Monday, July 31, 2017

Ten Year Anniversary Trip: Tandem Coffee Roasters to Montreal, Canada

We rolled into Portland the morning of the 5th of July to calm ourselves with coffee and the best pastries this side of the Mississippi as we waited for our passports to arrive. Tandem Coffee has been our go to hot spot while visiting Ms. Moran. The weather was pure bliss. No humidity. You can see the bike rack circle over E's left shoulder in this picture. Scroll through the photos here of the cafe.

I had the blueberry scone and granola yogurt to fuel up for our long drive to Montreal. Mary and E had egg sandwiches on biscuits. The enameled trays with navy banding, the Carrara marble counter tops, the light fixtures, the coffee, oh the coffee, the picnic tables outside. The tandem bike, bike rack with their adorable logo. All of it makes Tandem one of our top 5 favorite coffee shops in our Coffee Pilgrimage adventures. 

Mary was our Maid of Honor in our wedding 10 years ago. She wanted to give us an anniversary present from LLBean so we swung by Freeport on the way back to Bath. While at the coffee shop we got the notice that our passports were at Mary's at 10 AM, NOT 7PM which was the original stress. We high tailed it to Bean to grab a bag.

Mary is a great model. Embroidery is free and we begged them to let us jump the line so we could be "on time" to get our adventure on the road post haste. This cooler bag was clutch for our driving adventures. Thanks so much Mare!!!

We got back to Mary's, and as we packed up the car, our dear vegetarian friend made us chicken sandwiches to go, put a box of strawberry shortcake together, and a whole can of whipped cream for our hotel room. It was so sweet. We also had TWO salted chocolate chip cookies from Tandem for the road. We were set. We hugged Mary, thanked her for the hospitality, and then "get-on-downed-the-road" to Canada!

stock photo from the internet
The drive through Maine was beautiful two lane highway, up steep grades. We got stuck behind a logging truck which slowed us down. I drove this leg and kept my distance.

stock photo from the internet
Maybe it was the coffee talking, but all I could think of was that one bad turn and our little trip would look like this? I'm not sure where my brain goes so negative so fast, but there it is. So I kept my distance behind the logging truck. Way behind, while E napped.

We didn't get squished by a logging truck, Praise God, and we did arrive in Montreal before the sunset. Our room was fantastic and we stayed at the Hotel Le Saint Sulpice. Eric upgraded us to a suite and it felt so spacious. There was a large room where we could throw open the windows, relax on the sofa and listen to the bustle of the quiet street below us. It felt so European. Susan and Lucy left the day before we got there. I begged people to speak French with me and once we crossed the border earlier in the day we switched the radio to French only speaking radio to get us prepped. 

We freshened up and headed out immediately to find cocktails and dinner. The flower boxes were gorgeous all over Montreal.

The streets were narrow, some cobble with stoned. St. Paul Street was paved in stone in 1672. 300 years before I was born.

We landed on a spot for dinner called L'Original which was charmingly Canadian without being cheesy. Moose carvings and a huge canoe decked out the bar.

We were pretty wrecked from the trek but happy to land at the bar for a nice meal. The guy next to us was eating Poutine, so the smells of Canada greeted us almost immediately upon entering the country.

Gin, Prosecco and Lime Juice.

E. had the halibut special with tomatoes and basil pesto and I had the trout with mussels. The steel head trout was pink like salmon and served with a lentil cream sauce. It was a gorgeous meal.

The hotel was right next door to the Notre-Dame Basilica. Walking back from dinner, the entire path was lit up with the cite memoire. We lucked out and sat in the plaza watching people look up. It felt very safe, clean and the weather was great. No humidity. Looking back we desperately wanted more time in Montreal. 

Cité Mémoire - English version from Montréal en Histoires on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ten Year Anniversary Trip: Maine Fourth of July

We spent the morning of the Fourth on Popham Beach. The water was 55 degrees. Y'all that is cold, cold, cold. That is 23 degrees away from FREEZING. Cold. 

We went to dip our feet in, got ankle deep. Hard pass. No. Nope. Not even. There were two other people in the water. Who were crazy. But in all fairness, we wanted a cool, cool summer (I know it's cruel, cruel) because last year in Destin it was way too hot. 

After our morning at the beach Mary took us on a history tour of Malaga Island. Y'all, Maine has some dark, racist history. Talk about COLD! 1912 was a crazy year for this island. The interracial families who lived there were exiled to the island and then kicked off later. They were sent to a school for the feeble minded. I'm sorry, what? Interracial kids were thought of as feeble minded simply because they were mixed? It's been a really long time since I've started to post things on this blog again. I try to avoid politics and rants, but I can't be quiet about the continued injustices happening in our country currently, and wanted to shed light on this new found knowledge. And this would have affected Eric and me directly if we lived in Maine all those years ago. I've been reading many of the new liberal black authors over the last two summers trying to educate myself on the Black Lives Matter movement. Our book club discussed Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson last week at our home. I try to stay positive without being naive, but it is really tough with all the realities that are coming into focus. There was a fact Mr. Stevenson quoted regarding interracial marriages that 46% of the Mississippi Republican party would have voted to ban interracial marriages in 2011. THIS BLOWS MY MIND. What are people so afraid of? What were the people in Maine afraid of with regards to this quiet little island. Is it because people had just been taught it was illegal for so long without having a reason. Whew, there is so much more to discuss so I'll leave this here for now.

View of the island from Anna's Water's Edge, which was closed for the holiday. But we ran into Anna and she gave us a brochure about this historic island.

Anna's has a great plaque with information about the island. The governor today, who himself is racist as F, put up a plaque to make all things better for the ancestors of Malaga. I have a lot of feelings about this too. Too little too late, and the fact that this guy is using this dedication to his advantage is just...extra frustrating.  Racism man. It's really bizarre to think of this happening in Maine.

Was the Fourth of July weird for anyone else this year? 

Back to Maine, we had a little break on the Kennebunk River with beers, boats and very little patience with the passport UPS situation. 

Mary and I went to the grocery store and got supplies for our 4th of July BBQ. I cooked real meat on Mary's grill for Hank. Mary and Vickie are vegetarians. I think Hank was happy with his buttermilk soaked chicken. I love that Mary has this family in Maine who are basically like her second set of parents. They are awesome and we got to see them in January when we went up for a quick weekend as well.

After dinner we walked into town as the sun was setting to listen to Hank play in the Bath Municipal Band at the gazebo. 

This little town is the freaking cutest place ever. Mary calls it Mayberry. I think it's totally Stars Hollow.

The band played everything from Souza Marches to Lady Gaga. They were so good!!! They played until it got dark and the first fireworks started to boom.

We watched from the hill over the Kennebunk River.

I'm so thankful we got to spend more time with you this year Mare. Twice in 2017 and Girls Gun Club last fall. Whoohoo.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Ten Year Anniversary Trip: Five Islands Lobster Company, Maine

After our adventures on Monhegan we headed to Five Islands Lobster Company for dinner. 

Lobster Rolls, Scallops, Fried Shrimp and clam chowder graced the table. Mary scored the perfect picnic table. 

Mary held claim to the good views, while E and I waited in line to order. It wasn't crazy, but hey, it's summer in Maine at a lobster shack. We enjoyed our meal with beers, bourbon and boats in the background.

Susan and Lucy had posted a picture of this same location last summer and I didn't put two and two together until we were there.

The pink horizon grew as we gorged ourselves on seafood and sunset lighting.

I loved this setting. The pink bow of this boat pointing up at the pink sky. The pine trees in the background with the seagull overhead. The blocks of colors on the water. It needs to be a painting. Harriet asked me to email it to her so I'm praying that is the plan. Love you Harriet! 

Love you too Maine!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ten Year Anniversary Trip: Monhegan Island

Monday morning came early as we headed up to Boothbay for an hour and a half ferry ride to Monhegan Island. 

I've been obsessed with flower boxes since we moved into the new condo. I swear I'll write about the house at some point. I need to find my before and after photos to write a somewhat interesting post. But for now, know you may see many flower boxes in your future if you read here or follow me on Instagram.

We stopped by the Red Cup for coffee and breakfast for the trip.

It was a pretty chilly boat ride and a little choppy. If you get seasick, definitely plan ahead for this ride. The ten miles took approximately an hour and a half to get there.

We checked on our passports a few times. This was by far the biggest frustration. NO. ONE. ANSWERED. THE. PHONE!

But we got over it and enjoyed the ride.

Monhegan is filled with trails, rocky cliffs and glorious views of the ocean.

If you look close you can see baby, puffy tan seagulls on the cliff ledge.

This is my favorite picture from our whole trip of us. Thanks Mare!

Mary did a great job planning this second day of adventure as well as being our photographer. She's so pretty.

It was such a gorgeous day and of course I had to take pictures of all of the landscape changes. 

Mary's nephew started a company called Northern Etiquette. Check it out.

We walked into town and to the Mohegan Brewing Company where we had beers and our picnic lunches at a communal picnic table. I tried something with rhubarb that was light and refreshing after the hike.

I suggest that if you have the time and five dollars take the extra ferry tour around the island. We saw seals and met the nicest people.