Home again

I had a lovely vacation, but let me tell you, returning home right before the fall semester is about to begin is not much fun. I wish I could hop in the car and head out again. But instead I’ll tell you about what we did.

The first part was a trip to my parents’ home outside Rochester where the middle of my three younger sisters got married. It was a great family reunion, a gathering that just keeps getting larger and larger. We were a big family all by ourselves with two parents and seven children, but now we have four spouses, including the most recent addition, two significant others, and one 8-month-old baby, my first niece. Plus two aunts and an uncle joined us. Here I am with my adorable niece. I spent as much time holding her as I could:

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In addition to attending the wedding, Hobgoblin and I went walking on the shore of Lake Ontario, visited wineries along the Finger Lakes, walked along the Erie Canal, and watched my brother win a 5K running race. Here’s a picture of Chimney Bluffs on Lake Ontario:

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After the family time, we headed out to Portland, Maine, where we spent a much-too-short 1 1/2 days. It struck me as a fun, liberal, artistic, bookish, dog-friendly city, and I found myself wanting to live there, although surely the winters there are tough. We managed to do quite a lot in our short time there: we visited the Victoria Mansion, toured the Longfellow House, shopped in bookstores, went sailing on the Bagheera around the Portland harbor, and ate in as many restaurants as we could.

After that we drove to Mount Desert Island to see Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is cute, if incredibly crowded, at least in August, and Acadia is breathtaking. I love how the park offers both mountains and the ocean:

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Here’s what the coast looks like:

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The mountains are very rocky with lots of pink granite, which means when you go hiking you do a lot of rock-hopping. We climbed up and down some very steep hillsides:

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We hiked every day we were there, and we also went sea kayaking and spent lots of time exploring the Bar Harbor shops and restaurants. It just so happened that Emily and Bob were on the island at the same time we were, so we met up for an afternoon hike followed by dinner and blueberry martinis (everything has blueberries in it when it’s August in Maine). It was lovely to see friends and have a chance to talk about books and to celebrate Emily’s new job.

Muttboy really likes the hiking in Acadia:

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We were sorry to leave Acadia, but were cheered up by being able to make a little bookish pilgrimage as we drove through Bangor, where Stephen King lives. Hobgoblin found his address online somewhere, and it was only a short side trip off the highway to find it:

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We weren’t the only ones there — a couple motorcycles and another car were lingering on the road just as we were.

We had one more stop to make before heading home — Vermont, where some friends of ours have a summer home. They live near Bromley Mountain, a part of the Appalachian Trail we’ve backpacked through, so it was familiar territory. Rather than staying in the mountains this time, though, we got to see the towns and farms in the area, and rather than carrying everything on our backs, we got to live in luxury, with showers, couches, a comfortable bed, and lots and lots of good food. We took walks through the woods and around Lowell Lake, which Muttboy and his friend Phoebe really liked:

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And then it was time to come home.

I didn’t read much while we were gone, but I did buy a whole stack of books, which I’ll tell you about sometime soon.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “Home again

  1. It looks as though you had a wonderful time – I love seeing your beautiful photos. Holidays fly by all too quickly!

  2. That looks like such a lovely trip and blueberry martinis sound wonderful.

  3. I was wondering when the books were going to make an appearance. Boy, were those dogs enjoying themselves. Who had to dry them off?

  4. welcome home! I know what you mean about the difficulty of returning home in late August – Sam works for a university and my hospital is tied to the university system so and we’ve started vacationing in July because returning in August is too difficult. But it looks like you had a lovely vacation and I can’t wait to hear about the books!

  5. sumanam

    What a gorgeous scenery…..
    I liked your blog and added you to my blogroll.
    Checkout mine….http://sumanam.wordpress.com/

  6. Sounds like a great vacation–and lots of wonderful scenery (you can’t beat a view that includes both mountains and the ocean!). Too bad you didn’t catch Stephen King out mowing his lawn or doing something average like that, but I suppose he’s wealthy enough to pay someone to garden! :) Glad you’re back!

  7. Ooh, that sounds and looks lovely! We’re about to head across the country for a too-short sojourn in rural New Hampshire, and I can’t wait.

  8. Sounds like a wonderful trip–enjoyed the photos, especially those with dogs and babies:)

    I love Maine and would like to find a way to spend some time there…maybe a whole summer. Cool that you swung by Stephen’s place–looks charming.

  9. Sounds like a great vacation. I love Stephen King’s house – do you think he would mind if I moved in?

  10. It’s lovely to have you back – I missed you! These are wonderful photos, and it sounds as if you had a fantastic time.

  11. Welcome back! I can understand why coming back was so hard after a vacation such as yours. I wouldn’t want to come back either! Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos too.

  12. bardiac

    Welcome back!

    The dogs look so happy in the water :) Looks like you had a lovely trip!

  13. What a lovely vacation and family reunion. Your pictures are so enticing that I feel I must visit that part of the world some day. And hey, that house looks very SK-ish. Thanks for sharing!

  14. BooksPlease — I’m glad you enjoyed the photos! Yes, the time did fly too quickly, but it WAS a great time.

    Jodie — I imagine I’d get tired of all the blueberries eventually, but since it was just a short visit, I enjoyed having everything with blueberries very much!

    Table Talk — the dogs DID enjoy themselves and have become good friends. They weren’t fond of getting dried off, but they survived!

    Courtney — very smart on your part about the vacation timing. The problem with July for us is that often one of us is teaching a summer class then. But earlier in August would be a good idea, definitely.

    Sumanam — thanks for stopping by!

    Danielle — thank you! It would have been great to catch Stephen King out in the lawn, but you’re probably right that someone else does the work. But maybe he could have been out walking the dog? Oh, well. Hobgoblin said his cars were there, so he could very well have actually been in the house.

    Emily — have a wonderful time in NH! It’s such a beautiful state, and I want to go back, especially to explore the White Mountains a bit more.

    JaneGS — a whole summer in Maine sounds lovely. It would be great to settle in and have lots of time to explore the area without feeling too rushed.

    Charlotte — I’m sure he wouldn’t mind at all :)

    Litlove — Thank you! We really did have a lovely time, but it is nice to come back and start conversing with blog friends again.

    Stefanie — it would have been nicer to come back from vacation in June and still have the whole summer left, but I can’t have everything, can I? I’m very lucky to have been able to get away for two weeks.

    Bardiac — oh, yes, they were happy! Muttboy experienced some anxiety on the trip since he didn’t know what to expect next, but he did enjoy hanging out with Phoebe!

    Arti — oh, yes, Maine is definitely worth a visit — and Vermont as well, and Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes region are beautiful in the summer.

  15. What beautiful scenery! It must have been so hard to come home, though you might have missed your own house (ie, bed, shower, kitchen) after a while.

    Glad you and Hobgoblin had a great time and I’ll look forward to hearing about your new books!

  16. Sounds like a wonderful vacation. I’ve never been up to Maine but it just looks and sounds so lovely (well, winters aside!). I’m assuming you’ve started Fall semester right? Hope all is going well!

  17. Debby — oh, it was beautiful, definitely. It was nice to come back to familiar things, but I wouldn’t have minded staying away longer, to be honest!

    Iliana — we start classes next week, so soon enough. I’m glad to have had the vacation beforehand — it was so great to get away.

  18. Great pictures! The first time I went to Portland, I wanted to move there, too.

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