Today felt like the first real day of summer, making me want to knock off work early for a beer or two on the deck at Gritty's. I didn't; I'm (still) behind on my work, and anyway I couldn't think of anyone who'd agree to meet me in Freeport.
But it made me focus on the miracle that is summer in Maine, a magical time that lasts 12 weeks if we're lucky. My life's in transition again, and this may well be my last summer in Maine. I'd like to figure out a way to split my time between Maine and a place that has public transportation and streetlights and more temperate winters, but that's a lot to hope for, and not practical on my current income.
So I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do up here this summer, and these are the top five. If you're interested in coming along for any of these excursions, get in touch; everything's more fun in good company.
1. The Skowhegan Drive-In. I don't need just company for this, I need a ride; the road to Skowhegan is too dark for me to drive myself. Movies start at dusk, and the theater runs double features every night in summer. This weekend it's Diary of a Wimpy Kid followed by Date Night, for six bucks a person.
2. Quebec City. I still haven't been, and it's only four and a half hours from Augusta. I've heard it's like Paris, but friendlier, less expensive, and with better food.
3. Mt. Katahdin/Baxter State Park. I still haven't seen a live moose, and Baxter State Park is my best bet. Katahdin is the highest mountain in Maine, and so well-loved that reservations are required to park at the trailheads. It's a two and a half-hour drive from Gardiner.
4. Lubec. It's the easternmost town in the contiguous United States, a small town with a museum and a lighthouse and some cafes and not much more. It features prominently in the novel DARK HOLLOW by John Connolly. It's three and a half hours from Gardiner.
5. The Red Sox at Fenway. I've seen the Red Sox play, of course, but never in Boston. Games are consistently sold out, which means buying tickets from a broker like StubHub; I just checked, and prices go from $9 to $2,698/ticket. Yow.