Hello From Maine

Sure enough, De Prez Jim Hamm and Zee have sent us another installment of "eating their way" through the Northeast. He writes:

"Hi....Here's another trip report, as we continue eating our way up the east coast...(grin)... Isn't technology wonderful? Here I sit, on the 'mobile munchmobile' (aka the bus), cruising down the highway, listening to Nora Jones (a sultry-voiced jazz singer) on music streaming into Pandora radio on my iPod Touch, surfing the net and checking emails on my MacBook Air. This bus has wifi! Signals are sent and received from satellite as we motor along. Simply amazing. The speed is good, and I suspect more tour busses will adopt this technology.

"Now we're in chilly Ogunquit, ME, right on the coast and around the corner from Kennebunkport, home of G. Bush, senior, and wife, Barbara. Both were in the same restaurant when we had lunch yesterday. I didn't see them, but other people did. They motor over occasionally in their boat for lunch, followed by five secret service agents in another boat.

"Yesterday morning we toured, and sampled, goodies from the 'Lollipop Tree'—a manufacturer of natural jams, jellies, breads, cakes, cookies, etc. They have 100 employees and sell under their own label as well as private label for Williams-Sonoma, et al. Interesting operation.

"Then, yesterday afternoon, we went out on a lobster boat and collected lobsters from traps. We got several. Lobstering is a tough way to make a living. It's expensive to buy the traps, labor-intensive, and the storms they get up here wreak havoc on the traps. Each person with a license can set out up to 750 traps, and must 'run' the traps every four days to collect the lobsters. To protect their livelihood, they have strict regulations on size, etc. For example, if they trap a female with eggs, they cut a small notch in her tail, and release her. If someone else should catch her later, they see the notch and release her, even if she isn't carrying eggs at the time. They know she is a fertile female, and they want her out there mating and propagating future lobsters.

"The leaves are turning on the trees, and splashes of brilliant color catch our eyes as we motor along. It's been awhile since I've seen woods this dense, and the various colors—from bright red to pale yellow—bring back memories of when we lived in Ohio and Indiana. This morning the weather is clear, crisp and chilly. A high of 60 degrees, but no rain in sight. We are at the tail-end of the season, and most motels will shut down in another couple of weeks. A few B&B's remain open, but the motels drain the water from the lines and close up.

"The coast here is picturesque and very rocky. As we toured around on the lobster boat they showed us how high the water can get when the big storms hit the area. The restaurant we had lunch in yesterday had two feet of water in it last year during one of the storms—and we were quite a ways up from the water. The tide goes up and down nine feet every 12 hours, and add to this surges from storms and one can see why living on the coast can be dangerous. I asked various people, as I talked to them, how they liked living in this area. Most loved it, although one guy had only been here two years, and said 'he was getting used to it.'

"Time to board the bus and continue our sojourn. We're off to see a fish auction, where the fishermen bring their catch to sell. This should be interesting. Then, we tour a vodka factory—I guess this is yet another way to use up excess Maine potatoes!...(grin)...Jim"

Thanks, Jim. But I should note we're hoping for some photos soon.