An old-school weekend in Maine
At Budget Travel, we're obsessed with being on the cutting edge of what's happening in the world of travel. Whether it's a cool new boutique hotel in London or a new dessert-truck trend in the U.S., we want to be the first to know so we can tell you all about it.
Sometimes, though, something is cool precisely because it's not new. I was reminded of that a couple of weekends ago when I went to a friend's wedding on Chebeague Island, in Maine.
Everything about Chebeague is old-school, from the boat that takes you across Casco Bay to get there—a navy, white, and red passenger ferry that looks like it's right out of a children's book about New England—to the tiny Doughty's general store, the only place to stock up on basic provisions (I bought an absurd number of whoopie pies, the celebrated Maine dessert made of two rounds of Devil's Food cake with a sweet cream filling).
The wedding festivities were spread between two places, and I can't decide which one I like best. For the rehearsal dinner, we all gathered for a lobster bake at Chebeague Orchard Inn, one of the coolest B&Bs; I've seen in a long time. The white-clapboard house is adorable, and the apple-tree-dotted grounds are beautiful, but it's the young owners, J Holt and Jenny Goff, that give the place its character. My favorite detail: a little corner room that they've transformed into a kind of mini-vintage shop. The closet and chests are full of sweaters, dresses, and costume jewelry, and the shelves are stocked with fabrics. I didn't see a single item marked over $5.
The wedding itself—and our homebase for the weekend—was the 1920s golden-yellow Chebeague Island Inn. When we weren't playing board games by the huge stone fireplace in the great room, we were sipping cocktails on the porch, which runs along the entire front of the inn and looks out onto the lobster boats bobbing in the water. The morning of the wedding, we took out the inn's free L.L. Bean bikes and tooled around the island, exploring a few beaches along the way and stopping at Calder's Clam Shack http://www.caldersclamshack.com/ for lunch.
Is Chebeague Island new and exciting? Not even close. And that's exactly what makes it so cool.
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Nevermore, nevermore…well, maybe once more
Even though multiple cities have been duking it out for years over who lays more claim to Edgar Allan Poe—the great American writer lived in six states up and down the East Coast—Baltimore holds the distinction of housing his earthly remains. This week, two hundred years after his birth, Poe will be given a proper funeral that was denied him so many years ago, in the city that holds their famous resident so dear that they've even named their NFL team—the Baltimore Ravens—after one of his famous poems. To kick things off today (Oct. 7), there is an "open-casket viewing" at Poe's former home at 203 N. Amity St. from noon until 11 p.m. It is believed that Poe wrote over a dozen poems and prose while living in this home with his paternal grandmother, his aunt Maria Clemm, and his cousin Virginia—whom would later become his wife. ($5) Continuing the tribute on Thursday, Oct. 8th, an all-night candlelight vigil will be held from midnight until 7 a.m. at Poe's monument at the entrance of Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. This will be an opportunity for the public to honor the writer with personal toasts, poems, and music, along with scheduled theatrical performances in an attempt to bring Poe's tales to life. (Free) There are many more themed exhibits and activities planned for the funeral and throughout the year, including some spooky walking tours. The grand finale of the largest Poe bicentennial event in the country will be held on Sunday, October 11th. Starting at 11:30 a.m., a fife and drum marching band and police escort will lead an antique horse-drawn hearse carrying Poe's casket from his Amity Street home to his final resting place at Westminster Hall for burial. The Addams Family actor and fellow Baltimorean John Astin will officiate over the two services at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., including speakers in the likeness of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (who penned the Sherlock Holmes series), and the filmmaker and producer Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock. (Procession free, funeral $35 in advance, $40 at the door) In grim Poe-like fashion, there's still debate over what caused his death at age 40. Initially believed to be drunk, the writer was held at Church Hospital where he emitted morbid outbursts leading up to his death on October 7th, 1849. Upon later examination, it was determined that he had more likely been robbed and beaten instead. Nevermore 2009
Meet a "travel ninja"
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Up All Night in Paris: The Nuit Blanche art party
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