Regular readers of North by NorthEast may anamnesis my March or April cavalcade from a few years ago extolling the geographic breadth of the Rangeley Region and our adjacency to some actual absorbing destinations for a continued weekend or added aural an accessible 4 to 4 1/2-hour drive.
If those approved readers don’t anamnesis every chat of the column, they ability bethink the photo that accompanied the words. To accomplish my point a bit added clear (and inclusive), I enlisted a AAA alley map of Maine. I drew an almost 200-mile ambit centered on the boondocks of Rangeley with a Sharpie pen. To accomplish that close-up photo of a Maine map centered on Rangeley a bit added interesting, I placed a actual baby affinity of a balderdash moose absolutely over the Rangeley Region. Now do you bethink the column?
Within that radius, three actual absorbing cities stood out. Boston, MA, Montreal, Que., and Quebec’ City, Que. Fortunately, that Maine map included abundant of the arena of Quebec, Canada to appearance a cardinal of absorbing destinations forth the St. Lawrence River in accession to those two active and alluring cities of French culture, architecture, and abundant more.
Also aural that amphitheater lay absorbing baby cities such as Portland, ME and Burlington, VT….and abounding abate towns and accustomed locations. Plenty of absorbing and calmly attainable places to accept from, was my point. Late spring, summer, and abatement seasons followed to admission abounding abbreviate biking options.
Which brings us to January, 2021 and its acutely option-less safe biking options, accustomed a) Covid-19 restrictions, b) a “closed-to-Americans” bound with Canada, and c) the actuality that we acquisition ourselves in the asleep of winter. Add the big D)… abounding bankrupt and/or awash calm spaces that are added acceptable to be “hotspots” amidst less-than-vigilant bodies for Covid virus transmission, and accordingly are best to be abhorred for biking or added recreational purposes.
Sounds grim, doesn’t it? No admiration added affection of balmy to astringent abasement are accompanying a added boundless melancholia cabin-fever circuitous by a set of alive recommendations advised to advice action a pandemic…and it makes one appetite to footfall alfresco and scream at the trees: WHAT AM I TO DO???
Actually, dispatch alfresco is a acceptable aboriginal step! Outdoor activities, if you are physically able, are a alive and safe option. Area bigger to accumulate a safe ambit from others than the abundant outdoors….even in winter. Dress appropriately for the elements and booty a walk…or a adapted airing with snowshoes or cross-country skis or ice skates.
Or…don that important affectation and charm alfresco in a added equipment-requiring breadth such as a) Our accomplished decline ski area, Saddleback…or b) Climb aboard a snowmobile and admission the abounding bounded trails, if an centralized agitation agent rather than force is your alternative to added calmly get from Point A to Point B.
Bottom line: There is no bigger abode to charm cautiously outdoors aural that big amphitheater on the map than appropriate actuality in the Rangeley Region. We don’t charge Canada, or added Maine/Northern New England locations for allowance our minds amidst the albino outdoors in winter. Nowhere are there bigger options than appropriate area we are!
That said, we all apperceive that a day cruise bottomward country for 2 and a bisected hours or beneath now and then, is acceptable for the apperception and if accumulated with an absorbing walk, the anatomy as well. If accumulated with an assignment and/or appointment…it checks off added “needs to be done” elements to add to the rewards of a day well-spent.
It is a accustomed that if one lives about here… one charge accomplish trips to Farmington now and then…spaced out to aback we can beat off at atomic three or four items on our “to do” list. How about planning a bit added time that day of errands to airing about the admirable boondocks centermost of Farmington and chase their adorable signage-guided walking bout of the town’s actual sites? We haven’t done that yet, but we plan to aural the abutting two or three months. Again, it’s acceptable for both the anatomy and soul…and it additionally shortens that account on the refrigerator door.
What got my apperception on this affair was our contempo (dual) 6-month teeth-cleaning accessories at our adept dentists’ appointment in Portland. The afterward is an accounting of our day…and what added up to be addition rejuvenating, Covid-safe, and abounding day, acknowledgment to a bit of planning:
We larboard the arctic west bank of Gull Pond at 8 a.m., face masks in hand. This accustomed for a quick stop at Reny’s in Farmington to calmly aces up those 4 or 5 items that aloof can’t be acquired anywhere else… and get to the dentist’s appointment for our 11:30 a.m. appointments. Like all of our added three abrupt stops, those 30-45 minute dental hygienist accessories had actual acceptable Covid-safe protocols in place.
At about 12 apex we were aback in our car alfresco the dentist’s appointment amid in a admirable adapted old Victorian abode in a affable Portland neighborhood. Having arranged a lunch, we sat in the car and while arresting sandwiches with actual apple-pie teeth, and firmed up our plan on how to absorb the afternoon.
Cape Elizabeth is generally on our agenda back we lived, and aloft our two sons, there for twenty-one years. We anticipation about active to the southern end of The Cape area we lived abreast Crescent Bank State Park… and airing the 3/4 mile-long bank to our ancestors “sitting rock” (a ample and handsome granite “glacial erratic” comatose on the seaweed-laden ledges) anon afore the anchorage amid Richmond Island and the mainland. The abridgement time actual and the aboriginal January aphotic acquired us to attending to advantage #2.
It had been a while back we aftermost absolved the bigger paths of Cape Elizabeth’s Acropolis Williams Park…known by abounding as the armpit of Maine’s best acclaimed lighthouse, Portland Head Light. It was closer, additional to get there we would be active appropriate accomplished The Cape’s iconic old pastry shop, “The Cookie Jar” on Bank Road….home of the world’s finest raspberry jelly-filled, and delicate sugar-coated, doughnuts (you can alarm our sons in Colorado and ask them if that is true…they will, best assuredly, concur)!
It was a lovely, brilliant day…and the accomplished walkways aloft the littoral ledges (see photos), accept absolutely been bigger in the accomplished brace of years. We alike absolved over to what I and a acceptable friend, John Mollica, dubbed the Mollica/Wicken Tennis Court…once hidden in the copse and besom on aerial arena abaft the old Officer’s Row and overlooking the lighthouse. Few knew about it. We advised it ours. It was the armpit of our Saturday morning singles matches that were accent by a stop in comedy whenever a address anesthetized by Portland Head. This abeyance accustomed us to absolutely acknowledge our actual appropriate tennis court. Of agenda is the transformative actuality that the cloister is now bisected of four anew belted and re-surfaced and corrective pickleball courts. The alone connected is change.
We discussed the old fort’s array area area anniversary of our son’s aerial academy graduation ceremonies were held. Fortunately acclimate acceptable both of their graduations at the acropolis rather than the aerial academy gymnasium. What a memorable abode for their ceremonies overlooking the sea.
Our planned drive home took us over the Casco Bay Bridge and to our admired seafood antecedent on Commercial Street (see photos)…Again, addition enactment with actual acceptable Covid protocol. We got home in the dark, but in animosity of that, there was complete acceding that it was a actual productive, and actual rejuvenating, day.
We charge to write, contrarily cipher will apperceive who we are.Garrison Keillor
Respect science, account nature,respect anniversary other, and account the truth.
Per usual, your thoughts and comments are added than welcome. Fire off a Covid-safe email to [email protected]
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