Vacation: Last Stop, Portland

It was only suppose to be a five hour drive.

We heading towards Portland, Maine. The quickest way and most scenic way was to drive through the Green Mountains. Again, lots of rural area. Not a big deal. All of us enjoy the scenery. On a different type of vacation would have done some hiking and took some pictures.

The traffic was thick, but steady as we traveled through the mountains. Lots of tourists seeing the sites on this Saturday. As we come out of the mountains and to a town on the edge of the New Hampshire state line we came to stand still traffic. It took 2.5 hours to travel the next 15 miles. I dont know what was going on in the New Hampshire town but the town as we crossed the Maine border had a fair which caused the traffic halt. I never would have guessed it.

Green Mountains

A scenic drive through the heart of the state becomes much less interesting at night. We finally arrived at the hotel, about ten miles north of Portland. It was 9:30pm. We passed a restaurant called The Muddy Rudder, which we decided would be a good place to eat. The place looked fancy but had a laid back feel once inside. They were about an hour to close and very few customers. This was our lobster meal. Because when traveling in Maine one must eat lobster.

In my belly

We were all wiped out. Briefly discussed going into Portland but decided for the hotel instead. I was up and ready to travel around 9am, but my friends slept a couple more hours. We had a decision to make. Watch football or travel the coast. Football won out. We watched the early games at a crappy sports bar, luckily all four of our favorite teams played early.

The one thing I wanted to do in Portland was go to The Great Lost Bear. The Bear is regarded as one of the best beer bars in the United States. It's easy to see why. Many local drafts on tap and a fine selection of Euro beers. If I lived in the area this place would be my go to bar of choice. A nice atmosphere, a person could spend a decent amount of time just looking at the decorations, and very friendly staff. They also had good food as we all ate and drank beers for a few hours.

Great Lost Bear

I would have content staying there all night and drinking, which is what the day turned in to, but some a couple of the other guys wanted to go other places. I gave up my driving responsibilities for the evening as Tom volunteered to be the designated driver. This might have been the first time ever for him to do so. Disappointed, we left the bar as I did not want to make the trip all about what I wanted to do.

We found a place called Brian Boru. It reminded me of a bar I would have hung out in college. They had a musical act playing and the place was fairly packed. Lots of young maidens for the eyes.

Brian Boru

We drank for a few hours and tried to find another place to quench our thirst. Everything was closing as it was around 1am on Sunday. So we traveled back to the hotel for sleep.

The original plan was to travel to Salem, Mass for awhile, then back home. After drinking all night, we knew no one would want to get up early to do this. So another audible was called: Sleep in and start the travel back to Fort Wayne (then to Indianapolis for the other three, then on to Nashville for Paul).

We took off about 11am and though another scenic ocean side drive through Maine would be cool. Wrong. We did not see hardly any ocean, except in the distance and the traffic was terrible. This stretch of highway was just one little town after another. I would have never guessed so much traffic. Do a good amount people on the East Coast get Columbus Day off work?

We spent a lot of time in the car and finally stopped at Eerie, PA. Slept and hit the road at a good time. Got back to my house around 3pm. This would have got everyone back at a good time, especially Paul since he had the farthest to go and had to work the next morning.

All in all, a good trip and a much needed one for myself. I needed a few days of escape from my personal life. We didn't get to do everything we all wanted. Too much ground to cover in too short of time. Would have loved to see more of Maine, particularly upstate coastal. Maybe another time with a little more planning.

Great friends, awesome beer, cool scenery, and tasty food outweighed the other tiny mishaps. Next summer we should do a trip to the Northwest... or maybe down to Texas.

Who knows if any trip will happen. But I'll go on another one.

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