Posts Tagged ‘portland’

Friday Fun! (November: Maine Holiday and Thanksgiving)

December 4, 2013 Leave a comment
Oceanside coast of the island in Maine we stayed on.

Oceanside coast of the island in Maine we stayed on.

Hello my lovely readers!

Sorry for the delay in November’s post.  I was away for the last week of November on vacation, and I knew it would be the best part of the month to talk about, so I didn’t want to preschedule a post. 🙂

My partner and I both had the last week of November off.  He usually gets the entire week off for the holiday, and I took an extra three days off on top of the normal Thanksgiving days (day of and day after Thanksgiving).  We split our vacation between a trip to Portland, Maine and a trip to vacation to see my dad and brother and his wife and kids.

For those of you who are not from the US and don’t know, November in Maine is *cold*.  It’s officially the off-season.  This meant we got to go on the cheap but it also meant it was cold  We’re both from northern climates though (Vermont and Michigan), so we dealt well.  Portland, Maine is a happening, hip small city.  It holds 1/3 of the entire population of Maine.  We stayed on an island off the coast of Portland, which meant we had to take the ferry in and out of the city each day.  Originally our intention was to rent bicycles and bike around the island one day, but it was too cold one of the days and there was snow the other (and the bike rental place didn’t have snow-friendly bikes), so we went into Portland both days.  The cabin we stayed in had a hot tub, fire place, and one of those showers that takes up the entire bathroom.  So we got to hot tub in the snow, which was an entirely new experience to me, and I clearly loved!

While in Portland, we went to the International Cryptozoology Museum, which is a delightful museum run by the world expert on Bigfoot.  I’m more of a sea monster girl myself, but we still got our picture with Bigfoot.  We also hit up the Shipyard Brewing Company and got lots of free samples and got to see the bottling and brewing process.  I was surprised to learn that Shipyard was started by an immigrant to the US from the UK.  We also went to an official Cabot store.  Cabot is an American cooperative of New York and New England dairy farms.  They have amazing dairy products.

Vegan satay from Green Elephant

Vegan satay from Green Elephant

For food, we visited the original Otto Pizza.  The pizza at the original branch is approximately 100% more delicious than the pizza at the new branches down here in Boston.  They also had Magic Hat on tap, which floored me! We also did something special for each of our dietary preferences (I’m veg and my partner is omni).  We went to Duck Fat for my partner to get poutine made in duck fat.   I couldn’t eat anything at the restaurant because literally everything was friend in duck fat, but I did have a delicious locally brewed beer.  For me, we went to the Green Elephant, a vegetarian Thai restaurant that was positively reviewed in VegNews magazine.  Their bathrooms were literal saunas, and I for once got to have satay for an app! (Made from seitan). But our favorite place in Portland was an Irish pub named Ri Ra on the waterfront.  Their menu catered perfectly to both of our dietary needs, with a house-made white bean veggie burger for me and a perfectly cooked medium burger for my partner.  We liked them so much we went twice.  (The second night I had mac and cheese made with Irish cheddar and my bf had Maine steamers).  Incredibly reasonably priced with fireplaces and a wonderful staff, I wish it was closer to us!

After Maine, we drove up to New Hampshire to visit my family for Thanksgiving.  The day of Thanksgiving was just my dad, his dog, and my partner and I, since my brother and sister-in-law were hosting her parents for the holiday.  My bf made the turkey (under the direction of my dad), my dad made veggie stuffing and gravy, and I made 3 bean chili (for my main course and their sides).  We had untraditional alcoholic smoothies for dessert.  It was delicious!  The next day, we visited my brother and his family and gave my nephews and niece their Christmas presents.  They range in age from 2 to 6, so that was obviously a delight.

The vacation was amazing and just what we needed!  And when we got back, we immediately got our tree and set it up, because in only three weeks we’re off on a cross-country trek to visit my partner’s family for the holidays.

Happy holidays all!


Book Review: My Abandonment by Peter Rock

Toy horse on forest floor.Summary:
Thirteen-year-old Caroline lives in Forest Park with her father.  They have to be very quiet and careful because regular folk don’t understand why they want to live like they do.  They even have to keep away from the other men that live in the park too.  Caroline doesn’t mind this way of life.  In fact, she prefers it.  She likes being out in nature and learning everything she can from her father and from encyclopedias and library books.  She even doesn’t mind fasting on Fridays.  You get used to it.  One day though, she makes a mistake.  Will it change her and her father’s way of life forever?

What makes this book is the surprise, which I refuse to give away in my review.  At first, I admit, I was a bit bored with the story.  It felt like a less-interesting version of Room, only with a boy instead of a girl and the pair living set off from society willfully.  When the twist came I was frankly shocked, and it set my mind reeling about the whole story.  To this moment I cannot stop thinking and re-thinking about Caroline’s life.  How her raising affected her and whether or not this is a bad thing.

I do think that Rock takes a bit too long to reveal the twist.  I was losing patience for a solid while before it came around.  Perhaps more clues should have been dropped earlier on or something to keep the reader guessing that perhaps not everything is as it seems in Caroline’s life.  Additionally, the writing style in the first few chapters is an odd mix of intelligent and irritatingly simple.  It is Caroline speaking, but she’s also an intelligent 13.  This whole facade is dropped within a few chapters, so I see no reason to start the book out in that manner.  It was a bit off-putting.

Overall, however, it does turn out to be a unique story.  More importantly, it leaves the reader questioning what she thinks she knows about the world and alternative ways of living.  I recommend it to fans of contemporary literature featuring a twist.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Length: 225 pages – average but on the shorter side

Source: Purchased

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