This week I’m reporting from Wells in the beautiful state of Maine, which is so named because, well, no one’s actually sure how Maine got its name. We passed the Maine Department of Motor Vehicles along the way, so perhaps it’s named after that. Its nickname is “The Pine Tree State,” and its State Animal is the moose. The State Insect is the honey bee and the State Soil is Chesuncook soil (I did not make that up). The State State is molysmophobia (fear of soil). Okay, that I mostly made up. But it all adds up to a beautiful and friendly vacation destination not too far to visit once in a while.
While I was sleeping in the car on the way (I wasn’t driving at the time), the GPS decided to pull the old switcheroo and take us an exit north of the hotel for its own reasons, so that when we got on our bicycles to head over to the Crab Shack for dinner I made a left thinking I was going south. My wife said, “Why is the sun setting in the east?” I said, “This is Maine, I don’t know how the hell they do things up here.” People do do things a little differently in Maine. But now my confidence in finding the Crab Shack was shaken, so we stopped to ask somebody. “Crab Shack? You can’t miss it, it’s about a mile on the right, but it doesn’t say ‘Crab Shack’ on it, everybody just knows it, and even the crabs know it. Tell you what you do, you look for Indian Rock, it’s on the left, plain as day. Once you get to Indian Rock, you went about 13 miles too far.”
By the time we made it to the Crab Shack I was hot and sweaty, so I figured a margarita would be the perfect prescription. The side of the glass is coated with salt, so you can jack your blood pressure all the way up, then look like a hero when you cure yourself by getting to the bottom of the glass, so relaxed you don’t even care about your molysmophobia anymore. I don’t want to brag but my blood pressure is 100/70 so my liver will give out from drinking margaritas way before I have a heart attack. Since 100/70 = 1.4285714, why isn’t that my blood pressure number?
The next day was perfect for the beach. I like to be fully entertained at the beach at all times, so I have to load up the bicycles with a whole bunch of entertaining gear. I have a knapsack with some Kadima paddles, the crossword puzzle, a book, the newspaper, sunscreen, a hat and the radio. I need the beach umbrella, a wind screen, the beach chairs and some deep sea fishing equipment. I like two towels, one to dry off and one to prop up my head, and of course the cooler for drinks and a bag with lunch and snacks in it. When we finally got unpacked and settled in, the waves were starting to lap at my feet. Before the waves were lapping at my lap we had to move three times and we were almost at the sea wall.
We Googled high tide, which was at 2:55 p.m., and it was only two o’clock. I asked somebody if there are any beaches in Wells at 2:55 p.m. “No, there’s no beaches here at 2:55 p.m, but there’s one about 12 miles north. Do you know were Indian Rock is? ‘Course by the time you get there it’ll be low tide and you’ll need to walk about a mile to get to the water.” We went back to Wells Beach and sat on a bunch of seaweed near the access road until 2:56.
The Front Porch in Ogunquit is a nice place for dinner. The piano bar upstairs was packed, but we’ve been to some quiet piano bars in our time. The only thing quieter than a quiet piano bar is a pianissimo bar. If its too slow try this: the next song the guy plays, think of whatever you thought the lyrics were when you were a kid. I fully admit to being an idiot, and even more idiotic when I was a young idiot. I thought the first verse to Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” started with, “You need Kool-Aid, baby I’m not foolin’.” I was a kid, I was thirsty and I needed Kool-Aid, and I’m not foolin’. So here’s what you do: take out your phone and type in “Led Zeppelin lyrics: you need...” and let your browser’s auto-complete tell you if any other people are as dumb as you. They are! I guarantee you will have a laugh and people will think you had too many margaritas or too few. By the way it’s no fair searching “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” a hundred times in advance just to make it seem like everybody else didn’t know the correct lyrics to “Purple Haze” either.
If you bring your dog to Wells, you can check out the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. We had our dog Gidget with us on a picturesque loop walk through a tidal estuary and salt marsh, with lovely overlooks to stop and eat lunch and be at one with nature, four with nature counting all of us. You might see a piping plover, or a peregrine falcon or a bald eagle. We didn’t see any, but to be fair they didn’t see us either. The peaceful scenery more than makes up for it.
You can’t go to these parts without savoring a Maine lobster, which by the way is the State Crustacean (I did not make that up). Sometimes you can pick one right out of the tank in the restaurant. You can choose the one you want to die. Pick one that’s fat and juicy, or one that looks guilty of a heinous crime, or one that refused to clean its room. The next time you see it it’s dead as a doornail, and you can proceed to dismember it limb by limb using a pair of pliers, after an accomplice gives you a bib to attempt to hide the evidence. I hope I’m not ruining it for you. The only thing that should ruin it for you is your acute case of kabourophobia.
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