Tag Archive | cruise

Mainly Maine ~

We left for Portland, Maine, on Saturday morning around 8:30 a.m.   All research said we should be there around 7 hours later… plenty of time to make the check-in deadline at the bed and breakfast of between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.   However, our sources evidently did not take into consideration the tourist traffic that hit us hard as soon as we got onto the Mass Turnpike.   At one point, we were going about 20-25 mph, bumper-to-bumper and stop-and-go traffic.   When we finally got closer to our coastal destination, we decided to get off the insanity that was the turnpike and try a local Route 1 that would take us to Portland, but with hopefully less traffic.   We were banking that no one “knew about” Route 1.   Were we ever wrong!   The first 5 miles were great, until we started coming into small town after small town. They were all inundated with tourists, and it was dinner time by now. It took us 25 minutes to get through the first small town ~ it should’ve taken us about 5 minutes. Eventually, we arrived at our Portland B & B at 7:30 p.m. – almost 12 hours after leaving home, and over an hour “late” for check-in. The host/hostess left us an envelope with our key and instructions in the mailbox.

Our B & B, the Inn at Park Spring, was a quaint brick townhouse with Victorian interior decorating, but our room was small and our bathroom/shower even smaller. However, it was home for the next three nights, and we were ever so happy to have it! Parking was a little over a block away in this cityscape area. We weren’t far from anything, but because my walking ability is limited to about a block, we had to drive everywhere, which meant finding a place to park even closer to our ultimate destination ~ whether it be the Schooner cruise or dinner or shopping. What a nightmare! It got so Al would drop me off in front of our destination, then go find a place to park, usually several blocks away.

I don’t know what I was thinking when planning this little getaway. Portland is a city. A very BUSY city, with hordes of tourists at every turn. It was, however, beautiful and enjoyable. Just a little hectic for what we expected. Much of the Commercial Street shopping district had touristy shops from every walk of life. However, most seemed geared toward the younger, college-aged crowd… same with many of the restaurants. Most were Indian, Italian, European, bistro or “eclectic”. There were only a few that actually catered to the seafood menu. Portland Lobster Company was one such, and had delicious food ~ but it was VERY expensive for a help-yourself atmosphere. It was more like a hot dog stand. We each ordered lobster rolls w/fries and cole slaw … Al got a beer and I a Pepsi for $55.00. We eventually decided it was easier for us to go OUT of Portland to eat, down Route 1 there were some nicer restaurants, and even some favorites like Dairy Queen. Fortunately, breakfast was provided for at the B & B each morning.

On Monday we went on the Windjammer schooner cruise which took us out into the bay for a couple of hours. Being a lover of water, I especially loved this excursion. There weren’t a lot of guests on this cruise, but a few were kids that grew bored really fast. After the cruise on Monday, we traveled down along the coast to Old Orchard Beach, which consisted mainly of arcade games, souvenir shops and a decent carnival with rides. We’d hoped to park and take a look around, including seeing a beach, but the throngs of people prevented anything but a quick drive through and back to Portland again. Although we knew we were driving right along the coastline, the over abundance of hotels, motels, resorts and private residences kept us from even seeing a glimpse of the water. Monday night would be our last evening in Portland, as we would be heading out to Burlington, Vermont on Wednesday morning, so we were hoping to find a nice place to have a quiet dinner with relatively little parking issues. There was this little hole-in-the-wall place called “Andy’s Pub” amidst all the stores and restaurants that were packed with people, and we decided to give Andy’s a chance. I don’t know how this place remained undiscovered! It was a nice little pub w/restaurant that offered great food and a singer that started crooning around 7:00 p.m. It was quiet, only a couple other customers that were obviously locals remained. Even though we had to drop and park about 6-7 blocks away, it made for a nice final evening in Portland.

The next morning, Wednesday, we were off to Burlington.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about our excursion.  Check out our continued vacation to Burlington and then Lake George, NY.   TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt


V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N ~

It’s finally here!  That time of year when I get to take some vacation time and get away from work for more than just a 3 or 4-day weekend.  I live for vacation!  I love to travel!  I get three weeks of vacation beginning this year, my fifth year at CNYEMS.  Al and I will be travelling to Maine in August for a week.  Well, we won’t only be in Maine.  We’ll be staying in Portland for the majority, but then coming back through New Hampshire and Vermont on the way home, with stays in Burlington, Vermont and Lake George, New York.

Have I mentioned that I’m a “planner”?  I’ve been planning this week long vacation since January… seriously.  I have every detail under control, planned out, reserved; from the B & B’s we’ll be staying at to the kennel boarding our dog, what we’ll do/where we’ll go each day, down to the mileage and time it takes to go from place to place.  I actually have a three-ring binder dedicated to our vacation.  Everything is not written in stone, by any means.  We can change our plans, except for where we’re staying and the Windjammer cruise from Portland, at any time.  The shopping, beaches, dining etc. are totally fluid.

Windjammer cruise out of Portland, Maine

Windjammer cruise out of Portland, Maine

Did I mention that I’m excited?  I have a tendency to think that each vacation I’m taking could very well be my last, so I make sure that it will be enjoyable!  Al?  Of course I consult and plan with my husband!  Well, sort of.  I do all the planning, then consult with him to see if he likes what I’ve planned, or if he wants to make changes.  Generally, he seems satisfied with my ideas.  Actually, when we began discussing 2013 vacation plans LAST DECEMBER, Al was the one who suggested New England.  We honeymooned in Massachusetts, but I’ve never been farther north than that.  I LOVE the east coast!

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine


Where will you be vacationing this year?

Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt


Revealed Chapter 2: The White Picket Fence ~

In my senior year of high school, amidst all the drugs, alcohol and self-pity of losing my first love, a girlfriend of mine told me that her fiancé had a brother who is a Marine who is currently on a 3 month cruise and was lonely and wanted a “pen pal”.  What could it hurt?  It would give me something to do to take my mind off ST, and I loved to write because I had good handwriting skills.  So she gave me his address on this military ship in the middle of the Mediterranean and I wrote my first letter, never really thinking I would get a response, I guess.

 I did get a response, and MS and I continued our pen pal relationship for the three months he was overseas, and for a month or two upon his return to Camp Lejeune, NC, where he was based.  When he finally got leave, he wrote that he would be coming to Syracuse, NY, to see his family (his mom and brothers), so we made arrangements to meet in person.  By this time, I had my first car (a 1970 Maverick) and I had a job working at the Baldwinsville School District Offices as Receptionist after school each day… so I had $$.  Also I had “toned down” my partying from my own school locker, and was only getting completely wasted on the weekends.

This is not my exact first car, but exactly LIKE my first car (including the color).

 When MS and I finally met, it was pretty electric.  Wow!  I was a 17 year old high school senior dating a 21 year old Marine!  And I was finally able to get my mind off ST ~ okay, well, maybe not so much.  But who cares?  I was dating a Marine!  The mutual physical attraction was instantaneous, but then again, I’d had a lot of mutual physical attractions with guys before now… none were Marines.   I guess, by the time MS left Syracuse to go back to Camp Lejeune, we were “boyfriend/girlfriend”, and I promised to continue to keep writing in between infrequent phone calls, and I also had decided to make the trip to North Carolina right after graduation for a week or so of fun in the sun at Camp Lejeune.  I had relatives down there I could visit as well.  It was an exciting time … 1977.

 I’d planned that year to go to college after graduation with a business major and art minor.  I was looking into schools when I found out I was pregnant (yet again), and everything screeched to a halt.  What the he!!?  How did this happen?  And I had to tell that 21 year old Marine that we were going to be parents.  I had no idea how he would react, but was thankful it was positive.  He and I decided to get married and become a family with our little one due the next March 1978.  So it was that he managed to get back to Syracuse 2 days before our wedding day, and we said our vows in Plainville Christian Church with a reception following at my parent’s home where I grew up and would soon be leaving.  I couldn’t be happier!  I was going to have it all… a career husband who would make good money in the service of his country to provide for his wife and child.  And there might be more children, and eventually we’d buy a home somewhere and put up that white picket fence in rural America, get a dog and maybe some cats and live the good life and be in love forever.  I expected nothing less.  And I wanted to be a good mom and wife and do all the “stuff” that was expected of me once domesticated.

My ideal marriage/family dream. After all, the white picket fence holds it all together, doesn’t it?

 And all was well for awhile.  We learned to “play house” in North Carolina.  However, some things were just not meant to last, and my white picket fence was about to come crashing down.