Early Sunday morning, while reading the paper, my gentleman friend Handy surfaced on my text message screen.
Truth or a lie?
Not really a lie. There were still three or four leaves clinging desperately to my oak tree. When they fall, it will be time to rake and not one minute sooner.
Sunday drive? Do pastoral motorized jaunts still exist? Driving around in the car with no particular place to go? They do, apparently, and I was invited on one. How could I refuse?
“OK, pick me up in twenty minutes. Is it ok if I wear my fat pants?”
The only problem with driving around with no particular place to go is that these type of trips often end with a restaurant stop, a Reuben, and some fries. And that’s not really a problem, unless of course you’ve sworn off sandwich stops. Me, I’m trying to eat healthier, adding more greens and subtracting grains. Amping up the protein, tamping down the carbs. A trusted advisor tells me it’s the secret to her twelve pound weight loss. I’m taking it under consideration, all the time wearing my fleece-lined fat pants.
While I waited for my ride, I cut up some carrots and celery and put them in a plastic container for the road. I threw an apple in my purse and filled a big adult sippy cup with water. Don’t forget the Sunday paper.
Beep! Beep! And off we go.
Our first stop was The Willows in Mechanic Falls. What’s not to like about the indoor flea market on South Main Street? It’s full of everything and the upstairs renovation is complete. It was nearly full and I only counted three vacant booths. If you haven’t been there since the summer, you owe yourself a trip back to see the upstairs, which has a wide selection of vintage furniture and antiques, spaciously arranged. And don’t miss the old school pin ball machine on the first floor, three plays for a quarter.
Our informal destination was Norway, so we motored on. I was reading the paper and not paying very much attention and suddenly, we were at the intersection for the Oxford Casino. Had I been kidnapped? Handy suggested it would make good blog fodder. Lady Alone Traveler is abducted and taken to the casino.
It’s not Monte Carlo or Las Vegas, but in the brief twenty minutes I grudgingly spent walking through the joint, I did manage to lose 90 cents in a slot machine. Don’t ask; the house always wins.
Our next Oxford stop was the New Balance Outlet for sneakers and then on to Norway. Norway’s main drag was quiet; I assumed incorrectly that the shops were open on Sunday. Where to now? Did we dare venture outside of Androscoggin and Oxford counties?
We dared and we did and I can’t perfectly recount all the sights on this sun-filled late autumn day, but we eventually ended up at The Olde Mill Tavern, right along the lake in Harrison. Just like old times, our drive had ended up with a sandwich stop.
The Olde Mill Tavern is quieter this time of year, our server told us. Summer is crazy and things pick up again when the snow and the snow machines fly. Right now, it’s locals and Sunday drivers, like us.
Handy and I sat at the bar, contemplating the menu. The first dish, under “Beginnings” was “Tavern Knot Holes,” named apparently to match the restaurants knotty pine décor. Described as “marinated morsels of crispy bacon wrapped steak, with horseradish sour cream” with not a molecule of grain mentioned, I ordered them. They arrived looking exactly like they do on the tavern’s web home page. The steak bits were cooked per my request, the bacon was indeed crispy, and the whole thing was served on a bed of mixed greens with pickled onions on top.
It was “Paleo perfect.”
Happy, full of steak, sights, and travel, we motored home through Naples, shut up tight for the winter. We returned to Androscoggin County by way of Poland and maybe I rested my eyes for a bit because before I knew it, we were back in Lisbon Falls, just in time to brew up a cup of late afternoon coffee.
How many more Sunday drives does the season hold? Not sure, so get out there and enjoy one this Sunday; fat pants are optional.