In the last 100 days my baby has doubled in size. Everyone always says that children grow up so fast. But, I’m only just beginning to appreciate the amazing time shift that parenthood is.
To commemorate our inaugural summer together, I took my daughter on what I hope will be the first of many girls’ trips. One day we will hike the Appalachian Trail or canoe the Allagash River. This year we embarked on our new tradition with a glamping adventure.
For the occasion, I have reserved a sandy pines family cottage, located two hours north of Worcester in Kennebunkport. (Close enough to drive back in the event of a complete collapse.) The accommodations were rustic except for a refrigerator, air conditioning, heating, and a king-size bed. We were only staying two nights, but it was so warm that I unpacked our clothes and put them in the dresser drawers. How such a small human can demand so many goods, I will never understand.
Once we were settled, I strapped my daughter into her carrier and hiked the crescent-shaped coast. Sandy Pines is just one mile from a peaceful beach where goose rocks the coral reef forms a buffer from the Atlantic Ocean, creating gentle surf and warm waters perfect for children.
At golden hour, I attempted a photo shoot. “We need to document our first annual girls’ trip,” I told my daughter. When I laid her in the sand, she screamed the seagulls like a celebrity scolding the paparazzi. I gave up and decided it was time for dinner.
The only restaurant along Goose Rocks Beach is a fancy place called The Tidal Beach Club. I paid $40 for a lobster roll while the baby slept in my arms. When the check arrived, she let out a moan. “What?” I asked defensively. “We’re in Maine, it’s practically the law to order lobster.” She rolled her eyes and let herself fall back onto my chest. The sun set beyond the swamp and we returned home to our little cabin in the woods.
My daughter slept through the night, while I woke up every two hours to check out the window for ferocious bears. My anxieties were unleashed. At 2am I started thinking about how the other cabins were called ‘Haven’ and ‘Sanctuary’ while ours was called ‘Rapture’.
“Why do you think they named it kidnapping?” I whispered to the child who gurgled beside me. She let out a little sniffle like a little baby Clydesdale. Suddenly the painting of a horse above our bed started to look spooky. I browsed through the selection of soothing audiobooks I had downloaded in case Blair Witchy had escaped me and finally fell asleep listening to Linda Holmes’ latest novel, ‘Flying Solo’, a tender love story which takes place in a small town in Maine.
The next morning, the staff at Sandy Pines gave us directions to Cape porpoise cuisine, a lovely market where I bought coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I Googled “scenic lookouts in Kennebunkport” and followed the GPS to Walker’s Point. The neighborhood was upscale, but I thought the heavy gate and guard tower seemed overdone in the house to our left. I ate my egg and cheese and watched the waves crash against the rocks. My daughter cooed from her car seat on the bench next to me. “Yes, it’s a beautiful view,” I agreed.
A group of cyclists stopped next to us, speaking in German. A woman played peekaboo with the baby. I wondered what had brought them to our quaint little corner of the sea when I finally understood two words in English: “President” and “Bush”. Suddenly, the aggressive security next door came into its own. We had stumbled upon the summer White House of the late President George HW Bush. I decided we better get going before the Secret Service gets here.
My daughter and I enjoyed a float in the heated pool at Sandy Pines and another long walk on the beach. Unlike Kennebunkport’s hostels and hotels, most of which cost $300 to $400 a night, Sandy Pines family cottages can sleep two adults and two children for around $200 a night. Best of all, they make you feel like you’re visiting your great aunt in Maine. There’s an old leather butterfly chair in the corner where you can enjoy a book, a heavy wooden table in the center of the room to sip your morning coffee, and a trundle bed draped in woven blankets for a nap after a night out. long day at the beach. In my opinion, no hotshot hotel could ever compare.
On the way back I noticed that some of the leaves had already taken on a brilliant golden hue. “Where does the time go?” I asked my daughter. She let out a deep sigh and fell asleep. When she woke up we were back in Worcester and I swear she was an inch taller.
Do you have a favorite glamping destination in New England? Find me on Instagram at @sarah_connell and let me know.