Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hanging Around the Inn

Unlike most visitors to Mount Desert Island, we don't come for the hiking, sailing, fishing, kayaking, cycling, canoeing, ocean swimming, mountain climbing, or other pleasures of Acadia National Park. Too exhausting, although we do some of those things occasionally, when we're feeling guilty. What we really like to do is hang around the inn and socialize with the locals. Now that we have a multi-year history of summer visits, being up there feels like going onstage in an improv play. If you are friendly and willing to listen, the people around the inn will eventually reveal themselves in small-town soliloquies reminiscent of Spoon River Anthology, but much more long-winded. 

The porch. Settle in, and tell me everything that's going on with you...

If you linger after breakfast on the porch, eventually one or two members of the inn staff will join you to eat and spill their stories. If you lounge around the pool area, you'll meet other guests, as well as neighbors who drop by for a quick dip. After years of being up there, we know several of them, as well as other long-time guests who come to stay at the same times we do each year. We hear news and gossip about everybody, and there's always a certain amount of drama going on. When we aren't dissecting some personal relationship gone strange, we talk books, movies, news, cats, cooking, and restaurants. A regular I hadn't met before introduced himself, and we quickly figured out that we'd lived less than two blocks from each other on this street until last year. A Delta flight attendant tried hard to sell me on natural supplements for women: "It's changed ma life...." I had to lie low until she checked out the next morning. 

An empty spot in the hot tub, waiting for 
someone to hop in and tell me everything.

But, usually, it's fun to spend a week surrounded by chatty, interesting people in a small town, sharing their lives in more detail than we city folk would ever offer to a stranger down here. Maybe this happens because there's so very little to do there in the winter besides talk, drink, and shovel snow. But when we get our opportunity (finally!), we spill our stories, too. And we have no excuse except for the irresistible charm of the locals. Unless it's the instant intimacy of sitting together in a big tub of hot water, like some lobsters waiting to boil.

We're usually all talked-out at the end of our stay, and looking forward to some quiet downtime back in Boston, where most of our socializing is accomplished by email or on facebook. Much less entertaining.

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