Posts Tagged ‘Hannaford’

Day 5: Maybe it was Providence

29 Jun

One of the definitions of providence is “a manifestation of divine care or direction.” And today felt like maybe it was providence that we were in Providence. First, if you are ever in need of a hotel in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, I highly recommend the Hilton. Not that we actually spent any time looking around Pawtucket, and I hope we didn’t miss anything too delightful, but the Hilton was quite nice, and perfectly located to jump back on the interstate to backtrack slightly to Providence (since we had missed our opportunity to visit yesterday.) We had a casual start to the day, no rush to get back in the car. This was Maine arrival day, but we weren’t allowed in the cottage until late afternoon anyway, so why not take a look around Providence?

Harper has been saying for years that she would like to attend the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) for fashion design. So our first stop was the RISD shop for her to procure a new sweatshirt. Then we walked around peeking into the windows of buildings – their Nature Lab looks amazing! As we walked past the RISD Art Museum, I questioned whether or not we really had time for this. But it seemed a carpe diem moment, and I told the kids that it would have to be an abbreviated visit, but we could take a quick spin. And oh how glad I am that we did! They have an astounding collection. Truly. I was actually quite stunned. I was most taken with a Frank Lloyd Wright library table and an unfinished Cassatt. But they had all the big-name impressionists you could care to see, as well as extensive Greek, Roman, and Egyptian galleries. Right now they also had a special exhibit of Gorham silver which was fascinating. And Harper was quite taken with their costume and textile collections, including some student work. Again I felt like I only saw about 50% of the available collection, but any is better than none in this occasion!

After visiting the RISD Museum, the kids and I hiked a few blocks uphill to the campus of Brown. I just wanted to see it, and for them to see it. It was absolutely delightful, and we only peeked in on one quad in all it’s green grass juxtaposed against old, red brick austerity. I wouldn’t be mad if any of my kids wanted to attend either of these schools.

Yesterday, Beau had been hoping to visit a very special bookshop in Providence, but we got in too late. Now, here was my chance to redeem myself as a mother, and get him to the cool place he researched. Their website is, but the shop is called Lovecraft Arts & Sciences, a place dedicated to, as they tell it, “Providence’s own master of Weird tales, author H. P. Lovecraft.” Beau loves the horror genre in general, so this was his kind of place. When we walked in the shop keeper was in a discussion with a very pretentious customer. He was trying to mansplain something about Lovecraft and his genre to her, and she just schooled him. It was very amusing. As a bonus, I bought a cool Rhode Island t-shirt, and Beau got a cool Lovecraft t-shirt. I am a t-shirt junkie myself, so I tell myself this is really just me doing some back-to-school shopping before he starts high school!

Though there were many more things to see and do in Providence (If I was a real US History teacher I would have pulled over at the Slater Mill Historic Site!), we were not just racing the clock to get to Maine, we were racing the tide! Every other year of Crazy Momma’s Road Trip we have rented the same house in Kennebunkport, Maine, a lovely cottage at the end of a quiet street, basically fronting on a semi-private beach along Turbat’s Creek. The house was sold – though seems to be back on the market! (Side note: Any one have $760,000 they want to give me?) But the house was off the rental market, and thus the reason I went looking for a new location and a new adventure in Maine. However, we all have a soft spot for Turbat’s Creek. It has been the location of so many dear, dear memories. And one of the coolest things about Turbat’s Creek is that it is tidal, with huge shifts. When the tide is out, you can walk across the mud flat that was previously underwater during high tide, and ford the now ankle-deep creek to Vaughan’s Island Preserve. I had charted the tides before leaving Florida, and knew that the low tide, and therefore the best time to visit, would be at 3:01pm today. Unfortunately, we lingered a bit too long, and with a fuel stop, we ended up arriving at the creek closer to 4:00pm. We could still walk across to Vaughan’s, but it was no longer ankle deep. And if it’s one thing I know about the tides on the creek, it’s that they move fast. Very fast. And you can find yourself swimming back across from Vaughan’s! So, though it was rushed, and not ideal – the kids wanted to play longer on the rocks and I wanted to spend more time exploring the tidal pools – I’m still so grateful that we were able to catch it at all. After a few more minutes of playing on the exposed rocks closer to the beach, and bonding with a huge, particularly friendly seagull, we loaded back in the van. With a wistful look back at “our” house, we headed into town. Beau had asked particularly if we could get a meal at Roma’s Pizza in Kennebunkport, and I was very happy to comply with that request. Roma’s is authentic, New York style pizza, and it was absolutely worth the drive from Florida!

After stuffing ourselves with pizza – and when I say we stuffed ourselves, I mean it was almost obscene – we got back on the road to our new rental cottage. Our first stop though, was in Brunswick for groceries. We love the Hannaford grocery store chain. We love them for many reasons, especially one involving liquor and another involving cereal. When one is shopping for a week’s worth of vacation home groceries, it is particularly helpful that Hannaford sells liquor, right there on the grocery store aisles! Check! Throw that in the cart. And while I happily buy store-brand most everything else, I am not typically a purchaser of store-brand cereal. We are very big on cereal in my family. We tend to splurge on name brands. But Beau and I fell in love with Hannaford’s store brand version of Crispix, mostly because they are called “Crispy Hexagons.” For some reason that makes us laugh and laugh. But tonight we may have found something even better. Because we discovered that their store brand version of Life cereal is called “Easy Living Oat Squares Cereal.” Easy Living! Yes, please! I am not entirely sure how we managed to fit all of the groceries into our already fairly packed van, but we did. It was an easy and stunningly beautiful drive from Brunswick to the house on Bailey Island.  Very narrow, windy, rural roads, with much greater elevation changes than I expected. We arrived with enough light to unload the car, choose bedrooms, and take a quick walk down to our new semi-private beach. I also had time to drink a cocktail on the porch, sitting in an Adirondack chair, feet on the rail, overlooking Little Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean before I lost the light and a massive thunderstorm came rolling in. I think it best that I tell you more about the house and location tomorrow. I have a feeling that the sun and the children may be getting me up tomorrow much earlier than I may choose. But suffice it to say, we arrived. The sign just past the Piscataqua River Bridge says, “Maine – Welcome Home. The Way Life Should Be.” Sigh. Ahhhhh, yes. Let it begin…



Day 5: By the numbers

Odometer: 128,275 – 128,506 (231 miles)
Total travel time: 12 hours (most spent exploring – only 4 hrs driving)
States traveled through/in: 4 (RI, MA, NH, ME)
Current standings in the CMRT 2019 Lottery Project: $10 in/$6 out (-$4 loss) – bought tickets in MA & ME, but forgot to play them!
Number of states found in our license plate-palooza: 1 –> Total of 46/51

Day Four: The Summer of Serendipity

18 Jun

Every good adventure should have a theme. This year, for CMRT 2016: K9 Edition, is seems to be serendipity. The beauty of the unexpected. The utterly random turned into magic. It started with unexpected sandwiches on Day One. And evolved into a summer home drop-in today. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

We started our day in Manhattan. When I woke, Remy was snuggled in tight between Beau and Harper on the floor of the apartment. Like puppies in a whelping box. We managed to all wake, get dressed, roll sleeping bags, and move furniture back to its original position without waking Robyn. Earning us the best compliment that we are “the quietest house guests ever!” Maybe not always true, but we really did try hard this time. Probably also helps that being a long-time Manhattan resident she is used to a lot of ambient noise. While the kids watched a little tv with Robyn, I took Remy down to Riverside Park one last time for another quick, illegal off-leash romp. This time running around with a Labrador for a few minutes, then chasing a stick. Then back up to the apartment to bid a fond and exceedingly grateful adieu to Robyn, and pack the car. As we walked up to Broadway to the recommended bagel shop, Beau leaned into me and said, “You really do have the nicest friends.” Which obviously was a nice compliment for Robyn, but also for me. Made me smile and feel very warm inside. I hugged him to me and replied, “Yes, I do. I really do.” And then, being a mom, I couldn’t resist exploiting the teachable moment, adding, “And you know why? Because I try really hard to be a nice friend myself.” But it is so true that it squeezes my heart (and perhaps makes my eyes tear ever so slightly), I really do have the nicest friends.

At the bagel shop I left the kids on the sidewalk with Remy, and waited in line for breakfast. I am enjoying giving them these small tastes of true independence. Trusting them to behave properly, to assess their feelings of safety, and respond accordingly. It’s good for them, and I really should seek more opportunities to do it. A large sack of bagels and a few bottles of water procured, it was back to the car for the final push. Typically when we leave NYC it is on a weekday afternoon. And that means traffic. A staggering amount of traffic. Not so today as we were rolling out at around 9:45am on a Saturday. And as much as I absolutely adore driving in New York City (and I do! I LOVE it!), I really enjoyed my drive out of the city on the Henry Hudson Parkway today. Very little traffic, everything lush and green, a curving road cut through a beautiful landscape. It was wonderful! And as we cleared NY state and were rolling through Connecticut my dear friend, and inventor of the phrase “Pup Pit,” Jen, contacted me to ask if we were already through CT. Indeed not, dear friend, and why do you ask? Because you just landed in Hartford? What? Jen’s parents, whom I have known since I was 12, have a home in Glastonbury, CT, and which exit was Waze telling me to take to connect from I-91 to I-84? The Glastonbury exit, of course. So, here we are, 1,000 miles from home, and my dear friend from home will be shortly arriving in the little New England town that we just happen to be driving right through. Serendipity. And we may not be hungry at this exact moment, so no sandwiches necessary, but definitely unexpected. And though being fairly road weary, though Maine is now getting close enough to taste, how could I not stop? That would be like spitting in the face of fate. So we changed our destination, and rolled up to the Hughes’ gorgeous home. Remy was certainly happy to run free on their lush, golf course grass lawn, and it was so fun to see Jen and her entire family. The consummate hostess, Mrs. Hughes was insistent on plying us with some food, even if I wouldn’t allow her the time to make us lunch, so the kids munched on fruit, and enjoyed sitting in their stadium seats from Fenway. We had such a lovely visit in their beautiful home with these truly wonderful people, that I was loathe to get back in the car. But what a fun, serendipitous stop. Life really is beautiful if you’re paying attention.

Easy hop back onto the interstate. Thought I had it made with my packed car, and hopped into the HOV lane, only to get stuck for quite some time behind a guy who must have had his cruise control set on the exact speed limit. For goodness sake, if you want to drive the speed limit or under, just stay in the far right lane. Frustrating. Luckily he must have been local, because he got off at an exit, and gave me an open lane of smooth sailing for awhile. Those NY bagels and fresh fruit packed a punch, and it wasn’t until much later that we started feeling hungry.Thankfully we spotted an exit with a Moe’s, and while not necessarily the easiest thing to eat while driving, a burrito really was preferable to more fast food.

After lunch we had one final stop to make before reaching the house. Unfortunately, it was discovered as I went to lay out our clothes for today, that Beau had left his Crocs, the only shoes other than running shoes he brought on the trip, back in our hotel room in Pennsylvania. Grrrrr…. He needs to have beach shoes, and thankfully it turns out that there is a Crocs outlet in Kittery. So, about 10 minutes total – off the interstate, to the store, Beau & I hop out of the car, select the right size, pay, back in the car, back to the interstate. Not too long to solve that problem, and we were back on our way. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how I feel when the Piscataqua River Bridge comes into view. Before I focused on resolving the shoe crisis, I was feeling that delightful, floaty feeling I get whenever I cross over that bridge. When I see the “Maine State Line” sign in the middle of the span. It just makes me happy. Plus, writing about it gives me the chance to say “Piscataqua”, which is just fun to say. Go ahead. You try. Piscataqua. Yep, just feels good in my mouth, and makes all the love I have for this state blossom in my chest.

Once we had the shoes, it was just about 20 miles to the house. That’s nothing. As we drove through a packed Dock Square, made the turn onto Ocean Avenue, I just felt home. We rolled up to the house, and it was like no time had passed at all. There is comfort in returning to a place known to you, a place that holds happy memories. And just like coming home, it was time to get down to business before we could truly enjoy ourselves! I had scheduled a grocery pick-up from Hananford’s To Go, and I had approximately 45 minutes to completely unpack the car, and get to the grocery store. Side note: Seriously, this Hannaford’s To Go thing is amazing! (Shout out to my friend Mandy for letting me know about it!) I have spent the past three weeks or so compiling my list of two weeks worth of groceries. And all I had to do was press a few buttons, and manage to show up at the grocery store within the pick-up time window. Amazing. I got to the store and grabbed the two or three things I had forgotten to add to the list last week, and checked out, then the wonderful lady at the HTG at the Kennebunk store wheeled out to my car and we refilled the cargo area with grocery bags. Kids helped me unload the bags, I put the perishables into the fridge, and out onto the beach we went. And it did my heart good to watch the kids run off and scamper onto the rocks, watch Remy race around in the mud, splash into the freezing water without a single hesitation. Everyone frolicking, exactly as I hoped they might. This. This is why I do this. This, not Maine, per se, but this feeling of freedom and exploration, this is exactly what a childhood summer should contain. Exactly the kind of magic this KPT Cottage on Turbats Creek can provide.


Northbound by the Numbers:

Number of miles driven: 1,425

States traveled through: 14 [FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, WV, MD, PA, NJ, NY, MA, CT, NH, ME]

Number of license plates accounted for so far: 44 [Only missing Kansas, North Dakota (a perennial troublemaker), South Dakota, Wyoming, Hawaii, & Alaska]

© 2010 Krista Lindsey Willim