Monday, August 6, 2012

Vacation

I'm back. We spent a week in Island Falls, ME.  When I told people it was in the middle of no where I didn't realize how right I was.  It was a little farther out than I would like to be for more than a week. 

We started our trip in the wee hours of Saturday morning.  We had breakfast in Freeport and visited LL Bean before heading north for another three hours. We bought son a new pair of hiking boots which turned out to be very much needed. The resort was beautiful.  The suite was done in knotty pine that gave it a cabin feel.  We settled in and headed to the local grocery store for breakfast and lunch supplies.  The big (and only) grocery store in town is also the liquor store and hardware store.  I could buy any alcohol I could think of but could not buy orange juice except in a frozen concentrate. 

Sunday we visited the Lumberman's Museum.  It was very interesting.  After having a picnic lunch there we headed to Baxter State Park and bought a season pass.  We decided on a small hiking trail as the weather turned out to be nice.

Monday after making the mistake of following the GPS which wanted to bring us in the west entrance via logging roads that has been closed for years we finally made it to the south entrance and visitors center.  This brought us to Dacey pond and and a hike to Little and Big Niagara Falls.  It was a pretty hike and not to strenuous.  Whoever named the falls have never been to Niagara but that is another story.

Tuesday we headed back to the North entrance and tried our hand at some "real" hiking.  We headed to south branch pond and one of its peaks.  It was a two mile hike straight up.  OK it seemed like it was straight up with everyone trying to keep son in sight.  He's 17 y/o and runs six miles for fun - not an easy task keeping up.  We went from 1200 feet to 2600 feet.  The view was beautiful. 

Wednesday we headed into the big city - Houlton.  We started at the historical museum.  It is housed in an old Victorian that also has the chamber of commerce office.  We had to wait for it to be opened - didn't realize we needed an appointment.  Lee and his wife Sandy were there in no time and gave us a tour.  Lee is retired USPS and has an obvious love for the town and its history.  He made the museum a real high point of the trip.  We then hit the Houlton Dairy for ice cream and their famous awful awful (really that is the name).  It is a milk shake with a scoop of soft serve on top.  I had an awful awful hard top (hard ice cream).  They make all of their own ice cream from the local dairy. 

Thursday we headed to the Katahdin Iron Works.  We stopped in Milo at the cemetery first.  They have a beautiful veterans memorial.  Stones for each branch of the service.  Plaques for every war.  It was very nicely done.  Heartbreaking as well.  The iron furnaces have not been burning for over a century but you can still smell it.  Amazing.

Friday the girls rented kayaks and the boys a canoe.  We toured the south branch pond.  I wish I had brought my camera with me but I was afraid to get it wet.  I'm not sure a picture would do justice to the view of the mountains surrounding the lake.  After a picnic lunch we hiked the nature trail.  It ends with an overlook of the pond.  Stunning.

Saturday we made the return trip stopping once again in Freeport.  We did a little more shopping and had lunch at Jameson Tavern.  I must say it is some of the best clam chowder I've ever had.  A stop at the New Hampshire state liquor store and we were home. 

It was a great trip.  The kids enjoyed it.  Two of the nights the kids wanted to just hang at the resort so hubby and I had dinner dates to ourselves and brought take out home for the kids.  And take out was not from a chain but Craig's down the street. 

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