Vacation bliss: Nothing, and everything, all at once

How does one measure the success of a vacation? We took our first this year. At least the first vacation for just the two of us. Other than one or two overnights in the fall, this will be it for us until next year.

We drove to Maine and spent three nights at an outstanding B&B. The inn was so good it deserves name recognition — Victorian by the Sea in Lincolnville, Maine, just four miles north of Camden’s harbor. It made for a blissful vacation.

As our host showed us our room, it started to rain. Instead of being upset, we smiled. We could see that our suite included a bay windowed sitting room overlooking the water.

The room was furnished with a chaise lounge, wing chairs and ottoman. Who sat in what was not to be an issue because both the chaise and the chairs had lamps next to them. Critical accoutrements for love and marriage.

The afternoon was warm enough to have the windows open. Without any wind the rain could be heard, but not infringe upon our inside comforts. We brought up our suitcases, put away our clothes and took to our seats.

The room had no TV, but it did have wifi. I almost forgot there was a bed, but when needed it was as comfortable as they come. The bathroom was equipped with shower and tub and its space was ample enough for both of us to spread out.

We spent the rest of the afternoon reading and napping. By dinner time, the sun was shining. We selected one of the restaurants our host had suggested, but when we arrived we found it had a forty-five minute wait.

Fortunately, our host had given us several restaurants to choose from. We went to our second choice and wondered why it had not been our first. We both are suckers for old homes. This one had a screened in porch, which didn’t hurt either — my idea of being close to nature. The waiter was attentive and the food outstanding. Then when I saw gazpacho on the menu, I was convinced they could do no wrong.

On the second day, the clouds lifted and we set out to tour the area. The Victorian is on the ocean, but between it and the water is a private home. Our host told us that his guests have been granted privileges to walk through their yard and down the steep wooden steps to the ocean. We did so and found ourselves on a secluded rocky beach with two comfortable red Adirondack chairs nestled in the shade. It took all we could to motivate ourselves to venture out for further exploration.

Camden has many restaurants, inns and shops. We explored them all. We also took in the view from Mount Battie’s summit, a place that can be reached by foot or by car. We elected the latter. Each day was one of new exploration. No schedule. Just time and sunshine. I could have stayed for a month or more.

I never understood the advantage to employers of restricting new employees to two weeks vacation. For the record I vote for never less than four weeks a year. I recently read of corporations willing to pay people to take a whole week off.

In my mind this is taking a step in the right direction. Vacations can be bliss and make us more productive when we return to work. We concentrate better after bliss. It is a satisfaction that can be shared. I do it all the time.

Bob Ritchie is pastor of Bennington Congregational Church and a regular contributor.

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