Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Carnivals and Beaches

Maine! Glorious Maine! Windows down, radio up.  It's so cold here that you actually begin to believe that you need to purchase winter gear to survive the dead of summer... so we took the advice of our buddy Kyle Acker and made our way to the L.L. Bean flagship campus in Freeport for some extensive shopping and shoe climbing.

That's a big boot.


Mark went crazy at L.L. Bean. He skipped from rugged man clothing section to section, replenishing his aging supply of cargo pants and shorts.  Sure, they're not so popular in "mainstream" stores as they used to be...but, he's keeping the dream alive.

Pockets.  You can keep stuff in them.

He purchased a set of lightweight sleeping bags, a rolling pin and a wooden travel chess set. Everything seemed like a good idea.

Using his aged and torn cargo shorts to store his new chess set and rolling pin, he hauled 4 bags of L.L. Bean merchandise to the truck and bathed in the glory of his purchases as we headed to our campsite in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

A small town located on the outskirts of Portland, Old Orchard Beach will make you believe that you're walking through scenes from a classic 80's movie where modern adolescent life collides with nostalgic turn of the century carnival relics.

Two blocks from the beach, we checked in to Paradise Park Resort, an adorable family-run campground.  The entire family came out to greet us, including Dad and his two sons - all in golf carts and all ready to help Mark back our big rig into the campsite.

Mark, a language chameleon and a sucker for a local dialect, jumped right in to the rapid-fire conversation about "lefts", "rights", "hold its" until they got the 40 foot "monstah campah pahked in the wicked tight space" with the help of the New England natives. 


Old Orchard Beach smells like cotton candy and greets you with all of the best memories of your childhood: fried dough, fresh cut french fries, and a pier that juts out into the Atlantic complete with swirling seagulls and schooners sailing lazily by.




The next morning, we headed in to the "big city" (biggest city in Maine), for the The Maine Foodie Tour of Portland. 





Portland is a real foodie city, and the best thing we found was the Holy Donut. Donuts made from mashed potatoes and lots of yummy local and amazing flavors. IF we tried them all (and we're not saying we did), we'd tell you that the dark chocolate sea salt is the best. 


The kids were begging for a beach day, so we loaded up our L.L. Bean beach chairs and got sandy and sunburned between breaks for hot dogs and fried dough. 









On our last day in the Portland area, we took a drive out to Cape Elizabeth and practically melted over the divine scenery. 

The Lobster Shack, home to lunch with a breathtaking view, provided an excellent backdrop for lobster rolls and clam chowder. 





After lunch, we drove over to explore the Portland Head Light and hike the Cliff Walk. 




We finished off the day with an early 4th of July celebration of baseball and fireworks while we cheered on the Portland Sea Dogs! Let's go Sea Dogs! 



The Sea Dogs were down by 7 in the bottom of the 9th, so Mark got serious about trying to help them turn things around. What you see pictured below is a "rally cap". April didn't know what that was. Neither did the 9 year old sitting next to Mark. After he explained it, everybody was on board. He said, "We have ONE, and I mean ONE goal - to make an incredible comeback."

Sadly, that goal was not realized. The Sea Dogs were pummeled.

Even though the Sea Dogs lost ...  this stop was a WIN! On to Rockport, Maine! 

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