While there's no set itinerary on our cruise of the Maine coast, typical ports of call include sleepy fishing villages and calm little coves scooped out of Penobscot Bay's numerous islands.
From these quiet anchorages, we were treated to views we'd never see from a car window on US Route 1. Often, we shared our space with gray seals who languidly draped themselves on the rocks.
Our first landfall was Bucks Harbor, arguably one of the prettiest in all of Maine. Dotted with a few pleasure craft and fishing boats, this snug cove provided a delightful setting for our first shipboard dinner. The bill of fare: heaping platters of boiled Maine lobster and plentiful fixings, followed by wonderful strawberry-rhubarb pie.
"The most important person aboard any boat is the cook," Captain Files acknowledged. "Oh, and the corn peelers," he added, in reference to the kids, who'd actually volunteered to help with this chore. Meals aboard the Victory Chimes are hearty, not fancy, fitting in with the retro theme of the excursion.
After consuming a quantity of shellfish worthy of a team of longshoremen, we licked the last of the melted butter from our fingers and boarded a dinghy, in shifts, to play tourist at Bucks Harbor. We strolled to the general store to poke around the lobster-shape oven mitts and other must-haves, and used the pay phone to leave the obligatory message for our cat. ("She'll hear us talking and know we miss her" is Charlotte's theory.)
Back aboard ship, we chatted with our shipmates like old chums. Connor, meanwhile, had gotten his hands on a crew member's guitar, while Char partnered with an 80-something gent in a game of Hearts, soundly whooping a middle-aged Canadian couple. Perhaps the best moment of the trip came at 7 a.m. on our third and final day, while we were still at anchor. Suddenly, a crew member shouted, "Moose! Moose!" Half awake, we stumbled onto the deck.
Sure enough, there was a moose in the distance, grazing in the marsh at the tip of an island. Yeah, it was early and we were on vacation. But nobody seemed to mind the wake-up call.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication