Four nights, four beds: boat, hotel, lake house, hunting camp

First morning at hunting camp in Bradford, Maine. Thursday night was our last night on the boat. Friday we took the Orient Point Ferry from New York to Connecticut and made it to a Massachusetts hotel by 8:00PM. We crossed the Maine bridge at 12:30PM the next day, and spent the night in Otis. By late morning we were on our way to Bradford, where we stayed last night.

Shinnecock Inlet, Long Island, NY

Danny spent the last few nights on the boat with us. The poor little dude had a cold. The last two nights on the boat he coughed a lot, keeping us all up. I usually slept on the boat with earplugs. Sleeping on a boat can be so loud. Danny had never stayed on the boat before. I wanted to hear him if he needed me in the night and if he had a bad coughing spell—which he had several of.

He still made the best of it and enjoyed lots of momma snuggles and binged some Sweet Tooth on Netflix. We watched the magical sea creatures glow at night through the underwater window in his cabin, when the boat spun in the wind to block the bright lights of the fishing docks nearby. You can only see them when it’s absolutely dark. The inlet’s strong current splashed and swept past his window as we cured up in a blanket to watch them zip by. I haven’t looked them up because I prefer to think there’s a little magic left out there—even for grown ups.

He felt good enough to go out for ice cream with Kevin on Thursday, our last full day there. When I took his temperature around 3:00AM on the last night, he did all he could to talk us out of selling the boat. As we packed up that last morning, I took some fun photos of him at the helm, then loaded the dinghy to make the trip to the beach the last time. He was quiet and solemn-faced while we left the big boat for the beach. We all turned and looked at the big boat one last time, and carried our things to shore.

While we waited for the captain and crewman we crossed the sandbar protecting the intercostal waterway from the ocean, and played on the beach. Danny and I chased the waves as they reseeded then ran up the beach as they crashed back up on shore. The waves were impressive even in perfect conditions. This was evident by the group of surfers. It was easy to see why it was so terrifying to come in at midnight as the tides turned on a stormy night with high winds.

Orient Point, Long Island, NY

Lunch was overdue by the time the captain and crewman arrived to take possession of the vessel for delivery to Charleston, NC. We stopped at Slo Jacks in Hampton Bays, on Long Island. The food was great, and there was dog friendly seating outdoors.

From Slo Jacks we got back in our new Jeep. I assume this is when the GPS decided to take us to the eastern tip of Long Island instead of through NYC as I’d originally planned. We hadn’t planned to take the ferry. I didn’t notice until we were 19 minutes to the ferry terminal that we were on an eastern route. It was actually really cool, and I’m glad we went—even though I was pretty sick of boats at that point.

New London, Connecticut

We drove off the ferry and into the city. There was a lot of traffic, and we hit some bumper-to-bumper congestion a few times, but never for too long. Kevin and I shared my air pods to listen to some Crime Junkie while Danny watched a movie on his Kindle in the back.

Worcester, Massachusetts

The hotel was surprisingly quiet for right in the city, aside from a midnight drag race in the streets below. Danny coughed on and off all night, and made sad moaning and whimpering sounds in his sleep that underlined the extent of how sick he was. Kevin checked on Danny in the night to find his blankets crumpled up under his chin and hot to the touch. He left the hotel room, crossed the road to the parking garage and brought back his fever meds I’d left in the car.

Danny made the best of it for a sick kid, only complaining about his fever when it really spiked and he was nearing the next dose of medicine.

Portland, Maine

Simon, our oldest son, lives in Portland. He moved into a new dorm room last week at the University of Southern Maine. We stopped in to pick him up for lunch. Danny doesn’t get to see him much, so it was a good opportunity for some bro-time.

Beech Hill Pond, Otis, Maine

We spent our first night in our home state at Beech Hill Pond in Otis with Kevin’s mother. On the way through, we met Danny’s father to drop him off first. He didn’t want to go, but he was good about it. Danny knew we were going to grammy’s and likely wanted to go swimming and in the boat there. All our belongings are in Otis, and we needed as much room as we could in the backseat for the move to camp the following day. We still have a trip to go to gather everything there, and to get my tractor back at the farm on our second lot we still own there with the pond and my snowshoe trails.

It was lovely to come back to a freshly made bed, clean clothes, and big hugs. She popped a frozen pizza in the oven and we relaxed and visited. Kevins’ late father’s dog, Katie, has taken a liking to me the last several visits. She is still recovering from losing her human.

Bradford, Maine

The road was hard to find—if you could call it a road. It was more like a field with small trees, then a break in the wood line with a narrow trail that we drove by at first. It’s obvious no one had been through in a long time. Lowell had a few camps, and this one isn’t on water and quite primitive. The camp is like a time capsule. I found a pour-over coffee maker I’d long forgotten about. No one had touched our bottle of tequila. The shot glass was still over the cap on top of the bottle. I think it had been two years since we’d been out.

The old shed had the customary boards leaning against the double doors, and the key was easy enough to find. Once at the front door we realized the lock had been changed, and that key wasn’t going to do us any good. We called around, but no one knew the combination to the lock. To open it, we borrowed an angle grinder from Danny’s father who lives about 15 minutes away.

Once we broke in, stray cobwebs clung to us as we walked in. There is much to do to make this humble hunting camp into our Now What? home while we figure out our next move. We have expressed interest in purchasing this property both in the past, and more recently. Just before Covid hit, we’d made a deal with Kevin’s late brother, Lowell, to purchase the camp and acreage. It’s sentimental to us.

We’d spent our first weekend here 13 years ago, when we first met. The kids had come out and chased grasshoppers and frogs in the yard and played in the stream. They were in kindergarten and first grade then—now they are college students. Our now 9-year-old, Danny, has been out too. He spent a few nights here when we seriously considered purchasing the property a few years back.

Since Lowell’s untimely and still-shocking death, the camp has been handed down to his son who lives in Texas. In the meantime, the property is tied up in probate court and his son hadn’t been here since he was 10-years-old. We took some videos on the way in to show him what the place looks like now. He was kind enough to give us permission to stay in the meantime while we figure things out.

With a new moon and cloudy night, it was strikingly dark after having been near big cities, brightly lit fishing docks, and hotels—and the night light at Kevin’s mothers’ lake house. I hadn’t known such darkness for a while. It was good—aside from knowing I was surrounded by spiders and rodents. Mice skittered behind the boards and something that sounded a bit bigger wandered around in the night, not long after we’d shut off the generator.

I dreamed a stray cat was on the end of the bed by my feet in the night. That was the best-case imaginary creature to have, I think. To be safe, I set Chip by my feet to guard them and went back to sleep. Kevin said I snored—something I rarely do. Great, let’s try out snoring in a room full of spiders. The bed is a flip-down futon and was not kind to our backs. I woke up feeling ten years older.

There are a few open spots here in Bradford, but the property is mostly wooded. It was cut hard 20-years back or so from the looks of it—and there’s a couple swamps. There’s still mounded slash piles along what was once a log yard area. One part of the property borders a field of cows. I’m looking forward to getting muddy, sweaty, and tired from working on the road, mowing, and cleaning.

There is much to do to make our Now What? home livable—and the road passable. A few more trips in and out will likely bottom out my new car. The ruts are sinking with each pass. I’m planing to cut back along the edge of the path and fill the ruts with the branches.

Last week it was 87°F on the boat on Long Island. Tomorrow night here at camp it’s forecasted to be 47°F—welcome back to Maine!

Other plans…

We have a super secret other plan up our sleeve—but it’s TBA for now while we weigh the feasibility of it, and also feel-out what it would be like to live in Bradford. Kevin is not feeling the plan to move further north to the other family camp in the Ashland area. Logistically it’s a nightmare and far from family—and literally everything else.

Then there’s always the wild card. Something that pops up out of nowhere. A crazy idea that has yet to cross our minds.

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