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Down the Road

Down the Searsport Road a Piece
By Milton M. Gross
Jun 28, 2015 - 9:55:46 PM

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We're settling in at our new "rent" in Searsport, an apartment about a half-mile off the nearest road, Routes 1 and 3.

So far we like it. It's a lot quieter than our rural Ellsworth location, which had traffic constantly speeding down the bumpy road. I tried to get the police to sit in our dooryard there, which happened only once about two years ago. On that day, I chatted with the police officer a minute or so, then walked toward the house. When I was about 20 feet from the cruiser, it took off after the first speeder.

None have been back since, but the speeders seemed to have been going faster as time passed.

Here we have an advantage, this is the first town either of us has ever chosen in which to live because we wanted to live in that town. I've been in Maine since 1965, and this is the first home I've chosen because I like the town. Dolores has had the same experience.

I used to live in Swanville a hundred or so years ago, while I was teaching in Thorndike. That's how I got to know the area. Dolores and I together came out of our Ellsworth road one day and turned left instead of right. That's how she got to know the area.

That day we looked at a camp on a muddy road. We'd both had enough mud in our lives, so we didn't like that camp.

But we got into the habit of turning left instead of right. And here we are.

We brought our cat, a year-old named Samantha (when she is treating us right and a variety of other names when she's not), who has taken to the place rapidly. The only drawback is she has to stay in the apartment here, whereas in Ellsworth she would be outside and gone for a half day. The good part is the lack of owls and hawks in the apartment, so when we return home we know she'll be here.

Our plan for here, a place we can afford on our retirement, is to be actually retired -- no more getting up at 4 a.m. to hustle off to work at 5 a.m. Our retirement, we hope and expect, will involve chores like getting up, relaxing on the sofa, doing some freelance writing, and taking mini-trips to a variety of places.

Such as Camden State Park with its several trails. Once I get my hip replaced by whatever the surgeon at the Belfast hospital uses as new hip, we can walk a lot. Walking a lot is one of the things that brought me to Maine in the first place. I had walked all these years until a couple of years ago, on trails and in woods and dirt roads near our homes from Bethel to Ellsworth. Now we're looking forward to walking again, me with a nice new hip.

No, I won't be a hippy, but lots of folks who have had similar surgeries have told me they feel so good they wished they had had it done years ago. I hope I'm one of those guys.

Belfast, about five miles away, has a nice system of parks within the city. Yesterday we stopped at one of them and watched a white cruise ship docked at the town dock. We know nothing about the "American Glory," except it made a peaceful background as we visited one of the city's parks.

The "American Glory" looks like a nice cruise ship, if you want to go cruising. (We want to cruise around the countryside near our new home in Searsport via Toyota and foot.) "American Cruise Lines' four East Coast vessels were all built at the line's own shipyard in Salisbury, Maryland. While they're a bit boxy on the outside, they're refreshingly large and comfortable inside, with a decor that's simple and pleasant, if a bit dull. Numerous floor-to-ceiling windows surround the main lounge, and everywhere there are large windows for viewing the passing scenery. The ships' shallow drafts allow passage up small rivers straight into the heart of town, where port facilities might look like they were designed for a kayak rather than a cruise ship -- in one port, we actually sent the ship's mooring lines to a tree in a park rather than to the usual iron bollards," from the cruise line's website.

We have walked a trail outside of Searsmont, which was nice and woodsy and along a brook. We'll get back there one of these after-my-hip-replacement days.

Another advantage is that the Appalachian Trail is nearer to us than it was in Ellsworth. We used to volunteer west of Monson, wandering deep in the moose-populated woods to follow old corridor-line blazes at the edge of the AT's 1000-feet-wide corridor. But my right leg in recent years had to drag along behind my left leg, which, when Dolores observed it, didn't like it. So now we volunteer by computer, helping campers find the right shelters and campsites along the AT in Maine. We can do that from here, about the same as we could in Ellsworth.

A daily advantage here is that I can hobble with my timeworn hip down our half-mile access road and give that timeworn hip some exercise. In Ellsworth, our road was rough, slanted a good bit, and always placed me in danger of speeding cars and trucks.

Maybe after the hip and after a bit of time to get our finances also operated on via that time, we will find a house we like in this area -- a house with a small lawn. Then we can resettle in our retirement, and Samantha can roam outdoors again.

And we can roam around the part of Maine we like more than any other.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014

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