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camping 2014: homeward bound

the Archibalds at the seaside

happy to be at the beach, not all happy to be photographed

After only two nights in the tent, it was time to head home. Following a rough night of strong gusty winds and lashing rain, we felt both super hard-core and ready for anything—and also ready to be home sleeping in our beds. Leah and I did, at least; Harvey was not at all happy to be leaving.

Harvey eating a bagel in the tent porch

warm and dry within

He did enjoy his bagel breakfast with me in the tent porch, while the wind howled and the lantern swung wildly back and forth, but once we started packing up he turned unpleasantly uncooperative. Zion followed his example, and things were pretty rough while we packed up the car—but at least the rain mostly stopped and we managed not to get everything soaked.

Ellesworth's main street under wet overcast skies


With the mood in the car bitter and mutinous we stopped early in Ellesworth for some second-breakfast treats. The town didn't excite, but we found a cafe inside a toy store that was perfect for brightening up the boys' moods (never mind that I hated everything about it!). Then it was back on the road to Searsport to meet up with the Stevenses, who were camping there. The plan was necessarily vague—camping with kids doesn't lend itself to precision scheduling!—but once we got going we decided, via a series of text messages, to meet at the playground where Harvey found the swimmin guller.

clouds clearing over Penobscot Bay

light breaks

We beat them there, but nobody minded: not only is the playground plenty of fun on its own, but the skies cleared and it was suddenly a beautiful summer afternoon! With the sunshine it was hard to stay away from the water.

Zion with the bay in the background

down by the bay

And things only got better when the Stevenses arrived. The kids played and played, first on the playground—where our collection of introverts even managed to involve some local kids in their game—and then on the beach, for a long time. The grown-ups talked.

Bruce sitting on the beach with his dog; Harvey, Zion, Lily, Ollie, and Eliot playing in the background

they could do this all day

Of course, you know what happened with a collection of clothed kids on a narrow beach.

Harvey, clothed, knee-deep in waves


Zion also got pretty damp, but Lily won the prize of allowing herself to be completely soaked—and she didn't have a complete change of clothes handy in the car, like our boys.

The only problem with all the fun was that when it was time to go Harvey picked up right where he left off in grumpy resistance. Even though our next stop was ice cream with our friends! He was fine once he had a cone in his hand.

Harvey and Zion sitting at a red picnic table holding ice creams

temporarily mollified

But things turned sour again when the ice cream was gone and it was time to say goodbye to friends and to Maine. At least the length of our stops meant that our drive took all day, and nobody can be completely unhappy when they're as cozy as the boys got at our last stop, alongside the highway somewhere in New Hampshire.

the boys tucked in in the back of the car, at a rest stop

getting cozy

Besides me taking a wrong turn on the way out of that rest stop—nobody was happy with me for that!—the rest of the trip was uneventful, and we finally made it home with three sleeping kids. And when they woke up there was more summer fun to look forward to, so all unpleasantness was forgotten.


This was all back in the middle of August, if you're trying to keep track at home.

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