For the Love of Maine

[Note from Meryl: Some days I think the State of Maine should pay a few mommy bloggers for the tourism they must bring in.  Between Maine MommaSoule Mama, and a few others, I often catch myself thinking of retiring there...even though I've never even visited!  Which is why this post was such a treat for me--Jennifer's photos are like a mini-vacation.

Jennifer posts mostly about comfort cooking, books, and occasional travel to Maine.  You may find her at her blog Cooking for Comfort.]

Hello “My Bit of Earth” readers....what an honor to be chosen to guest blog for Meryl, someone whom I admire and draw inspiration from every SINGLE day.  Never met her, but I think I'd be ever so happy to be her neighbor...

This week's theme is love.  Although I'm happily married and am a descendant of many a good love story, I want to share a different kind of love story with you-it's about the love of a place.  For me, it is Maine.

When the hubby and I moved from North Carolina to New England four years ago, we didn't know quite what to expect.  We thought we were moving to a quiet suburb in a nice apartment, not a complex parked right on top of one of the most horrendous rotaries in all of Boston.  And I have to drive through this every day.  ME.  The girl from the town in which a traffic jam meant being stuck behind a tractor and a few cars.....anyway.....

It soon became obvious why everyone on Earth suddenly takes off to Cape Cod or New Hampshire or the bar every weekend.  People have to have an escape in order to maintain their sanity.  I, apparently, am one of those people.  In May of 2008, a pretty much status quo weekend, I looked at the hubby and said “we should explore Maine.”  And with that, we packed two bags, threw the laptop and the camera in the backseat and a hotel reservation later, we were on our way.  We stayed just outside Freeport, the home of L.L. Bean, and we were hooked.  That afternoon, we had lobster rolls and cheeseburgers in the sun by the harbor, walked on a beach strewn with rocks and driftwood, both washed smooth from the rough sand and waves of the mighty Atlantic.

A year later, the hubby and I took a week off for vacation and decided on Maine as the destination.  We stayed half a week in Portland and the other half in Kennebunkport.  It was there that we met our friend Steve, the owner of “The Clam Shack.”  We met the late Myles Henry, and his brother Dick Henry, owners of the Maine Diner.  We stayed at a resort for the very first time.  We went lighthouse chasing, spent evenings underneath the stars around a firepit, roasting marshmallows.  We relaxed.  We forgot our troubles.  

A few weeks later, we returned to pick up an antique phone that we had repaired and stayed at a nearby inn.  We found Walker's Point and The Wedding Cake House.  We read paper after paper that advertised community groups, bean suppers, and town meetings.  We were constantly meeting person after person who treated us as if we were long lost friends.

We fell in love with the people, the landscape, the ease of an unhurried life.  We found that we were more ourselves than we ever had been before.

Here we are, many, many visits later, another vacation to Maine planned, we find ourselves planning a life there.  Making the decision to either buy a home or buy a track of land.  Making the decision on how long do we stick around town-or how long do we wait before making the leap.  Making the decision to live a life in a place filled with peace and tranquility.

To say that I love Maine would be an understatement.  I love that it's unassuming.  There's no big bag of tricks.  There's no honking horns when you don't immediately step on the gas after a red light.  It's the one place I can go where I feel that I am completely myself.  Where anyone I was before or will be in the future doesn't matter.  I am accepted and I am whole there.