I’m back. I’d go back.

Portsmouth, NH.

Cross the border in my state, and I’ve got a few options: Wisconsin, So. Dak., No. Dak., Iowa, and Canada.

Cross the border in Maine and it’s a different story.

Sunday morning the continental breakfast was once again eaten. Bags were packed, more like stuffed together. GPS was set to New Hampshire – Portsmouth. Turnpiking down to New Hampshire, the bridge carried the rental into the beautiful seaside town of Portsmouth. Different from Portland. Yet, the same. New England charm. Smaller streets than Portland. More European feeling. Well, what I think Europe is like – based on the Travel Channel pieces I’ve watched and the movies I’ve seen with European city scenes. I’ve never been. Something I hope to change sometime before I’m “old.”

There was a place I wanted to see. A place I’d never heard of before. The night before I went to Portsmouth. The DK New England travel book, now returned to the library, told me of a place that was right up my alley.

Strawberry Banke. The history of the town rests on this square of land leading to the river. Since I love places like Fort Snelling and Murphy’s Landing in my great state, and I enjoyed Williamsburg and Plimouth Plantation as an eighth-grade visitor on family vacation, I knew I’d like Strawberry Banke. I assumed it was strictly colonial time period. Wrong. Correct that it does have colonial, Revolutionary War homes, but it also has homes depicting the Industrial Revolution era. It has homes showing life during the Civil War. It has homes and shops from WWII. It has it all.

Inside the Governor's house was a Strawberry Banke volunteer. An historian who wrote a book on the wife of the Governor.

It's WWII. Your father and brother are fighting the Nazis. You're home with your mom, sisters and little brothers. Your mom tells you to run to the Abbott's store down the street. Ration book in hand, you head out. The list consists of Crisco and Campbell's.

You're ten-years-old. Besides an end to the war, a victory for the allies, and the return of your father and brother, what do you want most in the entire world? Candy.

I had no idea these were around back in Molly's days (American Girl!)

Was the tag line, "Hungry:Eat a Snickers" around back then?!?

Definitely not the 1940's. Everything was picked, preserved, and pickled. Pumpkins were cut up, dried on a sheet in the fire, and left for later - when Thanksgiving arrived milk was poured onto the dried pumpkins and it came back to life - ready for pumpkin pie. How creative! They didn't even have the Food Network!

So inviting.

Nowadays we "antique" our homes and furniture. We spend big bucks on country chic. Back then, it was life. It was all they knew.

Strawberry Banke. I stepped in and out of homes. Homes lived in by families I’ve never met. Families who risked their lives for my family’s. Families who sacrificed, labored in the heat and shivered in the snow, to pave the way for today. With every home I entered and exited, I was thankful for mine and grateful for their’s.

I thought of friends, girls I met a long time ago. There was Molly. There was Felicity.

And I felt connected.

Unfortunately, time was not on my side. A plane needed to be boarded and I needed to be on it. But, before leaving Portsmouth, lunch had to be crunched. Fat Belly’s Grill and Bar served delicious burgers. I had salmon with a dill-mayonnaise and tiny cut fries. Perfect.

Faster than I wished, I was back on the road. Leaving a town I still hadn’t fully explored. Tolls and trees welcomed me back to Maine. I wanted to see the Kennebunks. The huge homes lining the shore. The Bush family. The home to Tom’s of Maine. I did not visit the store, nor see it. No time. But I hit up Target tonight and purchased his unscented natural deodorant. Trial run. I’ll let you know how it turns out…or you can let me know how it’s working or not working out.

The charm of the town. I saw the charm of the town through the car window. I snapped one lousy picture.

This is my only proof that i went to Kennebunk, ME

Drive-by town it was certainly not. But it had to do. Thinking I had time to see the sights, wishing I could figure out what the GPS was explaining and the map showing, I crawled into the back seat of the rental SUV and dug out a travel book for tips since the GPS was unable to respond to my questions. On the floor of the rental I found a gift from the music world. Someone left a $15.oo iTunes gift card, unused, in the backseat. Score! That was the highlight. The Portland Jetport called. Minnesota needed me to return. Before I officially left the East Coast, I had one last donut at Dunkin.I hope to eat one again sometime soon!

Apple and Spice. Finger-licking goodness.

The airport was unevntful. Leaving Portland, ME, the plane made a loop around Portland. From my window seat, I had a Google Earth view of the bay, the city, the ocean, the pier I walked on to get on the lobster boat. I saw Maine. Clouds soon blurred the image. It was safe to turn on electronic devices. My book fell open on my lap. Ironic choice since the book is based on an East Coast town in MA. Life Without Summer – a good, solid read and perfect way to fly out of Portland, ME.

Air time felt like no time. I clutched my queasy stomach as the pilot touched down in Atlanta. Bigger than big airport! It was late. I was tired. The airport was busy. I ate a deli sandwich while I waited for my delayed plane into MSP. I looked around and felt like I was already home. There were Minnesotan’s, also eager to sleep in their own beds. Twins tees and Gopher shirts clothed the people I flew home with. And just like that, I was back. Back to Minnesota. Back to reality. Back to work. Back to life. Back to the place I love.

Some day, I hope to go back. Back to Maine. Back to the sea. Back to a place I’ve grown to love.

P.S. I did not see any celebrities. I looked. I searched. I thought I heard someone at the Portland airport say that some lady was Kathy Bates. I don’t even like Kathy Bates or know exactly what movies she’s in (all I can think of is The Blindside…), but I pulled out my camera thinking I’d help People Magazine out and sell my shot for some extra dough. Met with disappointment, I saw a woman who resembled Kathy Bates the way Santa Claus resembles the Easter Bunny. Oh well. I saw plenty of other things. Plenty of other people.


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