1) Caught the Downeaster Friday evening up to Wells to visit a friend in his beach bungalow for the weekend. Imagine my surprise at finding an acquaintance across the aisle! Instead of surfing using the train’s molasses-slow wifi, I ended up having a great person-to-person catch-up over drinks.
1a) One of my indulgences is to travel in the club car on the train. They don’t make club cars with mahogany and mohair velvet any more, but it can be that way in my mind.
2) My host met me at Wells Station in a drenching rain, immediately putting a large covered dish of jambalaya in my lap as we drove first to the supermarket and then home.
3) A mellow late dinner of jambalaya and effervescent rosé and good conversation.
4) I was bedded down in the Hawaii Room, so named for its works of art, as well as the starfish doll on the bed, which made a great hat.
5) A sluggish start to a gray Saturday kicked into high gear when we decided to go to the Greenery for breakfast. We sat at a high top and were waited on by a very humorous woman younger than we were. Bacon, brie, and tomato omelette = savory heaven. To my surprise, the Greeney was much in favor with families of small children.
6) After that, footloose and fancy free on an overcast day, we decided to walk about the Wells Beach area. Old and new beach homes, one with a tent and round tables set up in front of it. A day of washed-out neutrals: white, silver gray, sand gray, pearl gray, the bleached gold of weathered shingles, gold, cream, you name it. I’d love to decorate a room in all those colors and have one red thing in it.
7) Some of the homes had very amusing names, e.g. All-En, Hatetoquitit, etc.
8) After lots of walking, a return home for jambalaya lunch and (for me) a NAP. Not that it did me much good.
9) Then - the SUN! Surprise! Rather than haul our stuff all the way to the beach and wrestle with parking and such, we toted our towels over to the clubhouse and reclined by the pool with our books. Why yes, we WERE in the younger 20% of people there . . .
10) Into Ogunquit Proper for an early evening, starting with bird-dogging around restaurants to look at their menus, and then a first round upstairs at the Front Porch. We were starting the evening early, but even so, the piano was already mobbed with the usual suspects to be found around the piano in any piano bar, roaring along with whatever the (excellent) pianist was playing.
10a) After about 15 minutes a cute young waiter (just enough eyebrow tweezing to know it’s been done) took our orders, and after what seemed like another 20 minutes, we got our drinks. FP seems short-staffed this season, which my host explained probably had to do with people having to leave before the end of the season to return to school.
11) Then off to Brix and Brine for dinner under a gigantic umbrella, perfect for that sunny evening. For heaven’s sake, if you choose to dine here, order the crab tots as soon as you sit down, and then order some more when you finish them! My steak frites was perhaps not as hot as I’d’ve wished it, but no complaints. I just loved the vibe of this restaurant. I was just about to say “Pretentious enough that families won’t go, but unpretentious enough to be enjoyed," but then I remembered a sweet little girl not more than 2 who was so very sweet because I don’t recall her making a peep.
12) Immediately after dinner we stepped into a little art gallery, and what a delight to see on a table a book about the artist Charles Woodbury that was co-authored by a friend of mine.
13) We then walked on to the beach, beautiful in the dusk, one saiilboat in the distance, lots of deep opalescent pastels in contrast to all the neutrals of the morning. I got my feet in the cold water and really felt I’d arrived.
14) Heading back toward town, we browsed through a couple of those Gorgeous Little Things stores you find in resort towns, and then got some ice cream at Abbott’s. Just one poor teenage girl behind the counter, scooping for a line that NEVER ended while we were there. I tipped her well, but her tip jar was already VERY full.
15) Back at home, my host flipped on a movie I’d never seen, Apartment Zero. That is one messed-up movie! I was almost sure that Almodovar had directed it. Colin First and an actor named Hart Bochner with a face to make you crumble.
16) Sunday started with even more sun, a fruit cup, coffee, and our arrival at Ogunquit Beach by 9:37 AM, just before high tide. I wouldn’t call our set-up elaborate, but my host brought a large folding beach chair and a beach tent with tent pegs and pockets that fill with sand to weight it down. Ingenious! Whereas I had forgotten my beach blanket at the house (almost my entire backpack). I didn't see any inflatable palm trees this trip, or small generators to power blenders to make smoothies for passersby, but Ogunquit is where I've seen such shenanigans before.
17) Of the day, I can only say that the sun baked out any mental energy I had. I tried to write, I’d brought nothing to read . . . and eventually all I did was walk, swim, and nap. But what’s wrong with that?!
18) In fact, so much had my brain dribbled out my ears that when I went to get lunch at the concession, I forgot shoes - oops! - and had to go back to get them before I could place an order.
18a) That was when I saw the four people with inflatable sharks.
19) After all that intense sun, we left shortly after 3ish for an early cocktail at Maine Street. Practically deserted when we got there, wonderful to stretch out on the upper deck banquettes with their pillows! Some interesting looks: a slim young man in what appeared to be a hopi coat over white cycling shorts and wooden clogs with blue fleece uppers, a bearish dude in blue linen with a large round pendant that looked like a carved bagel, and one man, no longer young, wearing a black and green thong, tattoos, and nothing else.
19a) The tattoo on his back, a tall cross on a bed of skulls surmounted by two vultures . . . well, I’m afraid of what it might mean, but it certainly made a statement.
20) Back at home, I cleaned my carcass and packed up, sad to be returning already.
21) Dinner at nearby Tulsi North, a superb Indian restaurant with a light, deft touch for spices. What could be better than chicken tikka masala with garlic naan? Om nom nom.
22) My host deposited me at the train station a bit early, so I was able to call Mother and catch up on a variety of topics that ranged from the personal to the political to the church.
23) Typing this up in the club car speeding through the dark, grateful and happy for a respite out of town.