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After 12 years in Colorado, the time has come for a change. The only problem is...I don't know where I want to live! Come with me (virtually, of course) across the country as I travel along all the rural roads, small towns, coastal regions, scrub-filled deserts, and damp, dark forests in Anywhere Else, America in search of a new home.

What About the Lobster?

I've moved on from Maine, but I have one more article to post while I'm still drafting initial thoughts about my newest destination. This article is more of a generic "what to do when you're in the neighborhood" kind of article because I wanted to mention some cool places I went that didn't fit into the themes of my other Maine articles.

What everybody wants to know the most is "Did you eat some lobster?" Yes, once, because I was in Maine so I had to. But as I was eating it, I realized that we're all still living with the outdated idea that seafood on the coast is cheaper and better. With modern mass transportation and shipping options, this simply isn't true anymore. A hot, buttery lobster roll is always delicious, but the one I had outside Bar Harbor wasn't any better than the one I had a year ago at the Maine Shack in Denver. I dare say the one I had in Denver was even better. I'm sure the lobster was flown in fresh that morning and it was all about the preparation.

So, I'm not going to link to that lobster pound, but I have a number of other great recommendations for anyone who finds themselves following in my footsteps.

Hotels

Robinsons Cottages. Set in the woods, these 100 plus year old cottages are quite rustic, so don't expect much in terms of comfort. But they are loaded with everything you need in the kitchen to make a meal, books and games, a lovely screened-in porch overlooking the Dennys river, tons of chopped and stacked firewood, and a massive stone fireplace to burn it all in to keep you warm in the cold Maine autumn nights. The atmosphere was perfect for this full moon Halloween weekend.
cottage in the woods with woodpile

woman in cabin in front of stone fireplace

My AirBnB. I booked this cabin way back in April because I knew it was exactly what I wanted, and it turned out to be even better. It's cozy and warm and has great amenities like kayaks, plenty of outdoor seating, firewood, and tons of towels and kitchen supplies. It's probably a little better in the summer when you can take advantage of the lake, but then you'll have a lot of tourists around. As it was, Trotsky and I had the beach to ourselves for all our daily walks.

cabin sliding doors overlooking a lake

Restaurants

Blaze (Bangor) As you might imagine with COVID-19, I didn't do an awful lot of dining out, but when friends were visiting, we checked out a few places. This grill in Bangor was excellent all around - the service, the food, and this delightful "blazing" cocktail. It's called the Black Cat, and the menu said it included "torched rosemary," but I didn't think the waiter would light it on fire (should I say set it ablaze?) in front of me.

cocktail with tendrils of smoke

WaCo Diner in Eastport. Thank goodness this café/lounge was a winner because there wasn't anything else open there or in any of the surrounding towns. We would have been eating granola bars from the Family Dollar. As it was, the waiter (I got a sense he might have been the owner) was fun to banter with and the seafood chowder really hit the spot on that windy, drizzly day. As a bonus, some older locals were relaxing at the bar with their lunch beers, chatting about, well, what else but fishing and the weather.

Your Local General Store. I mentioned Maria's previously and how each little general store where I was has a little dining area. They probably aren't very sanitary, they certainly aren't gourmet, but given their status as a staple of this part of Maine, you have to eat at one or two for the full local experience. Maria's in Enfield is well-loved for her pizza and breakfast sandwiches. And that was how I left Enfield for the last time - chatting with Maria while she made me a nice egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich fresh off the grill. 

convenience store and park

Outdoors

Penobscot River Trails. I mentioned this trail system briefly in a previous post. What a gem. Because most trails in Maine are crowded with roots and stones, finding a wide flat trail, and one that ran for miles and miles along the Penobscot River, was a treat. I did a nice late afternoon run there on the last warm day of the season. Once you get about a half mile from the parking lot, you don't encounter a lot of other people, which is always good, but especially in the time of pandemic.

Bold Coast Scenic Bikeway. This scenic route is more of a driving activity than a real outdoorsy activity, but you can access many hikes in small state parks along this route and end up in Acadia National Park. The old homes are a treat to look at as well. I drove just about the entire thing over the course of several weekends and never tired of coastal views and architecture.

woman and dog on rocks leading to the ocean

dog on stone pathway to lighthouse

Other

Zillman Art Museum. As with restaurants, museums and cultural opportunities are limited at the moment, but I did get to pop into this small gallery in Bangor at the University of Maine. Perhaps if I got to more museums, this one wouldn't make the list because it wasn't all that remarkable, though the docent said they are opening several more rooms next year thanks to a very large grant from a generous local donor (maybe from Stephen King?). Why it's on the list is because of the docent herself. Talking to local people is another one of those treasures of travel that doesn't so easily present itself in the time of COVID-19. But this woman was all to happy to chat about her move to Bangor (with her adult son, she specified) from Maryland and all that she likes about it and all that she doesn't. Like the old men in the WaCo diner, she could have been talking about anything at all and I would have been engaged because her life is different mine and that's always fascinating.

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