Friday, August 4, 2017

1983 (7) – Vinalhaven

Maine sunset.

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

Another Maine harbor we enjoyed was at Vinalhaven.  It was an active fishing harbor; most of the anchorage was taken up with moorings for the lobster boats.  That whole area of Maine had once been supported by the granite industry.  We wanted to spend a day exploring.  We packed a picnic lunch, and hiked out to a granite quarry that served as the local swimming hole.  The quarry was a lovely site, with its hacked-out ledges climbing their way down to the water's edge.  I couldn't believe we had the place to ourselves - and we didn't, for long.  In less than five minutes, several cars arrived, disgorging packs of kids.  We gave up on the quiet ambiance, and settled in for a colorful display of flashing swimsuits and noisy games of chicken, as the boys dared each other to jump off higher, and yet higher, ledges.  

Scenic Maine

From the quarry, we walked to a mountaintop park.  We climbed a road bordered with logging areas, trash dumps, and junked cars.  But near the summit we left all the garbage behind, and surfaced on the granite-topped mountain.  There wasn't so much as a picnic table or another person up there.  We had a great view of the bay and islands to the west, with Camden Hills in the distance.  Our return trip took us to the historical society museum, the ice cream parlor, and back to Tropic Moon for a well-earned rest. 

Full moon rising.

Our stay at Vinalhaven had started off with an invitation for drinks on a boat called Piper.  A young fellow came by on a windsurfer to say, "The captain of that black boat over there invites you to cocktails at quarter of six."  Fine, we were always game!  Gordon greeted us at the boat.  His son, Colin (the windsurfer), joined us when the wind died down.  Gordon played the bagpipes (hence the name of the boat).  Gordon was a retired executive from IBM.  He had, at one time, raced cars (Jaguars), and owned a horse farm in Nova Scotia.  He'd bought an old fisherman's home on Vinalhaven and was fixing it up for his retirement.  All these varied and sundry facts were documented in photographs hanging around the salon.  A battered, two-foot high wooden statue of a Scot playing the bagpipes dominated the salon. 

Tropic Moon waiting for us while we were off on one of our walks.

In discussing places to eat, Gordon and Colin recommended the Sands Cove as their favorite local restaurant.  They warned us it was a bit on the rustic side.  The evening after our hike, we headed back in to shore to give the Sands Cove a try.  We found an old shack (the kitchen) about a half-mile out of town.  The picnic tables and sawed-off log benches were set behind the shack, where they overlooked another picturesque cove.  A big wood fire burned in a rusty oil drum that served as the grill. 

Pretty to see, but we had to be careful not to wrap one around our propeller!

I thought the menu was great - it gave a choice of two dinners.  The steak dinner included a whole crab, a whole lobster, a 10-oz. steak, a baked potato, fresh salad (from their garden), homemade bread, and tea or lemonade.  Or you could have the steak dinner and omit the lobster (Ed's pick).  The second dinner was the clambake that included a whole crab, a large basket of steamed clams, and a whole lobster, corn on the cob, salad, bread and drink.  Or you could get just a lobster or a steak, and order ala carte.  I opted for the lobster, and ordered shrimp cocktail, coleslaw, and a breadbasket that came with two slices each, of three kinds of homemade sweet breads.  The owners caught the seafood, including the shrimp, and baked all the breads.  Instead of a nutcracker for opening the shellfish, we were each given a stick.  You put the claw or tail or leg on the table, and hit it with the stick.  Very effective!  Large garbage pails graced the end of each table.  There was a hose to wash down the tables (and the diners) when the dinner was over.

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