I’m writing this the day before our two-week respite on the beautiful island of Georgetown, Maine, comes to an end.
Did I say, “island?” Well, it is an island in the technical sense. It is, in fact, separated from the mainland by a body of water, the Back River, which empties into the mighty Atlantic some eight miles downstream, but its accessibility to Maine-proper via a bridge slightly diminishes the island feel.
My wife, Berta, and I discovered this place online while searching the Internet for an escape from the rigors of the world.
Ah, the magic carpet ride that is the Internet. Allowing one to go where no man has gone before – or was that Star Trek?
Enabling one to leap tall buildings in a single bound. OK, that was Superman. But you get my drift, right? The Internet is pretty amazing.
One crucial fact to keep in mind while surfing the web for a vacation paradise is this; the Internet can be a divisive tool in the world of advertising. What you see is not necessarily what you get. In some instances, it’s not even close.
Now I’m not saying that these purveyors of Internet intrigue are liars. No, I would never say that. They may stretch the truth slightly. They might enhance the positive attributes of their subject a tad. It’s even possible that they could exclude certain information in order to augment the value of their product.
But lie? Never!
Case in point: The cottage sanctuary to which we have entrusted two weeks of our lives is promoted on the web as “overlooking a serene salt marsh.” Mainland translation – the cottage sits on a swamp. The ad goes on to say that the cottage is on “the beautiful Back River.”
Now from my vantage point on the back porch of the cottage, I will concede that the Back River may very well be beautiful, albeit inaccessible, courtesy of the 100 yards of “serene salt marsh,” partitioning our comfortable, screened in porch from the banks of said “beautiful Back River.”
I’m not complaining. Nope. Not me. I’m happy to shell out my hard-earned cash for a couple of weeks in paradise.
Did I mention the mosquitoes? The thousands upon thousands of mosquitoes. No problem, though. My wife was prepared for those little varmints. She packed insect repellent in two forms; spray-on and handy towelettes to carry in our pockets for those unexpected insect attacks while standing in line waiting for an overpriced lobster roll.
Apparently the price of lobster is tied directly to the price of crude oil. Who would have guessed? Incidentally, did you know that the mosquito is the official bird of the state of Maine? It’s true. I read it on the Internet.
And then there’s beautiful Reid State Park, with its miles of breath-taking, rocky coastline, gorgeous white sand beaches and greenheads. Yup, you heard it right, folks. Greenheads. Those pesky little flies that thrive on the moist, supple flesh of unsuspecting sunbathers.
Did I say “pesky?” “Piranhas with wings” would be more appropriate.
Several weeks preceding our trip, we had purchased a small, screened beach tent from L.L. Bean. We’d seen these handy little domed doodads during our vacation the year prior. They appeared to be great shelter from the wind, the blowing sand and of course, more importantly, the greenheads.
My wife encouraged me, or more accurately, nagged me unmercifully, to assemble the tent beforehand, as a test run. Of course I immediately pointed out that, due to my superior mechanical prowess, this idea was totally absurd. “Test run?” I chided her. Obviously she hadn’t seen the information on the L. L. Bean website. It clearly stated that the tent could be assembled in 10 minutes or less. Test run? Please!
We arrived at the beach lugging our cooler packed with food and beverages, a large umbrella, a small umbrella, two beach chairs and of course, the tent. Did I tell you about the 40 mph winds?
Berta sat, shaking her head, as I grappled with the sprawling expanse of nylon and its multiple, multi-sectional support poles, which were, according to the easy-to-follow instructions, ready to assemble and slip easily into the pole sleeves at the top of the tent.
I suppose it would have been easier to slip the poles into the pole sleeves had the tent not launched itself 50 yards down the beach and landed atop another happy sun worshiper who had been, prior to fending of this massive piece of runaway canvas, battling the greenheads for the remnants of his tuna sandwich.
We decided to forego the shelter of the tent and sit in our chairs, under our umbrellas, wrapped safely in our beach towels so as to fend off the onslaught of the now highly overconfident greenheads.
Did I leave out the part about our car breaking down just before our trip; or my accident immediately upon our arrival at the cottage? I didn’t realize that it was possible to fall up a flight of stairs. My elbow and knee are actually healing quite well.
I’m sorry. I’m feeling a little grumpy today. I need a vacation.