Chowduh Country

Saturday morning I drove a little over an hour to Hollis, NH and took a fly fishing class. I’ve wanted to try fly fishing ever since I saw “A River Runs Through It” ( the instructors refer to it as “The Movie”). We spent an hour or so practicing casting with empty lines in a nearby pond and then the rest of the day in class learning fly fishing stuff. Seems much more technical than I anticipated. The plan was to then spend half a day Sunday in the water doing the real thing, but all the rivers they normally use in the area are running very low due to drought. So, that activity is postponed until Tuesday.

This gave me the full day Sunday to toddle over to Portland, Maine, sans The Beast. It was overcast all the way but a nice drive nonetheless. Portland is on the Atlantic coast just north of Kennebunkport. It’s the largest city in Maine. Struck me as a bit of an odd town. The old docks seem to have great potential for redevelopment, but it hasn’t turned out that way. The main street that runs by the docks is off the water a bit and it’s hard to see anything out on the water. It’s a mixture of old and new.

portland-custom-house

That’s the old US Customhouse, hard by a modern building with a parking garage in the back. (Damned overhead utility lines!).

When I checked in at the Inn at St John B&B I asked for a recommendation for some chowduh and was directed to Gilbert’s Chowder House, to which I hastened forthwith.

portland-menu

A chowder house with an adjacent ice cream parlor and dark beer on draft? Off to a good start.

portland-chow

And thumbs up for the seafood chowduh and the lobstuh roll. Can’t quite give it a “wicked”, but darn good.

While sitting at the bar a lady sat on the open stool next to me. After due consideration of the menu she ended up ordering the same thing I did. She said to me: “I can tell from your accent you’re not from around here.”

Me: “From Houston.”

Lady with good taste: “Really? Me too! What brings you up here?”

Me: “Maiden voyage in my RV, blah blah blah.”

Lady with good taste:”Oh, we’ve rented RVs several times, thinking about getting one.” Eyeing my Duke cap she says: “Did you go to Duke?”

Me: “Yah, yeah, youbetcha. Majored in accounting.”

Lady with good taste: “Huh! I majored in accounting too. My son is thinking about going there. Where will your next trip in the RV take you?

Me: mouth full of food, hesitating…

Lady with good taste: “You should go to Alaska.”

Me: almost spitting my food out. “Yes! That IS the plan! Alaska will be my 50th state. Maine here is my 46th.”

At this point the Lady with good taste is starting to sense the spookiness of all this. “I’m here with my husband and my son. My husband is in the process of running marathons in all 50 states. He ran one this morning and that was his…46th state.”

By now I’m looking around waiting for Rod Serling to come out of the kitchen and submit this entire scene for someone’s consideration.

Turns out the Lady with good taste is named Suzanne and perhaps will join the happy band of Roadthrill followers. If so, I invite her to correct any factual errors in my account, giving due consideration to editorial license.

The Inn at St John was, like the town, a bit funky in my opinion.

portland-bb

Being across the street from a Greyhound bus terminal and next door to a place called Salty Sally’s bar  are not typically parameters I specify when choosing lodging. But it was a very small bus terminal, and there were (on the plus side) 2 pizza joints within 100 yards. I ended up having a bacon and garlic pizza from one of them while watching the Steelers abuse the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. (Steelers looking strong). Of course I may have missed an interesting opportunity. Who knows what kind of conversation I may have had at Salty Sally’s…

Coming back today I took a leisurely detour through the White Mountains in northern NH. A lovely drive, foliage starting to show more and more.

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These pictures are all inside the White Mountain National Forest.

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mt-washington-resort

The last pic is the Mt Washington Resort at Bretton Woods, which is where they held a big economic summit after WWII. This place is in the sticks, so I guess once everyone got there it was a good place to get away from it all and do business.

Things I haven’t seen enough of: Waffle House (none since leaving NC); Chase ATMs (I thought Chase was all over these days, nary a one since leaving TX).

Things they can dial back a bit on IMHO: Dunkin’ Donuts. Also Dollar General Stores – those sumbitches are EVERYWHERE.

Oliver Twist was an excellent book. The guy that read it is named Martin Jarvis and he is superb. He gives each character a unique voice, which is quite an accomplishment in a book with so many characters. I don’t “read” much fiction these days but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended to all who use Audible.

 

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3 thoughts on “Chowduh Country”

  1. you’re not in New England unless there are twin Dunkin’ Donuts facing each other. Personally I prefer my keurig. But I’d give it up for a glimpse of that foliage and a bite of your lobster roll 😜

    Like

  2. Suzanne, aka lady with good taste, checking in. You got it all right. So many similarities! It was nice dining with you. Happy trails.

    Like

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