One thing can be said about my birthday this year. Well, two things actually… It was a big one: number 40! (Ouch) And, it was the coldest one I have ever experienced in my life.
My 40th celebration of walking around on this amazing planet had to be somewhat special. None of that profusely sweating, staring at pretty beaches, lounging in the shade of a palm tree or futilely trying to find a decent restaurant for dinner, as was the case in previous years. Mark’s “anxiety” of not being able to find a suitable gift because of our remote location or lack of resources wasn’t an issue either. Instead, the internet delivered and a couple of friends provided a uniquely different location to spend my birthday weekend, which coincided with their Thanksgiving getaway.
It was as good a time as any to visit said friends at their second house up in Kingfield, Maine. My knowledge of this state, renowned for its all season beauty and fall foliage, was restricted to a few places just across the border from New Hampshire. I was excited to see a bit more of what Maine had to offer. The fall foliage was long gone – the predominant color of the countryside was brown – and the soon to prevail white landscape had not appeared yet. Nevertheless, Mark and I had a nice time.
On the way north, after a 1.5 hour drive, we stopped in Portland for a couple of hours and explored the Eastern Promenade trail and the downtown area. Then, inland it went, for another 2.5 hours. Mark and Jen received us with open arms and the evening was spent with good wine, yummy food and catch-up conversations.
Saturday was my big day. My Mark and I went for a good hike in the mountains. Our brisk pace and winter clothes kept us warm, but we did experience our first snow in many years! We ate our sandwich lunch in a cozy hut at the top – the view was obscured by clouds and snow – and made our way back down a different way. Mid-afternoon, we met our friends at the base lodge of Sugarloaf Mountain for some welcome drinks. Mark and Jen had fun on their first snowboard runs of the season, on man-made snow. The evening was spent back at home, where my Mark made a delicious dinner of shrimp and pasta, accompanied by some outstanding wine. For dessert, we still had scrumptious pie left from Thanksgiving!
The last day of our weekend was pretty relaxed. We had a chilly walk with our friends and their dog in the town of Kingfield, before trying to drive the scenic road up to Mount Ira.
I was looking forward to the views, since the sky was blue. Unfortunately, the road was closed, so we decided to start the long drive home. We made a couple of quick stops (it was 34°F) along one of the many pretty Maine rivers, before arriving back in Newburyport at 5pm. Thank you Marks and Jen for providing this special birthday weekend!