On Saturday, September 11th, at 4:30 a.m. central time, I woke up five minutes before my alarm and about six hours after I went to sleep. I slurped down some instant coffee (oops, ran out of real coffee) and waited for the airport shuttle to arrive. Then I got to the airport at around 5:30. My flight left Austin at 7 a.m., took me to JFK in NYC. Then, after a layover, I hopped my flight to Portland, arriving at around 4 p.m. Eastern. About eleven hours in transit and let me tell you what: TOTALLY WORTH IT.
Saturday night, those of us who help Lisa out with the annual Knitting and Yoga Adventures Monhegan Island Retreat all met up at her house in Portland for dinner: Susan Mills, our ever cheerful resident teacher/designer; Cathy Payson, our special guest designer/teacher for 2010; Lisa, our hostess with the mostess; Patty, our get-er-done logistics specialist; Melora, literally the most flexible member of the team and, yes, our yoga guru; Mary Alice, the magical masseuse; and yours truly, team blogger. Here's a picture of Mary Alice:
Lisa's mom rounded out the dinner party. We sat around for many hours huddled around a whiteboard and strategically planning every single minute of the retreat. Oh, wait, no we didn't. We drank wine, laughed our heads off, and then shoved a remarkable number of bags and bins into a couple of cars to be transported to Port Clyde. We reminisced about past trips and got excited thinking about this year's adventure. And then we vowed to get to sleep soon. And then we stayed up late, scurrying around to tend to last minute details. Here's a picture of just a bit of the luggage:
Sunday morning, I found myself on Team Patty as we headed over to the Standard Bakery to score some treats for those of us who'd be riding in the van. We got some cool item I am calling pretzel-bread because I can't remember, for the life of me, i's actual name. We also picked up some lobster sugar cookies, one of my favorite parts of the trip. And Patty also packed some crunchy Maine apples for us. Here's the Standard Bakery:
After some airport/hotel runs, it came to pass that one very awesome dude named Tom arrived in his Mermaid Van and loaded up seven of us and our luggage for the drive from Portland to Port Clyde. Notice how the word "port" is pretty popular here in Maine? This state, Tom told us, has some insane number of coastal miles, given all the peninsulas. I think he said something like nine hundred billion miles worth of coast. Tom also told us fun facts about Maine along the way, plus I grilled him to find out all about his family and to determine how many degrees separated us. I find that usually I am separated by one degree or less. Sure enough, Tom actually knew the small town I grew up in, which is pretty much unheard of unless you're one of my siblings or my sixth grade teacher. Here's a picture of Tom:
At the dock in Port Clyde, those of us in the van connected with those who'd driven their own cars, including our Fab Trio from Ohio and our Fab Trio from RI/Colorado. Of the latter, let me say that, led by the fearless Eva, Trio RI came mighty close to missing the boat thanks to a bottleneck in traffic outside of PC. But they made it, pulling up at the last second, roaring onto the dock as if in a Steven Seagal movie (one that might be titled Knit. Or. Die.) The handsome deckhand quickly unloaded Eva & co's 47 bags from their car, and hauled them on board. Here's Eva, looking like $6 million bucks, her cool demeanor never belying that she was stuck behind some Sunday drivers going 20 mph in a no passing zone:
And here's another Pulitzer worthy photo of (just some) of our luggage:
And then... at last... we were off. Here's a picture of the magic ticket that earned us passage, another of us on board, another of the smooth ocean and then, the sight that makes my eyes so happy: The Island!!
Holden was waiting at the dock, waving a hanky drenched with tears of joy he'd spilled upon contemplating our return. Oh, wait, wrong again. Holden actually sent a driver down in the truck to pick up our many, many, many pieces of luggage so he could finish readying for our arrival. Then we hoofed it up to Monhegan House. Over the next few hours we got settled in, had a wonderful getting-to-know-you happy hour, then headed into the dining room for a spectacular dinner. Then into the parlor for some group knitting before collapsing into our pristine beds under our fluffy comforters.
I love the whole Getting to the Island process, and that first day settling in. I can't wait to see the return "campers" and I love getting to know the new ones. It's pretty easy to spot all members of the group since, even if we haven't met before, most everyone is sporting some fabulous hand knit something or other. Which reminds me, you can also pick out the birders, who seem to love Monhegan Island almost as much as us, and are weighed down under their binoculars. We came to the island a week earlier than usual this year, and so thought we'd miss our annual overlap with the twitchers (as they're called in England). But as luck would have it, one of our most memorable birder acquaintances was on the boat with us.
This morning, as I slowly came to the surface in my lovely bed, I swear I heard a man's voice outside my door-- could it have been a birder?-- saying, "The knitters are clicking away. We better hurry before they eat all the food." With Holden in charge of food, there's no worry we'll run out. However, the birders are nonetheless right to pay attention as we are most certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Knit. Or. Die. Coming to a rooming house near you soon...