The need for me to learn some sort of Cocoa-compliant programming language is reaching a critical point. I’m thinking Ruby is the likely choice since it has a serious web benefit, although Python would also work. Just getting antsy to make more feature-rich stuff.
The Broad Arrow Tavern
One of my favorite places to eat up here. The bar/restaurant is located inside the Harraseeket Inn, a comfy but mildly-expensive New England hotel. They have an amazing selection of daily dishes, locally-raised meats and produce, a badass dessert list, and some interesting ales. Obviously, with Maine being a prime location for fresh seafood, theirs is simply fantastic. Reasonable prices, courteous service, and, no joke, free wifi via the stuffed moose head on the dining area wall. I hope to stay in the Inn itself during one of my stays up here. It’d be nice change of scenery from the Hampton/Hilton Garden Inn rotation.
The town is amazing when it comes to recycling programs, reinvesting in their local farmer’s work, and preserving the lands that they live on. A literal and figurative breath of fresh air.
Bouncing off the global-awareness springboard, Freeport has some interesting town ordinances that exemplify it as a unique coastal New England town. Styrofoam is completely prohibited in all restaurants and fast food chains (and possibly entirely, not sure). When you go to Dunkin Donuts, you get an unfamiliar paper cup sans cardboard sleeve. Ditto for the McDonalds. Which, incidentally, is prohibited from using an actual intercom for their drive-through service. You talk into a one-way radio where your order details are displayed on a digital screen. Not that it’s a large place, but much of the main strip (a few miles at least) has yield-to-pedestrian crosswalks on all corners of every intersection. During summer months, its great to be on foot.
I get these questions a lot from my co-workers: Why do you fly to Manchester, NH when you’re staying in Freeport? Why don’t you just fly into Portland? It’s really a matter of simplicity. I don’t mind driving anywhere, ever. Manchester is a small, manageable airport with short lines, pleasant Hertz attendants, about two hours from Freeport, and they have at least five direct one hour flights from PHL via Southwest. They have a Dunkin Donuts, incredibly fast security, and no sales tax. By the time I’m done at the rental car counter, my bag is already off the baggage carousel and being held in the Southwest booth. It may be my favorite visited airport so far.
I’ve recently had the pleasure of driving around Maine more, covering the rolling farmland and coast for a few hundred miles. It’s nice that in a short day trip you can reach mountains, lakes, state parks, and the shoreline. At some point I’d like to tour some of the many lighthouses and mountains that you see from the highway, but I’ll save that trip for the (few) summer months.
No trespassing signs
I realize that this particular area is littered with tourists, especially during the summer months. You’ve heard it dozens times from the rich folk: “summer’s in New England.” The locals have taken it upon themselves to fence off the migratory visitors by posting “do not enter,” “no trespassing,” and “private property” all along the winding back roads. Signs on driveways, trees, old tractors, fences, and the houses themselves. I’m informed by residents that it’s merely to keep hunters from wandering into residential/farmland locations, but on the surface it just comes off as being distant and anti-social.
Red Sox fans
There’s something that I can’t describe about them, but Red Sox fans really piss me off. Stupid “B” hats on everybody from Rhode Island to Maine. Bumper stickers everywhere. Paying for tickets like they’re watching the Lakers.
The Boston Red Sox legacy is held high as one of the oldest teams in baseball and ballooned even higher by their recent shaking of “the curse.” The team’s somewhat gentlemanly approach to the sport doesn’t appeal to me. I’ll take the mega-bankrolled, audacious, bulldog, win-or-get-the-fuck-out style of the Yanks any day.
And the NY fans could kick the Mainer’s L.L. Bean-wearing asses.
Given the amount of snowfall and snow-removing devices applied to them, the roads up here are unsurprisingly worse than most rural areas I’ve visited. The back roads, in particular, are just a mess. Cracked, sloping drastically toward the shoulders, littered with bumps, and often varying speed limits every couple of miles.
Why does saving a significant amount of money always require me to travel to some absurd location like Lancaster, Jim Thorpe, or Freeport? Get an online outlet or or go away.
There’s just way too much of it, for way too many months of the year.
One of my all-time favorite books (not that I’m exactly well-read) is Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. It was appropriately recommended to me by my senior year AP English teacher who clearly understood my tendencies toward both musical and contemporary literature. I especially enjoy High Fidelity because I draw a certain number of parallels between the protagonist, Rob Fleming, and myself: our obsession with albums, the often-complicated connection with ex’s, and as expected from the title of this post, creating lists. While they represent only a small piece of the larger story that Hornby tells, Rob’s creation of lists function as a tool in helping him realize what is important, what he can live without, and ultimately, himself.
David Letterman’s Top Ten lists (especially those from the home office in Sioux City, Iowa) were a staple of my childhood. My mom was always a Letterman fan and didn’t care much for the Carson/Leno late shows. As shameful as it is to say it, Casey Kasem (real name Kemal Amin Kasem? of Lebanese Druze heritage? thanks Wikipedia!) and his American Top 40 were still in heavy rotation during much of my childhood as well. Even today I find myself making more and more lists in my day-to-day task management. An organizational application called Things, flagged messages in Mail.app, mix CD’s, smart playlists in iTunes, photography shot lists, the albums I want in a text file on my iPhone, a shopping list of tech toys I want to buy. The list of lists goes on.
I find myself in lists of new places these days, with work and adventure taking me to the not-so-brightened corners of this country. The initial sentiment of this paragraph’s first sentence is exactly my motivation for adding one more item at the bottom of my many things to do. I’m too quick to dismiss the unfamiliar locations I travel to based on demographic, religious orientation, cost-of-living, climate, cleanliness, political tendency, or lack of general hipness. I gripe endlessly about middle-of-nowhere Texas and bible-belt Georgia. Yet at the same time I am fascinated in a non-specific way by these lands that seem foreign to me, a Philadelphia-area resident nearly my entire life.
Not unlike the top fives that Rob uses in High Fidelity, I’m going to start documenting short anecdotes highlighting the most amazing and wretched details of each of the foreign lands I find myself in. A top five best-of, a top five worst-of. I could find something out about myself, what my values are, and where I really want to be in this world. At the very least, I can hope to discover more positive things to smile at when I’m listlessly far away from home.
Tomorrow I will be going to a laundromat for the first time in probably ten years. I look forward to the seediness that such establishments carry and intend on bringing my camera. There is no better way to kill the time in waiting for your clothes than to try and capture the magic of the people inside and the dozens of whirring and clunking coin-op machines.
Keep your eyes peeled on the Flickr site.