22-25 June 2012
Bath, ME for dinner
|Beale Street BBQ, named after a street
Dinner out with everyone becomes a logistical nightmare, so the best option was for us to meet Brad, Stephanie and the girls. In this case we went to Beale Street BBQ in Bath. And in case you aren’t aware, Bath is home to Bath Iron Works which drives the economy here. During WWII they built destroyers for the Navy. And I recall that more recently they’ve supplied guided missile frigates for the Navy. If you get to the water front on the Kennebec R, yo can’t miss the cranes.
|Looking thru the goodies at the Sweet Shoppe|
We had to wait a tiny bit so we tool a walk around the old downtown area that I hadn’t seen in almost 40 years. It’s been revitalized and looks like it might be around for another 100 years.
|The Bath Sweet Shoppe… check it out!|
We stopped at the Bath Sweet Shoppe where the girls picked a goody… a rare treat. I looked around to see that the Admiral thought this was about the coolest shop(pe) she’d seen in awhile. Just lots of neat ‘stuff’.
By the time we were back we could sit down and order. Ingrid really got serious about her coloring and tolerated no interruptions!
|Caution: artist at work!|
I’d eaten here before and knew they had great BBQ, but this time I thought I’d try jjust a plain old hamburger. We shared an appetizer of calamari, but I’m afraid I’m never going to be a fan of chewing rubbery rings. Everyone else seemed to be liking them, so I guess it’s just me. I keep trying, but…
And of course dinner isn’t really dinner unless you stop somewhere for ice cream, right? The kids loved it. And I heard Brad say to them “you realize it’s back to vegetables again next week, right?” Hmmm… that’s going to be quite a transition! 🙂
|An after-dinner walk took us to the ice cream shop.|
We took a short walk alomg the riverfront after we got out ice cream cones. Along the way we stopped by the shed where they’re building a replica of the first commercial boat built in Bath. It’s 40′ with a sprits’l rig. We were there too late to look around inside except to peer through the dirty windows, but I could just make out the model at the far end.
“I want to see a lighthouse”
|Picnic area as seen from the old gun emplacement|
It’s seldom the Admiral makes a specific request, so when she does we try to pay attention. Like lobster rolls, seeing a Maine lighthouse was on the short list. So Brad arranged to meet us on Saturday and go to Two Lights Park and then to nearby Portland Head Light at Fort Williams Park.
|The old WWII observation tower|
There aren’t any lights at Two Lights Park… the park lies between the 2 lights. We hiked around a bit and got to old WWII observation tower which later served as an antenna tower for recently invented RADAR, or simply radar today.
The park offers great views of the coast line as it lies (lays? sorry Sister Stanislaus I still get it confused!) South of Portland Head. It was clear while we were there, so we could watch the recreational boat traffic as folks worked hard to use their time well. Makes me appreciate even more being retired as I watch them try to cram as many things into the available time. Did I do that too? Probably. Yikes!
|Looking S from 2 Lights Park|
|Elin checking out the boats and islands|
|I was pleasantly surprised at how much Brad enjoyed Annie|
The main attraction at Fort Williams Park is what is arguably ‘the most photographed lighthouse in the US’: Portland Head Light. i.e. the lighthouse at Portland Head, not the corrupted pronunciation we often hear which sounds like Portland headlight.
And certainly it’s a gorgeous setting for this recently restored lighthouse. We were here in 2008 and couldn’t get near it as they did restoration of the old tower and keeper’s house. The park and the structures are now under the care of the state of Maine and that’s how the restoration came to be done. The USCG still maintains the light inside the tower (it’s locked so you can’t get inside to see anything), but the structures and land are now maintained by someone else. It’s all about budget.
|Portland Head Light & keeper’s house. That’s a fog
hornto the bottom-right of the tower, and another light
off shore on the horizon.
Entry to the 91 acre park is free, so there’s no direct revenue stream from visitor’s. One way they get around the expense of maintaining the visitor wear & tear that is to sell seasonal licenses to food vendors who are scattered around the park. I was told the license costs $4,000 per season and the park provides nothing but parking space. I got this info from a guy named Frank who sold me my hot dog. He also happens to be a school teacher. Frank spends his summers selling hot dogs and ice cream and meeting people from all over the world. He said it was the best gig he’d ever had.
Frank was interviewed on the news the next day: a plane crashed just off the head and he ran over, jumped the fence and tried to get to the pilot who was swimming toward shore. It looked like the pilot was going to make it, but then the retired doctor from Cape Elizabeth disappeared below the waves and died.Glad we were there Saturday instead of Sunday!
Making tracks North
We’re off to Bar Harbor next, about 140 miles North and East. We had thought we might head for the Oregon coast, but Stephanie convinced us we had a lot more to see here. Oregon and points North will have to wait for next year.