Friday, June 06, 2008

Maine - Day 2

Day 2 started off with what a lot of Portland folks like to do in the morning, go to Dunkin Donuts!. We polished off a half dozen of sprinkle and icing covered cake donut goodness. It is not hard to find one of these as there are 22 in a 10 mile radius of Portland and 38 within 20 miles. Yes, we checked the location guide.

The day was chilly and drizzley so we opted to stay indoors for most part of the day. We made a quick stop to the local Target to buy some diapers, wipes and other needed items.

We drove downtown and visited the Children's Museum of Maine. This place was great - four floors of interactive fun.

One of the cool centerpiece exhibits is the camera obscura, a room-size "camera" on the top floor. We gathered around a large white table in a dark room, where we saw projected images from outside that included buildings, cars driving on streets and seagulls flapping by. Rigby controled the camera obscura, which sat on top of the building. Lucy and Rigby loved the water play area in L.L. Bear Cove, the treehouse and lumber yard, supermarket checkout counter and firetruck and firehouse pole that Rigby slid down over and over. We retreated to the bottom floor for Rigby, Lucy and friends' puppet show and dress-up play. Rigby served as a dragon, pirate, wolf and vampire in a purple robe.

After more than two hours, we made way to the harbor and had mid-afternoon lunch at Gilbert's Chowderhouse. The local Shipyard Summer brew was tasty on draft. Stacy and Erik had seafood chowder and clam cakes, while the kids had kid food.

The day dried up a little and we went to the Portland Head Light, an 80-feet tall lighthouse located in Cape Elizabeth. It was constructed in 1787 at the directive of George Washington, and was completed on January 10, 1791. It has been called the "Most photographed lighthouse in North America."

The wind was biting cold coming off the ocean and Mommy and Lucy did not make it long outside. Erik and Rigby took off down a cliff-side path looking to get closer to the large ocean rocks.

Rigby and Erik found a sandy embankment and literally slid down to what Rigby called, "the tumbly rocks." After slipping on some slick rocks, we made it to the water's edge to see waves crashing against the rocks. We got some good rock tossing in and then climbed back up the cliff side to the trail. Rigby wanted to go down in the first place, but later said, "I was not sure we were going to make it back up!"

Upon reuniting with Mommy and Lucy, we went in to the Fort Williams Park area and found the old Goddard Mansion, built in the 1850s. The mansion was bought by the federal government in 1900 and was used by enlisted married men and their families. The mansion is nothing more than rock walls now and is off limits to visitors. There are no floors or roof.

Fort Williams was used during WWI and WWII and the entire fort area was closed by the government in 1962. The town of Cape Elizabeth bought the area in 1964 to help preserve it.

Behind the mansion and toward the cliff edges was the remains of Battery Keyes, built in 1906 and once housed two 3-inch mine defense guns to protect the mines that were laid down during war time. You could still see the footings for the guns as well as the old searchlight foundation. There were two large magazine chambers below that had heavy graffiti inside. It was sad to see a lot of vandalism had taken place on what was left.

After our fort adventures, we went to a sandy beach area and got wet and gritty from throwing rocks and and building sand mounds. The water was very cold!!

We got back to the hotel and all got in the hot tub to warm up.

As a nightcap, we left the hotel room in pajamas for some night-time ice cream. We did not settle on a chain operation, so we let show us something local. Just 5 miles from us was a Red's Dairy Freeze, a Portland tradition since 1952. There were two walk-up windows and I do not think I've seen faster service of ice cream. Since it was about 55 degrees outside most people sat in their cars after getting their soft serve or milkshakes. Mommy had a banana milkshake, Lucy had vanilla dish of soft serve, Rigby had peppermint dish of soft serve and Daddy had chocolate. What a great treat!

So now it is early to bed so we can arise early for a Northern adventure up the coast.
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