Anson and I are traveling, just not where I thought we would be at this time last week. We are in Maine. The Germany trip did not work out like we had hoped it would. In short it was the wrong time of year to get a flight to Germany. The largest Air Force Base in Germany, Ramstein, is quite a popular destination for families of any size (I noted a lot that were traveling with 4 or more kids) and so the flights would fill up fast. Friday was the last day we tried to get a flight out, and almost did. I know it was God keeping us here for whatever reason because the flight left with 33 people and Anson and I would have been on seats 34 and 35. If they had two more seats we would have made it. While we were waiting I was able to listen in on some other conversations of "veteran" Space-A flyers and October and February are the months to travel, with dozens of seats empty on flights. So we haven't given up on the Space-A flight idea yet, though it may be a while before we have the time to try this again. All that said now I can tell you about Maine! Why Maine? Well, first, neither of us have ever been to this state, secondly it is similar weather to Germany that is made packing quite easy, and third I hear it's gorgeous!
We flew into Boston yesterday evening and spent the night at this cute little motel called the Pineapple Inn in Newport RI. It was a little experiment to see what a 0-star place was actually like, an adventure really. I slept surprisingly well, no bugs, clean, plus the friendly clerk even invited us to an Indian picnic the next afternoon.
Brenton Park Sunset Monday night.
The Pineapple Inn this morning.
This morning we stopped in at Anson's favorite coffee shop in Newport, Empire Coffee & Tea. Such tasty coffee. Anson was here in Newport in Feb-May of 2008, for NSI (part of his officer commissioning requirements) and so he had lots of places to show me. First on the list of things to see in Newport was the navy base where Anson was stationed for 3 months. After that we went out to Fort Adams, a pre-civil war fort and one of the largest coastal forts in the country. We visited Brenton Park again and in the woods behind where I took the sunset photo there is a huge stone building, perhaps a house, gated off and covered in graffiti and "do not enter" signs. Also after walking around the building through small trails in the trees and bushes there is a little stone tower that overlooks the house. The first few stone slabs that stuck out from the sides for steps have been removed and there was a wide modern set of steps to get to the top.
One our way back to the car there are some wonderful picnic spots, large grassy areas divided up with trees and bushes in between. The perfect place to have any sort of outside gathering and some privacy. While we were walking through this lush grass at some point a bee decided to crawl up my pant leg. How, I still don't know since I've been wearing my Toms non stop, my jean legs are not particularly wide, and we were walking rather quickly. We must have made quite the spectacle while Anson tried to get a bee out of my pants. I felt it near my knee and it kept crawling up! A horrible feeling! My pants aren't tight but you certainly can't reach an extra hand in to flick a bee out. Anson was able to squish it between the fabric but it still took a little to get the hopefully dead bee to fall out.
After that we went back into town to see some of the huge mansions and hopefully tour one. The home we ended up touring was the Breakers, built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in only 2 years. It was huge, over 130,000 square feet and built out of limestone and marble. I loved the audio tour and was in awe of each room. The room I found most impressive was the main hall where the red carpeted grand staircase opened on to a "living room" of roughly 5,000 square feet with over 50 foot ceilings molded in gold and paints. In the center of the ceiling was a painting of clouds and surrounding the courtyard-like room pillars carved in stone. Under the grand staircase was a half hidden fountain. I'm sure if I lived in such a place you would find me reading here. It really is the most gorgeous victorian building I have ever seen. In the morning room the paneling actually had platinum behind the designs.
Just behind the mansion is the cliff walk, a path that follows the rocky ocean line behind many other historic homes, though there was only one other that could even compare to the Brakers. Purgatory Chasm we saw on our way out of town, a very steep narrow ravine carved in the rock. The ocean water made a strange slushing sound as the waves came in and out.
A very good and full day.