The Joys of Maine

When it comes to vacations, Ben’s family are mountain people, not beach people. The one or two times growing up that we went to the beach — Hilton Head once, Chincoteague once — we seemed incapable of really relaxing. Someone always got blistering sun burn the first day, or had a traumatic experience getting mauled by a wave and then sucked down by undertow, leading to the ingesting of untold gallons of salt water and the near certainty of death. This is what people do for fun? we thought. Melville wrote of finding refuge in an “insular Tahiti,” but our Tahiti was decidedly more moderate in temperature.

So we usually went somewhere in New England, often the White Mountain range of New Hampshire, to hike and bike; frequently, these activities began at a very un-vacation-like time such as six o’clock in the morning. If we happened upon the Atlantic Ocean, there was little to no temptation to plunge in to those chilly waters. We could enjoy the view, smell the ocean breeze, and then promptly turn around and march the other direction.

Bar Harbor, Maine, was a spot we frequented several times. We went the summer before Ben’s senior year of high school, and his experience of eating lobster ice cream at Ben & Bill’s provided the material for his college application essay — an essay which, upon rereading a few years ago, was so unequivocally dreadful that it’s a miracle that the admissions folk at Kenyon restrained themselves from jabbing their eyeballs out with pencils, much less decided to admit Ben to their institution of higher learning.

Ben’s parents have continued to vacation in New England, and, as they’ve inched closer to retirement, have started taking off the entire month of September. We joined them in Bar Harbor for the first time five years ago. That was the week we discovered “Lost”; season one had just come out on DVD. On a whim, we bought it and started watching our first day there. We never looked back. (And we’re convinced there was no better place to be introduced to the show than on an island itself.)

We returned the following year, but this time it was bittersweet: With Erin starting teaching, we knew we wouldn’t be back the following September. Nor probably the September after that, or after that.

But a funny thing happened this year — we had a kid. And Erin had maternity leave. Not only that, but Ben’s folks were in Bar Harbor for three weeks. Our friends with kids told us it’s way easier (not to mention cheaper) to fly with a two month old than a two year old. So we went for it.

One virtue of returning to the same vacation spot is that you can relax almost immediately. The sites are familiar. The routines are familiar. We visited our favorite restaurants and shops — Rosalie’s Pizza, the Jordan Pond Tea House, Sherman’s Books & Stationery — as well as took our favorite hikes — Great Head, the Beehive, the ocean path walk. And of course we took pictures. So gather round for the first official Vore family vacation slides.


xSteve and Donna Vore walk Sam on the carriage paths. Stroller duty was rigorously monitored to ensure equal time.


Sam yawns at his Maine adventures. Or he was trying to claw out of his fleece stroller bedding insert.


Steve and Donna shower grandchild Sam with attention and cooing.


Sam, exhausted from his walk.


Erin brings sexy back to drinking bottled water.


The rare and exotic Beers tree, native only to Maine.

This is for you Kids in the Hall fans.


Erin at Sand Beach.


The Amish at Sand Beach.


“Did you see those Amish at Sand Beach? Or was I hallucinating?”


Ben’s favorite spot on Acadia — The Bowl.


We demonstrate our remarkable skill with the auto timer.


Modeling agencies, please do not call all at once!


Vacation hijinks!



8 thoughts on “The Joys of Maine

  1. True story from ladyvoreblog:
    In the photo displaying Ben’s favorite Acadian spot, you can see a large stone in the cold clear water below him. I wanted for us to come up with a caption that somehow made it appear that Ben had dropped a giant deuce in The Bowl. I did not win this one.

    Also, Ben almost dropped me in “Vacation Hijinks”. We simultaneously blamed ourselves: Ben complained he was no longer strong; I complained that post-pregnancy Erin would never again be liftable.

  2. The Shercks of the previous generation–as well of the current generation–share your general aversion to beaches. Lauren and I went to Maine for SPRING BREAK. Where we were almost trapped by a blizzard. We spent our honeymoon in Oregon. We’re not beach people.

    That said, Lauren’s family are, sort of, beach people of a different sort. Canadian beach people. Every summer since before Lauren was born, they’ve headed up to a cottage on a beach in Canada, where Lauren’s grandfather built a modest cottage a half-century or more ago. It’s not quite so sunny up there. And it’s freshwater, so no inadvertant gargling with salt water.

    Lauren has the same experience as you of knowing the place intimately and being able to relax immediately upon arrival (well, when child-care responsibilities aren’t too pressing). I’m only on my second summer up there, so I’m still developing that sense of being an insider. Maybe by the time Thea graduates from high school, I’ll be there.

    Thanks for sharing your vacation. It was almost as good as having vacation time myself, just without the actual relaxation.

  3. John — glad we could transport you to your own insular Tahiti, if even for a brief moment.

    With regard to my wife’s comment, may I emphatically insist that me nearly dropping her was a result of my pathetic lack of upper body strength and had nothing to do with any so-called “post-pregnancy weight.”

    You married a weakling, honey. I would have trouble lifting a feather.

  4. Bunjamin, if it makes you feel any better about her deuce comment, I was 99% sure she was peeing behind that tree. She was peeing, right?

  5. Thanks for sharing the Maine pictures. I too am intimately familiar with all that Bar Harbor has to offer. Jo and I are planning on going there next year with the entire Masterson clan. Perhaps I can provide a “vacation hijinks” picture of Justin picking up Brian who is holding me.

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