**Just a note: the light and weather were not good for true photography so all of these photos are just snapshots from my iPhone**
We woke up and got things packed up while I went inside to talk to the campground owner about why we were leaving a day early. They understood and refunded our money for the last day, so that was really nice of them. We got on the road and headed back down to the interstate and then back to civilization. It literally felt like that too. We went from wilderness and absolutely nothing to Portland, which is a vibrant city along the coast of Maine that has great restaurants, shopping, and a beautiful harbor. But, it was hot. Like Georgia hot. Speaking of Georgia, we have officially made our turn back towards home, so every passing mile puts us a little closer to Athens. Kind of crazy that this trip will be coming to a close in the not-too-distant future, but we certainly can’t complain about not having much time to explore.
Let’s pause for a minute and talk about the first campground we got to for this segment of our trip. On my app, this campground had a single 4-star review, and it was a county park which we have had a lot of great success with during our trips. We were excited about it because it was cheap, had full hookups, and a nice city nearby. But, we pulled in and it was literally like a place Cousin Eddy would stay in (National Lampoon’s reference in case you missed it). Lots of old, beatup RVs lined up one after another with NO space in between them. Our “spot” literally had a chest freezer occupying part of it. When we pulled up next to it, Val and I looked at each other and basically said “Hell no” and simultaneously got out our phones to start searching. As I said previously, I have the Allstays app on my phone and it is WONDERFUL for finding campsites. Within a minute, I had located a private campground in Freeport that had a lot of great reviews. I called them up, they had one spot left that they would hold for us, and we were on our way 10 miles down the road. The campground host at the last place probably wondered why we never pulled into that spot, but it just wasn’t worth the money we would save. The campground we ended up in was quite nice and had a huge playground directly across from Marty, so the boys were playing outside basically the entire time we stayed there, which is so much better than wanting to be on their iPads.
Our first day we stayed around Freeport and explored the L.L. Bean headquarters and flagship store. It is a huge place with a massive fish tank, pond, and all of the shopping you could ever want. And yes, they had hundreds and hundreds of those coveted backpacks that every kid had to have (myself included) in middle school. Coincidentally, it was the 4th of July and they had a big event planned in the park that sits right next to their huge store. This greenspace has a stage, lots of seating, and the temps had fallen to a level where it was comfortable to be outside. So after we cooked some hamburgers and hot dogs back at Marty (appropriate for the 4th, of course) we brought some chairs back to L.L. Bean and listened to a free concert from Devon Gilfillian and then a nice fireworks show afterwards.
The next day we headed into Portland to walk around and check things out. It was pretty hot though, so it wasn’t the best weather for a lot of walking. We strolled through downtown and the Old Port, before finally heading down to the harbor and getting some pizza and beer. Portland is a great city for craft beer lovers, so there were plenty of brews to sample. After lunch we headed over to the Eastern Promenade and hung out at the beach for a while, mostly because the water was cold and felt great compared to the hot air. Finally, we grabbed some ice cream (while Val did a bit of shopping) and then headed back to Marty to relax and cook some dinner on the grill. The boys, of course, spent almost the entire time on the playground and I caught up on a few things for work. Rain was going to come in overnight, so we packed things up early in anticipation for getting on the road pretty quickly the next day. We were heading down to Massachusetts to visit an old friend from the University of Tennessee.