Monday, June 28, 2010

Portland, Day 2 (Lobster Day)

Today we set out for a late breakfast before finding ourselves at the Old Port, again, in search of lunch. Today was going to be our opportunity to hit as many Maine classics as we could cram in. But first, Jen took the morning as an opportunity to open her birthday presents.

I got Jen a picture that I drew of an iPad. She got really excited when she saw this because I think she assumed that it is representative of an actual iPad that she will be receiving at a later date when they become available. That was awkward. I was just trying to give her that awesome picture I drew. I guess I'll have to see about reserving one for her now.

It's worth mentioning at this point that this is the lamp on my side of the bed. I'll leave it to your own imagination to figure out what's going on here. I have my own interpretation. I'll leave it at that.

We went to Gilbert's Chowder House for lunch and Jen had the fried clam strips.

I had the lobster roll. To me, foodwise, this isn't so much of a vacation as it is a return to what I grew up with. I ate lobster and fried clams almost exclusively through my youth and later cooked them at restaurants in Rhode Island as I began my career in the restaurant business. It is more comforting than anything else to have this food again. The lobster roll was very bare bones at Gilbert's. It was lobster on a roll. It didn't taste like there was any sort of mayonnaise or dressing at all. But it was lobster so it was still quite good.

The clam strips were also different than what I'm used to from growing up in Rhode Island. I prefer my native fried clam style a bit more than these actually. Now I just hope I can escape Maine before any locals find out that I said this because they will likely take offense.

Later we went to Two Lights State Park. Beforehand we went to the beach where Jen got to pose with an honest to goodness lighthouse!

Then we went into the park itself where I got to drink from a bubbler. That's right, a friggin' bubbler! One of the most stressful things about talking to people outside of New England is having to constantly check myself and make sure I call it a water fountain. Certainly this doesn't come up very often but the humiliation you feel from saying the word 'bubbler' to people not from New England as they stare at you, slack-jawed, as if you'd just announced your candidacy for President of Mars in 2025, is a humiliation strong enough to make sure you run the word 'bubbler' through your inner brain word filter before speaking. That's right, it's a bubbler, and I'm not afraid to say it any more!

Two Lights was pretty cool. The guy at the kiosk as we entered did not sell it very well though. He made sure to open up with the fact that there is no beach, no swimming, and no lighthouses. Then he complained about his manager that had not left him any maps to give us. He was very nice but he seemed to be giving us every opportunity to leave before being disappointed by any of this. In fact, he almost seemed to be pressuring us to leave. We ignored him and stayed. Even without all the things Two Lights did not have it was worth staying.

There was some debate about where to go to dinner but since we were there already we went to The Lobster Shack to keep with our theme of simple New England foods.

We got the lobster dinner with an extra lobster and grape nut pudding. We were going to go out for ice cream but how often do you see grape nut pudding on a menu?

I then gave Jen a lesson in how to crack open and eat a lobster. She was an excellent student and even got mad when I tried to help her out so I let her keep to it.

We got in pretty early. Earlier than dinner had begun the night before. With tomorrow's plan formulating, and nice weather on our side, it would be best for us to get a good night's sleep before heading out to tackle day three. Who knows what wondrous adventures await us?

Now, with the lobster-eating portion of the vacation behind us, we will be able to focus a little more on what remains in beautiful Portland.

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