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Trip Report The 45th and 46th State - Maine and Vermont!

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No, not to join the Union, but for me to visit in my quest to visit all 50 states. After this week, I will have just four more to go!

I did all the normal planning--reading threads here, picking up guidebooks, googling, asking friends on Facebook. Here's the thread here on Fodors where I got input if you are interested: http://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/maine-and-vermont-june-2014-my-plan-as-it-stands.cfm

Some advice we took, some we didn't, for various reasons, but all input was appreciated and put to good use.

Air Travel

We flew roundtrip, nonstop, on Southwest from Kansas City to Boston. This gave us a big loop rather than making a very long drive at one end or the other of our trip. It was also significantly cheaper than flying to say Manchester NH, and, it was nonstop. The flight was on time and uneventfulm and I had received drink coupons from SW so I had a glass of wine and DH had a vitamin water. We arrived at 11:30 pm and were out of there by ten of twelve.

I was surprised by how much stuff was still open in the Boston Airport. I've been in airports after 9 or ten where everything shuts down! Here, there was a huge Dunkin Donuts in the baggage claim area ready to keep you awake for your drive home :-)

The first night
We flew Friday night the 13th and after discusson on the thread above, decided to stay the night at the airport, and pick the car up in the morning before driving on. The Courtyard Marriott was five minutes via free shuttle, and $209 a night. Or for 6 hours which is all the time we were there :-) But it was fine, served its purpose, and everyone was very nice.

On our way

We got up at 5:30 or 6 (I can't really remember!) caught the shuttle back to the airport. The shuttle driver very nicely took us to the rental center! The night before the desk clerk told us we would have to go to the airport then take the shuttle to the rental center. Which is why both DH and myself felt horrible when we realized neither one of us had tipped the driver! Each of us thought the other was doing it.

In any case, we very easily and quickly picked up our car at Enterprise and were on the road by 7 am. The total is $488 including the EZ pass toll thingy (the tolls will be added at the end). A Chrysler $200, which is fine for the two of us and our suitcases. DH carries a rather large one as his tripod only fits in that one! Otherwise I go for a compact.

It's a gray, gloomy, foggy, drizzly sort of day

Our original plan for being on the road so early was to head straight for Scarborough ME and start some birding. The weather just wasn't cooperating, so we changed plans on the fly.

First, the drive. I've never been here before (obviously!) so everything is new. We enjoy road trips and just looking around at different home styles, landscape, etc. As we move into New Hampshire we are amused by the gigantic red barn like State Liquor stores - one on each side of the interestate. I like the guy driving the big old chevy and his fantasy plate reads "My Yacht" (as in land yacht).

We stopped at the rest stop/visitor information center at Kittery, ME. We step out of the car and take a deep breath of the pine scented, freshly washed by rain air. Driving in I'm all "What is that? Is that a rhodedendron? It is!" I was (and am) so excited to see rhodies in bloom. I'm originally from WA state where they are everywhere, but I am never 'home" when they are blooming.

After a short bio break, we walk around and stretch our legs a little until the center opens, then go back in for some maps and booklets from the superhelpful volunteer there, then are back on our way.

Cinnamon Rolls (not!) and a car alarm

It's still fairly early, and we have not eaten. We head on to Portland, ME where I have been told Standard Baking Company is a great place for cinnamon rolls. I thought it would be more of a bakery where you could also get breakfast, but I was wrong. It was crowded, and we were hungry for something a bit more substantial, so we decided we would go find a restaurant, then come back later and get cinnamon rolls and maybe some bread (it all looked and smelled delicious) to take with us to the cabins we would be staying in. This was a decision I would regret later.

So we walked around the old town/port area looking for a restaurant for breakfast. There were lots of cool shops, and restaurants (that didn't open until lunch) and a Starbucks, and some bakeries and donut shops--but no place for a sit down breakfast! We did enjoy our walk and doing a bit of window shopping, but we were still hungry.

So, I asked a Portland policeman who was standing outside a donut shop (the Holey Donut) snacking from a baggie of carrots and radishes. His rosy cheeks and obvious healthy putting lie to the donut eating stereotype. Remember, he is standing right outside the Holey Donut.

So anyway, the only place he could think of was Beth's Diner which was just a short drive up Commercial Street.

So we took a looping route back to the car, still looking around at cool shops, old architecture, and stumbling on cobblestone streets. And hit the unlock button on the car key fob. Hmm. Doesn't unlock. Earlier when I tried to lock the car I noticed that it took three times to lock. Was th battery dying? Uh oh. So I use the actual key to unlock the car. UH OH

The alarm went off and just would not shut down. I started the car, I pushed the panic button to try to make it turn off, I looked for the car manual to see if I could find out how, none in the rental car. People were coming over to be helpful, and I was just embarrassed. After what seemed like an hour (maybe 5 minutes?) the alarm finally shut off.

Ugh. No way was I going to risk this again so we ended up going to the local Enterprise on 1 Marginal Way in Portland where they were super helpful in swapping out for the exact same car, but one with a key fob with fresh batteries. Really, if you are ever in Portland and need to rent a car, they were so helpful.

But now I was cranky on top of being hungry, and quite frankly I get a little pissy at that point. So I decided we would just drive on to Rockland where I wanted to visit the Farnsworth Art Museum. A gray cloudy day seemed like the right time for this.

It was a pleasant enough drive, still interesting to look around. We had to fill up the gas tank on the new rental so stopped at convenience center where I got a banana and some crackers so I would no longer be quite as b*tchy as before. DH was staying clear.

I need to go do some more holidaying, but at least I got a start on this trip report!

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