The Great Escape
We recently had our very first night away together from G. And it's only our second overnight away together from C. Geoff's sister, Stacy, and her husband Jake agreed to babysit for us for one night. It's the first time we've ever had family babysit for us overnight. It's the first time we've lived close enough and had a baby that didn't absolutely have to nurse to sleep and they didn't have anything on a weekend! The stars aligned! So we chose to visit a bed & breakfast in Camden. The house was a renovated 1849 home called Abigail's Inn. We stayed in the carriage house, which was decked out in calm, luxurious style a la Pottery Barn, with some northern New England touches like knotty hardwood floors, nautical blues in the bathroom, and crocheted pulls on the window shades. I would highly recommend this beautiful and relaxing place, which was more than reasonably priced for the area. A gem!
I didn't take many photos because, hey, this is a romantic getaway; who wants an intrusive camera at dinner?
We left around 5, driving down Route 1 with golden light illuminating the countryside and bright red barns. I brought a small basket of wine & cheese - a Malbec, a cranberry cheese, a Grafton Village Maple Smoked Cheddar, and my favorite - an Espresso Bella Vitano (which is basically a buttery, hard cheese encrusted with fine-ground espresso fairy dust. It's magical).
We talked. And talked. And somewhere between China and Palermo, we're sure we saw another family we know coming back! (I found out later they were hiking Mt. Battie and that their 4-year-old had built an elaborate "cabin" out of driftwood. Beautiful adventure!)
As we drove, the snow faded. Almost none, and then - the coast. No snow. NONE!
We got there around 6:15 but were still sitting in the car, just talking. It was so nice to begin catching up, with the anticipation of a nice evening ahead.
One of the owners greeted us; a couple and their two boys and a dog live there. She was really nice and let us know there were fresh brownies. However, we had dinner reservations to get to, so we declined.
Here are some photos of Abigail's Inn when the weather is more sunny than the day we were there:
We got ready for dinner and walked (that's right, walked and without snow boots!) to dinner. We could see Mt. Battie and we window shopped at the stores on the water, some of them on pilings. Bookshops and toy stores... but the best part of the walk was Geoff's face when he realized this was the site of a childhood memory.
"We usually went to Kennebunkport in the summer time, but sometimes when we had guests, we'd go somewhere else...another coastal town...I think that's it, right there [he points] - where I had cookie dough ice cream for the first time." Such sticky memories shared on a quiet street in the fading dusk with me. Memories with his mom, who's no longer with us. I miss her. And I know she'd have babysat by now, if she was alive and they'd stayed in Portland.
We turned up the hill and passed a patch of grass. Green grass. Dry grass. And the brick of the low wall in front of it wasn't cold or wet, either. I rubbed some of the grass, then ripped some up and we smelled it. Oh, sweet Earth! That dirt smell, how grand! I haven't smelled it in 7 months.
Up the hill just a bit more was Natalie's, where I had my first-ever 7-course dinner. What an experience!
Geoff ordered the lobster tasting menu, which included an unexpected Asian interpretation of a lobster roll, among other treats. I had a bonus surprise - a deconstructed Caesar salad, plus this menu:
One Maine Lobster served with Pine Nut Puree, Spring Peas & Radish Two Foie Gras Torchon with House made Brioche, Roasted Beets & Spring Lettuce Three Local Farm Egg on Wild Mushrooms, Asparagus & Truffle Pecorino Four Swordfish with Artichokes, Onion Relish, Green Garlic Puree & Red Wine Emulsion Five Rabbit Loin and Legg accompanied by Fiddle Heads, Spring Onions & Mustard Seeds Six Blue Cheese Panna Cotta with Sour Cherry Gelee, Pecans, Cherries & Pecan Butter Seven Chocolate Pot de Crème served with Coffee Soil, Crème Fraiche & Cherry Gel
The Red Wine Emulsion - was a foam. I can honestly say that is the first time I've ever had red wine in foam format. The entire meal came together beautifully, was plated like art, and all perfectly timed. The wine pairings they chose were complementary and not overpowering.
But the best part? We still have lots to talk about. And not just the kids. In fact, we probably only talked about kids 5% of the time. We still can talk about anything. We didn't leave until around 11 p.m. And on the way out, half the staff was saying farewell to us - they presented me with a tiny gift box full of house-made confections, which we ate in the car on the way home the next day.
Two gumdrops, two marshmallows, and espresso taffy.