Sunday, June 16, 2013

Portland to Portland

Here's Day 2 of our Hasty New England Tour!

Portland, Maine (7:30 AM)
Had breakfast at the hotel and hit the road! We thought we'd keep cool by checking out downtown early, but we were already too late. It was in the 90's by 9:30. It was still fabulous though. Portland's downtown was really cute- still has some cobblestone streets and sits right on the coast. In fact if I had to briefly describe the differences between the Portlands it would be:
Portland, Maine: Quaint, colonial, clean, coastal (like Boston except with fresh air and a chill pill)
Portland, Oregon: Funky, eclectic, artsy, and green (like nowhere else really)

We decided by 10:30 that it was quite frankly too hot to be downtown, and headed towards Two Lighthouse State Park. We saw a sign just before the gate with an arrow to the lighthouses going a different way, so we followed it and found this:

Wes wasted no time in getting to exactly what he does at the beach back home. 

We were there for probably half an hour when some divers popped up out of the water and came to shore.
We chatted for awhile and asked if the lighthouses are out here, what's at the state park? They said nothing really, and directed us instead to the Portland Headlight in Cape Elizabeth. And away we went.

Cape Elizabeth, Maine (12:00)
We went to the Portland Headlight which is surrounded by the cutest little park, that also has the remains of Fort Williams and some other sweet "ruins." (Can I just note this park was free? We've discovered how hard that is to come by out here. It was provided by the citizens of Cape Elizabeth... so thanks guys, we loved it!)

Then it was back through 18ish miles of New Hampshire to...

Salem, Massachusetts (4:00 PM)
We were hoping for some fun history stuff but were generally disappointed. The streets were lined with hokey witch-memorabilia shops and palm readers. Someone had tried to make a Boston-like trail at one point but it stopped & started and branched, and was utterly unhelpful. In fact, it seemed like everyone we passed asked for directions. The visitor's center seemed embarrassed about the whole witch thing and pretty much ignored it talking about the area's rich history in commerce instead.  
Here's us taking an AC break in the visitor's center. That's Laine holding Wes, he's still alive and managing a smile. We had dinner and headed out to our final destination!

Concord, Massachusetts (7:15 PM)
Our stop here was at Walden Pond (made famous by the transendentalist, Henry David Thoreau). My New England Guidebook only mentioned it, so our decision to stop was based entirely on my memory of reading E.B. White's Essay "Walden" in High School. 

The park actually only allows 1000 visitors at a time, in order to preserve some of the feel of Thoreau's Walden. When we called at 5 they were too busy, but by the time we got there enough people had cleared out that we were able to get in. It was Cam's official favorite stop on our trip (probably because it involved trees).

Here's Wes checking out the replica of Thoreau's cabin. Just about the right size.
And then we long-sprinted home and slid in exhausted, sore, burnt, swollen, and thoroughly pleased at 10:30. Not bad for a two-day trip!

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