Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bray's. I Love This Bar.

Is it Toby Keith who sings the great song "I Love This Bar?" I think it is. 

I know what he's talking about. I love this bar. There is no better better place to have a drink and hang out. I've spent many a night at Bray's over the past six summers. It's part of the reason I keep coming back to Maine for the summer.

Bray's is tucked away in the small Maine town of Naples. It's about 15 minutes away from camp and is a local joint. A lot of places around camp cater to the camp counselor crowd, but not Bray's. We come up here on any given night, sit out side and wind down. 

They make their own beer and The Canadian will tell you that there is no better porter beer made in the world. 

The regulars all have hand made ceramic mugs that line the shelves and hang from the ceiling.

The outside beer garden is full of picnic tables. It's our favorite place to sit.

Pete the bartender usually works the outside bar. He's the grumpiest bartender alive (I take that back, he just brought my nachos to me and is in a good mood) but we love him anyway. Don't get me wrong, we love Nate, Scotty and Woody too. They even come outside and hang out with us on slow nights. 

Live music plays inside every night and the place gets rowdy with all the locals dancing their hearts out.

When it gets a little chilly, as Maine nights do, someone always lights up the fire pit for a little warmth and ambiance. 

So, next time you're looking for me on a random summer night and I'm not answering my phone its because I'm sitting my happy butt at Bray's hanging out with Tiffany, The Canadian, or another camp friend and ignoring the real world.

Next time you're in Naples be sure to swing by and try the Porter. You can thank The Canadian for the recommendation.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Morning Wine Tasting. It's How We Roll.

Hello Blacksmith's Winery! Tiffany and I are ready to taste some wine! So what if it's 11am in the morning? It was a Saturday and one of our few days off camp. We decided to throw caution to the wind and start off our day with a bang.

This winery is located in a small town in Maine. It may be tiny, but it is packed with all sorts of delicious treats.

The bar was super cool. It was made of lots of different old doors. The counter was steel from their old loading dock. Apparently the counter isn't even attached to the bar. It's so heavy it just sits on top and isn't going anywhere.

Not only do they make your basic red and white wines...

They make goodies like Blueberry wine, Sparkling Cranberry, Peach Wine, Rhubarb Wine and Elderberry Wine. Like, whoa.

The bartender, Brandon, was adorable and super friendly. He helped us pick out the 5 wines we would each be tasting.

There were definitely some favorites. Tiffany started with a Vidal Blanc and I went directly for the Blueberry. I could have finished the bottle.

The Roughshod was amazing. It's made of Maine blueberries blended with brandy. I think I died. The Sparkling Cranberry was a close second. Okay, it may have been a tie.

But, wait. It was a Saturday. That means the Ice Wine was available. I'm not sure you're familiar with the concept of Ice Wine but it is rare and expensive. Something about the grapes being frozen. I wasn't really paying attention, I had just inhaled for glasses of wine, mind you. Anyway, this stuff runs $50 for a small bottle and it is sweet. Holy cow, it is sweet. A taste test was definitely all I could handle.

It was time to make our exit and get on with the shopping.

I was just tipsy enough, and just excited enough to grab a bottle of Sparkling Cranberry. 

Okay, fine. I bought a bottle of Blueberry Wine too. Don't judge. I'm in Maine. It's like a requirement.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Best Breakfast in Town.

Chutes is my kind of breakfast spot. Cheap. Hole in the wall. Friendly. Delicious.

Not to mention the regulars get their own coffee mug. 

Come on. That's funny.

Plus the sign directly next to the front door is priceless. I'm going to get it permanently tattooed on my forehead. 

Next time you're in Naples, Maine be sure to check it out. You won't regret it, I promise.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The L.L Bean Flagship Store.

No. You're not seeing things. That is the real life LL Bean boot. It is about 20 feet tall and stands outside the actual LL Bean store in Freeport, Maine. It's like the catalogue came to life.

The store never closes either. Look closely at the doors. There are no locks. Just paddles.

It's huge. They may need to make a map.

It's exactly what you would expect too. Very campy, very outdoorsy, very surreal.

You can choose from every color and size of duffle bag under the sun.

And of course there are enough traditional backpacks to send a small African country to school for the rest of their lives.

And don't forget about the tote bags. There are thousands. I wanted one. 

Canoes are spread across the store full of trinkets and treasures. 

Not to worry, there is also a full wall of the traditional boots. Just in case you were worried about your feet getting wet. 

Obviously, there is a trout fishing pond in the middle of the store. Obviously. And of course there is a man with the most amazing mustache giving fly fishing lessons. Seriously.

And if you need some LL Bean maple syrup or coffee beans or mixed trail mix then you've come to the right place.

Need a canoe or kayak? Pick your color! There is a whole field of them!

It's time for me to leave. I could spend the whole day wondering around the grounds. And probably spend my whole paycheck.

Okay, fine. I finally broke down, acted like a tourist and bought a tote bag. And I got it embroidered. Don't judge. I've been coming to Maine for seven summers and have resisted all this time. I finally gave in. Mainly because there was no one there to talk me out of it. I'm a nerd. 

Buying the bag was totally worth it just to get these two fine ladies to smile for me and take pride in their awesome work. I promised them I wouldn't put this photo on FB. Do you think putting it on my blog counts???

Friday, June 17, 2011

10 Pounds Lighter and 5 Years Younger.

Oh, baby. Is Hobie ever feeling good.

This time when I took her for her pre-summer grooming I decided that I was in charge of making the hair-do decisions. Not The Canadian - he's fired.

I decided to splurge and go with the Golden Clip (whatever that means). I thought it was worth the extra $5. I mean really, what's $5 when you're getting a $75 wash and cut? It's only twice as much as my stylist charges.

Hobie is loving her new look. I bet they took off 10 pounds of hair. No more chest tangles, no more butt fluff, no more scraggly legs and belly. Her ears are nice and short and look like pigtails. I swear she's acting like she did as a one year old pup. A weight has been lifted. 

The Canadian, however, is NOT impressed. For whatever reason he likes her scruffy and scraggly. 

His exact response was 'Fuzzy wuzzy was a bear, fuzzy wuzzy has no hair...'

Men. hmph.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gene Bean. The Legend Himself.

Meet Gene Bean. The Legend. We like to compare him to Chuck Norris. Here at camp Gene Bean has super hero status. The man can build anything and fix anything. It's a full time job. He's the director of maintenance, which means he works year round at camp taking care of the grounds, the buildings and equipment. 

Also, he does not really enjoy having his photo taken so while I took this picture he was yelling at me to get the camera out of his face.

I told him that I was going to write a blog about him but since he didn't know what a blog was he didn't really care too much.

Gene Bean (that's his real name, by the way) is one of my favorite people at camp. He tries to look all tough and scary but he's really kind and funny. His favorite thing to do is prank unsuspecting folks. He's never wrapped a present without using at least three boxes and an entire roll of duck tape. He routinely greases the toilet seats. He walks by and slides your coffee cup just out of your reach when you're not looking. People have been known to return to their cabin at night only to find their bed missing. It's usually in the barn of floating on a dock in the lake. Things like that.

He refuses to drink water because he says fish poop in it. He won't eat mushrooms because frogs pee on them. He drinks about a gallon of coffee a day and always has a pocket full of life-saver mints. 

We like to say that he has baseball gloves for hands. One time he cut the end of his finger off while using the table saw. First, he duct taped some gauze to it. Then, he drove himself to the hospital. At the ER the doctor had trouble suturing his finger because his skin was too thick for the needle. 

I've watched him stand on the end of a pontoon boat and lift a 280 pound concrete block from the bottom of the lake with a chain and then hold it in the air while I attached a hook to it. Gene does jobs alone that would usually require 4 people. The man is a legend.

I decided to follow him around this morning. I did this mainly to annoy him and partly to chronicle what he accomplishes in the span of an hour.

He went to the new cabin and finished digging a ditch in his tractor.

Then he changed a flat tire on a van.

Then we hopped in his new "buggy."

We went down to the lake where he installed some docking parts for me. I refrained from pushing him in. He may not be so lucky next time.

Then we came back up to the shop and I told him it was a mess.

Then he glared at me and told me to start cleanin.'

I ignored him.

Then I looked at his beloved tractor and tried to think of a cute name for it.

Then I looked at Snow White and told him that she needs a good washing. Then he asked if I was planning on bothering him all day or just for the morning. I told him that we would have to wait and see. And he told me to stop calling his truck Snow White. I can't imagine why he doesn't like that name.

Next he fixed the compressor. He removed a part, held it out and said, "You know what's wrong with it?" I thought quickly, trying to come up with a smart ass answer and finally said with my best Maine accent, "It's broke." He smiled and said, "Yup."

Finally, I really cramped his style by insisting he haul the new pontoon boat down to the boat launch with me. He grumbled the whole time and kept asking, "Why do you need a new row boat anyway?" He was just messing with me, of course. He secretly loves it when camp gets new boats because it means less repairs for him. Well, at least I think so.

Oh, yeah. Somewhere in the midst of all that he repaired the weed eater.

Are you feeling like a lazy bum yet? Don't. We can't all be be super heros.