Bangor Bound… and Gagged? (Part 1 of 3)

Four days in Maine with my mother and sister to visit my grandmother, aunt and cousin, and hang out with bikers… what could possibly go wrong?

Well, it turns out, remarkably little. Overall it was a great trip. Every once in a while one of us would get on each others nerves, but it was very minor. Dare I say the whole trip was quite pleasant? There were of course, a few bumps in the road, but it could have been far, far worse.

We ended up talking almost all of the way up there and didn’t listen to much music at all. I was subjected to a few country tunes, but I think my chicken fried, achy brakey heart will recover.

First stop: Lewiston, Maine
9/9/10 – Well, first we stumbled upon a fabric warehouse on the outskirts of town and I of course had to make a sudden turn into the parking lot. Can’t pass up a fabric store! Especially a new one! My mom was in heaven.  Then we went on to Lewiston.

This is the city me and two of my siblings were born in. We lived in the neighboring town of Greene which is our next stop, but we thought we’d stop in Lewiston for lunch. Can I just say right now that Lewiston sort of sucks? We could not find a restaurant anywhere and eventually found a Sam’s Pizza joint. Okay, we were only passing through and not there for more than an hour or two, but still, we could not find a restaurant anywhere. Could it be we weren’t looking in the right place or does Lewiston really, really blow?

Among the many churches in town we noticed a big, beautiful church on a hill and went to investigate. Turns out it was the St’s Peter and Paul Basilica, the second largest church in New England. It was looking a little worn around the edges… stairs crumbling, cracks in pavement, but it still a magnificent building that seemed strangely out of place smack in the middle of a working class neighborhood.

Greene, Maine
Don’t blink… you’ll miss it. Actually, we didn’t even go looking for any sort of downtown area here, we were simply here to try and find the house we used to live in when me, Angie and Bill were babies – we moved to Boston when I was about four years old. We found the house and discovered it was no longer painted mustard yellow, but a lovely shade of blue. I think I freaked out the current occupants by taking pictures… at least they didn’t shoot me, which I believe in Maine they can legally do.

Waterville, Maine
9/9 – 9/10/10 – We arrive in Waterville, the town my mom grew up in and we stayed at the Holiday Inn. The room was surprisingly clean and the bathroom vanity was brand spanking new. Silly girl that I am I forgot to take a picture of it, but it was quite nice, and being in the market for such items these days, I should have taken a photo… ah well.

My mom immediately grabbed a phonebook and I went online to discover if a restaurant, The Silent Woman, where her parents loved to go was still in existence. Alas, it was not so we ended up across the street for a late dinner at Governer’s, where they had strawberry lemonade and wonder of wonders… POUTINE! I was in artery clogging, cheese and gravy covered heaven. It wasn’t made with fresh cheese curds like it’s supposed to be, but it was a soft, melty, buttery flavored cheese that hit the spot. I counteracted the molten mass of fried salty goo with a nice healthy salad in an attempt to prevent a “Vermont gas station moment”… I’ll explain that another day. My mother also seemed to enjoy poutine… which she probably shouldn’t eat. I guess that’s where I get my loved of salty food from. After dinner we drove around a bit so my mom could get her bearings. It’s difficult to see what a town is like after dark so we planned to head out again the next day to explore.

The next day we headed out to find two houses my mom once lived in, and one my dad once lived in. Oddly enough my parents once owned houses next door to each other, yet not at the same time. They didn’t meet until they were older and had moved from those homes. These two houses happen to be across the street from a church where a group of nuns were brutally attacked in 1996. We also stopped by Waterville High School and Colby College to have a look around. We prowled old neighborhoods and found a fence my grandfather built that was still standing, as well as my mom’s best friend Carol’s house.

Our next stop was Downtown Waterville to do a little shopping and to have lunch. We hit the Children’s Book Cellar and browsed for a bit. I picked up a copy of Dick and Jane and Vampires just for fun and we moved on to Tardif Jewelers. The father of my mothers childhood best friend Carol was the watchmaker for Tardif Jewelers, which has been around since 1935. The gentleman running the store now is a Tardif as well and remembered Carol and her father quite fondly. I bought myself a lovely pair of silver earrings and Angie got this delicate little coral and gold necklace that looked like little tiny Maine blueberries.

For lunch we stopped at Jorgenson’s Sandwich Shop and I had an amazing curry chicken salad sandwich. Not something I would typically eat, but I am trying to experience new things and thought, the last time I had one was on a train ride from hell back from New York City back in 2003 and it was terrible. (another long story) I thought it was time to give it another go. It was delicious!

After lunch we decided it was time to head on up to Bangor. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this journey!

Click HERE to read Part 2.

click HERE to read Part 3.

Click HERE to view all photos from this trip. (more coming soon!)


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