Maine 2011 - Day 1

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We rose to a foggy, misty morning. So classically Maine. The mist adds to what is already such a lovely backdrop for our trip - clean, clear water reflecting age old pines along the shore.

Chris and I had decided last night we'd get up early (6am) for a swim around our island. We put on our wetsuits for ease in the water this morning, but could have just as comfortably gone without them. We dove into the still water - no currents here, no chop or swell - the gift of early morning in a lake. The island is about .6 mile around and it was a treat to get a water-eye view of all the little cottages of Taconnet, each with its own private dock.

We arrived at our home dock to the sleepy faces of some of the kids on our trip this week, my Finn, and the McDonough's Gaffney and Liv, 5, 4 & 7 respectively, already in their bathing suits and ready to get in the water before breakfast. What a different & great experience to be able to share this trip with them.

At 730 am we heard the "Clackers" - a tradition here at Taconnet. Island staff run through the trees with these wooden clackers announcing that breakfast is served at the main lodge. By tomorrow, our kids will be joining in on this ritual, running from cabin to cabin before each meal, calling folks to the meal.

Breakfast was a buffet of wonderful home-made offerings - hot eggs and bacon, oatmeal, fresh muffins and buns, lots of fresh fruit from local farms, cold cereals and toast. Yogurt. Granola. Stop it already - I'll never be able to swim later! Plenty of coffee, tea and the New York Times. Cocoa for the kids. While we ate the fog burned off and revealed a blue sky - perfect weather for the rest of the day.

Swimming in Great Pond.

After breakfast, some time (much needed) to digest - families free to roam or convene as they liked. We scheduled our first official swim for the 9-11 am window when the kids were immersed in fun activities up at the lodge. We mapped a swim around to the other side of the island where we crossed to a little pair of rocky islands called Blueberry and Shoals. We circled them and swam back to our dock for a total distance of about 1.5 miles. Lots of osprey over head wondering what we're all about.

Noon brought more clackers, and we met up with the young'uns for lunch - another healthy, delicious and plentiful affair. Early afternoon found our guests in hammocks, canoes and floating tubes, kids on laps, with books or cameras or goggles.

Dry lands

Our afternoon workout gave the kids a chance to join in, as Cortney led us through some core strengthening exercises on the lawn. Some kids followed along, some acted as weights for pressing or squatting with. From there we all jumped in the water to cool off, grown-ups taking turns swimming with kids and swimming around the island. We have a big square floating dock about 20 yards off shore - the perfect distance for some of our younger swimmers to cross and build strength and confidence.

Hopper, Cortney, Dick and I have talked many times about how happy we are that our kids see us exercising for fun and socializing - we all regularly get together to swim, bike or run, and most of our gatherings revolve around some outdoor adventure. As far as our kids know, exercising and immersing in the natural world is just what we do. Having our families along on this edition of SwimVacation will only do more to instill in them that fitness is fun, and remind them how lucky we are to live in a place like Maine.

Happy hour on the SwimVacation deck.

Happy hour on the McDonough's deck, snacks and fizzy things to drink. Off to a fantastic dinner of home made pizza (good thing we're staying so active) and back for a hilarious family game of charades. Kids went to bed, a few of us managed to stay awake long enough for a round of Pictionary. Crickets chirped as the moon rose over the water.

And so we've begun our low speed, low tech adventure. Maine's motto is "The Way Life Should Be", and here in Great Pond, we're just loving "The Way Swimming Should Be".

Off to bed. Morning comes early on a lake, and we don't want to miss a single minute of what tomorrow will hold.

- Heather