Press-Republican

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October 9, 2013

Maine vacation a mix of memories, fun

Toby and I just got back from our annual jaunt to Maine. Sunny days, high 70s and afternoon naps made for a perfect week’s vacation at Old Orchard Beach.

We’ve been staying at the Friendship Oceanfront Suites for the past 20-plus years. The last dozen years we rented their quaint cottage next to the motel, called the Sea Breeze. Our grandchildren, parents, elderly friends and acquaintances have also shared this unique place with us.

The Donovan family has owned the Friendship for decades. Last fall, they decided to demolish the old cottage because the first floor was sand-dune level with no view. Our ground-level apartment had a beautiful deck and stunning views of the beach, dune grass and the ocean beyond.

I was a bit miffed when they shared their plans. How do you tear down something that holds so many memories? Our five-hour drive through Vermont and New Hampshire held thoughts of arriving at Old Orchard and not liking the new cottage. They were dismissed when we pulled into the driveway and there stood the prettiest new cottage, complete with balconies for each floor and dynamic views of the ocean.

The only drawback was the 37 steps and four landings up to the top floor. (We had reserved the top floor last year, mindful that the steps would be many.) Funny thing, though, is that both of us noticed after three or four days, that our breathing was better and we weren’t huffing and puffing.

I wasn’t surprised when the owners, Dan and John, stopped by to see what we thought of the new cottage. I was ready with a short list of “suggestions,” like mirrors and clothing hooks in the bedrooms, to which they readily agreed. 

We make an annual trek to Fryeburg Fair, on the western side of the state. The ride to Fryeburg on Route 302 was spectacular. Colorful trees and crystal-blue lakes were a treat for the eyes. 

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