Tag Archives: Maine

I Can’t Believe I’m Telling You This.

When I pulled up to my rental cottage in northern Maine this past weekend, I let out out a sigh of relief. Ten hours in the car with a distressed Labradoodle, two wrong turns, and a long, steep decent via gravel road had been worth it.

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I had booked the cottage nearly nine months earlier, anticipating my summer residency, a week-long retreat required as part of my Humane Education Masters degree program. (YES, it’s a THING.)

I knew after nine-hour days of singing Kumbaya and braiding my cohorts’ armpit hair, this New Jersey native and closet introvert was going to need some alone time.

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I think we all remember what happens when Jules tries to be a team player.

I arrived at my little rustic gem with a view and, per the check-in instructions, headed straight for what I thought was the front door. “Doors will be unlocked,” the instructions read. “The key will be inside in an obvious location. Should you need a spare, it will be under the back doormat.”

I jiggled the handle. The deadbolt, apparently, was working overtime.

I jumped from foot to foot, having had to pee for what felt like 127 hours.

127 hours

I walked around the side of the cottage and saw another door. “Ah, of course,” I said to myself. “This must be it.” I turned the handle and once again – door locks working the night shift.

My bladder screamed as I tried both doors again. I checked and rechecked under both doormats. Uncle Jesse, my dog, bounced around me as if to say, “Is it time to go back to Jersey yet?”

I groaned loudly and walked back to my car to retrieve the check-in instructions. I called all four numbers listed on the paper and not a single person answered. My bathroom situation went from a slightly unpleasant Kevin Costner film to Waterworld.

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I looked around surreptitiously. People were sitting on the porch at the house to the left, but they were almost entirely shrouded by trees. The house at the top of the hill had a partially obstructed view of Fort Knox my cottage, but, maybe no one was home?

There was no time left to wonder. I grabbed a battered box of tissues from my car and tiptoed to the side of the cottage. With one more wary glance up the hill, I said, “F*ck it,” and, well.

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Like we haven’t all peed on the side of a rental cottage in Maine.

The relief was as sublime as the view. I was a woman on a mission now. After wrestling with several ancient windows held secure by what I think were pine tree shivs, I managed to pry one open.

I climbed inside, unlocked both doors, and started unloading my overstuffed car when I saw a man walking down the gravel driveway. He looked like a cross between a young(ish) Jeff Bridges and a basket handwoven by fruitarians.

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That rug basket really pulled the room fruit together.

I gave a shy hello, crusted in sweat, shame and ten hours of car funk, assuming he was headed towards the small staircase that led to the coastline.

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As he neared, it started to feel increasingly awkward. Maybe he was one of the numbers I’d just called? I took a few steps forward and held out my hand.

“Hi…. I’m Jules. …I’m renting the cottage for the week…?”

“I just happened to notice you pull up,” he said. “I live in the black and tan house that’s shaped like a teepee built in 1971 by a blind nudist colony.” He pointed up the hill, his long brown locks swaying in the breeze.

“Oh, yeah, so,” I stammered. Holy hell. He saw…everything. “I couldn’t find the key and no one answered the emergency number, so, I peed my brains out on the lawn and climbed in through the window…”

“I think I know where the key is,” he said without missing a beat. He headed towards the porch and knelt down by a crack in the wooden staircase. “The owner was just here two days ago.” He handed me a small silver key. “Want to give this a try?”

“Wow,” I said sarcastically. “I feel really secure now.”

He laughed and waited for me to try the key, making small talk about my dog and having once lived in New Jersey. Rattled, I tried to shake him off, and he soon headed down the stairs towards the water, as if that had been his plan all along.

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And perhaps it was. Say hello to my new makeshift curtains.

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You’ll Never Guess Who I Met in Maine

Hiya, Chipmunks! Welp, I’m back home in New Jersey, but alas, my heart is still in Maine.

And by heart I mean the better part of the paint from the side of my car.

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Last week, I drove north to Bar Harbor to relax, unwind and commune with nature. Instead I almost died three times.

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Mt. Sargent. Time #3.

One of those times, however, was positively pleasant. Because I died and went to heaven

I met Peg-o-Leg’s Rambings and She’s A Maineiac!

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Left to right: Go Jules Go, Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings, She’s A Maineiac

You heard me.

Last Sunday, the stars aligned and three bloggy universes collided (much like my car with many, many rocks and trees).

Peg (Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings), Darla (She’s A Maineiac) and I stumbled across each other’s blogs eons ago, back when we were still trying to figure out how you posted the whosewhatsit up by the whatchamathingy. I’d been lucky enough to hang out with Darla before, but this time we upped the ante and met Peg in Portland, where she was visiting with family.

Any Catfish fan knows that meeting an online friend can go terribly, awfully, heinously awry – but not with these two. They’re every bit as hilarious, warmhearted and adorable as their words. Last weekend we were just a gaggle of blogging vets, inhabiting the same fresh Maine air, trying to fit four years worth of conversation into two short hours.


In fact, rather than try to cram all of the goodness into one post, I think I’ll let the two of them explain the rest. (Click on their logos below to check out all of the great things they have to say about me their accounts of our meet-up!)

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Why I Should Just Leave My Dog at Home

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When I got a dog, I vowed never to leave him home alone for more than a half a day, tops. “It’s not fair to him,” I said. “I’ll be his whole world, the side pony to his elastic hair band, the ‘stache to his wet nose, the Kelly Kapowski to his Zack Morris.”

And for the past six and a half years, I’ve been pretty successful.

This week, I took my dog with me on a trip to Maine, and for the most part, the scene out and about has looked like this:

RANDOM PASSERBY 1: Is that a Labradoodle?

ME: Yup.

RANDOM PASSERBY 1: What’s her name?

ME: His name is Uncle Jesse.

RANDOM PASSERBY 1 (smiling): Dukes of Hazard?

ME: Full House.

RANDOM PASSERBY 2: Adorable!

ME: Thank you!

RANDOM PASSERBY 2: Is she a puppy?

ME: Nope, he’s six.

RANDOM PASSERBY 2: Wow, she looks like a puppy.

RANDOM PASSERBY 3: Oh my god. She’s so cute.

(Repeat above to infinity.)

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And then we dine al fresco.

On Wednesday, I took Uncle Jesse to Jordon Pond in Acadia National Park, and just as we set foot on the trail, a shout stopped us.

“Hey! Hey! Can I see your dog?”

A thin, middle-aged man took his foot out of a red kayak and jogged over.

No! Shut your eyes and turn around, madman! I thought.

Uncle Jesse squatted and pooped.

“Goldendoodle?” the man asked.

“No, Labradoodle.”

“I have a Goldendoodle. I couldn’t bring her today because I’m going kayaking.”

“Yeah… well… that makes sense,” I offered.

“Here, let me show you a picture.”

Kayak Man pulled out his phone and took three minutes to bring up a blurry photo of a giant Goldendoodle in front of a tent.

A park ranger who’d been within earshot approached. He stared at Uncle Jesse.

“Are you sure she’s a Labradoodle?” he asked.

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I hate you so much.

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Maine: Best Worst Trip Ever

Last week, Rachel’s Table and I headed north to Freeport, Maine to visit Darla from She’s A Maineiac. I guess we were kind of excited.

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We were originally going to go Friday-Sunday, but decided to leave on Thursday afternoon so we’d have a full day with Darla while her two adorable kiddos were in school.

Without traffic, it’s a 6 hour drive from New Jersey.

We took Rachel’s car, agreeing to split the driving time. Did I mention her car is new? And if there’s a pothole, I’ll hit it?

Somewhere between New York and Connecticut, we (and by we I mean me) hit 37 potholes. And I’m not talking little divots in the pavement.

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Good job on 15 North, guys. Really. It’s impressive.

On Rachel’s high-tech dashboard, we watched the air pressure in the driver’s side tire plummet.

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By the time we reached Boxborough, Massachusetts, we had a flat. Rachel pulled over while I surreptitiously checked her fuel tank. Plenty to keep the car running and heated for at least an hour or two. Whew.

“I don’t know how to change a tire. Do you?” she asked with a laugh.

“I’m from New Jersey. I don’t even know how to pump my own gas,” I replied. “But I just renewed my AAA membership!”

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In under 30 minutes, a tow truck arrived. The driver got the spare out of the trunk and started rooting around while Rachel and I bounced up and down trying to keep warm.

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Rache “spares” a smile for this photo. *groan*

“I can’t find the key,” he announced.

It took us much longer than it should have to understand that tires have unique “keys” to unscrew the lug nuts so no one steals them. The spare in your car is supposed to come equipped with its matching key.

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We tore apart the car, but alas, no key. Thanks, Toyota.

Eventually, he said our only option was to go to the nearby dealership and have them change the tire – when they opened. In the morning.

Oh, did I mention Rache had 20-inch fancy rims?

This detail becomes important later.

This detail becomes important later.

“I’m so sorry I broke your car!” I wailed for the first of many times.

After the tow truck driver unloaded the car at the dealership, he said he could drive us to the nearest hotel. Nevermind that we had two non-refundable rooms waiting for us a mere two hours away in Maine.

“Do you have anywhere for us to put our luggage?” we asked.

“Just your laps.”

Our essentials were scattered between six bags, not including my swinging 1970s, fully-loaded cooler, which took up half the back seat. I grabbed my laptop and two bottles of champagne. “Screw it,” I said to Rachel. “This is all I need.”

When we arrived at the hotel, Rachel explained our predicament to the front desk. The man at the counter replied deliberately, “You have a coupon, riiight?” He nodded slowly.

“Um…yeeees,” Rachel said, catching on.

When we saw the receipt: 50% off! What’s more, our room overlooked a funky indoor pool, white lights and palm trees (you go on with your bad self, Holiday Inn), so we opened the balcony sliders, and more importantly, the champagne, and toasted to the kindness of strangers.

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Rachel called the dealership at 8am the next morning, and they finally got back to us with the verdict two hours later.

“It’s not just a flat. Your rim is damaged beyond repair.”

“Of course it is,” Rachel replied.

“And since you have 20-inch ones, we’d have to custom order a replacement. It wouldn’t be here until Monday.”

“So…my only options are to wait until Monday…or get 4 new 18-inch rims and tires?”

“Correct. And it’d probably cost the same either way.”

She covered the mouthpiece. “I knew. I knew when we got that car with those friggin’ rims…” She spoke into the receiver, “I guess I’ll have to get four new tires and rims, then. How long will that take? …Okay.”

“I’m so sorry!” I cried.

“Jules, it’s not your fault. I hit them, too,” Rachel reassured me, gracious as ever. (It was totally my fault.)

Turns out they had to order the ‘regular’ rims from a nearby dealer and couldn’t start work until 1pm.

They gave us a complimentary rental car, and we killed time at a local diner.

“There’s no lobster on this f&*&#% menu.”

"I haven't showered in 24 hours!"

“I’ve been in these clothes for 27 hours!”

At 3pm, they gave us the good news: “Almost done.”

At 4pm: “We just realized we have to put all of the tire censors back on. It’s going to be another hour.”

5pm: “Okay, just finishing the paperwork.”

5:02pm: “Our computers just froze.”

5:30pm: “Let me give you the damaged tire and rim. Oh, wait, it’s filthy, we need a bag. Hang on.”

5:35pm: “We can’t find any more bags.”

5:45pm: Finally, FINALLY on our way. “Good thing we left Thursday night.”

7:00pm: Reach Maine.

7:30pm: Darla texted. “I can’t get out of my driveway. It’s a sheet of ice.”

That’s right. At last we were in Maine, 24 hours behind schedule, and NO DARLA.

But there was lobster. Lots and lots of lobster.

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These were called “Lobsicles.” Heh.

Saturday morning, another text from Darla: “I still can’t get out!!”

So Rachel and I shuffled around the icy streets of Freeport alone, waiting for the temperature to climb above freezing.

At one point, it was so slippery, a gift shop owner reached out a hand while holding the door, towing us inside. Later, when we peered longingly into Freeport Chowder House, the man inside waved us in.

“Are you open?” we asked.

“Not for two hours, but I never turn down customers,” he replied. “I don’t have the fryer going yet, but what do you want? Lobster roll?”

Rachel and I looked at each other. “YES.”

Breakfast of champions bloggers.

Breakfast of champions bloggers.

It was noon on Saturday before we saw Darla, but she was worth the wait.

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The sun even came out…just in time for us to drive home.

Bartending for Rache and Darla from my favorite possession: My parents' 1970s cooler. Dude. It keeps ice frozen for THREE days. IN THE SUMMER.

The (in)famous swinging 1970s cooler, a.k.a. my favorite possession. It keeps ice frozen for THREE days. IN THE SUMMER.

Despite the many snafus, this li’l trip north had so many heart-warming moments, I wouldn’t trade it for anything would totally trade it for another 10am lobster roll.

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And they say chivalry is dead.

P.S. – I even learned how to pump my own gas!

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Since the word count on this post is already as atrocious as the potholes on Route 15, I hope you’ll head over to Rachel’s Table and She’s A Maineiac to read more about our adventures!

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Have you ever had any vacations that didn’t go, ah, according to plan?

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Have Pie, Will Travel

This afternoon, Rachel’s Table and I are on our way up [from Delaware and New Jersey, respectively] to…

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To see this gal!

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Darla, from ShesOneOfMyFavoritePeople.com, I mean, ShesAMaineiac.com.

The three of us had been daydreaming about a Maine get-together for ages. One December morning, I blurted, “Why wait? I’m not working [since my “separation” with Big Pharma], and Darla doesn’t have to go back to [Medical Assistant] school until late January! When will that ever happen again?”

Maine? In January? You’re probably thinking.

My mom's cousin's backyard right now. Little Deer Isle, Maine.

My cousin’s backyard right now. Little Deer Isle, Maine.

Sure, they’re having the harshest winter Darla’s ever seen, but I think I’ll be spending less time outdoors and more time doing this:

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Besides, while most people fantasize about palm trees and white sand, I lust after evergreens, crisp air, mountains, and of course, an ocean view at every turn. I’ve been in love with Maine since my first visit [to Freeport, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park] 16 years ago. It calls to me. It’s like my Paris.

View from Darla's backyard.

Basically, I want to live in an LL Bean catalog. View from Darla’s backyard.

I also realized I had a golden opportunity to woo several people at once with my homemade Tollhouse pie.

Get ready, Maineiacs.

Get ready, Maineiacs.

Because that’s how I roll.

The Accidental Stepmom (a.k.a. JM Randolph), who I just had the pleasure of seeing again on Monday, approves.

I hope to return next week with some wacky and wonderful tales. In the meantime, stay warm – and don’t have too much fun without me!

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I really should have gotten that hat.

Where’s your “Paris”? What part of the world calls to you?

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