Monday morning we packed the truck and headed north. Destination: China, Maine. John really wanted to see the coast, so as we crossed over the Piscatiqua River from New Hampshire to Maine he said, "Should we get off the highway now?"
Being the born and bred Mainer with an ingrained dislike of all things touristy and natural avoidance of Route 1, I replied, "Not yet!"
When the "Toll Road, Cars, $2.00" signs popped up a few miles later I thought, Wait, we just paid $2.00 at Hampton! and suggested, "Let's get off here!" From York to South Portland, we traipsed up Route 1. Surprisingly, traffic wasn't that bad. It was Monday and still early in the season. But we both agreed taking I295 around Portland was the thing to do. By the time we reached Wiscasset it was late afternoon and I was ready to be off the road. We found a place that would sell us some iced coffee (seriously, if you've got "cafe" in your name, it shouldn't be that big a deal to sell a couple of cups of coffee to go!) and headed inland toward my parents'. We did make one stop to check out these really cool sculptures in a field. My favorite was Don Quixote, but we didn't get a good picture.
John had just a few goals for this vacation and we accomplished most of them: 1. Visit my parents, 2. Go to Liberty Tool, 3. Visit Lie-Nielson tool makers, and 4. Visit Thomas Moser furniture. Tuesday we went coastal (again) and struck out for Liberty Tool. It's this incredibly overwhelming, very cool place. It was fun to explore and see all the old stuff. It reminded me of being a kid and exploring my grandparents' and great-aunts' houses.
From Liberty we drove through all these cool little towns and ended up on Route 1 in Warren and at Lie-Nielson Tool Works. After glomming at the woodworking hand tools (are you sensing a theme here?) I voted for some lunch and we headed north on Route 1. Let me tell you, if you are ever in Rockland, Maine, go to Big Fish Cafe. Awesome food.
We did more exploring of Rockland, Owl's Head, and Belfast before heading back to my parents'. Oh, and if you are ever in Belfast, Maine and you love books and neat little cafes that actually sell coffee and baked goods, not to mention fabulous sandwiches, go to Bell the Cat in the Reny's Plaza. They share a space with Mr. Paperback- a match made in heaven, if you ask me!
Wednesday we had a very nice visit with my brother and his family- my niece and nephews are getting so big! Thursday John did a few odd jobs for my folks, I rescued 5 boxes of my books from my parents' garage, and we headed home. You guessed it, we went the coastal route, at least as far as Brunswick.
We had a wonderful visit with my family, and truly fell deeper in love with the Maine coast, yet it was good to be home again.