Friday, November 9, 2012

Back from Abroad

         We travelled to Maine last week, in the week which also saw the visit of Super-storm Sandy. We had a good time despite the storm, which prevented us from going any father south than Portland. We actually holed up in our hotel there for two days,  in case the power went out, or anything. As it happened we were perfectly safe.
         One of the things I wanted to check out was yarn shops. On this I struck out, absolutely.  In Bangor (our first stop) we didn't spend a lot of time looking for the 55 yarn shops within 50 miles of Bangor (according to Ravelry). I thought I had plenty of other opportunities.
        We did go to The Christmas Tree Store, which I had checked out beforehand. I had planned to buy the LED battery operated candles recommended by Paula - they were in their flyer, at $2.99 each!! But of course they were all sold out, by the time we got there. I did find the 32 oz. jugs of maple syrup, marked down to $12.99...and bought 4. Katie was a bit disparaging, suggesting that we shouldn't be buying "American" maple syrup when we make so much at home. But, but - the maple syrup at The ASS (Atlantic Super Store) is $12.99 for 500 ml, which is about half the amount? Anyway, it was really reasonably priced, was in a cute jug, and seemed perfect for Christmas presents. Don't you agree?

        It wasn't until I was home, and sorting through our purchases, that I had a good look at the *back* of the jug, and noticed the very last line of the text: "Product of Canada".  I guess I can give these as Christmas presents with no guilt at all. We have cracked open one at home, and there is not a thing wrong with it at all. It's lovely. And nobody will know how little we paid. Is that line copyright?

        In Portland, we spent the day before Sandy, shopping. I was allowed to go looking at yarn shops recommended by Ravelry, having agreed to just visit 5. As three were on Congress Street (the way to downtown from our hotel) I thought I could walk from one of them to the others, and meet up with the other two after they did things more interesting to them. Well. The first one was closed (papered-up windows closed!!) so I walked on to the second one. It was closed Mondays (this was Monday). Then I was hailed from the car by my family, who told me that the third one (at 50 Congress St.) was closed as well. Three strikes out of 5. Sheesh.
       Then we went downtown - we had had a lovely dinner at an Irish pub called Ri Ra (I think) the night before, but we had wanted to see the area in daylight. There are a lot of specialty (tourist) shops down there at the waterfront, and one was a yarn shop that wasn't on the list! But it had closed early because of Sandy.  (Strike 4 out of 5!) I love, love, that downtown Portland has decorated its streets with Ginkgo Biloba trees...they are quite young yet, and the leaves were mostly still on the trees, but there were some lovely leaves on the ground, some of which I collected. They are SO GORGEOUS.

Gingko Biloba on the streets of Portland

        The next day we went to Freeport, and a lady at the L.L. Bean info desk said that there was a great yarn shop in town (hurrah!) but it was closed on Tuesdays (boo!). So that was it for yarn shops in the U.S. of A. 
        I did visit a Mardens store in Ellsworth, and I found a bag of Reynolds Revue (6 skeins of beige 100% wool in a fingering weight) for 2.49/skein. The only yarn I bought on the trip. I searched diligently, but there were no other colours, or any other yarns there that weren't acrylic.  It did not help that the lady in the fabric department said that they were opening up a big shipment of yarn the next day. Not a bit did it help.
      In Bar Harbour the next day we went to an alpaca store, but they only had Peruvian alpaca yarn for $15/skein, and only about 6 skeins of that. In different colours. I think I can get Peruvian yarn any time, or if I want to spend that kind of money I can buy it from local alpaca producers. 
     We had a great time, although the drive home through New Brunswick in Sandy-related downpour was horrific. I think my fingers have made deep impressions on the steering wheel which will be there until Bridgit keels over.

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