9/30/99 - Without even trying, we got a GIANT limo to the airport (no extra charge and it was a stretch w/a bar!). Our flight was delayed a half hour until 11am, but was nicely uneventful until Boston. In Boston, rain caused lots of delays so Stewart's cheapo Business Express flight which was supposed to leave an hour before Anne's, had a line wrapping around the end of the terminal. Stewart eventually got to Portland an hour AFTER Anne whose USAirways flight was quick and uncrowded, and free due to the cash-in of frequent flyer miles. We checked into the Fairfield Inn near the airport in Portland, had some great pizza at Uno's and called Jane to catch up on the scoop for the weekend. She was just minutes from our hotel so we drove on down a nicely treed lane to her beautifully landscaped home (well, from what we could see in the dark). We met Elmo at the door and Rodney inside, getting the scoop on the coming weekend and some of Rod's time at DEC. We decided LL Bean's was a definite and got some other good ideas for the weekend along with directions, then headed back to the hotel for the night.
10/1/99 - On Stewart's field-service clock (he's driving 3 hours a day to get to Lockheed right now so he leaves the house at o'dark thirty), we got up too close to 4:30 for a vacation but it got us on the road to Bean's before the crowds really hit. We stopped at the Maine Information Center and picked up ideas for Saturday, then hit the DeLorme map store with the thirty foot globe in the front window. Finally to Bean's, a shoppers mecca. It was like REI but with better and more stuff. We stocked up on clothes and had them shipped home, then grabbed some clam chowdah and crab salad sandwich at an outdoor patio. We roamed the quaint Maine street afterwards, checking out the crafts, quilting and leather goods shops, and found a nice lighthouse for mom.
About 1pm, we drove on to Booth Bay, catching just a hint of color changing along the way. The drive was beautiful though, threading through towns full of houses reminiscent of This Old House restorations. They were mostly old boarded Colonials with muted color schemes and although age was evident, decline was not. The little villages were pristine. We passed several waterways, the largest being the river in Bath which was lined by the Bath Iron Works, a shipbuilding plant sporting two destroyers (frigates?) this day. We later heard that several folks were delayed a good half hour in Bath while the factory let out, but we beat the whistle and arrived in Booth Bay around 2pm.
The town of Booth Bay Harbor was a navigational challenge but luckily wrong turns didn't take you too far astray and the sights along the way were enchanting, from the sea coast air of the marina to the small houses dotting the twisting rolling hills.
Once at Ocean Gate, we checked in and started meeting up with cousins almost immediately, first Jane and Rodney, and Nora who came with them but had been sleeping when we visited their home. Pete and Betty, then Diana all arrived pretty soon thereafter. We oohed and aahed at the beautiful ocean view we could all see from our rooms, then gathered up some stackable plastic Adirondack chairs (Stewart's favorite chair) and shot the breeze, catching up and meeting the new faces. Diana's son Eric and his new wife, Carla, and their pride and joy, Calvin, joined us. Jane got us reservations at the Rock Tide once we had 10 committals and soon Jack and Betty, David and Susan arrived too.
The Rock Tide was great, right on the water and we got two long tables
to accomodate the crowd, especially since
Donita, Evangeline & Kory, and Case
met up with us at the restaurant. It was great catching up
with everyone and hearing about the trip through New Hampshire and
Vermont that some had gotten in as a preview to the reunion. We all
ate too much, especially the giant popovers, but went back to our
rooms smiling anyway.
Here's some photos:
David and Susan Paul
Jane and Rod Hunt, and Anne
Bill and Linda Ramp
Pete Paul, Betty and Jack Stangle
Diana Macy, Jack, Betty Paul, Donita Tompkins, Evangeline, Kory
Eric, Carla, Dianna
Back at Ocean Gate, we discovered that Nellie Jo and Mel had driven up from DC so we all jammed into their room to say hi. They had left left about 1:30 to arrive at 7 since the original plan had dinner starting then, but to get seated together we had discovered we needed to be there much earlier so we ate at 5:30. Well, there'll be plenty of time tomorrow to hob knob much more...
10/2/99 - We met up early again on Saturday since breakfast at the Ocean Gate meeting hall was included with the room. There was a pretty decent buffet and lots of discussion of who had planned what for the day.
There were several options for Saturday including a crafts fair at Camden, shopping in Booth Bay Harbor and Stewart had his eye on a sightseeing trip on a sail boat at noon. Originally most of the women had planned to do the crafts fair, but eventually almost everybody went with the sailboat trip. And it turned out to be a major plus. It was a 63 foot Wind Jammer, crewed by Herb and Donna who had built the wooden boat in 3 years and had just launched it in April. It was beautiful and so was the day, clear and warm with just the right amount of ocean breezes to keep a good pace once we got under sail. Luckily they had some extra jackets for those who dressed a little too lightly since the wind dropped the temperature quite a bit. The boat was quiet enough to hear details of the islands and light houses without a microphone and for Herb to trade jibes with other passing sailboats. Though we didn't see any napping seals, there were lots of seabirds and ducks, and a few good splashes of allegedly swimming seals. Donna told us of a boat being built for a leather couch mogul that cost $20 million to build and included a pipe organ and a fireplace. The mast was said to be the tallest in the states at over 150 feet! We sailed on, dodging hundreds of lobster pots and dreaming of dinner.
Dinner was at Tugboat Annie's, where they gave us a room to ourselves. Stewart & I hitched a ride with Rod and Jane, getting a sneak peak at the poster of reunion photos and bags of giveaway Mainer goodies they provided. Jane had stenciled each canvas bag herself, and they were loaded with great stuff like lobster lollipops, Maine apples and pototoes, pencils, keychains, candies, brochures of Booth Bay and lists of names and addresses of attendees and their location on the family tree.
Jack reciprocated by giving Jane a nice floppy pencil and a book detailing 300 reasons to hate Purdue. It was a hoot. The meal was the wonderful lobster feast we'd been salivating for, including chowder, clams, corn on the cob, baked potato and biscuit. The lobster bibs were a necessity since we had to get up to our elbows in lobster juice to get all the goodness out but it was worth it. Afterward we milled around the outer deck, pored over Betty's Paul reunion scrapbook, and discussed plans for future reunions. We decided on San Antonio in March of 2001 and Colorado in 2003, spreading out the dates to allow the pocketbooks to rehydrate in between.
10/3/99 - Stewart & I had to catch an 11:15 plane out of Portland so we decided to get to breakfast at 7am and be out by 8. If we were early enough, we might even be able to stop by Bean's again since we both wanted to check out shoe sizes for subsequent shoe mail-orders. The breakfast at Ocean Gate fueled us for the trip and we got a chance to see most of the crew before we left. This time goodbyes did seem more like "Till next time" since the reunion seems more like a continuing tradition with two under our belts.
As luck would have it, the trip was quick enough we had about a half hour to check out the shoes at Bean's (plenty of time it turned out), and we even got in a little "leaf peeking" as Jane calls it. Although the leaves were barely starting to turn as we drove to Booth Bay on Friday, they were nearing peak just two days later so we were greeted with lots of bright oranges and yellows and even a few deep reds on our way to Portland. Looks like once again, all of our expectations were met, but we knew Jane, with likely more than a little help from Rod, could do it. We just hope the future reunions can live up to these first two.
Danita's book, one for Anne, one for Trina, signed!
The tide. When it rolled out a great deal of the bay became visible, including lots of rocks and plants.
During the sail Doris pointed out the large house out on squirrel rock, at the eastern-most point of Southport island. It was the only house on the island and was used as a religious retreat until recently. Now available for rent at $ 12,000 per week! But it could comfortably hold 12 and had it's own chef.
Everything was very close, and although there was a lot packed into a very small area, the trees and careful planning made everything look much more sparse than it really was. There is a single Interstate, 95, that runs up through Maine. I-95 is connected to a series of primary and secondary state highways that run all through the state. Once off the interstate the driving is very rural and quite beautiful, with a very different feel than Texas.
Although it stayed mostly in the 50s and 60s, neither of us got very cold. We both expected to be freezing most of the time, but for some reason we didn't get that cold. Maybe it was the lack of wind? or maybe the humidity?
Nora's doilies: 1 for Anne, 1 for mom, and 1 for Trina.