October 19, 2011

October marks yearly trip to Maine

My husband and I reserve the first week in October for a yearly trip to the East Coast. We've been staying at the Friendship Inn, now the Friendship Oceanfront Suites, in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, for years.

Mr. and Mrs. Donovan were always in the office to greet us. They retired, and their sons, John and Dan, have taken up the challenge of offering very comfortable guest services.

The Friendship is "U" shaped, with the Atlantic Ocean at the "open" end of the "U." Every rental includes two rooms, a living room/kitchenette and a bedroom and bath, facing the ocean with balconies. A few miles north of the famous Old Orchard Beach pier, the carnival and shops are just a short walk away.

About five years ago, we found out the owners also had cottages for rent, right next door. One visit to Sea Breeze cottage and we were convinced we had found a new "home" away from home. We've taken friends and family to Sea Breeze and had some serious domino games, good food and great rainy-day naps.

How can you not like it when the owner meets you in the driveway, says, "Don't get out of the truck. You must be tired after your drive. Here's the key to the cottage. Come back to the office after you get settled." With a handshake and a smile, we drove around the property to the cottage and breathed in that wonderful ocean air.

We've met many nice people at the Friendship; most have stayed there for decades, such as Helen and Charlie, who live in Goshen, Mass. Helen asked to take a picture of my husband's truck, introduced us to Charlie, and we were good friends right away. We couldn't get over the similarities we have: Helen's birthday is exactly one week before Toby's, same year; they had a daughter, a son and a daughter, just like me; we both had a cat with a moustache (yes, a moustache); and they loved country music. This is the first year they haven't been able to make the trip due to illness. We really missed them.

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