And we’re off!
Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I ventured north for a weekend in Camden, Maine, a coastal town. In a subconscious realization of the refrain “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” we ended up spending our first day “in Camden” just getting to Camden.
Due to availability, we ended up journeying to Waltham (a suburb of Boston) via Uber to pick up our rental car (about 20 minutes out of the way). In the age of COVID-19, any form of shared transportation can be risky. While an Uber in these conditions is not perfect, it amused me to see a rigged-up plastic divider separating the driver and passenger.
When we arrived in Waltham, we were surprised to see that this commuter suburb is a bona fide town. In the center sits the historical city hall building adjacent to a veterans’ memorial. Traveling south, the city is bisected by the Charles River (the same one that flows through Boston) and the business district flourishes along Moody Street. Like many places, the Main Street is closed to cars to make way for restaurants to set up outdoor seating. Although our trip was already delayed by this detour to Waltham, the beautiful blue sky and enchanting little town led us to ditch the rental car in the parking lot for several minutes as we paced up and down the main drag. I underestimated Waltham… I may be back….
Continuing on our drive, we traveled north on I-95 through New Hampshire. It is early October and we wondered whether we would get to see the changing leaves along the highway. While the foliage was mostly green, there were some patches of red and orange in the mix. I learned that this part of the US is experiencing a severe drought (which explains all of the clear weather this season) however, the dry spell may (and I am not a botanist so I cannot be sure) have cause the leaves to lose their vibrancy. The green foliage was pale and the warm hues of autumn leaves looked faded and dehydrated.
Two hours into our trip we took a pit stop in Portland, Maine (which could be an entire trip in itself!). With few options for indoor cafe seating, we ended up going to a restaurant and luckily stumbled into a good one. Ri Ra’s, the Irish pub and restaurant, is a two-story establishment that sits right on the water. I loved everything about this place. The hostess led us through the dark interior of the pub, up the stairs, and to a table by a window overlooking the water. The first and second floor were night and day, as the second floor had white walls and an interior design that looks like it was picked straight out of a Pottery Barn catalogue. The waitress was lovely, and the salmon — oh my god — one must always opt for seafood when visiting Portland.
Continuing on our drive it was already starting to get dark. The blue skies and water began to turn gray, then gray-er, and finally deathly black. As the biggest New England state, Maine is more sparsely populated than its neighbors and the dark northern highway, surrounded by impenetrable groupings of trees, makes the drive feel like one is departing from civilization. However, this feeling did not last long and we quickly found that all roads on the Eastern coast seemingly lead to Camden.
We made it! It was evening, but already dark and cold. What a day we spent everywhere but Camden! Now that we’ve arrived, there are many adventures to be had here, dear Reader….