24 August 2009

Our Week at the Lake

Earlier this month, we had the privilege of spending a week in a cottage by a lake in the Belgrade region of Maine. Although we made our reservation (and paid our money) back in April, after an incredibly soggy summer, we half expected to be spending our week looking out the screened-in porch at the rain.

But lo and behold, the weather in Maine smiled upon our family that week and we had almost non-stop sunshine.

Todd's parent's were kind enough to lend us their boat for our vacation, and then they joined us part way through the week for swimming, fishing, playing board games, and general relaxation.

The cottage included just enough beds for everyone, a lovely screened-in porch, and a small dock which was the launch place for all the great floaties, kayaks, and of course, the boat.

We took the boat out each day for fishing, and the lake was small enough that one or two of us could kayak to whatever fishing spot seemed to be the favorite on a given day.

The fishing was - in a word - great. As my father-in-law so eloquently put it, "Some days you fish and other days you catch." This entire week was a catching week. They caught multiple large mouth bass that were well over 4 pounds.

And as you can see here, my daughters fished, too. Understand that I grew up fishing in Colorado. Trout fishing in the mountain streams. When I was very small, I used to name every fish I caught - even if it was going to be eaten. Somehow, I was ok with it. When I was 14, I caught a 5.5 pound, 21 inch rainbow trout which my dad saved and took to a taxidermist. I still have that fish.

But I've turned into a bit of a lightweight where fishing is concerned, especially since Todd doesn't fish for food; just for sport. He is very careful with the fish and always throws them back (or rather, gently puts them back) but to me, what he does is simply snagging their lips for sport, which I don't get.

Still, in spite of my squeamishness, I do get caught up in the thrill of the catch, and I was snapping photos right and left.

The lake water hovered around 76 degrees each day, which, combined with air temps of around 80, was PERFECT. I think in my next life I want to be a water bird. A loon maybe.

Here are Grandma and Grandpa Estes. And no, Grandpa isn't anti-social (well, not TOO much). He is the old man and the sea. He takes his fishing VERY seriously. If you don't believe me, just ask him - but I know you're too scared.

Grandma, on the other hand, could be seen catching fish, kayaking, and that's her above, floating on the lake on the airbed next to the dock.

The wildlife at the lake was abundant, especially the birds. We enjoyed watching a family of bald eagles whose young had left the nest but were still following mom and dad around, crying about everything. You know, like college students. :)

We also saw the ospreys (which inhabited the nest shown below) take on a great blue heron. The heron mistakenly (and unknowingly) flew too close to the nest and an in-flight battle reminiscent of the red barons ensued. I'm happy to report that no birds were hurt in the display, but I'm sure the heron will steer clear of that area for a while.

To me, the best part of the vacation was something my son brought along. He brought his satellite radio and we found that there is an all-1940s station. We set up the radio on the screened porch, and turned it up loud enough so we could hear it down on the dock.

Let me tell you, being at a lake like this in Maine is a step back in time as it is, what with the nearby small towns, the quiet, the simple lifestyles, not to mention the rustic cottages, most of which have neither phone nor internet, and many of which use only lake water. But adding that lovely music to the mix just completed the magic. As we swam, we heard Bing Crosby crooning. As we sunned on the dock, we could hear Louis Armstrong singing and saxophones playing. As we played board games at night in the soft lamplight, we listened to Doris Day.

Just imagine the following song (as an example - but not with the home-made and misspelled video) with those amazing views across the lake...

I highly recommend this as a summer vacation. There is no way you can NOT relax.

Cheers, friends!

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes


Julie said...

Hi, I found you while randomly searching for Maine blogs because I dream of moving there within the next couple of years. This did not help! =) What a gorgeous-looking vacation! I can't imagine anything better than a house on the water with sleepy 40's music wafting over it. *sigh*

A few years ago, I caught a 13 pound flathead catfish off the rocks of Lake Pontchartrain here in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the only photo of it lived on my ex-bf's cell phone, so all I have is a he-was-THIS-BIG story. =)

Anyway, hiya from down South!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Great photos! Come snowy February, you will want to go back to this post and have another look, remembering the great vacation week your family had. It's all part of what makes Maine such a magical place!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I enjoy reading your well written, often insightful blog, but here must register a protest. For your own sake, and for the maintenance of high moral standards in internet postings, I would discourage you from uploading pictures of your daughters "en deshabille" (or close to it). And no, I am not a religious fanatic or on a moral crusade, but the world is a far from pleasant place and I am advising you as a genuine wellwisher to take heed.

Best wishes from the UK!

Paulla said...

Thanks, Julie ~ I hope you DO get to move here one day. It is so lovely. Congrats on the giant catfish you caught! Too bad you don't have a pic, but *I* believe you. :)

Anonymous, thanks for the tip about the photos. Is it the bikini photos you're concerned about? Any one in particular?