I am not a seafaring, sand in your shorts, bake on the beach type of person and, luckily, we are not that type of family in general. However it would not be summer without at least one visit to the ocean. A road trip to coastal Maine would be the cure for the dwindling summer days. It is a quick five hour run from NYC to Saco, Maine and the trip is made even quicker if you can nap in one of the seats that does not have a steering wheel. The school year was in its first few half days and departing at lunch time on a Friday would have us smelling the salty breeze of the Atlantic before we laid our heads to sleep.
The sun was just setting as we crossed into Maine and we watched the sun disappear from our seats in one of the common rooms of The Run of the Mill Brewpub in Saco, mere minutes from our cabin for the weekend. The pub fare and local brew was good and we ate with the hunger of empty bellies grumbling from the road. We arrived in a quiet grove dotted with faux log cabins neatly placed to make the most of the property. The three room bunkhouse was fake camping at its finest and we made ourselves at home in the blink of an eye. The morning held an even better surprise than the comfy cabin, fresh Maine blueberry pancakes hot off the griddle were easily had a few steps from the cabin. The campground, with its cabins and pancakes and swimming pool and hot tub, ensnared my wife and kids into securing a KOA value card in an attempt for them to convince me that they love camping, especially at these luxury campgrounds.
I smiled. They were going to need their stomachs full of blueberry pancakes to tackle the adventure courses and zip-trek at Monkey Trunks, right down the road. I had made morning reservations for the three of them to strap on climbing harnesses and helmets and zipline through the canopy of trees surrounding the complex. After a two hour zip-trek from obstacle to obstacle, they were set free upon the adventure course to tackle 50 different aerial challenges before ziplining back to Earth. This is a solid half-day adventure and than some. If you were to bring a bag lunch, one could easily spend the day mastering their inner monkey. This is a family favorite and everyone should try this at least once.
As is always the case, everyone was hungry "from all the climbing" and the exertion of zipping through the landscape. It was time to get down to the real reason for visiting Maine, the lobster. A short, scenic ride along the coast would lead us to Kennebunkport and the quaint shops and shacks filled with maritime brick-a-brack and the address of Allison's Restaurant. Allison's is a pub, a dining room, and a notable lobster roll destination made more prominent due to a role in a Food War episode. The entire table nearly dove into the fresh mussels steamed in a locally crafted ale. My youngest would noisily savor a petite lobster roll before testing the New England clam chowder. Lobster was on all of our plates and the buttery goodness could not be denied. After our seafood feast, we retreated to our cabin for some relaxing, and maybe a turn in the hot tub to soothe sore muscles that Monkey Trunks had proven had not been used in years.
Our final morning was spent wandering the waterfront district of Portland. A couple of Sunday morning hours can not conquer the cobblestone streets strewn with boutiques and eateries, gourmet ingredient shops and brewpubs, and the wharf filled with bay cruises and whale watching ships. Our true destination here was the International Museum of Cryptozoology. The tiny door that hid the museum opened up into two large rooms cluttered with "evidence" of the existence of every folktale known to walk or swim the continent. The Jersey Devil, the jackalope, large snakes, chupacabras, two-legged fish, mermaids, and sea serpents were all represented. The main character of the whole place was Bigfoot, Sasquatch, in all the scientific glory. There were showcases filled with footprint casts and collected hair samples and newspaper articles. Making a special limited appearance was the Iceman, a subhuman thawed from a block ice and now displayed in glass. Roadside America at its best. All you nonbelievers really need to visit this place. The truth is out there.
With our bellies full of lobster, our heads filled with Bigfoot folklore, and a cooler flush with Barreled Souls, we drove up the highway ramp and prepared to cruise the 300 miles back to reality. The summer was ending and school was starting and it was time to return home.