Not deferential enough: Vacation time, brother

Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2013 in Opinion

Not deferential enough: Vacation time, brother

by Gina Hamilton

The Turning Tide Cottage Farm is now completely sown ... some 64 tomato plants, another 50 some odd pepper plants of various varieties, more blackberries and strawberries and raspberries than we can count, lettuces, celery, herbs, cucumbers, garlic, onions, potatoes, grapes, apple and cherry trees, corn, beans, peas, sunflowers, rhubarb, cranberries, carrots, broccoli, melons, squash, zucchini. 

We have a few flower plants to put in, but in general, this is it.  Which means that, even though there will be plenty of tending of the farm yet to do, we can start to think about our own summer holidays.

We won't be going far.  When you're an organic farmer, you can't go too far away. Our neighbors will be letting the chickens in and out and collecting the eggs ... thank you, P&P ... and our son and heir will be watering and keeping an eagle eye out for weeds, while looking after the kitty and the parrot. 

But that means that we can take the dogs and do something a bit different.  We'll be going up to Acadia National Park to spend a few days in a camping cabin not far from the beach.

A camping cabin is usually located within a campground, with tents, RVs, and so on.  It's got a bed and a bathroom if you're fortunate, a place to plug stuff in, and maybe a chair or two.  It's incredibly basic - you bring your own sheets and blankets, and you do your cooking outside.  But the price is what makes it worthwhile ... it's less than half of what you would pay for a 'full housekeeping' cabin or cottage.

Our cabin will cost us a mere $65 per night, and we'll be away for four nights.  We have camping cookware, dinnerware, and a campstove, and a lantern, and we have to bring lawn chairs and a cooler, too.  You bring your own towels and dishcloths and dishtub for that matter.  And it's a good plan to bring a length of rope you can use for a clothes-line.

I used to love camping as a child; my parents had a truck camper that we took everywhere in the summer.  We kids could lie down on the bed above the truck cab and watch the world go by in incredible comfort.  If we needed a break or a snack or couldn't stand the sight of one another for a single solitary minute more (which happened pretty frequently), the offended one could go down into the 'kitchen' part of the camper and sit at the table with the cat and dog and a book.  We'd have been fine if only Ipods had been invented back then, but we didn't have so much as a walkman, so music fights were common.

My mother had a penchant for finding weird, not-in-the-guidebook places to stop, often with no other recommendation than a roadside sign or something she saw painted on a barn.  If the barn said to "see" it, we saw it. 

I myself have been known to almost kill a car's suspension by driving down a rock road - not gravel, actual boulder-like rocks - in northern New Hampshire looking for the 'floating bridge' which was, indeed, a bridge floating on the surface of the water on top of a series of barrels supporting the bridge's surface.  It wasn't a tourist attraction in any way, any more than the 'Old Prison' marked on our map of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City was.  But that was Bastille Day, and where else were young legionnaires to go?

Acadia National Park is a fine place to go with the dogs; there's a wonderful off-leash dog park and equestrian park that abuts the park that used to be part of the Rockefeller estate.  You can kayak in Little Long Pond and have a picnic on the boathouse steps.  You can take the girls out for tea at Jordan Pond and supper at a number of nice restaurants right in Bar Harbor.  You can go sailing with them and take a nature cruise with them.  And of course, there's hiking and the beach and all that.

But mostly it's just not here for a while.  It's the smell of a wood fire that isn't going to have to be cleaned out after it dies.  It's a break from the daily routines of the farm, of work, of the paper, of the rest of adult existence for a few short days. 

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