One more morning in Maine

…ok I didn’t forget – in fact, I think to myself almost hourly “now, there’s a thought for the blog”. WordPress needs an app-like feature for those of us hopping in and out of wifi range. So, now I’m about five days behind in documenting the Grand Adventure. In my defense, I’ve written several Yelp reviews, instagram captions, and text messages, so I’m obeying my birthday resolution to “write every day”. Anyway, I digress.

The last day of the Grand Adventure: Maine dawned cool and cloudy. It was a travel day for Best Friend and I – headed to Canada that afternoon! In the morning, she had some work to catch up on, so I headed out on foot to see what’s shaking on a Sunday morning in Portland. Turns out, it’s a lot – temporarily free of the heat wave, but with highs projected to reach 90 again, the Eastern Promenade was in full effect. I walked up the hill to get coffee (Hilltop, I miss you already), and saw, in no particular order: yoga, dog walking, basketball, little league, soccer, and countless joggers. Rain moved in briefly, but did not interrupt the exercise rituals happening all through the park.

For myself, I walked up to Hilltop, got another excellent cup of Jamaican coffee, and took my ham and brie sandwich to go. With the sun peeking through, I sat down on a dry-ish bench to enjoy a final look at the mist rising off the bay. If I had this view, I would be late to work every single day. I could not move off the bench until the sailboats were in full view and my coffee cup long empty. Dang, Maine. I’ll have to try a sunrise trek down to the lakeshore back home and see if I see a similar effect.

Back up at the apartment, Best Friend was done working, so we headed out for breakfast. It being Sunday morning, everywhere had a wait so we would up at the strangely empty “Lolita Venoteca”. Empty to the point that the staff seemed surprised to see us. We sat outside and enjoyed an array of breakfast tapas (fantastic coffee, medium food). Before heading back to get packed up – Sunday was ferry day!

We scurried around getting the apartment ready for check out and hopped in an Uber to the ferry terminal (so close! If it hadn’t been so hot, we could have walked it). We got to the terminal and sat. And sat. The CAT ferry is newly back in commission after several years hiatus (US vs Canada in: “Who Pays For This Boat, Eh?!”). With one crossing per day, we arrived early so there could be no mistake…on this day, we needn’t have bothered. It turns out, there was a customs hold on an entering passenger, which delayed boarding by over an hour. An hour spent in a hot, airless holding space. Where the vending machine was out of everything except Diet Pepsi. Ugh.

Eventually we were shuttled to the boat and boarded – and instantly all was forgiven. I love ferries. Every since Scotland pushed my perspective on what this can be, I would prefer to travel by ferry everywhere. Huge plushy couches for resting. Movies on screens. Scallops for dinner. Ice cream. A little travel desk to ask your random questions about Canadian travel. Plus, an outside area where you can go if you are brave (more on that in a sec). I loved every second of this crossing. Not the least because the “factoid” presented by our captain was that we had made our crossing in record time. 4.5 hours! Considering that it wasn’t too long ago that the same crossing took nearly 22 hours, I think we were all suitably impressed. Best Friend worked some and napped some. I read some and explored the boat – which prior to its current incarnation, was a Hawaiian cruise ship and a hospital ship after the Haitian earthquake. All of the signage still says “Mahalo”.

We arrived in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia around 10pm, in a flat calm and a thick fog. The fog horn had been going throughout the final 30 minutes of the voyage. When they led us all down to the “disembarkation” area, the fog was rolling in and filling the hold. Everyone was quiet, as we waited for the dock to be lowered. We crossed, passed through customs and were on our way! We were fortunate that our cab was still able to pick us up, despite arriving hours later than planned. George, of A to B Taxi service, drove us the 24km to Argyle, while sharing fishing stories (some funny, some vague “you’d have to be there – to know how it could be in winter…I’ve seen some things) and navigating the fog with ease.

We arrived at Ye Olde Argyler Lodge – the next adventure about to begin!

IMG_9079 Lovely, lovely Promenade, with sunlight peeking through.

The sailboat stayed alongside for an impressive length of time. These two lighthouses were the final farewell from the States before they were lost to view.

Me on the outside deck of the ferry ^

  1. Hell no, this is nuts! (Back pressed against the wall, instantly dizzy and unable to move).
  2. 3 ish minutes later. Ok, maybe can peel self off wall and take two steps so that can take better pictures.
  3. Tentatively approach rail and place one hand. Still on ship. Possibly this is not so bad.

Am now mesmerized and spend 30 minutes taking 1 million pictures of sunset, water, spray, and generally enjoying the view. Success!

IMG_9098 (1)Waiting to leave the boat, looking out into the foggy, silent darkness.

IMG_9100 (2)Why is Canadian money so pretty? And clear in parts? Dang, y’all.


365 Day Photo Challenge!

So…I know it’s cliched, but I’ve wanted to do this for the last two years, and as one of many resolutions, I am going to begin taking and posting photos daily. This is threefold – one, the shameless narcissism of blogging; two, to rebuild my terribly rusty photography skills; and three, to earn the right to buy a fabulous new digital camera before my trip to Morocco.  This is not to say that there will be a long and rambling post with every picture, but there should be a picture (or 2…or several…) each day of 2012!  So, without further ado…

Welcome, 2012

I made this lighthouse out of salt dough when I was a kid.  In March of 2011 I took the view of a lighthouse out my hotel window as a sign that Milwaukee should be my next home. Welcome, 2012 – I can’t wait to see where the light leads!

Labor Day Staycation Take 2!

Too many great things happened this weekend! Great Frozen Custard at Leon’s! Great weather for picture taking! Great talking and wandering! Great (ok, awful) movie! Great (ok, good) Indian food! Great wine!  I leave you with more pictures to celebrate my mom’s first visit to Milwaukee in the 2000s! And she leaves her earrings…with me. 🙂

Imposing North Point light house. I love the clouds in this pic.

St Luke's in Bay View seen in September Sunset

Repeating arches in sepia tone

This guy was getting ready for the parade, he did a little smile and dance for the camera. And then it got awkward.

Spiral staircase and fountain in Plankinton Arcade, Hard to capture the depth, but I like the angles!

Fresh fruit cart in the largely abandoned mall. The main source of color.

Ceiling of the Grand Avenue/Plankinton Arcades

Labor Day Weekend Staycation Take 1

I like to take "convergence" pictures - lines and angles add order to a chaotic world.

One of the best parts of moving to a new city is exploring it – taking in all the little details that too soon will become part of a commonplace background. My mom came to visit me in Milwaukee for the first time since I moved up here (yay!).  We spent a lot of time wandering around indoors and out yesterday, avoiding the rain and taking advantage of the bursts of amazing fall weather.  Windy, crisp, and just right for taking pictures!

When I was a little child, it was one of the highlights of the year to take the “long” drive to Milwaukee and go shopping at the Grand Avenue Mall. As a kid growing up in a town of 15,000, a trip to a multiple story, bustling, first-food-court-in-the-state having; fancy shopping mall was an incredible experience. My most vivid memory (besides clinging to my mom’s hand) is of the candy store. I remember a store decorated with dark green walls and dark wood shelves. I remember feeling surrounded by those huge clear glass jars filled with all kinds of colorful treats.  Most of all, I remember a large clawfoot bathtub filled with saltwater taffy.

Urban decay in sepia tone - the Grand Avenue Mall

The remains of the day - more sepia.










The sun came out in the afternoon, and we took a ride north along the lake. We looked at the amazing mansions on the lake front, and stopped to take some more pictures at the North Point Lighthouse. The many unique designs of the different homes makes me wonder – at what point did we as a culture abandon unique, ornate, and beautiful as design elements in favor of brown plastic siding? Houses that probably took over a year to construct, for cheap gimcrack nonsense that goes up in a few weeks? This is the architectural legacy for future generations? Lame. But the weather was great, the sky unbelievable.

Using the "vivid" color setting - I like the way the flag pops against the clouds.

After a leisurely brunch at Sven’s Coffee House, we’ll head back to the lakefront to the art museum and Labor Fest! Maybe with a side trip to Groppi’s for a pick up supper.

‘Til then…

Incongruous cow head on a Civil War memorial

Leo would be scared of this. He is also scared of the small bronze pig statue on my block.