The pace of life here is slower.
The air has that gloriously salty scent, the kind of fresh air that you breathe greedily into your lungs. The horizon is visible, the sky big and blue. The streets are quiet, except for a few walkers, bikers, and children toddling with buckets and spades.
This is Maine. To be precise, this is Kennebunk, on Maine’s Atlantic coast, where we spent a long weekend this summer doing nothing except relaxing and catching up with family. I spent an hour or two in a white wooden chair by the ocean, reading a paper-and-ink novel, as opposed to my Kindle. My husband, brother, and I biked through neighbouring Kennebunkport, past boat sheds, Walker’s Point (better known as the home of the Bush family compound), and streets with storybook names like Merrymeeting Lane and Seagrass Lane.
We left our phones and cameras at home and went rock pooling on Strawberry Island, an activity that shook free childhood memories of Sunday excursions to Bayble Beach in Lewis. We ate buttery soft lobster at Mabel’s Lobster Claw, one of the best seafood restaurants in the country, on the night their air conditioning was broken; the place was still packed (and rightly so) with people intent on eating their speciality seafood. (In case you happen to find yourself in the area, I’ll add that their peanut butter ice cream pie is also out-of-this-world delicious.)
There was a quick trip north to Portland to see America’s most photographed lighthouse, but it wasn’t long before we were back in the relaxing environs of Kennebunk. Maine is famous for its extra sweet blueberries, which grow wild across the state, so of course we sampled homemade blueberry jam at the weekend farmer’s market, and ate the most amazing blueberry pie from Cherie’s Bakery. In the mornings we woke up to the sight of herons gulping down their breakfast in the marshy Rachel Carson Wildlife Reserve, or hummingbirds hovering outside the window. And of course, everywhere we looked, we could see the Atlantic.
Our fleeting weekend by the sea reminded me a bit of my holiday at home on the Isle of Harris last year. I said it then, and I’ll say it again: a change of scenery and an escape from the everyday can be just as rejuvenating as a jaunt abroad. My summer fling with this New England state proved just that, so if you want my advice, pack an overnight bag and see where the wind takes you before summer slips way for another year.