Although there are many benefits to our FS lifestyle, one of the obvious down-sides would be the moving and starting over every 2-3 years. There is not only the issue of adjusting to a new area, but also finding those necessities, e.g., doctors, mechanics, hair-dressers, oh, and, if one has children, babysitters.
It usually takes us several months to a year in a new place to find that great babysitter. The one that we all love, generally over-pay, and wish we could take with us to our new location. For whatever reason, we have yet to find that person in CA. I would say the most likely issue is that we simply haven't needed one. We have so much to keep us busy, that we don't really have time to think about evenings out. We have also been quite lucky to have several visits from doting grandparents, and thus, have had not only evenings, but even a night away on the last visit.
Knowing that we are likely going to have our days full when we return to CA, and still not having found "the person", Peter decided that this week might be a great time for us to take a few days to ourselves. I suppose one might say ideally it would be "just us", but in this case, Little Guy tagged along as he is not quite ready for several nights away from us. Peter not only arranged for the girls to stay with his parents, but found a hotel in Portsmouth, NH, and planned a quick trip itinerary for us to explore areas from Kittery to Freeport, Maine.
We arrived Thursday afternoon, and after relaxing for a bit, headed off to dinner at Weathervane in Kittery. Having not indulged in lobster (Maine lobstah, that is) for many years, we both opted for the Thursday night "Twins" special. Lest we sound like eating fools, they were two 1.5 lb lobsters, which translates to a reasonable amount of meat, and a small side dish. Nicholas was not crazy about the lobster, so stuck to his grilled cheese until it became an "uh-oh" (he dropped it on the floor and shouted, "Uh-oh!").
Once we were reasonably sated, we decided to check out the selection at the Kittery Trading Post. I was lucky enough to find a few items on sale, and Peter located the extremely necessary purple bandana for Kelsey's upcoming week of Girl Scout camp. We called it a night and returned to the hotel to rest up for the day.
I should add, if you need a place to stay in the area, I highly recommend the Residence Inn. Not only do they have the free breakfast and evening reception, but they have recently renovated the rooms. It may look like an older style RI on the outside, but the rooms are awash in updated colors, very comfortable beds, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops (not really necessary, but they do add a touch of elegance).
We woke up to an amazing rain today (yes, rain, the very thing we have been missing terribly). It was a bit soggy earlier in the week in Massachusetts, but we didn't think it would follow us. However, it slowed down and by the time we reached Freeport and explored LL Bean a bit (sadly, still no shoes for Pete), it was merely a drizzle that made the umbrella almost unnecessary.
After picking up a few supplies at LL Bean, we stopped at Linda Bean's for two Lobstah rolls, homemade potato chips, and blueberry soda (organic, sweetened with cane juice - yum!). We continued our journey around the town, and while we were quite as active in the shopping as some, managed to pick up a few items at the British Goods store (McVitie's Digestives & Lion bars, anyone?!).
Nicholas napped on my back through most of this, thanks to this mandatory vacation accessory (for those with babies or toddlers). The Ergo has been a lifesaver the entire trip, today being no exception. Nicholas could nap, relax, or chatter happily without us having to worry about lugging a stroller around, and I get a good workout! No worries, doesn't negate our love of the BOB, but I wasn't willing to risk damaging it on the plane.
We departed Freeport after walking around a bit more, and found our way to Kennebunkport. Our last trip there (and my first) was in the summer of 1999, when Cait was barely one. We had a very relaxed walk around the town, and enjoyed a quart of clam strips from The Clam Shack in Kennebunk. It was not nearly as crowded as Freeport, and quite a bit more scenic. After realizing it was much later than we thought, we left for dinner in Portsmouth. On the way out, we passed the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge, and realized we will have to add that to the list when we return at some point.
We headed to Portsmouth, but the restaurant Peter picked for dinner proved to be quite elusive. We ended up at Robert's Seafood Market and shared a yummy, but not overwhelming clambake. We ended the meal with a blueberry crumble composed primarily of fresh Maine blueberries. "Yummy" does not accurately describe, but will suffice.
Tomorrow morning we head back to Massachusetts, but only to give ourselves enough time to get the girls and repack the car. We then head to Connecticut to catch up with college friends and drool over their gorgeous backyard. It's been a busy vacation, but sprinkled with fun surprises and we still have several days left.