Every summer, for two weeks, I go to Maine. This is a constant in my life. Maine is my summer routine. My family has had a house on the coast since the 1920s, so I thought it was high time I passed on some juicy tidbits on what makes for happy moments while in residence. A most magnificent coastline deserves such focus. These are my top ten Maine vacation rituals. Some are mine and mine alone, others are passed down from past generations past. A few will make you hungry, but I'm hoping each and every one will convince you that a Maine getaway needs to be in your future.
1. I wake to watch the cinematic Maine sunrise, at least once.
2. I fill the house with the sweet smell of baked goods. There is something about the mix of cinnamon and the sea air that is just too good not to be true. And what family member isn't instantly put in a better mood by starting the day with a cinnamon roll? Try this... I guarantee a good day to follow.
3. Dressing like a local. When it comes to hanging out in the great state of Maine, I can't help but indulge my preppy New England side. The plaids, lobster prints, corals and florals all come with me in the suitcase. I'm quite certain I become a different person entirely, at least when it comes to wardrobing, for the two weeks. Happy place, happy wardrobe.
4. Lobster and clams. This has to be my favorite tradition of them all. There is something about eating lobster right on the beach that will spoil you for life. You'll never be able to eat lobster anywhere else, ever again. This is truly sea to seat, here in the great state of Maine.
5. Visiting the Nubble Lighthouse. Rumor has it that one of the keepers had a 19 pound cat that could swim. But that's not why we visit. I'm sure the picture says it all, really. This is one of America's most beautiful vistas and certainly a picture perfect moment for all visitors to the Northeastern states. Naturally, I'm wearing boat shoes.
6. Ice Cream at the Scoop Deck. Ask any local to the Moody Beach Maine area and they'll tell you that the Scoop Deck is the ultimate in luxury living, if you're an ice cream fanatic. A word of warning... order the smallest size possible. The large, just to give you perspective, is about a gallon of ice cream in a waffle cone. Deadly but delicious.
7. While we are on the topic of sweet stuff, let's talk Goldenrod Taffy. You think you know and love salt water taffy? You've never had anything like this before. I can't even find the words to describe the experience, so I'll say this. It's worth the pilgrimage - you have my word on that. I have never ever gone a summer without this stuff. I even had it shipped over to London once. This is crack for the sweet tooth inclined.
8. Take a walk through Perkins Cove. I find this to be a magical little place. It's everything I believe visitors to Maine expect to see - cute Lobster roll stands, adorable nautical shops, ship tours and a magical view.
9. House hunting. I can't help myself. There's something inside me that begs my soul to make the move to Maine. From Perkins Cove to Kennebunkport, I spend hours daydreaming about which house I'd call home in the later years of my life. I'd grow old and wrinkled by the sea and walk everyday to fetch the goodies that would eventually be the death of me - lobster with melted butter, salt water taffy and by-the-gallon ice cream cones. You must house hunt while on location. It's fun to dream and drool all at the same time.
10. Breathe and just relax. The ultimate point of a vacation is to relax, right? I find that increasingly difficult. So I actually have to remember to do this. With instagram, snapchat and every other social network demanding my time these days, it is in fact hard to remember. But, I have one relaxation rule that always works to set me up for the day. In my bedroom, I have a window seat. When I was little I used to curl up and take naps here. I was like a cat! Not so easy to do that these days, as I'm about two feet taller than I used to be when I'd do that. Today, I use the window seat for reflection. I make it my study point. I bring a self help book (go on, judge me) and I get through it on that seat. I believe it has the power to help me absorb every word and keep them on tap forever. My hint for any traveller is to find such a point of reference for each and every vacation. Find one corner that is yours and yours alone, if only for 20 minutes a day, or for an entire day. And remember, you are on vacation...