21 Lobsters, 17 Winslow Homers, 5 Kids, 1 Barbara Bush, and 1/2 a Lighthouse: Weekend in Maine

IMG_5127So, apparently, it’s a thing to go to Maine on Columbus Day weekend. Did we know this? No. We were there by chance to meet up with friends who live in New Jersey. Is Maine halfway between Massachusetts and New Jersey? No. Don’t ask too many questions, ok?

You might think it would be hard to get anything accomplished when you have 9 people to please, but we managed to do a lot (mainly by bribing the younger five with sodas and junk food so that the older four could do as they pleased). And what we wanted to do was eat lobster, drink beer and see lighthouses. You know, all the things. Here’s how it turned out for us:

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There is neither beer nor lobster at the Portland Museum of Art, but we thought we’d start off by torturing, err.. delighting the children with some culture. And, there are a lot of really cool exhibits and works of art on display (like this massive wall covering called “Midsummer Night’s Dream by Tim Rollins).
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Remember a while back I told you how much I love typography. Well, here I go again, taking pictures of words. But words are art. And also, they help explain what you are looking at.
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I was happy to see that there was a Noguchi installation at the museum because I’ve been trying to get to the Noguchi Museum in NYC for a while but every time I’m there I run out of time.  I wish we could have slid down this slide like he’s doing in the picture. Sadly, this was a no-touch and no-slide museum.
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Here’s another Noguchi piece that you are most definitely not allowed to touch or climb on. The entire exhibit was a practice in restraint!
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I could have included lots of pictures of paintings by Homer, and Wyeth, Sargent, Renoir, Picasso, and Whistler, but why? You can just google those works. You can’t google this because I can’t remember the name of it. So, this really is your only chance to see these rare birds. You’re welcome.
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I call this one portrait of a girl in a museum that she didn’t really want to go to but secretly really enjoyed immensely.
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Every single museum in the whole entire world has at least one portrait of a creepy, sour-faced, man-child baby with disproportionate limbs. This one was no exception. Thank God. I love portraits of creepy, sour-faced man-child babies with disproportionate limbs.
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This teeny tiny micro world was actually one of my favorite things in the museum. I have no idea why but I was completely mesmerized by it.
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All five children survived the museum! They were being such good sports we made them pose in front of this mural, which of course was sooooo embarrassing. Everything is soooo embarrassing when you’re between the ages of 10 and 16.
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It’s not a sailboat, it’s a schooner. It’s also not the ferry to Peaks Island, but it was docked right next to it. Even schooner captains are addicted to social media. #quotesyoushouldknow
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Hey, Portland, you look pretty good from here! See you again in 17 minutes, plus two hours, plus 17 minutes.
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This is when we started to discover that it’s a thing to come to Maine on Columbus Day weekend.
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And this is what you first see when you get to Peaks. It’s more than worth the 17-minute ferry ride.
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There’s not a lot of commerce on Peaks, but what is there is definitely Instagram worthy. Also, worthy of admiration in real life.
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There are also a few different options for food on the island. We didn’t eat here, but we could have if it was 10 degrees warmer. We ended up eating at the Peaks Island Inn, where we were treated to amazing service by a local guy who wasn’t really local because he told us he was from New York. But we pretended he was from Maine because it fit better into our experience.
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These guys aren’t locals either, but they sure are cute.
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You can ride golf carts all over the island, or you can ride bikes.
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Or whoops, maybe you can’t, but you will anyway.
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It’s hard to follow all the rules on Peaks Island, cuz there are lots.
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Wait, what?
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And because that’s just the kind of people we are, once we were back in Portland we headed straight for the Shipyard Brewery. We thought it would be in the shipyard and therefore close to the ferry, but it’s not. Four of us thought it was a quick walk but five of us didn’t. Guess which five?
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Choices, choices
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Here are ours. Math on Saturday usually makes my brain hurt. But not this time.
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We are good parents who were adulting quite responsibly so we only stayed for one flight each. Then we walked around Portland and did some stuff.
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What kind of stuff was open for negotiation. Marriage is all about compromise, or pretending to compromise.
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When you are in Portland you can buy lots of things that are #madeinmaine.
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Like a tasty treat from the Holy Donut. They’re made from potatoes. I don’t know if it makes them healthier but it makes them good.
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If you have a teenage daughter you probably spend a lot of time in Urban Outfitters. There seems to be one in every single city in the world. Why? Why? At least this one has plants. Also, it’s not as big as other ones which is a really, really, really good thing.
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Because that left time for Shermans! I love bookstores. I love bookstores as much as my daughter loves Urban Outfitters.
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After a lil more shopping and a lil more compromising it was time to move on. We were staying down in Ogunquit, so we thought that we’d stop at Portland Head Light on our way back (because it’s the most photographed lighthouse in the world and you can’t go to Maine and not see it). But, as usual, we failed to do any sort of planning ahead of time so when we arrived we found it was closed. Also, we discovered that it’s not really on the way to Ogunquit, FYI. You have to go all the way back up to Portland to go south to Ogunquit. So. By the time we got back all the restaurants had a 2-hour wait for dinner, so we scarfed down some pizza quick with the kids, then sent them back to the hotel so we could have drinks here at Gypsy. They have a roof deck with heat lamps and they don’t care if you pull your table up so close that it’s practically on fire.
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I live at the beach, but watching the sunrise over the ocean never gets old.
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I love how the sky and the water change colors as the sun gets higher in the sky.
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This one was like magic and no one saw it but me (because I was the only fool to get out of bed at 6:30). I’m a “morning person”.
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After everyone finally pulled themselves out of bed we went here for breakfast. I love this place. If you are in Ogunquit, don’t miss it.
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All my daughter needs is for her dad to not talk to her until at least 11:00 am. She’s not a “morning person”.
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Isn’t Ogunquit cute? They really like their fall decorations too. There were more scarecrows, corn husks and pumpkins here than anywhere else I’ve ever been. It made me (reluctantly) embrace the fact that summer is really over. Sigh…
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After breakfast, we headed up to Kennebunkport for Barbara Bush’s wedding.
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Just kidding, we weren’t invited- I don’t know why. Instead, we skulked around town a bit, in search of the best lobster roll deal.
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There are no deals on lobster rolls, but there are plenty of lobster rolls to be found. The Clam Shack had them and they also had clams. And also everyone seems to love this place.
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I think the Lobster Dinner is the fishmarket special every single day.
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Are you mayo on your lobster? Or butter? Either way, you get to proudly display your affinity. Don’t worry, there’s no right answer.
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The kids got a big kick out of the seagull on the roof and the lady next to us did not get a kick out of the kids trying to feed it. Don’t you love it when other people yell at your kids? It makes you feel great.
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My kids were strangely fascinated by the seagulls. We live at the beach, as I mentioned so I’m not sure why. Maine seagulls look a lot like Massachusetts seagulls and they like french fries just as much. Bye, bye french fry…
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After lunch, we headed out for what ended up being the highlight of our trip.
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The Rugosa Lobster Boat Tour!
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On the tour you learn everything you ever wanted to know about lobsters but didn’t know you wanted to know. Did you know lobsters eat their own shell after they molt?
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You also get to interact with the lobsters. The kids never knew how fun a lobster could be. Now they want a pet lobster.
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I mean they are so cute and cuddly.
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Did you know that lobsters taste with their feet?
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Some lobsters can grow to be 44 lbs! Most don’t grow that big which is a good thing because I think if I saw a 44 lb lobster I might be a little freaked out. Also, a 3 lb female lobster can produce up to 50,000 eggs. How many could a 44 lb lobster produce? Probably enough to take over the entire world.
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Everyone had a chance to make friends with the lobster.
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This is a little guy. He had to go back in the water because his body wasn’t 3 inches long. See how much I know about lobsters now?
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Actually, they all went back, because this was a catch and release trip.
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Sorry, kid- time to go.
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Good luck out there buddy. I hope you learned your lesson and you don’t get caught in a trap (but you probably will, which actually is ok because lobster fishing is Maine’s lifeblood). We could talk about the China tarriffs now, and how they affect the Maine lobster industry but we won’t. But hearing about it from Captain Bob was a good economics lesson.
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And here my husband is getting a lesson on the mating rituals of lobsters. You can’t unlearn it, so now he’s stuck with the knowledge forever.
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After that trip, we were kind of in the mood for lobster rolls. Luckily there was a place nearby that had them (I have a feeling that in Maine there’s always a place nearby that has them).
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Back in Ogunquit, we had some time to check out Perkins Cove. It’s cute. You should go.
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And you can take some pictures of boats, like I did.
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This is the other morning person in our family.  Mornings in Maine are pretty great so if you aren’t a morning person maybe you should be (at least when you’re in Maine).
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See what you miss when you’re sleeping your lives away? The light before 8:00 am is magical.
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Because we missed Portland Head Light we were bound and determined to see another one before we headed out. If you go to Maine and you don’t see a lighthouse, did you really go to Maine? NO. So we headed down to York, and Nubble Lighthouse. And… we found that it was covered in scaffolding. But we decided it still counted. Only because we wanted to make ourselves feel better.
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And anyway, it didn’t really matter about the lighthouse. What mattered was that we were all together, makin’ memories. We only get to see these guys once or twice a year so it was a real treat to share the weekend with them. Everything else was just extra mayo on the lobster.

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