I went to visit my great aunt and uncle in Bethel, Maine a few weeks ago. It’s always a pleasure to visit them, mostly because they take pleasure in having guests. Aunt Chris is a really good cook, so there’s always something yummy for dinner. The area around the house is beautiful. They live near the Sunday River ski area, so it’s not too far from some semblence of civilization. The only problem with the week was that it rained almost the entire time. However, that couldn’t keep my family down.

We took one of my father’s Peugeots up Mount Washington. It survived the trip very well. The mountain was mostly surrounded by fog for the drive, but every now and then the clouds parted and gave us a view of part of the sunlit valley. The top was completely fogged in, but I got to see the Cog Railway, and I can now say that I’ve been to the top of the mountain.

My father and I also took a trip to Bar Harbor. Neither of us had been there before, and even though it’s about four hours away from my aunt’s house, we wanted to take a trip together and have a look around. We wandered around town, looking at the various shops. There was a cool little musical instrument shop near the water. When we checked in with the office for our schooner cruise, we found out that the four o’clock trip was cancelled due to insufficient passengers. We moved our reservations to the six thirty “sunset cruise” and hoped for the best. We decided to do dinner at one of the many restaurants serving lobster. Mmm, lobster. Then we went to the pier to meet the boat.

The Rachel B. Jackson rose from the water in pristine beauty. She’s a replica of a 19th century schooner built in Maine. The crew was very nice and allowed the guests to explore the ship at their own pace. They offered us coffee from the galley as we looked around. It was very cosy below, with a four-bunk room at the rear and a smaller room in the front that had a cool polished wooden desk holding the radar gear. It was very interesting to see the fine craftsmanship that went into the ship. There were real prisms in the deck that reflected a surprising amount of light into the living quarters below. The crewman we spoke to said they were salvaged from a wreck.

The crew consisted of two captains, a father and son, and two other crewmen who were volunteering on the ship for the summer to learn for their captain’s licenses. They were all pleasant and interesting guys to talk to on our journey.

As the time for departure drew nearer, the fog rolled in closer. The dock for the The Cat, a car ferry to Nova Scotia, was next to ours, and we could see the huge pontoon ferry looming out of the water. One of the crew joked that they didn’t worry about the fog until they couldn’t see the Cat anymore. The words proved almost prophetic, as the Cat was beginning to be shrouded in haze by the time we left. We didn’t see much due to the fog, but it was an enjoyable trip nonetheless. The crew and passengers wer friendly and talkative, as well as humorous, so the time passed quickly. Islands were dark shapes that grew in the mist as we passed. Thank goodness for radar. (My father even had his GPS.) Although it blocked the view, the fog leant an ethereal quality to the trip. I’d definitely like to try it again in better weather, even so.

The rest of the week was spent enjoying the scenery near my aunt’s house, swimming during the few times the rain stopped, filling up on delicious food, and reading some good books.

It rained about four inches during the time I was there, according to Aunt Chris’s meter.

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