Rangeley, Maine

Pete and I went to Rangeley, Maine for Labor Day weekend.  It was my first time visiting Maine and, as it happens, the only state in New England to which I’d never been.  We began the 7 hour odyssey to Rangeley from Hartford just before rush hour on Friday and arrived slightly before midnight.  On the way up, we saw four foxes, one deer, one porcupine (and a partridge in a pear tree).  Moose count: 0.  Very disappointing. 
In true parental form, his parents had waited up for us.  Mr. Wilk was standing in the doorway as our car pulled up.  We were ready to go to bed, but his parents and grandmother had left a little challenge for us: all of the nondescript sky pieces of a Ravensburg jigsaw puzzle.  Pete and I stayed up for an extra hour finishing it up.  
Saturday morning, the entire gang went to the Gingerbread House for breakfast.  Pancakes and waffles were had.  I almost got away with ordering the Aunt Jemima.  Almost.  The rest of Saturday was spent sleeping (true to form, I got sick) while Pete and his family read/ knitted/ fished.  Saturday night, we met up with the Kertlands for dinner at the Farmhouse. 
For the uninitiated, the Farmhouse is a Mexican restaurant situated in a sprawling countryside farmhouse/ B&B with possibly the least attentive and s-l-o-w-e-s-t server known to the hospitality industry.  The food was good, but I’m pretty sure everything’s good after you’ve been famished for 2 hours.  The drive back to the Wilk camp including a stop at the Gingerbread House for ice cream as well as a moose-spotting detour.  Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed and the moose were sleeping. Moose count: still 0.
We woke up bright and early on Sunday and had wild blueberry pancakes at the Kertland’s house.  Afterward, Pete and I took off to Small’s Falls.  In fact, we took off towards Small’s Falls twice.  The first time, we couldn’t find it and turned around before the correct turn-off.  The second try was slightly more successful.  We spent the afternoon taking pictures of drunk people jumping off the rocks near the falls into the water.  Towards the end of our trip to the Falls, I discovered a blueberry bush, and then forty or fifty more bushes.  Delicious detour.  On the way back to the house, we stopped by the Pine Tree Frosty for some ice cream, but they were sold out of the hard pack ice cream.  Down, but not out, we headed to the new kid on the Rangeley ice cream block, Scoops.  I was okay with the substitution since they both serve Gifford’s ice cream.  As an added bonus, Scoops is located next to the BBQ shed.  I’m not sure which was better, the shrimp skewers we got or the impromptu conversation with some locals about the motherload of gold in Rangeley waiting to be uncovered.  
On Sunday night, Mr. Kertland took us all to dinner at the Pour House.  P-O-U-R.  (Like S-O-L-E, but an actual pun!  I kid, I kid.)  The drinks were pretty good, but the BBQ Shed shrimp was impossible to beat.  After dinner, we took the loop around the state park looking for moose.  Moose count: 0.  Desperation level: moderately high.
We woke up brighter and earlier on Monday morning to go canoeing.  It was a little windy, so we stayed on the sheltered side of the lake.  We paddled around the lake towards some abandoned floating docks, where I saw Maine’s coolest bullfrog.  He was okay with me poking it and petting it, but entirely not happy with me trying to pick him up.  He jumped, I screamed.  Some locals fishing nearby got a good laugh.  We decided to take a little break on the docks to enjoy the scenery.  A few minutes after we got on the dock, some ducks swam towards us.  As usual, I had food in my pocket and the ducks were none to hesitant about sharing it with me.  The ducks were so friendly that they climbed up on the dock with (and on) us ate out of our hands.  Love at first sight, and way friendlier and cooler than the loons that we saw that day.  

After the canoe trip, we packed up and headed back the camp where we snacked on leftovers and took a little walk through the woods and picked wildflowers.  Then we loaded up the car and said goodbye to Maine.   Bye bye Maine!  Moose count: still zero.