What a great word – Vacation! I guess it comes from the word "vacate," which of course means to exit from, get away from, or empty. So, what’s so great about all that? Check out that picture! Being able to visit places like Thunder Hole in the Acadia National Park in Maine is made possible when you exit from or get away from the normal everyday things of life – work, unpacking, thinking about work, and thinking about unpacking (I just moved and left all the still-packed boxes to vacate!) – those are the things that I’ve been trying to empty from my mind since Tuesday, when I took off with my two grandchildren for the coast of Maine. We are having a ball! We spent the first night in Kennebunk, ME at a sweet little place called Kennebunk Gallery Cottages. We had a two-room cottage with a bed for each of us, a kitchen, and WI-FI so we could check the ole email and play a few games. We found a fabulous restaurant in the AAA Tour Book – Warren’s House of Lobster – and the kids had their first lobster in Maine and I slurped up the best bowl of Lobster Stew I’d ever had (that was soon to change). We gave the restaurant a hearty 3 1/2 to 4 stars as we finished with ice cream and strawberry shortcake. The next morning we headed for the Funtown/Splashtown amusement park in Saco, ME where the kids rode gross roller coasters while I watched, we all drove the bumper cars which slammed my knee against the car and left a huge bruise and a very stiff and sore joint, and we ate fried dough and dipping dots. Good thing we walked for miles! We took off up the coast of Maine to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful drive along the coastal towns until we all began to whine "are we there yet?" and "how much longer is it?" But we made it, found our motel, the Cromwell Harbor Motel, dumped our stuff in the very nice room, and took off for Poor Boy’s Gourmet restaurant where we had our free meal – our 2nd lobster in 2 days. We decided it rated a 4 as the service was great, the lobsters were wonderful, and the ambience made it a more relaxing experience than the night before. We moved up Main St, found a killer ice cream store and t-shirt shops, where we shopped and spent more $ but had a wonderful time picking out gifts for Scott and Stacey (my son & daughter-in-law back home), t-shirts for ourselves, and just being tourists. Slept in the next morning, had a late free breakfast (part of our package), toured the town a little and then got in line to board the Friendship V – a whale watch boat. We were all so excited at the prospect of seeing whales – but alas, it was not to be. We enjoyed the trip out as the kids ran in and out of the galley (where I had propped my very sore knee up on a bench with some hot chocolate), pumped with adrenalin as they scoured the horizon for the 4 signs of a whale: the water spout, a tail in the air, a rounded back skimming the water, or splashing water. They never even saw a hint of any of those things – and neither did anyone else. By the time we headed back for shore, we were bummed out, slightly sick feeling, and totally ready to be back on solid land. We made it back and took off for Acadia. Thunder Hole was quiet as it was low tide, but the scenery was amazing and the kids ran all over the rocks until we were ready to eat again. We had a reservation at the Jordan Pond House – a beautiful place in the center of Acadia with killer food and – popovers! They are very light and airy rolls about the size of a cantaloupe and they are good with butter BUT the best was yet to come as they also are served with ice cream in the middle and covered with chocolate sauce. Great way to cap off another delicious meal. The kids had prime rib and I had another Lobster Stew, which far surpassed the 1st one a few nights before. We decided we had finally had enough lobster and headed back to the room. Friday we were off – left Bar Harbor after Jared spilled his butter (liquid because his bagel was hot) on his brand new Del Sol t-shirt (the Bar Harbor picture on the front changes from black and white to bright colors in the sunlight) and had to change. We survived that and headed for Augusta where the kids had a ball in a Children’s Discovery Museum. They played bank teller, cook, waiter/waitress, actor/actress, heavy construction engineer, and rhythm drummer. We got some lunch and then headed for our last stop. The Maine Wildlife Farm is a place for injured or sick wild animals and those raised in captivity that cannot live in the wild. Here’s the first one we saw – he’s hard to see because he was in the shade but – trust me – he is huge! His antlers are obvious and his eyes are just below them – his mouth is dead center at the bottom of the picture. He never batted an eye when we took pictures – just laid there probably thinking something like "it’s another stupid human acting like an idiot over a moose!" Anyway, we enjoyed the animals although it was a very long walk, the old lady at the gate wouldn’t let us take a wheelchair because "they all have to be back by 4:30 (it was 4:19)." It was tough with my sore knee but we had such fun until we stopped to take pictures of the coyote. I stepped close to the fence right into a hole, twisted my ankle and, you guessed it, slammed my already damaged knee into the fence, rendering it almost useless. We struggled a little further to the bears and by that time it was obvious I wasn’t going to make the long walk back so Emily & Jared flagged down a Ranger in a cart, who took me to the car while the kids jogged along. I was never so happy to see anybody in my life but the kids didn’t seem to get it as I was heading for the gate and the parking lot when Jared said in horror, "Aren’t we going to see the mountain lions?" He was appropriately apologetic when he saw my knee in living color later that evening. We got to our motel shortly after that, found a great little restaurant where we feasted on Sirloin Steak and Roasted Turkey. Had a great room with 2 huge beds – most comfortable place yet – slept in until 10:00 then took off for Pine River Pond in New Hampshire to my sister’s lakeside home, where Scott and Stacey awaited their long-lost kids. It was a wonderful week and, thanks to Labor Day, we still have several days to relax and recuperate. You know your vacation was a success when you have to get over it! Now I can get back to my book and I’ll also continue my musings and previews of the upcoming publication of "Lady Father: How I Overcame Outrageous Discrimination in the Church." ================================================================================ Sign up to receive the Publication Announcement when the book is ready. Click here to enter contact information securely.