The trip to Maine was unique in a lot of ways for me. First of all, it's about the only time I've left on a trip in the past 3-4 years that hasn't involved a gaming convention. I can't even remember the last time I went anywhere there wasn't a con involved, especially out of state. I've passed on most family trips that occurred including a couple of trips overseas to China and a couple of cruises to Alaska and the Bahamas. Given the medical issues, travel is a chore and I've begged off of almost everything. I guess in retrospect looking at how empty my life has become that might not have been the smartest choice in the world but I always default to the path of least resistance.
Anyway, the fact that I went on the trip was unusual and second, most of us traveled up there by train. Connie and her family drove up but my mom, grandma, my cousin Gnee, and Shelley went with me by train. I had had a pleasant experience riding the train for the first time going an extended distance going to True Realm in carbondale earlier this year and it had been a lot more comfortable than I had thought it would be. My mom thought that it would make for an easier trip all around and so we hopped Amtrak to Boston and then from Boston to Maine.
There was this cast bronze train motif at the station in Boston where we disembarked. We held up the train for a bit as no one realized it was the right station until the last minute and I had been dozing at the time. Shelley ended up leaving a paperback on the train by mistake but luckily that was the only casualty.
We spent a couple hours in the train station waiting for the train to Maine. There was a statue of some guy and I amused myself taking pictures of it. There was nothing else very interesting about the short layover other than my cousin Raymond decided to hop over and keep us company while we waited for the next train. He also ended up coming up to maine for a part of the weekend once school was done. He and Gene are brothers and he just happens to be going to college in the area at Brandeis University.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and we arrived in Old Orchard Beach, Maine where Connie drove over to pick us up. She had rented two houses. The first was a beach house just yards from the water (depending on whether it was high or low tide) where her family, Gene, and Shelley stayed. The other was a couple of blocks away and was a nice condo/duplex sort of setup where my mom, grandma, and I stayed. Jeff's parents had also gotten a place nearby though closer to the center of town.
If you remember that picture from last year where Maddie's crying because she touched sand, well, it seems she's gotten over it. She spent a good chunk of time playing around in it.
I spent most of my time lying flat on my back on the back porch of the beach house reading the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher I had brought with me. The fun was multiplied when the ice cream truck came past and Shelley got me one of those Rocket Popsicle I love. These were the only thing I would ever get from the ice cream trucks when I was a kid and I have a lot of fond memories of it. Even now, I sometimes pick one up when I'm at a convenience store or traveling somewhere just to try to recapture a little bit of that happiness.
Maddie also had ice cream and seemed pretty happy about it. She shrieked whenever her parents took a bite because she wasn't eating it fast enough and it was dripping all over.
The town of Old Orchard Beach has a perpetual fair grounds of sorts and on one of the days there we wandered over.
It was probably around 2/3rds of a mile to the fairgrounds and we all marched over as a group. Maddie got to show off her new monkey backpack which is basically just a pretty leash. Shelley's holding the monkey's tail and making sure she doesn't run off into traffic or anything.
A couple of comments before the next set of pictures. My camera is pretty new and I haven't taken that many pictures with it. It's my first new digital camera in like 6 years or so and I wasn't expecting some of the interesting effects of taking photos at night. It produces an oddly luminescent though beautiful effect. I was really impressed with how these next pictures turned out.
The fair was pretty par for the course. Some kiddie rides, some games of chance and skill, and a lot of stalls selling various goodies.
There was also a pier with restaurants and shops and we wandered to the end of it where I snapped a few more pictures.
On the following days of the trip we did a lot of various things, most of which seemed to involved trudging about from place to place. A disproportionate number of these places seemed to feature lighthouses.
I was even the 'king of the world' for a while on a chartered tour boat that roamed around the various islands in the area.
All in all, the trip was a lot of fun.