We headed out the morning of Tuesday July 11th getting Vanna all packed up and was on the road by 8:30am. Our first stop wasn't until we reached Belfast so Kate could grab a coffee at Bell the Cat. Just after leaving Belfast Canaan asked if we wanted to play a game where we keep track of all the out of state license plates that we see. This became quite the event over the duration of our trip and Canaan kept track in his new journal. We had a lot of fun with this and I will have the totals at the end of this post.
We stopped in Columbia Falls at Wild Blueberry Land, a tourist trap where the building is shaped like a blueberry. It was kind of neat and a place I've always wanted to stop. Ultimately for me it was just okay. I bought a blueberry muffin so we could all sample one of there blueberry creations, it was ok, Wesley liked it.
Next we drove down the road to Addison to get a picture of Addison with her town. Unlike Canaan, Addison is a very small town, not as small as Wesley, and I snapped a couple pictures of Addison near the Welcome To signs, the post office and fire department.
Out next stop was in Machias at Helen's Family Restaurant. It was my first time visiting there since the fire burnt it down in 2014. It has changed a lot! The food is still good and the pies look amazing! We sat a three sided booth that was perfect, Wesley likes to sit on the bench and not use a highchair or booster because he's such a big kid.
I had ordered a Maine Street Club which was listed as a double decker BLT with ham and I requested no ham. The waitress came back out and said they were all out of deli turkey and asked if I wanted a grilled chicken breast on it. I said sure, but was confused because no where in the description was turkey listed. At the end of the day my sandwich was absolutely delicious!!
We arrived at Keene's Lake Family Campground just before 3pm and upon check in was told that the cabin that I had reserved back in February was rented out. Seriously! Long and the short they could us up in a camper, but Kate HATED the location it was currently in, in a field with no fire pit 10 feet from another camper. She said her husband could move it but he was in Ellsworth and wouldn't be home until 6pm at the earliest.
Kate and the kids were able to get to their swimming gear and they headed for the lake, mine was at the bottom of the tetris pile and I couldn't get to mine. Once he finally got back and the camper was set up it was pretty near 7pm. It wasn't an ideal situation but we made the best of it.
They put the camper in a nice secluded lot in the trees. Kate got a fire stoked up and the kids roasted hot dogs for dinner.
Inside the Camper Kate and I slept in the "master" bedroom, we put the table down to set up Wesley's pack and play, and the kids slept on the bunks in the back. My mom and Irving had a similar camper when I was a kid, the layout was different better in my opinion. But the camper worked, we had a place to sleep for three nights and we were able to use the air conditioner the first two nights which made sleeping better.
Wednesday morning Kate made pancakes and sausage for breakfast, fantastic! We then went swimming for a couple hours down in the lake. The shore was not nice and sandy but rocky and unpleasant. Once you waded in a ways it wasn't as bad but my flat feet did not appreciate it. The kids LOVED the lake and spent a couple hours in it each day.
They especially loved the float that they could climb on and jump off making up games each time. The amount of other kids that were there varied from day to day. I even climbed aboard a couple times throwing the kids off, mostly Canaan, several times before they "threw" me off.
After swimming we had lunch, I made Kate and I a couple awesome Turkey sandwiches the kids opted for peanut butter. Wesley went down for a nap and I took the kids in town to Calais on a quest for Covered Bridge Potato Chips. At the end of the day several stores and supermarkets were visited and none of them carried the delicious chip produced in neighboring New Brunswick. I even called Covered Bridge and they said they were not aware of any stores in Calais that were carrying them.
Initially we planned on have a day in Canada but we discovered crossing the border with the kids would not be simple needing notarized documentation from their mother saying it was okay and more. Kate and I decided to not do it, however regretted not bringing at least my passport card so I could hop over on my own and grab us some kettle cooked goodness.
Canaan wanted a loonie, at one store I stopped at all they had was a toonie so I got him that. At a couple other stores he was told they could not sell him one. Finally at an Irving I asked a gentleman with Nova Scotia plates if he had one I could buy off him, he did, but stated he technically owned by about 15-20 cents for the dollar I gave him. Canaan was very appreciative and excited.
Before heading back to the campground we stopped at Whitlocks Mills Light, the northern most lighthouse in Maine. The land is privately owned but you can see it from a scenic turnout off route 1. You can actually see it better then it looks in the pictures.
Back at the campground Kate had managed to read about 100 pages of her book in the two hours we were gone. We woke up Wesley and went to the St. Croix International Historic site.
The US side has a self guided walking trail complete was some very nice statues that tell the story of the colonist party that landed on St Croix Island in 1604. It was pretty nice, at the end we went down to Red Beach which is not much of a beach as much as it's a collection of rocks.
Once again back at the campground Kate took Wesley to the playground and I took the kids back to the lake for an hour. We were supposed to have access to a charcoal grill at the cabin and had brought burgers to cook on it and now we didn't have one.
Earlier in the day at Marden's I bought this mini charcoal grill for $7, Kate cooked the burgers on it, but it was more of a hassle than it was worth. The burgers were good.
Much like Tuesday and Thursday we finished the evening Wednesday around the campfire making smores and enjoying the fire. This night Addison cooked me an amazing near perfect smore.
Thursday morning was met with rain. Kate cooked up some french toast and bacon, once again breakfast was fantastic. After cleaning up we headed out to explore starting in Lubec.
We went downtown where on the waterfront you can see Mulholland Point Lighthouse on Campobello Island, Canada.
Then checked out the small main street where the kid's mother's boyfriend's sister Shana has a pottery gallery, Cobscook Pottery. It was closed but hours stated it would open at noon.
We went to West Quoddy Headlight which is the Eastern most point in the United States. It is not lost on me that the Eastern Most Point has a lighthouse with West in the name of it. The big kids and I explored the keepers house museum where Canaan signed the guest book for us. We stopped at Lubec Channel Light on the way back to downtown.
We went back to downtown Lubec after to wait for Shana's shop to open. When she arrived the kids were very excited to see her and she greeted them with big hugs. We visited for a while, she gave us all a small pottery piece that she had made. We got a vase that will go on the kitchen sink window sill for the flowers that Addison picks Kate.
We had lunch at a place Shana recommended Uncle Kippy's Korner. The food was good and reasonably priced for the location, Kate had a meatball sub and the kids and I split a pizza.
We drove to Eastport and by the time we got there the sky had cleared and the sun came out. Once in Eastport we grab a tasty treat at the Moose Island Bakery. The eclairs were just as amazing as we remember and I let the kids get these huge cupcakes!
We walked around exploring the downtown shops and the sea walk. While in Lubec I was showing Canaan a map that showed how close Lubec and Eastport were by water and an hour by land. While on a dock in Eastport I pointed out to Canaan how you could see the Lubec water tower, church, and international bridge from Lubec into Campobello Island.
The fisherman's statue was still there and there was a new mermaid statue on the waterfront. Canaan posed hilariously with it, however, Addison was disgusted that her boobs were bare and she didn't have seashells covering them.
On the way back to the camp we stopped in Perry at the 45th Parallel Gift Shop where the kids and Kate explored, Wesley and I stayed in the van. Then we stopped at the actual 45th Parallel marker that Canaan found quite interesting.
Back at camp the kids went swimming for the last time and I let them stay in the water late about 7pm. I made Kate and I turkey sandwiches and the kids roasted themselves hot dogs over the fire. They really like doing that. Canaan put a roasted marshmallow between two cowboy cookies and called it a smookie. Kate had made a couple dozen peanut butter and cowboy cookies that we brought with us.
Thursday evening was much cooler and it kept the mosquitoes away. We stayed up later as Kate burned through the rest of the wood, except what she set aside for Friday morning. In total we bought 8 bundles from the campground, about a bundle was left behind from a previous camper, and we all gathered about 4 or 5 more in the woods around camp. We enjoyed fires each morning and evening and anytime we were at camp.
Friday morning we ate breakfast and were packed up and ready to go by 9:30am, which was great timing. We stopped off at the St. Croix International Historic Site visitors center, the kids had picked up booklets they had to fill out to become Junior Park Rangers Wednesday and we were dropping them off. The kids had to take the oath and be sworn in where they received a sticker, temporary tattoo, and Junior Ranger patch. The patch is really nice.
The drive home on Route 9 was quite boring. The only plus is the majority you can drive really fast! Our plan was to stop in Wesley to snag a photo of Wesley in Wesley, but he was sleeping and we didn't want to wake him.
We hit construction a few miles out side Bangor that added quite a bit of time to our travels, it was annoying because we were all getting hungry. We had lunch at Chic-Fil-A, no surprise there, which the kids love as do we.
The drive from Bangor went well and we got home about 2:30pm. It was nice to be home, even nicer to take a shower and get cleaned up. Kate went back to Bangor with Jesse for the Cyndi Lauper & Rod Stewart concert at the waterfront, she had a great time.
You could say Saturday morning concluded the vacation as we went to the laundry mat because our washer is still broken.
All in all it was a fantastic vacation and everyone had a great time.
License Plate Game
We saw thirty four, technically 35 states including Maine and seven Canadian Provinces. One car with a Maine registration on the rear featured an English plate on the front, not sure if it was an actual plate or decorative but it was neat. There were several non-Maine plates that we saw that we couldn't tell what they were.
New York 71
New Hampshire 59
New Jersey 15
Rhode Island 8
South Carolina 3
North Carolina 2
South Dakota 2
New Brunswick 161
Nova Scotia 8
Prince Edward Island 3