Falmouth, United States
American adventure 2 - Falmouth, Maine
18 people found this review helpful
After our days in Cambridge we moved on for a week by the sea.
On Monday, we packed, then walked down to Harvard centre and had coffee in our café, watching the world go by and the birds. Ellie has the use of her mother’s old but expensive camera that takes good close-ups of birds. We collected a hire car which Alison managed without too much trauma and I navigated her back to Hotel, although it was nerve wracking to squeeze into hotel car park. We checked out, loaded our luggage and Alison did a multi turn to get out again. Alison had a map and had written out instructions, but I failed to relate it to the roads! We ended up on a minor road north, instead of the major one. I discovered that road signs in USA were a bit spasmodic, especially at major junction, where you would expect them to be clear. We struggled through traffic light and busy roads, but at least heading north.
Eventually we cleared Boston, found the main road north and made better progress. From our previous visit to Florida, we knew that there would be no service stations UK style, only rest areas, so we got off and luckily found a Stonewall Kitchen shop and café, which sold delicious food. We sat on their outdoor patio, admiring the flowers, enjoying the heat and our meal. Alison only eats ‘proper’ food and has a tooth brace which means softish food, and the children are a bit finicky, so eating was a bit of a challenge.
We left Massachusetts behind, travelled briefly through New Hampshire and in Maine. We found the holiday cottage in Falmouth without any problems, and walked down to the nearby harbour, Falmouth Town landing, while the cottage was being got ready. We unpacked the car and Alison and Philip went off to find a supermarket, leaving me with two tired and rather fractious children. Snack of bread and leftover macaroni from Ellie’s lunch, and to bed.
On Tuesday, we got up early and looked for birds from the balcony, which overlooks a fir tree, gardens and then the bay, with boats on it. Saw a splendidly red northern cardinal, a mourning dove and a chickadee. Then we went down to the sea and walked along the jetty watched the terns and ducks, explored the rocks and sat on the small, almost sandy, beach while Alison and children explored. I noticed some small birds which I identified as semi palminated plover with the help of my bird book. We went back to the house for lunch, then to find the LL Bean outdoor shop in Freeport. This large shop has a huge model boot in front, and specialises in hunting, fishing, clothing and outdoor pursuits in general. They had taster courses on offer, so Alison and Ellie signed up for archery. Pancakes and fruit for tea, then sat on balcony till it got a bit chill. The balcony is the best thing about the house, even if it is off the main bedroom. The worse thing was a bed side light which didn’t connect to a plug and the stirs stairs to the small downstairs bathroom and toilet – guess we’ve become accustomed to en- suites!
On Wednesday, we drove to Portland and found a multi story car park. Alison wanted to go the Art gallery but the children weren’t keen. Had coffee in the gallery café and we took the children to the Museum of Childhood next door, with was mildly educational, especially the camera obscura and the light show. There was plenty of hands on stuff, but all a bit amateurish by UK standards. We met back at the art gallery café for lunch, then started to walk down to the port area. Hot, and longer than I thought, and not very interesting, although we did find an air conditioned book shop with a comfortable sofa! Called in at a doughnut café on way back from port – salty doughnuts made with potato, not quite as expected. Children and Alison went down to the beach when we got back, to try out min floats/surf boards we found in the basement of the house. Joined then and took photographic evidence of their obvious pleasure. I took by binoculars and my newly acquired second bird book of eastern American birds and identified snowy egret, double crested cormorant and osprey. All too tired to cook, so had pasta and vegetables.
On Thursday, we went back to LL Bean so Alison and Ellie could do their archery course in the morning. Nate is too young for the courses, so hung out with me and Philip in the shop, looking at videos of their courses, and exploring the shop – stuffed animals, chalk board, café, guns, bows, fishing rods and an amazing selection of flies for fly fishing. Tried a lobster roll for lunch, and lots of crisps as only me and Philip ate them. After lunch we went out to a State Park, Wolves Neck Woods. It started to rain, so Philip stayed in car while we walked round the woods and along the coast. Saw an ospreys nest and an Osprey sitting on a tree branch, plus glimpses of birds I couldn’t ID in the trees, and on the beach, as it was low tide and everything was far out – not to mention the rain!
Friday was a cloudy day, but still very warm, with no rain until we were driving back from our day out. We went to Maine Wildlife park, a home for injured and abandoned animals and birds. It was a bit like a zoo, but the only was the children could see American species close up. The stars were non captive chipmunks and some cedar waxwing. Nate enjoyed seeing moose, bears and his favourite – a bald eagle. I took the children down to the beach/rocks when we got back while Alison went to the supermarket. She came back with a cooked chicken – delicious!
Saturday morning was cloudy, so I was able to sit on the balcony looking at birds. Saw a downy woodpecker, chickadee, cardinal, humming bird, American goldfinch and yard finch. Another trip to the LLBeans outlet again, longer this time as Philip had booked onto a clay pigeon shooting course and Alison and Ellie on a Kayaking experience. Me and Nate hung out again in LLB, watched an indoor demonstration of fly fishing in their trout pond – Hope they don’t catch the same fish every day! We watched someone trying out a bow in their indoor range, as well as inspecting the fly fishing hooks which he found fascinating. Bought him a pancake for lunch, which was not very healthy, but at least he ate it. Went out to another State park for the afternoon, quite a long drive, but found it ok. Popham beach was a long sandy beach and it was low tide so we could walk to a rocky island. Philip stayed in car, and I soon gave up as it was too hot. Saw a yellow warbler in a pine tree by the sea. It was a beautiful place with a proper beach, but didn’t justify the cost (you pay to enter State Parks) or distance. We got back very late, so had a combined effort to get a meal ready and the children showered and ready for bed.
Back to hot sunny weather on Sunday. We went to an Audubon Bird reserve near Portland. Saw some wild turkeys on way in. Walked round a meadow with Philip and Ellie, but it was too hot to enjoy. Alison and Nate had headed for the shade of a wooded part. Nate saw a bald eagle being mobbed by an osprey (identified by a birder) which he was thrilled by! Sat in visitors centre looking at birds on feeder (including a nuthatch) and sat in their orchard enjoying a cup of coffee and the antics of a woodchuck ambling around, quite tamely. We had a rest after lunch, until it cooled down, then went to the beach for a couple of hours.
Ellie and Nate arranged a farewell seashell party for our last evening, They had brought up some shells from the beach, washed them and arranged them on the table, then sent us written invitations. We bought a cooked lobster from the local shop, which looked impressive, but there wasn’t much on it.
18 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.