It has been great to meet up with our elder daughter, Hannah, and her family (Michael, Callum, and Zoë) for a week in a cabin at Waterford in Maine, taking a short break in our road trip. They flew in from St Paul (Minnesota) three days after we landed in the USA, and on the day that we drove over from Burlington in Vermont, crossing the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
And what fun we have all had together. It’s wonderful to see them again. It has been a year since we were last over on this side of the Atlantic.
On Saturday we decided not to stray far from the cabin, just the short distance to Hawk Mountain to take in the breathtaking panoramas south and west of Waterford.
Sunday was Michael’s 40th birthday so we celebrated by a visit to Attitash Mountain Resort, about 50 miles west of the cabin along US302. This map shows all the excursions we made during the six days we spent in Maine.
I’d been expecting huge crowds, and long queues for the rides. But no! Although school was out in some areas, the resort was quiet, and we could take as many rides up and down the mountain as we liked, and no waiting.
There were two rides that we enjoyed: the Alpine Coaster, and the Alpine slide. Never having experienced either, Steph decided to ride with Hannah on her Coaster ride; I took Zoë. Callum rode with Michael.
I’d seen videos on YouTube of alpine coasters around the USA. The one at Attitash is advertised as the longest. This is what it looks like.
Michael managed to capture me on his cellphone during one of my descents.
The Coaster was quite a bone shaker. More fun for us ‘oldies’ was the mile long and awesome descent on the Alpine Slide. It’s a bit like the Olympic luge. And we could all take our own carts, even Callum and Zoë.
Here’s what it looks like from a rider’s perspective, from a video I found on YouTube.
To begin the ride, it was necessary to take the chairlift up the mountain, about a 10 minute ride, with incredible views over the surrounding mountains.
After all the excitement of the previous day, we decided to take it easy on the Monday. So Hannah and Michael took the children around McWain Pond in a canoe.
Meanwhile, this was a great opportunity for me to enjoy yet another cold beer in the sunshine, and Steph to knock off another couple of chapters of the book she’d brought with her.
On the Tuesday we set off for Mt Washington, at 6228 feet the highest mountain in the northeast of the USA, and where the highest wind speed was recorded in the 1930s.
We passed by Mt Washington near Bretton Woods on the west side of the mountain while traveling across New Hampshire the week before.
It’s a seven mile drive up to the summit, and we enjoyed a 360° panorama at the top. We were lucky. For more than 60% of days, the summit is completely fogged in. While it was windy (40-60 mph), it was just about manageable.
There’s also a cog railway that climbs to the top, bringing even more tourists who don’t relish the drive. While we were at the summit several trains arrived, and I was fortunate to capture this shot of three at the summit.
On the way back to Waterford, we finally came across one of New England’s famous covered bridges – at Jackson, NH! They really are fascinating, and from what I could tell from various plaques and information online, they are really cherished.
Wednesday and Thursday were our big excursion to the coast, to Camden on Penobscot Bay for an all-day sail around the bay on Sailing Vessel Owl with Capt Aaron (Lincoln) at the helm, a direct descendant of folks who came to the USA in the 1680s.
Michael used to sail these waters with his mother and stepfather when he was a boy, and was keen for Callum and Zoë to enjoy the same experience. We left the cabin by 06:30, and were ready for boarding the Owl around 09:30.
We set off east into the bay, arriving at the passage between North Haven and Vinalhaven (map) by lunchtime, in time for a short shore excursion on a small island. Until our return it had been warm and sunny, and mostly smooth. But as we set sail for the return to Camden, the wind got up, the waves increased and the temperature fell.
After a long day at sea, about 9 hours, we arrived back in the harbor, and enjoyed a welcome meal of freshly caught haddock. Since the drive from the cabin had taken about 2½ hours, we had already decided to spend the night in Camden, returning mid-morning the next day.
But before we left, we took a stroll around this pretty town and its harbor. In a small park overlooking the harbor there is a statue memorial to soldiers who fell in the American Civil War of the 1860s, referred to interestingly as The Great Rebellion.
There’s considerable wealth in Camden, given the large houses and boats moored in the harbor, owned by some of America’s most illustrious families.
Before heading back to the cabin at Waterford, Steph and I decided to take a look around Rockport, just a couple of miles south of Camden. On the point of a peninsula east of the town, the simple and beautiful Vesper Hill Chapel was built in 1962, and is dedicated to all young people who found God in their lives.
Then it was time to head west so that we would have enough time to pack, and prepare for the long trip even further westwards the next day.
Such was our week in Maine, enjoying time with Hannah and Michael, and the grandchildren. Callum and Zoë took everything in their stride, full of beans, and always ready for the next adventure. They keep us young!
See the other posts in this series: