Taking the Plunge

This article could have just as easily been title ‘What I did over my Labor Day Weekend.’ In my Preferred article that came out on Saturday, I gave a quick recap. Here’s the object lesson I learned while adventuring all over New England.

As was previously written, last Friday night saw me flying into Portland, ME. I wish I could tell you more about the area but it was closed down when I arrived. My intention wasn’t to fly there at all, actually. The goal this weekend was to go to my friend’s wedding in Noblesboro, Maine at a bed and breakfast and Portland was the closest airport. Again, as I wrote in Preferred, we got some sweet upgrades and I encourage you to do the same if you have any air travel coming up over the next few months. Among these was the free rental car upgrade. I was also able to write a post on my new Toshiba Mini  Netbook – the advertised 9 Hour Battery Life worked like a champ.

We didn’t know anything about the area around portland or the bed and breakfast that we signed up for 30 miles away from the wedding, but we put our faith in online reviews and set off into the Maine darkness. Our car didn’t come with GPS but I have a portable Garmin Portable GPS Navigator that has helped me out before.

We eventually arrived at the Carew Bed & Breakfast, a 17th century converted farmhouse run by a very pleasant French couple as a way to finance their antique and art store habit. The were as nice as could be and we enjoyed our stay in a house ‘ancient by American standards’ as they said. They weren’t bothered at all by our late arrival and our 2am return the next night. Plus, their breakfast was so tasty with local jams, yogurts, and fruits complimented by fresh baked bread, I couldn’t complain about any of it. We did not exactly know what the schedule for the Bed & Breakfast was, but we just sort of went with it and had a great time.

Saturday was a bit up in the air by design of the bride and groom. They had an early am wedding in the beautiful backyard of the Mill Pond Inn so the rest of the day could be spent hanging out or doing whatever. Of course, they only told us this when we arrived, but it worked out perfectly. Especially when one of the Innkeepers handed me a beer at 10 am followed by mimosas every 15 minutes.

After the wedding came lunch, a keg of great local brew, and all of the oysters one could shuck. Oysters rock. Sadly, not everyone can muster the courage up to even try one let alone enjoy one. I’m telling you, screw up your courage, shuck and oyster and do like Bourdain, and suck that bad boy down. Trust me, you’ll be back for more.

Once we had been fed, watered, and wed the groom surprised us by ditching the semi-formal wear and reappearing in a bathing suit. The innkeeper had told us that some wedding couples literally jump off the dock in the backyard to symbolize taking the plunge. He challenged all of us to go swim. Why let no bathing suit let the chance slip away? I had a pair of khaki shorts in my car. Before I knew it, me and my belly full of oysters, beer, and mimosas were swimming along with the groom in a crystal clear Maine lake. It was a hell of a lot cleaner than Lake Wylie.

Sadly, not everyone joined us. They just sat there wishing they could. Some people never learned to swim for some reason or another. Others were scared. Others didn’t want to get clothes wet. What a waste of a memory. When I look back on the wedding, I won’t remember most of it. I will remember jumping in that lake and swimming the cocktails off!

Soon, we swan under the overpass and climbed on top of a bridge to jump off like the local 10 year olds were. This was fun. Again, not everyone who went swimming could muster the courage to jump off a 15 foot bridge into the lake. Their loss.

Since this was my first time free swimming since the Cross Bay Swim race, I had to challenge myself and swim out to the larger connected lake. The person who joined me had driven back to her bed and breakfast, got changed, and came back to the wedding. That’s a great example of not letting obstacles get in the way of your fun.

The wedding night ended with a section of 20 or so of us invading a local restaurant’s bar area to watch the VT – Bama game. The Hokies didn’t win, but we had a great time watching it.

The next day I headed out to New Hampshire and Lake Winnipesaukee. Immediately after showing up at a friend’s house, we went for a ride in a classic 1954 wooden boat. The owner told me trying to drive it was like negotiating with a rocket. It was awesome. Instead of toweling off, we went exploring the rest of the lake on a canoe. It reminded me of many summer high adventure treks canoeing through Minnesota’s Boundary Water Access areas and Maine’s Allagash Wilderness. But with Governor Romney’s house sitting on the shore line.

The next morning we went sailing and swimming. Sure the air was cold enough to wear pants and polar fleeces. Sure some of us had never been sailing before. But why not just dive right in? The water was much warmer than expected.

Later that day we flew out of Boston. We wrote down the wrong departure time and missed out on our free first class ticket out of Logan back t Charlotte. In the end, it didn’t really matter. We spent time with great people and crafted some awesome memories. I’ll take that over a flight upgrade any day.

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