When you hit your mid-20s, your social calendar starts to fill up with weddings. Traditional weddings, evening weddings. Gay weddings. Hippie weddings.
A couple years back, I thought my older friends were joking.
This year (my 27th), was both my first as a +1, and my first wedding of a close friend – that of Tierney Elison and John Cheesman. Tierney and I graduated New College together; she met John after moving to Boston. Last weekend, they pulled the covenant trigger, surrounded by a reunion of school friends and extended family.
Instead of a city wedding, they opted for a remote, scenic spot along Maine’s Atlantic coast, which in August is a downright cheerful place to be. Warm, lush, and rustic in a bygone Americana sort of way.
First I hit Boston for a couple of nights, to stay with Harry and see Briana. We strolled around Back Bay, had dinner in the North End. Harry lives near Davis Square on the border of Somerville and Cambridge, so we took in a lesser-known sight there too.
Boston, and its neighboring boroughs, is charmingly gritty. Untamed yards, varied architecture. Historic and storied, dense but approachable…less homogenized than similar neighborhoods in Chicago or San Francisco. It’s not a formidable place like New York can be, and it’s not an immediately striking city.
That could be why so many people love it.
To reach Maine, I borrowed Harry’s car and hit the road. It was more fun to drive a stick-shift Audi in the twisty roads of mid-Maine, and I saved a good buck. Once the weather cleared, it was all windows-down and music-up for bouncing between the little towns that are so popular this time of year: Camden, Lincolnville, Rockport…
Tierney arranged lodging near the wedding site, a bare-bones moose lodge perched on a hill near a lake…somewhere near a town called Hope. I’m not making this up!
My cottage echoed the flavor of the weekend (hot water took about 15 minutes to begin flowing)…but I had a killer view.
It was a beautifully non-fussy ceremony. No long white veils, no frilly chairs. Two lesbians in slacks! Quick, emotional, and to the point. The weather was perfect, and everyone was relaxed and happy.
Tierney, my once anxious friend had complete zen about her throughout the weekend. No stress, no breakdowns. Just smiles, assertiveness, and a certain love glow that isn’t easily described but is unmistakable.
I was thrilled that Tierney decided to have everyone trek several hours (or more) for her big day. Since we all had to get there, and stay there, the weekend felt more like summer camp than like a wedding. Had it been in town, we would have been together for a couple hours, but split ways otherwise. And, none of us had ever been to such a niche place.
I got to better- and re-acquaint myself with the people I spent four years of my life with, but that I haven’t seen in some time. Spread across the country, with varying titles and jobs, they’ve all grown into confident, pleasant people.
So: striking setting, check. Good company, check. Nostalgia, check. Much-needed break from life…big check. I felt so relaxed after getting such a dose of soulful experiences.
Of course, no trip was complete without a trip by the firehouse.