Friday, July 18, 2008

Vacationing in Maine is a Gas

There is still time to rescue your summer vacation plans from the oil industry's sleeper hold.

Why sit at home wishing you were someplace else, when there are plenty of great places right here in the Pine Tree State where you can go and wish you were someplace else?

Chances are you're close enough to one of our under-the-radar vacation destinations that you can squeeze the gas money into your family budget, provided you can fit the entire family onto a used Suzuki motorcycle.

We don't have that luxury, because a certain member of our household insists on taking 65% of our possessions with us every time we leave the house for more than two hours. We squabble over a different item every trip.

“Why do you need to bring hip-waders?”

“You never know – we might need them.”

“We're going to the mall.”

“It doesn't hurt anything to bring them.” She would seem to have a point, except it does hurt me, because I don't get to be right.

Sure enough, that will be the trip when we encounter the flash flood and have to rescue a baby stranded in a floating car.

“See? Aren't you glad we went back for the life jackets, too? And you said they were 'superfluous.'”

So that explains why our giant Ford Taurus station wagon was packed with record-setting density for our three-night camping trip to Blue Hill, which is about an hour from our home.

We crammed so much stuff into the car that it developed its own gravitational pull, and we kept having to stop and peel bicyclists and joggers off the fenders.

Anyway, we finally made it to Blue Hill. If you've ever been to this picturesque coastal town about 20 minutes south of the perpetual knotted nightmare that is Ellsworth, you know that our Ford Taurus packed with random household objects, including whole sofa sections tied to the roof, did not exactly fit in. Blue Hill is more of a Subaru kind of town.

With a population of about 2400 mostly pleasant and relatively diverse (only 85% hippies) people, Blue Hill is certainly fascinating.

For one thing, it's one of the few places in Maine where you can enjoy a cup of organic tea, bring your child to yoga class, and get attacked by a giant horde of bloodthirsty insects, all without leaving town.

They also have the famous Blue Hill Falls, which are just like any other class III rapids except they keep changing direction. You could be relaxing in your kayak, thinking you're headed inland, and the next thing you know you're at the freaking Panama Canal, trying to explain to some surly customs agent who does not speak English that no, you are not some coked-up B-list celebrity on a pathetic publicity stunt.

If you lived near falls like that, chances are you'd turn into a nature-worshiping flower child, too.

There is also supposedly an actual hill in Blue Hill, with a hiking trail and everything, but I've never been able to find it.

Anyway, once we got our tent set up in a friend's yard, we spent a relaxing weekend socializing, visiting beaches, and dodging crop dusters.

All in all, it was a lovely vacation, and we even managed to sell parts of our sofa to pay for the gas to get us home.

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