9 Things to do in Maine during the summer plus 1 thing I want to do

In Maine there are so many things to do, but the most fun can be had in the summer.  Talk about a great vacation spot.  So much to do, see, and eat.  I can go to the beach on sunny days, or the movie theater when its raining, and so much in between.  One place I have never been to in my 13 summers of vacationing in this fine state is a day at the famous Acadia National Park.

Going to the beach

https://www.flickr.com/photos/terrapin_flyer/212856502/in/photolist-4j3ns-jNWPG-4zgXn3-59Hv5L-8uTZrX-S2QyC-8zN96t-4ws6w7-hPTVp-6uzouD-72H7dh-iszY3-72D79a-72D8CT-isGoj-2TwP3r-2TBmvW-isGok-ib2Cp-8iJqbf1)  Of course, going to the beach in Maine, there are so many choices of where to go.  And if you don’t like sitting at the beach all day you can certainly take a walk, jog, or even bike ride along the beach to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  Going to the beach is a must for sure!  My “home beach” is Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport.  But there are also many other options, like York Beach and Old Orchard.  The best part is that it doesn’t cost that much.  You can walk, depending on where you are staying, or pay a parking fee.  Most people bring their own snacks and lunches to the beach in coolers, or bags.  Do not worry though, at some beaches there are restaurant’s around the area.

Water Parks

https://www.flickr.com/photos/collingwood3419/6091342959/in/photolist-ahgJ3t-bZzJS5-bo6zkp-4hgh43-7Pnvg3-8truc5-dWDR9s-9V1Q3S-ak4cde-ajJVw6-9EthYH-9K9CXM-8xvWX1-8Znwmm-cpFexu-hF12J-ekkkEm-b8MxUr-uqCWn-hJCr7-fk4TMZ-dapRem-dXzBey-ddYg3a-dapMhU-fctcFX-9z9rFf-uqDbV-a8tUYC-KCJoq-4drsLL-hnfCwt-hCaG3-e9mXFR-uqDQF-uqDv8-brxRiK-4ifb9P-2gefVh-6ghehP-4PhG4a-6K32hc-bBVAXv-6ghe74-e4fSG5-6ghbmX-6gmnh9-5sEut6-6ghchc-6ghavF2)  If you are tired of the beach and getting sandy,  there are two great water parks.  I highly recommend both Aquabogan and Funtown Splashtown.  Each water park costs about the same price, an estimated 18-35 dollars per person a day.  You can also bring or purchase foods there.  Aquabogan from my experience was just a bunch of big water slides you go down in tubes.  Funtown Splashtown is more of a water park with a variety of slides, and jungle gym like obstacles.

Lighthouses

https://www.flickr.com/search?text=maine%20lighthouses&sort=relevance3)  Since you are in the lighthouse state,  home to 65 still standing historical lighthouses, you might as well try visiting one.  My recommended lighthouse would be Portland Breakwater Light, but there are a variety of them everywhere.  Lighthouses happen to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in Maine.  Visiting any lighthouse can be as little as no cost at all!

Monkey Trunks

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tangledupinart/7748268612/in/photolist-cNFUj9-cNG2Ch-cNFTvf-cNFRhf-cNFMJm-cNFJy5-cNFFZs-cNFRMN-cNFF89-cNFNSQ-cNFFwL-cNG29d-cNFSRm-cNFCoU-cNFKSm-cNFLj7-cNFKoN-cNFBPS-cNFShU-cNG2Zw-cNFXf1-cNFYkE-cNG1yu-cNFZmY-cNFNeJ-cNFXTu-cNFWgo-cNFLHQ-cNFUU9-cNFZ19-cNFTS3-cNFWM1-cNFQD9-cNFMaQ-cNFEfu-cNFPph-cNFDJA-cNFEEo-cNFPYQ-cNFCNQ-6v9wZY4)  Need a day away from the water completely?  Head on over to Monkey Trunks, a fun filled adventure day.  Monkey Trunks is like a huge jungle gym for all shapes and sizes.  If you are daring and like jungle gyms and heights this is the place for you.  Monkey Trunks is like a giant jungle gym, obstacle course.  There are different levels, each one a story higher than the last.  With balance beams and hoops to jump through, but your are harnessed the whole time.  There are varying prices from 10-30 bucks a person.

Smitty’s

https://www.flickr.com/photos/alohakarina/7140881881/in/photolist-bT1Tp8-5CmJqN5)  A rainy day and not to much to do?  Smittys, one of my favorite theaters to go to in Maine.  You can watch a movie and have your average candy and popcorn, but you can also order food from your table in the cinema.  Smitty’s isn’t like your average looking theater, its small and you buy tickets and food at the same register.  It is also a fun time and they have delicious food.  The seats are the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in, just seeping right in to them, like they are marshmallows.  They have an arcade like most theaters, but are known for serving meals during the movie, and big ice cream sundaes.  My favorite things to get are the chicken fingers and fudge brownie sundae.  Depending on what you get to eat this trip could be costly like any theater, but it is a fun way to watch a movie and just a different, fun experience.

Lobster

https://www.flickr.com/photos/57365494@N06/5282550839/in/photolist-93NsjK-mcpy1p-eXcyKp-8rbtTW-8kM2xZ-6xhyiV-fzAjoc-ePcgm-kdeRt-d9Se9W-9vvfUX-kwKq9r-kMLEuv-jKGdS-boKbWd-boKe9J-boKefh-6Gb6Q2-h12X6Y-8TNq98-aqXKEM-acC9H2-2rfDsY-a2HMqX-8ywcBj-kzSLon-8KzGoc-8XAjYf-jtAxu2-6W77yC-jtBbm9-yyXog-jtAyXT-fMEJbY-8uaPNX-6NELkw-7BcYNU-6BWz4J-9hqhkB-9MVn4d-eWJWTu-85Ween-boKezN-bBE5zX-bBE5UR-bBE7ET-bBE81t-bBE8Dg-bBE726-bBE7be6)  Everyone in Maine has to have the lobster, even if you are just visiting for a short trip.  Lobster can be expensive, but you have not lived up to the fullest in Maine without trying it.  Usually at my house we serve it with steamed broccoli and carrots.  With boiled mussels and a side of melted butter for dipping.  I also recommend a little lemon drizzled on your lobster.

Moose Safari

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dagma/4764277397/in/photolist-8g1aFK-57rq4o-57nee2-57rrsu-57rs43-57ndYX-57rqKN-57ndw6-57nffe-57ndC8-57rqGu-57rqWu-57rqn9-57rr8d-57rqru-57ndJp-57neB8-57rse9-57rrKf-57rqxq-57rqv9-57ndnt-57nfj4-57rqt9-57nepD-57rs9S-57rrBS-57ndtB-57rqfN-57rrFG-57rreu-57neTe-57nevz-57nfsp-57rqyQ-57rqPA-57rqdj-57rrmA-57neQ2-57nf8v-57rr1f-57ndDZ-57ndrr-57nfbP-ayMgDp-8nwRTW-4989XU-5a6XjV-5abbAQ-amzkdg7)  Maine is home to the moose.  Moose are the state animal in Maine.  With an estimated 29,000 moose scattered around the state.  You would think, having 29,000 moose in the state of Maine they would be easy to spot, but they aren’t so easy to spot so there are numerous moose safaris available throughout the state.  We have tried to see moose at my house for years, and we live in the woods.  Moose are so hard to find, we are only lucky enough to have ever seen four.  On a moose safari they take you to the perfect spot to see many moose just in a short while, located in their natural habitats.

Kayaking

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glymur/200464785/in/photolist-wjsD9-eSRApY-dNwmkk-4odouz-5SiNXn-5m7ywS-afxP84-HBqH6-nhMY-DMWnQ-iHrcp-6yiFVu-7ar5J1-k6gWZm-fj4Zrr-6NGa1s-9MmRPz-csMpNC-5pDmWB-9BAznc-2hHwtF-79D5p-4f2J2q-9Awe1G-86VziN-4JDA5p-buGoLe-f8TQh9-cxmE2s-ze99M-atEwfS-8xg1wm-iHrcm-6YZSKE-f9C1YM-bNTVSH-HkWiP-6PznkL-6c4oc-3sgin1-kLRdnz-CdHvS-3dTZp-99e4Na-aahsB5-eBMTys-cyLwTL-3JLW1Q-efGBSi-7ihjs68)  Kayaking is a beautiful way to experience Maine.  On the water with beautiful views.  So many places to kayak in Maine, rivers, lakes, streams, and coastlines.  Don’t worry about not owning a kayak, you can definitely rent one and even go on scenic guided tours, or kayak trips that are usually a day or overnight.

Shopping

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jacques_trempe/7774556298/in/photolist-cR1CJ7-cPHx69-cPHwQL-7HYk9R-eT18s5-m2UQv-de9oDr-cPHyqW-5udzEz-3USdH7-8vrHB7-M5CzT-5MpWFu-2hUumV-63A3ky-63A3aN-63vMuT-63A3so-63vMx8-63vMGv-63A3yh-63A3EL-2hYV7d-2hUutv-esBh3q-39v5J-2hUu3P-2hYUHN-2hUtS2-2hYVaQ-2hYU7S-2hYUR5-2hUtMT-2hYUDN-2hUtZe-fci2S2-fQkm2b-5QdPQR-8rdQsX-cR1eeC-9248ZK-c9XfgY-mMNvV-cQk3JQ-8drCc4-cQk47o-927gcf-czmK1J-8ogMjY-6TQ6Df9)  Shopping, Maine has great little shops in its towns and has really nice outlet malls.  Usually the little towns, like Kennebunk, one of my favorites, have little shops scattered around.  If you are looking for an outlet mall with American Eagles and Nikes chain stores my suggested outlet would be the Kittery Outlets.  The cost of shopping depends on how much you buy of course.

Somewhere I want to go:

https://www.flickr.com/search?sort=relevance&text=acadia%20national%20park10)  Acadia national park is a magnificent sight.  So much to do there from visiting sand beach, to a hike or bike ride around park trails.  They have beautiful views of the sunset and sunrise on Cadillac Mountain.

Now you can plan your vacation to Maine.  Knowing all the hot spots, and places to be.  Planning your trip around these activities.  Maybe you go to the beach and eat lobster staying for a week or so, or maybe you just take a day trip up to Maine.  Whatever you do – get yourself up to Maine this summer.  If you happen to be at Acadia National Park, would you mind letting me know how it is? Continue reading

Boardwalk Nights

I took this picture in the front row car of the Great White Shark roller coaster in Wildwood, New Jersey. We go down the shore every year, and this picture reminds me of all the fun times I have with … Continue reading

The Evolution of Spain

La Tomatina 2006

photo credits: davidd

Spain is known for its dominance in the 15th century as the “Spanish Hashburgs” and helped Europe to global leaders in the modern era. Spain is a major tourist attraction for their beaches, monuments, and traditions. Spain has some rich, unique traditions you will not find anywhere else. The Running of the Bulls or San Fermin, and the tomatina or the throwing of the tomatoes are two traditions that have been going on for centuries and will be apart of Spain’s culture forever. The Spanish San Fermin (running of the bulls) is a tradition that has been going on since the year 1215. It started from ancient techniques to get the farm cows to the market for selling. The farmers would taunt and rush the bulls to the market with excitement and fear. This soon began to become competitive for many young adults, seeing who could cross this run with bulls without being harmed. Once this fun competition grew, it soon became a tradition taking it to the streets of Pamplona. The festival starts July 6th, with the opening fiesta. This consists of getting the bulls from outside the city into the bullring. The encierro or the running starts the followingmorning (July 7th) at 8:00 am. Two rockets are then fired signaling the start. The first signals the corral gates are opened. The second signals that all of the six bulls have been let loose. The final two rockets signals that the bulls have been “captured” back into the bullring and the ending of the event. With people running from these bulls, there are accidents bound to happen. Fifteen people were killed in the 1924 Pamplona run, which is the most ever in one year. Another famous, messy spanish tradition is La Tomatina in the Valencian town called Buñol. In 1945, while the gigantes y cabezudos parade in the town center, La Plaza del Pueblo was taking place a group of young men created the event of a staged brawl. With a vegetable stand nearby the men picked up tomatoes and used them as weapons, whipping them at each other. The police later had to break up this “fight” and poured the responsibility of fixing the damage upon those who were apart of it. The following year on the same day more people joined these young men in the staged fight, but this time they brought their own tomatoes. The courageous event was later broken up again, but the people did not give up. They kept coming back the same Wednesday in August doing the same thing until this day became the famous Tomatina. The first event of the tomatina starts at 10:00 am and is called the palo jabón. The goal is to climb a greasy pole with ham on top and collect the ham while everyone is dancing and celebrating around you. Then the fun starts, trucks pour into the plaza dumping thousands of tomatoes. All the participants then throw tomatoes for one hour. Spain’s rich traditions could not be duplicated anywhere else. Every year more and more people visit Spain for their great cultural events. On top of that since 2010 Spain has been the fourth most visited country in the entire world. Between the beaches, amazing cities, and memorable traditions who wouldn’t want to visit Spain.

Summer: A Poem

Photo Credit: Varun Kapoor

Photo Credit: Varun Kapoor

Long days, short nights

Walking Barefoot

Playing with kites

 

Going to Camp

Staying out late

Meeting with friends

Fishing with bait

 

Doing what you please

Climbing up trees

Going to the beach

Not having to recite a long, long, long, long speech

 

Cinnamon bun

Water gun

Midnight sun

That long run

 

Hamburger bun

Tanning under the sun

Having fun

Until summer’s done

 

Going on a family vacation

Touring the nation

Playing games outside

Eating foods that are fried

 

Swimming in a lake

Stuffing your mouth with cake

 

Not an old plumber

Not a big fat bummer

But Summer

Summer.

 

Mes Cousins Francais (My French Cousins)

Photo Credit: Jim G

Photo Credit: Jim G

My French cousins just finished visiting the United States. They went all around the country and spent one of their days visiting my family. They live in Lyon, a nice, older city in east-central France. This tourist destination is only a two hour train ride to Paris. The two parents are Sophie and Arnaud. They have three kids. Clement is 12, Julie is 10, and Hortense is 6.

Both parents speak English and the oldest child, Clement, speaks some as well. Other than Clement’s small knowledge of the English language, there was a difficult language barrier. Gestures were key in communicating with the kids. Pointing and acting out what we were saying also helped.

I noticed that my French cousins were much different from the average American child. When they first walked in they were greeted by my dog who is the smallest, most-lovable creature in the whole entire world. The kids were frightened and backed away. They weren’t used to seeing dogs in Lyon. They were also fascinated by the elliptical in our basement. They each wanted a ride on the wondrous machine. My cousins were mesmerized by MarioKart on the Wii. They were jumping up and down on the couch and seemed so excited and happy even though they always came in last.

Their interests were much different. Each member of the family played an instrument, and the kids who played the piano for me were really good. In the United States, lots of children play instruments, but the most popular activity is playing sports. We were all playing catch, and they made me look like the most athletic person in the world. If you don’t know me, I’m not that athletic. They couldn’t throw or catch the ball very well. In France the main sports are football (known as soccer in the U.S.) and cycling. In France the lower portion of the body is stronger, and in America the upper portion of the body is stronger. The French are good musicians, and Americans are good athletes.

Meeting my French cousins was great. It was neat to experience a different culture up close and personal. I know they enjoyed visiting the United States. Hopefully one day, I will visit France and enjoy their country as much as they enjoyed ours.

Top Rides at Six Flags Great Adventure

When visiting New Jersey, there is one place you have to go; Six Flags Great Adventure. It is the best amusement park I have ever been to! The park is scattered with some crazy roller coasters and rides. Here is a list of my favorites. If you like roller coasters, you need to ride these before your life is complete. The lines are long but trust me, they’re worth the wait. (Note: Did not ride Bizarro due to lack of time, so it did not make the list. The youtube videos following were taken on the rides. I do not own these videos, and they WILL make you dizzy. Information credit to http://www.sixflags.com/greatAdventure/index.aspx)

 

4. Green Lantern

Green Lantern was one of the most unique rides I have ever gone on for one reason; you ride standing up. This unique coaster lets you “stand up to your fear”. Green Lantern features a coaster design new to Six Flags with seats that let the rider stand. Don’t worry, you are still strapped in tight. This roller coaster stands 154 feet in the air. It is one of the longest roller coasters at Great Adventure ( 2 minutes, 30 seconds), and has a top speed of 63 mph. The only factor that I didn’t like was that it gave me a headache. The tight turns made my head hit the seat a couple times.

 


3. Batman: The Ride

This was the first big coaster we did at Six Flags. It is a crazy, awesome ride. The seat design on this coaster lets your feet dangle while you go through several loops and corkscrews. “Batman: The Ride” stands 10.5 stories tall, and reaches a top speed of 50 mph. Although it is not a newer roller coaster (first introduced in 1993), it gives plenty of thrills. Look for the black and yellow for an adventure fit for Batman!

 


2. Nitro

Nitro features many twists, turns, drops, and accelerations in a mile long track. The beginning features a rise that seems to go on forever (part nerves!) with a drop on the end (215 feet) steep enough to scare the devil. This roller coaster reaches speeds as high as 80 mph. Unlike most roller coasters, the track is very long, therefore increasing the fun factor.

 

1. Kingda Ka

Kingda Ka is CRAZY. Standing 45 stories tall, it is the tallest roller coaster in the world. From the starting point, you get launched 45 stories and go from 0 mph to 128 mph in three seconds. This extreme launch makes Kingda Ka the fastest coaster in North America. You literally stick to your seat as you fly above the skyline into the gut- wrenching drop. It was the coolest most awesome thing I have ever done. Watch the video below to really get a sense of what it is like. You haven’t lived until you ride Kingda Ka.

Caribbean post 4: Navigation

One of the most important aspects to my recent trip to the British Virgin Islands was navigation.  It was an interesting and important process to determine the direction and distance we needed to travel.  Four different tools were used to navigate, charts, parallel rules, dividers, and of course.

The most important tool was the Chart.  The chart is a map that shows the islands themselves, and the hazards that could hinder us, like shallow water and rocks.  It is on the chart that I mark out the path that I drew with the parallel rules as a straightedge including details like direction and distance.  Which I found using other tools.

To find the direction I used parallel rules.  This tool is a pair of plastic straightedges that are attached together with metal rods so that when you move them apart from each other, they will remain parallel.  To find the direction to head, I lined up the path I drew on the chart with one of the straightedges, with the other lined up with one of the compasses on the map.  The compass is labeled with numbers 1 through 360 going around it, so that East is 90º, South is 180º, and so on. The number that the other side of the parallel rules lines up with is the direction.

Dividers are the tools used to determine the distance to travel before making a turn.  And repeat the cycle with the parallel rules.  Dividers work similarly to scissors, as they open and close, but stay the same distance apart when the tool is picked up.   Measure the distance of the leg you are about to travel on, and place the divider on the distance scale.  This is measured to nautical miles unless it says differently.

Navigation was a vital part in my family’s vacation, because it was essential to find our way around.

Caribbean post 3: Snorkeling

A great portion of our trip in the British Virgin Islands was spent snorkeling.  It was a new experience for me, but I quickly got the hang of it.  Almost every stop we made had snorkeling involved.

 

There are many reefs scattered around the islands.  The fish come in so many beautiful colors.  They lived among many different species of coral, which has been living in the reef for a long time.  As I swam above the fish, they were fine with sharing the reef with a larger creature, only when I swam towards them would they swim away.

 

Another place we snorkeled at, but was not a reef, was the wreck of the Rhone.  This 310 foot long ship had tipped over in a hurricane.  The captain thought that the storm had passed after they were in the eye of the storm, so he sailed for open water.  Which resulted in the end of the ship.  Today it is one of the most popular shipwrecks to dive at.  I actually dove down to touch the propeller of the ship, in just my snorkel gear.  My ears felt like they were being crushed because of the depth, but it was a great feeling after to have reached my goal.

 

Whether exploring a reef or a shipwreck, snorkeling was a major part of my vacation in the Caribbean.