18 July 2011

YCF...Clamtastic? Not so much.

This past weekend is a popular one for the seaside village of Yarmouth, ME.  It's the annual Yarmouth Clam Festival, where potentially 100,000 people from all over the country flock to the quaint Main Street, to sample what should be some of Maine's finest.  In the seven years we've lived in Maine, we've somehow managed to avoid it.  We talk about it every year, but in the end, always say, eh, not this year.  Until yesterday.  With Terry having to work an unusual Sunday shift, G and I decided to brave the 90 degree day and get our taste on for those Maine mollusks.

I had really wanted to enter G into their annual Diaper Derby, but a long morning nap prevented us from registering and getting there on time. Yeah, you heard me. Diaper Derby.  Can you imagine?  Babies and toddlers crawling, walking, toddling, their way through the set course, while competitive parents yell "This way, Sally!" "Jack, over HERE!"  Perhaps it's just as well we missed it. 

So we arrived just before noon, snagging parking down the road in a $5 lot, which wasn't bad considering I had passed a couple of $10 lots that weren't any closer than this one was. We made the trek to where all the activity was, passing vendors of fried clams, sausage rolls, fried dough, basically your typical carny food, but mostly revolving around the star of the show---the clam. It wasn't long before I shelled (no pun intended) out my $9 for a little cup of the crumbly clams.  G, at first content to snack on some fresh honeydew, was instantly intrigued by what I had going on in that cup and held out his hand for a taste.  He definitely enjoyed the batter.  The clam itself? Well, even though he's already got a mouthful of teeth, it seemed like a lot of work for him to get through that little strip. But he seemed to enjoy it, and considering fried clams are some of Mama's AND Grampie's favorite Maine things, I have no doubt as he gets older, he'll learn to appreciate them more.  Just maybe not at this festival.  After coming to Maine for 30 some odd years, and clams being one of the very first seafood's I probably was introduced to, I feel like I'm a good judge of their quality.  These were, well, for $9, let's just say a bit sub-par.  I can think of at least two places where I can honestly say I've had the best clams ever. But again, it was one of those things where you say you've been and you don't need to go again. 
Taking that first chewy bite
I think I'll have a little more of this.

N was very interested in what G's tray had to offer
G likes to find my wallet and steal it. He's a masterful pickpocket.
G's buddy N and his family were also there, and so the boys toddled around a bit before G let me know that he was ready to roll.  Off we go, him in the stroller, sucking down his juice/water cocktail while I pushed him, thinking to myself, what madness made me schlep here by myself on a 90 degree day, with my toddler, and thousands of hot, dusty, cranky people to contend with??  Oh yeah, overpriced so-so clams.  Needless to say, we didn't last long.  I got us a dish of strawberry ice cream to share, which we inhaled quickly for fear of it becoming strawberry soup, and after being there just over an hour, called it a day.  The walk back to the car was even excruciating.  There is something about a really hot day and walking on really hot black top that feels like it reflects the heat back two fold.  By the time we reached the car, all I wanted was to blast the a/c as high as it could go. 
Post ice cream.

Luckily, Yarmouth is only a 15 min or so drive from home, so soon enough we were back, G down for his second nap and me in the recliner to join him.  It's this type of weather that I also feel for our animals.  Winston is a particularly fuzzy furry cat, and when I find them flaked out on the cool linoleum of the bathroom floor, I know they must be struggling. 

 On Saturday, G and I had a much better time visiting Grammie and Grampie, who we hadn't seen since Father's Day.  Naturally, G had to show off his newly masterful walking skills, to which now their house was a whole new fun place to explore.  He was a rascal that's for sure, but delighted the grand 'rents in his ability to steadily make his way across the hard wood floors to receive a hug or a cuddle.

Per my request, my dad grilled his amazing burgers for lunch.  I don't know if it's how he seasons them or just the fact that they're done on the grill, but his burgs are delish and I couldn't wait to smell those meaty waftings as soon as he started cooking.  They did not disappoint.  One of the sure signs of summer for me is having a dad-burger.  Yum. 

I loooove watermelon.

On a mission with Giraffe
The rest of the afternoon idled by with G's entertaining antics.  As much as I sometimes miss his little baby self, this age is much more fun and interactive.  He absolutely loved playing peekaboo with us, roaring with laughter as we'd peek around the corner gasping BOO! His giggles are so infectious.  He made friends with Grammie's dishtowels.  I'm pretty sure he is mimicking Gabby when he shoves a toy or in this case a towel, in his mouth and walks around.  He also delighted himself in a mirrored case that Grammie keeps her nice teacup collection in.  I think he found the 'other' little boy enchanting as whenever he laughed, the mirror laughed. 
Love this cutie.

Grampie and Boo: staredown!
By late afternoon, it was time to think about hitting the road.  We made a pit stop at Borders to see Daddy, and catch up with his coworkers who hadn't seen him yet be vertical. He managed to coerce a bookseller out of half her banana, simply by holding out that little chubby arm and probably batting his baby blues.  He's such a charmer.

And now it's the beginning of a full week again.  Summer is all of a sudden flying by. The temps are hot. The tourists are here in full force.  T is home this week because, as he likes to say, G's 'school' is on vacation. I wish I could be home with them.  But alas, no vacation for me until October.  Instead, I'll just look forward to my evenings with the boys and wait for another glorious weekend to be upon us.



  1. I entertained the thought of going briefly and ended up with "eh, not this year"...sounds like we didn't miss much! Love the pictures though, especially Garrett with the towel in his mouth :)

  2. I think if it wasn't 10,000 degrees yesterday, we would have braved staying longer to explore more...but being by myself, it was just tough. Plus, expensive. It's definitely more of a touristy thing! But it did satisfy a curiosity I've had for a few years!

  3. I went years ago with some clients and wasn't that impressed, but thought maybe there'd might be something there that was fun for Marcus. I grew up with the Lobster Festival; Clam Festival seems like small potatoes to me (although they are probably just the same!)