Friday, August 15, 2014

Long Island (Maine, of course)

My pal Ken can make friends with anyone.  From the guy working out next to him at the gym to the owner of a major grocery store, Ken ends up winning over just about everyone.  That's how we ended up finding out about the fair down at the VFW on Long Island.

People:  10 bucks.  People with four legs:  4 bucks and change.
One of Casco Bay Line's distinctive yellow and white ferries.
Ken and Kathy emailed us to tell us they were coming to Maine, and were planning to take the Mail Boat out of Portland, to Long Island in Casco Bay.  Damon and I took that as an invitation, and the next morning we found ourselves on the ten o'clock ferry with a couple hundred other people -- day trippers like us; folks headed out for a week's vacation; and our new friend from Connecticut.  I'm sorry to say I never caught his name, but we talked about everything from Ken's new shoulder (and his moderately new knees) to the Yankees (which almost ended our blossoming friendship).  Our new friend grew up with a summer house out on Long Island, and had just bought a little place right next to the family place.  We chatted all the way out to the island and wished each other well as we disembarked; us looking to find lunch and some beach time; our friend to find his family's island car for a ride to his new cottage.  As we made our way up towards the general store (slowly, with three rather elderly dogs sniffing all the bushes and trees along the way), an island car pulled up next to us and our new friend told us to make sure to make it up to the VFW for lobster rolls at the fair -- just up the road.  We thanked him, said goodbye, looked at each other, and decided the VFW was our best bet for lunch.

The four of us strolled along with our slow dogs as golf carts and island cars (most of which wouldn't pass inspection on the mainland) slowly rolled past us -- all headed for the red-white-and-blue bunting of the VFW.  Ken and Damon dispatched us to pick up four lobster rolls as they held onto our pack -- who were irresistible to the crowds of island kids pouring out of the VFW with cotton candy, popcorn, and prizes from the games inside.  Not only were those lobster rolls pretty darn good, but for ten bucks (with chips to boot!) they were a pretty good deal.  If this was the way of life on Long Island, I knew I was going to like it.

Service with a smile.
A happy crowd at the VFW.
Kathy enjoying her $10 lobster roll

Our hunger satisfied, we headed across the island (slowly, ever so slowly) to Singing Sands beach.  This beach squeaks when you walk on it -- just drag your feet along as you go!  Squeak-squeak-squeak.  The dogs had a great swim while the humans had a great talk about seaweed, work, and life as we sat on an old driftwood log.  Sailboats fought their way against the tide, a group of kayakers enjoyed lunch on the sand, and a game of pick-up volleyball started.  It was lovely -- perfect -- and of course, had to come to an end. Eventually we had to catch a boat back to Portland, and with our poke-along dogs, we needed plenty of time to get back to the ferry.
Does it get any better?
More kitsch!
This was a highly-functional island cah.  Most wouldn't pass inspection on the mainland.
Damon making the sand sing.
Dory wanted in on the action.
Even at our leisurely pace, we crossed the island in time to buy some sandwiches at the General Store (which are delicious) and pick up a six-pack of Bud (which you should not try to drink on their deck). Chastised by the owner, we put our Buds back in the bag, enjoyed our second lunch (those lobster rolls weren't exactly large), and headed out to the ferry.
Time to head home
Boarding the ferry.
Leaping from the wharf -- a rite of passage.

What can I say here?
Since our beers were already open, we decided to drink them along the way.  Normally, this would be socially unacceptable behavior, so we hid them in the only thing we had -- empty doggie poop bags.  Didn't we feel stupid when we realized everyone was looking at us funny -- not because we were drinking, but because we were trying to hide it -- in poop bags.  We soon figured out everyone had a beer in hand; the woman walking her dog; the guys sitting behind the community center; the gentleman driving his golf cart while smoking a big old cigar.  That's island life on Long Island in summer, it seems; laid back and friendly.  After all; summer's short.  Enjoy your damn beer in the open.
Public consumption.  Nice.
Life in the slow lane.  That's what it's all about.


  1. Nutnin' like life on a Maine island..are we lucky or what to have so many to explore and enjoy?

    1. We are SO lucky. So much Manie, so little time . . . .