

It was extremely picturesque, and we were extremely grateful that we are here during the fall months, as the number of tourists still here were insane. We did see several cruise ships in the port, so we figured that must be the majority of the folks walking around, on a cool fall day, but we could not imagine what it must be like in the summer!

We found ourselves down by the harbor, and braved the wind to walk. There was a great little shack, unlike Flo's, right on the water. While it was too cold to sit and enjoy a meal, we did grab a bowl of Lobster Bisque, which we ate in the car, to warm us up; it was delicious, unlike last nights dinner!

We decided to head back towards Middleton, where we were staying (about 4 miles away) to have dinner, to avoid the crowds. We asked the gal at the front desk for a recommendation, and she said Anthony's. We were praying that they had better seafood than Flo's, and we were not disappointed!

Walking into the restaurant the first thing you notice is the case full of seafood; fresh and gorgeous looking. The second thing is the line of people waiting to have dinner; we took this as a good sign.
Apparently, you can take-out, or dine-in; buy cooked fish or raw. Everything looked amazing. We, of course, chose to dine in and joined the line, full of hungry people, all trying to decide what to eat. I asked the guy behind the seafood cases what he would have and he recommended the tuna and the "stuffies" we decided to add a cup of clam chowder and ordered our food.

Thankfully, it was AMAZING!! Which is awesome, other than the fact that I am STUFFED!!  I loved those stuffies so much I wished that we had found that restaurant sooner, so I could have eaten them every day! I am not sure how they were made, but they had clams and some sort of stuffing, baked in a clamshell. Yum! And the tuna was delicious, too.

If you are ever in Rhode Island, go to Anthony's, and stay far away from Flo's!

Hoping for another good night's sleep, as we are off to Maine in the morning!

Chow-der! Hahahahaha

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seared tuna

Bricks for the Brave!!