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vacationland

S wanted to spend some time with her family in Maine before departing overseas again. So while D packed up and left for Moldova, she took one more trip this summer.

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The stars aligned perfectly, so that not only was she able to see her parents, but also her sister, who lives in Chicago, and her foreign exchange sister from Paris, who made the cross-Atlantic voyage with her 14-months-old son Timothee in tow. Having the whole family together was even an excuse to cook a 10-pound turkey and a dozen sides to hold a Thanksgiving dinner 3 months early.

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Maine’s slogan – Vacationland – is well-earned. Close to 25 million visitors descend upon the state’s beautiful coastline each summer. Working for half a year on Mt. Desert Island, one of Maine’s premier destinations, S saw how crowded the seaside towns become, especially when cruise ships dock or motorcycle groups cruise up and down the coast.

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Although it is difficult to find a quiet retreat among the tourist hubbub, there are plenty of hidden gems that seem to be a bit of an inside secret among native Mainers. S’s mom did her research and found a house for rent on an island that’s popular with Mainer and New England repeat tourists, many of whom own summer homes there. During the rest of the year, the island is home to just under 2,000 people, who are mostly either lobstermen or artists.

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The house sat on a picturesque inlet that was calm enough for kayaking and paddle-boarding and was tucked away so that the next-door neighbor’s home was barely visible. Just down the street, there was an art studio and a sweet little farm that had organic veggies, fresh bread, and goat’s milk products, as well as goats and chickens for Timothee to see. The farmer’s stand was run without an attendant and everyone made their own change and payments into an open cash box.

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It is tempting to spend our precious vacation time back in the States visiting new places. We have already talked about taking a cruise in Alaska, camping in Yellowstone, and visiting the Grand Canyon as possible future home leave destinations. However, after the insane trip we took this summer, S has also become captivated by the idea of having a regular summer spot. After our busy summer, her last week in Maine was peaceful and restorative, and makes her want to keep coming back to this quiet island again and again.

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