lived in many different towns over the years. All of them have been
good places. Our criteria for choosing one place over another changes
from year to year, depending mostly on the ages of our kids. For
example, schools were not important when they were babies. I might
mention it's for that reason alone that it is easier to cruise when
your kids are small. School, whether it's home school, or plain
school-school, is a huge responsibility and takes some of the spontaneity
out of cruising.
taught the kids at home until they were in second grade. In recent
years they've attended local schools. We are local-school advocates.
Putting our kids in regular school means they have the chance to
meet a huge cross section of other kids, and they also get to cope
with other adults who are in positions of power, ie: teachers and
custodians. At school they get to experience different personality
types, allowing them to develop keen intuitions about what motivates
an individual. Let's face it, knowing how to get along with people
you can barely tolerate is what life's all about. This is especially
true in the job place, or at pot luck suppers.
this year we are living in Maine, in a rented house in the village
of Round Pond, and we have put our kids in the school system. We
have been asked many times by the locals how we chose, out of all
the places in Maine, Round Pond. I'm afraid our research was unscientific.
Long about late August last summer, we were anchored in Valley Cove
at Mount Desert Island. We'd had a weather-eye peeled for towns
to live in but had not yet found a place that felt right. If a place
doesn't feel right, then it is wrong. On that morning in Valley
Cove a guy was rowing past in his dinghy. Rowing, mind you, not
motoring. A small detail, perhaps, but in this era of fast dinghies
and loud obnoxious outboard engines, someone who chooses to row
does so because their psyche demands it.
hailed him. "If you had 3 kids who needed to go to school and
were choosing a place in Maine to live, where would it be?"
Pond," came the easy reply. "That's where we're from."
Oh, by the way, where is Round Pond?"
thanks for your help!"
I go on, I have to say a word or two about the harbors in Maine.
Before we arrived in Maine we had this notion of a coast dotted
with an endless assortment of landlocked coves. With 3000 miles
of coastline this is a natural assumption. Right? Wrong. There are
a bazillion harbors and coves, but it seems there are only about
10 that are land locked. Most of these are in the middle of nowhere.
Being in the middle of nowhere is great on a cruise, but we needed
jobs, schools, and a social life.
to the chart, the harbor of Round Pond, though not entirely land
locked, was pretty darn close. At least it wasn't wide open to the
ocean like so many harbors in Maine.
after our chance encounter with Dave Wilkens in Valley Cove, we
meandered south toward Round Pond. I have to pause again to mention
some quirky lingo problems that arise when describing travel up
and down Maine's coast. If you are sailing up the Maine coast toward
Canada, that is, going northward, you would say: I am headed "down
east". If you are at the tippy top of Maine, right on the Canadian
border and heading south, you would never say: I am headed "up
west". No. That would be ridiculous. What you say is you are
heading home again. Well, heading home is great if you have a home
to head home to, but in our case, since we were looking for a home,
it felt rather presumptuous to say that we were homeward bound.
Instead, we kept to sound geographic principals: we said we were
sailed into Round Pond harbor a few days before Labor Day. Typical
of Maine's better bays, it was full of moorings. It's not that I'm
against moorings, per se, but it does rankle when a big calm harbor
is full of boats on moorings and there is nobody on board. And there
we are, in need of a refuge, and instead of being able to anchor
we are forced to pay upwards of 20 bucks for a mooring. Extortion.
there was scant room to anchor but we managed it. Barely. For the
next 3 days we explored the land side of the bay. We checked out
the school, the grocery store and job prospects. Round Pond and
vicinity felt "right". We decided to stay. We enrolled
the kids, got a post office box, got Maine tags for our car, and
prepared our mental-selves for another winter.
after Labor Day, Robert Ball, the harbor master and full time lobster
man, came alongside in his skiff. He very politely informed us that
he'd seen us around for a few days. Were we staying?
he continued, "I'm worried about the other boats. You're kinda
close. If the wind should shift around you might bump into one of
them. Would you mind taking mooring?"
explained that I had asked the local boatyard about moorings when
we arrived but none were available. (This was true. I actually asked.)
Robert drawled, " I have a spare mooring near to my lobster
boat. You can have that one."
do you charge?"
it's been empty most the summer. You can use it for free. Might
as well somebody be on it. It's a waste otherwise. You're really
staying? Well, welcome to Round Pond."
soon: How the Martins finally bought the farm.
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