Saturday, July 23, 2016


Old Orchard Beach Pier
Old Orchard Beach, Maine, known to New England locals as The OOB was a bit of a funny place with its strong hick American vibe blended with a strong influence from French Canada. Being just a few house drive away, the Canadian vibe is not surprising, although it was. We stayed in a very pricey campground for two nights, but it was kitted out,  with pool, table tennis and a fair bit of peace and serenity for a pack spot. The beach was just a 10 minute walk away, along with the amusement rides, right on the side of the beach, with a rickety pier and its shack style buildings all over. The water was deadly cold, seriously, but its was truly just beautiful, with some nice little swells rolling in. Perfect for body surfing, just had to let your head defrost after every few dunks underwater.

Portsmouth, NH

We left early Friday morning after I was done with night shift. Was a bit of a tough day running for 24+ hours with no sleep, but it gave us a super long weekend. We took the interstates direct to the New Hampshire boarder, where we stopped at the town of Portsmouth for a picnic lunch and a look around. Followed by following the Post roads Route 1 North making a few stops along the route at Kittery Fort and the beach town of Ogunquit, which we both noticed were incredibly clean and pristine. The water at the beach in Oqunquit was blue as could be, but the amount of people littering the beach is always a bit of a downer. On route to Portland we also stopped in at the most photographed lighthouse in the country, the Portland Head Lighthouse and yeah its pretty photogenic.

Portland Head Lighthouse
We made The OOB our base for a bit of exploration. We were particularly excited to head to Portland, Maine. After the recommendation by one of the brewers we contract brew for, we embarked on a brewery adventure in the ultra hipster/alternative city of the north. Six brewery's to speak of on our visit, we started at Foulmouthed Brewpub in South Portland. We met the brewer of the brand new facility, enjoyed a flight and some extremely flavorsome bites to eat. Shipyard Brewing Company next, with their ingenious chalk board flights, filled us with good quality beer. Rising Tide Brewing operating out of large roller doors was a chilled location with a great pale ale with rye. Its was a shame we didn't get time to visit the craft distillery next door, because up next was Bunker Brewing Co. Now this place is what a true craft brewery should look like. As if it was put together by a bunch of madmen with welding equipment inside a building that looked like it survive a nuclear holocaust. The beer was great, the prices were as fair as they come and sitting in the industrial wasteland setting on the warm July Saturday afternoon a few beers in, it was just good news.

Bunker Brewing Co.
 A short walk further found us at the Urban Farm Fermentory, which just sets the bar of hipster alternative-ness. Fermenting liquid only of the non-hopped variety and I don't just mean few hops, they mean no hops, e.g not beer. Cider, Mead, Cambucha as well as herbed liquid (beer basically) is their thing. A bold move, far away from the big selling profit making pale ales and pilsners, these guys are going a different route. For what their beverages were, they were good, but I would have loved a pale ale is all. Last brewery of our tour was the oddly named Liquid Riot Bottling Company. Alternative in the general American sense, though for this part of the woods, I guess it was just coming across by the book. Good beer, bistro pub food and right in the heart of the tourist trap of downtown seaport Portland.
Ending off the trip we ventured west into New Hampshire aiming for Lake Winnipesaukee. With no expectations, we were blown away with how beautiful this place was. The large clear evergreen lake was set within the tree covered rolling hills. You could nearly even justify some as mountains. We stopped at the lakeside Wolfsboro. A quaint New England holiday spot, perfect for a huge ice cream with your toes in the water, motor boats cruising, flower baskets hanging from shop eves and a relaxed air. We circumnavigated the northern lakeside, driving right waterside some of the time and other times climbing over hills past cabins and mansions alike. At Meridith there was more boat parking than car parking. A huge lakeside bar and restaurant was the attraction. A nice lakeside path which wound into a boardwalk jetty, I was surprised to see no 'No Swimming' signs so I took the opportunity to take a last dip, 'Thomas Style'. The water was absolute perfection. New Hampshire and Maine have a reputation for being green, and they certainly seem to make an effort to protect their waterways, at least in this instance. To cap of the weekend, I headed straight back into work at 10pm after a 30 min nap. 

Thomas and Amy at Lake Winnipesaukee

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