26 September 2011

Exploration Abounds.

Franklin inspects our stash.
Another banner weekend--Last weekend was apple picking and this one was chock full of entertaining goodness.  The weather was reminiscent of summer and we were determined to make the most of it.  Saturday was free Maine museum day, so with the skies starting out rainy, we had thought about taking G to the Children's Museum in Portland.  Before that, we hit up our town library's book sale.  I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a word nerd.  I love books.  I love book sales.  Yesterday and today we managed to score quite a new collection to add to our already bursting shelves. 

The Children's Musuem was chaos.  And awesome.  We started out in the 'toddler park', a special spot just for little tots to explore, touch, bump, invade, and enjoy.  Everything's padded, squishy, or bouncy.  Perfect for our budding inspector. 

Next up after the toddler park was the second floor of delight. There was everything and anything you can imagine---a touch tank, tidal pool, giant globe on a spinner, fire engine, organic grocery store, fake atm, a vet's office, sports car, milking cow, riding tractor, and much more.  It was a joy to the senses.  The moment we set G down on his cushy sneakered feet, he was off, exploring every nook and cranny, and sometimes getting cranky if we didn't linger long enough at a spot he was interested in. Like for instance, climbing into the tidal pool to splash around instead of merely touching it.  It was exhausting, sometimes frustrating, and utterly fun.

Dr. Boo.

Fire engine bell.

So many buttons to push.

Boo has the world at his fingertips
The last stop at the museum was the ball park.  A room filled with brightly colored plastic balls that roll on ramps, into pits, up through suction hoses, and all around the room.  It delighted the Gman. 

After our adventure at the museum, it was time to find some sustenance.  A giant cruise ship was docked in the harbor, which made finding a parking spot slightly difficult. Once found however, we were off to one of our favorite Portland grub spots---the Porthole.  This place has been a favorite of ours since we moved to Maine years ago.  If you can get past the briny smell of the fish market across the way and maneuver down the crumbling sidewalk to its entrance, you'll find yourself in a foodie paradise.  It's an old time diner feel with some fantastic food.  On a nice day you can eat on the deck overlooking some of the boats that go in and out of the bay. 

We opened with an app of mussels, drenched in a succulent garlicky white wine broth, and crusty bread to sop up those juices.  So good. G had a fruit cup which he was less than enthusiastic about, despite it containing all of his favorites.  To accompany our meals, we opted for a beer each--Allagash for Terry, Pumpkinhead for me.  Ah tis the season!

Pumpkinhead in a mason mug. Aww yeah.
If Saturday was fun, then Sunday was spectacular.  It was as if summer had returned to envelop us in her warm and fragrant embrace one last time before the cold hits for good.  We hit the book sale again, and this time, with Gabby in tow, traveled north an hour to the Rockland/Camden area. A couple years ago we discovered the most fantastic toy shop, Planet Toys, in Rockland.  This was pre-G.  Now it's more fun to have him along and see the toys from his perspective.  Last year we thought this shop had closed and moved to a less inspiring location in Camden.  To our delight, it reopened, tho half its size, but still as awesome as ever.  Immediately G gravitated toward Tigger, who he dragged around the store with him.  Let's just say Tigger is now resting comfortably in G's crib.
 After Rockland, we mosey on to Camden--one of the most picturesque villages in Maine and though I say this often, another favorite spot for Terry and I.  It has a quaint Main Street area, lined with shops to suit any interested tourist. First stop had to be lunch.  Our go-to place is the Camden Deli. It has fabulous sandwiches, and best of all, we get everything to go and sit in the outdoor amphitheater that is just across the way, overlooking the dock and all the boats in their splendid glory.  

Gabs enjoyed being off leash, her nose leaving no rock, leaf, or blade of grass unturned.  We ate our sandwiches, enjoyed watching G climb the stone steps to hand Gabby her ball, and then hit the library for some much needed a/c time.  I was pleasantly surprised that not only were they open on a Sunday but that they had the most wonderful toddler room. 

A very quick trip to the top of Mount Battie rounded out our day. I love seeing all the little islands that dot the coast and try to find where we had just been having lunch down below.  Soon however, both G's had reached their end point and it was time to head home.  
I always feel slightly melancholy at the end of a really busy weekend because while it was fun to have it so jam packed with exciting things, and such great quality time with my family, it also makes it go by terribly fast and soon enough the dread of impending Monday morning settles in. This was also the last full weekend we have Terry with us.  Next weekend he heads off to Alabama for a full week of training with his new venture, Books a Million.  The G's and I will be fending for ourselves and remembering these past few Saturdays when we've had these lovely weekends to make plans and enjoy to the fullest. 

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