As some of you know, I just recently celebrated 10 wonderful years with my husband. Our ambition was to take off for Vegas, renew our vows and have Elvis (obviously an impersonator) give me away. But then we realized we don’t drink and we don’t gamble, so Vegas wasn’t really doin’ it for us. That and we didn’t really have the money. So we decided to drive somewhere in New England and take a few days for ourselves to relax. Then came the question of where to go and what to do. At this point we discovered that we are either master procrastinators or the most spontaneous people on Earth. Or both.
The day before our departure was when we finally decided where we were going. We dropped off the kid and the dog, got in the car and headed for Freeport, Maine. Once our journey was underway, I asked where we had hotel reservations, only to learn we didn’t have any. But the husband had found a nice place for about $100 a night and it’d be fine. Except when we got there, we found it was not the hotel he thought and the rooms cost almost twice as much. He gave me an apologetic look, to which I replied, “How often do we get out and do stuff together?” So The Hampton Inn it was!
It was awesome! Free hot breakfast and all the coffee and snacks you could consume. And the staff was wonderful! Even the kitchen workers were asking us how we slept and how they could make our stay more enjoyable. The maintenance man found us the cookies I could smell from down the hallway! But ya’ know what – that’s just Maine. It’s how we roll, as the kids say. We’re laid back and friendly – everyone’s our neighbor.
Get Your Shoppin’ On!
Freeport, Maine is the birthplace of L.L. Bean – the top of the line for anything and everything for all lovers of the outdoors. Their casual wear isn’t my cup o’ tea, but they’re the ones to see about camping gear and winter coats and boots. And we bought absolutely nothing there. It was more of a site seeing adventure for us, since we hadn’t been there since we were kids.
In my opinion, the local “Mom & Pop” shops are where to be. They’re quaint and cozy, the staff is always friendly and the goods are all about Maine. We got a few little things, mostly because we know the prices are a bit higher to feed off the tourists. But it was fun to poke around. We did spend quite a bit at the local book store, though. I picked up some light reading for my son, one of my favorites being Blueberries For Sal by Robert McCloskey. If you know a little one, GET THIS BOOK! Every kid in Maine has read this book. It’s a staple, like bread or milk.
But the Magic Kingdom part of our trip was a stop to Cabela’s. Also a staple in many New England families, my husband was a kid in a candy store. Luckily, we’re very mindful of our budget, especially since it dwindled so quickly the second we got our hotel room. But he found a few things, wandered around and dreamed, and grabbed a little something for the boy. We also shared a humorous conversation with a war veteran. He said to my husband, “There are only two kinds of men in this world: handsome men and men with beards.” We all laughed and he thanked us for that, since my husband has a beard and the last bearded man he told that to didn’t find it so funny.
I was paying attention whenever we stopped somewhere to eat. We arrived our first day just after lunch, so we were starving. Our first stop was Johnny Rockets. We’d never been. As I hinted at before, we don’t get out much. To sum it up: friendly, affordable, and delicious. We were in burger heaven. After popping into some of the outlet stores, we decided on a little local place by the name of Freeport Chowder House for dinner. “The Best Clam Chowder” was plastered across their sign. We stepped into the tiny shop at 5:54pm. But when my husband tried to order fish and chips, we were informed that they (and by they I mean she – the only girl working there) stopped serving fried food. Why? Because they close at 6pm. No joke. Oh and that chowder… no. Combine that with the outrageous price of the lobster roll my husband was essentially forced to order, a lobster roll that was merely a roll with lobster meat tossed in it and a few packets of mayonnaise on the side, it was not our most pleasant experience.
Day 2, however, started off right as rain with our free breakfast of omelettes and hash browns. And it only got better with lunch. There is a little place tucked away, off the main road, called Petrillo’s Italian. Oh. My. God. Seriously – you should make a trip to Freeport JUST to eat there. The place is small, but the food is amazing! And I haven’t even talked about dinner yet! Our final foodie stop was at Buck’s Naked BBQ. How can one NOT eat at a place like that? It’s an experience all its own.
Set Yourself Free!
I have a point. This is our 10th Wedding Anniversary we’re talkin’ about here. Some of you may be thinking we should’ve planned it better, done something romantic, take a cruise, fly to Europe. But not everyone can do that. And frankly, even if you can, maybe you shouldn’t. I get it – it IS a big deal. But all we needed was each other. The rest could just happen the way it was gonna happen and that would be that. Sure, not everything went swimmingly. But we didn’t really care – we didn’t let it bother us. Don’t adhere to some schedule. Don’t try to fit in a million activities and leave yourself exhausted. Go with the flow. Take each day on a whim. If you want to make a dinner reservation, or even actually book a room before you get there, then go for it. But be spontaneous.
Just be happy to have the one you love to share it all with.