day trip

February 24, 2008

One of the very first things I noticed about Maine was the sun. So bright, almost blindingly so, in a way we seldom see in the winter midwest. The sun went away here for a couple of weeks during all of the recent snow, but it came out again this weekend, and I took it as a good omen that if I went on a little (emphasis on the little) road trip that I wouldn’t wind up digging myself out of a ditch or accidentally caught in a storm.

Years ago I did a year abroad with a most remarkable group of people, and one of them found me here….and she’s from Maine! and filled with lots of good advice. Her name, coincidentally, is also Anne, and she left me one of my very favorite comments so far. On the subject of me wanting to see the un-touristy bits of Maine, even up near Canada, she wrote:

If you drive up towards Canada, it’ll go something like this:

Civilization, less civilization, lots of woods, moose, moose, international border … whoa, strip clubs and farms!

As much as I look forward to seeing if this is true, I set my sights a little lower today and took a day-trip to Bath. Darling. Highly darling, and I bet that if I make another trip to Bath in about four months that it will be so crowded with tourists that I won’t be able to see it properly. Bath is the “city of ships” and it’s a town with a long history of ship building. Like, 400 years of shipbuilding. How cool is that? Right there on the Kennebec River. Up from the river there are lots of little shops, all stretching along two major streets that intersect and you have to climb up, up from the water and down, down as the streets wind along, in order to see them all. It feels very English.

After Bath I wound my way down to Brunswick in the car. I had hoped to visit a bookshop there, but it was closed, so I’ll make that trip again. Instead, I sat on the common and watched some local ice skaters.


The skating rink is what they do with the town green in winter and there is a bandshell at one end, and a lovely inn overlooking it. Mark – you asked me for a picture of an out of the way motel….but so far I’ve only seen charming inns, so this picture will have to do:



  1. Mark and I considered Bath as a place to get married. But, we found another charming town instead. I think Maine must be full of them.

  2. Wow. It’s neat to see that you went to Brunswick.

    I used to ice skate on the mall (for some reason, it’s the mall, not the common, in everyday parlance). The figure skaters and the hockey players have a winter-long war of attrition on that rink.

  3. Oh, ALSO: my dad used to work at BIW (Bath Iron Works), in management. I worked there for a couple of summers. It’s one of the larger employers in mid-coast Maine. They make frigates and destroyers for the Navy. There’s a T-shirt you can buy in Bath that says “Frigate isn’t a dirty word in Bath, Maine.”

    Bath largely escaped the urban renewal movement of the 60s in a way that Brunswick didn’t. Brunswick had the money to knock down some impressive (“old-fashioned”) buildings, such as the train station and various other big Victorian piles, and replaced them with a supermarket, among other things. Bath didn’t have the money to bother, and so has retained many/most of its original 19th-century buildings.

  4. note to self: must buy that t-shirt.

  5. I think I remember – from when Jean & I were hunting for wedding/reception sites – that there’s a handsome museum in Bath, down the road from the shipyard, worth a visit. We had lunch or something there – I guess it’s rentable for “do’s”, which is probably why we checked it out.

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