When we got married we got the usual boatload of gifts, which was awesome because although we had both lived on our own for several years and had our own stuff, all that stuff was worn out and gross. Now that I think of it, maybe that's why people get married every few years.
From our friends who had recently moved to Maine, we received a big basket of Maineness. It was full of things they had discovered and loved at their farmer's market - blueberry jam, hand-dipped candles, scone mix - all kinds of things. We loved it.
A few days later when I was putting things away, I realized that the brochure for Ivy Manor Inn, included in the Basket of Maineness, had a gift certificate tucked inside - good for two nights. We couldn't pack fast enough.
We adored Bar Harbor. We explored Acadia National Park and watched the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain (where we also checked for phone messages, since it was the only place we could get a signal). We hiked the Jordan Pond trail and mourned that we were too late for popovers (which are legendary). We had breakfast twice each morning because we couldn't choose between restaurants.
We liked it so much, we gently toyed with the idea of moving there. If we lived there, we thought, we could explore all the things we were just catching glimpses of.
And then we came home and realized there was much to explore here. We have a state park near us that we knew nothing about. We have a wildlife sanctuary we had never explored.
I was in that sanctuary this morning, taking a walk and thinking about how it took a trip up Cadillac Mountain to get me off the couch and into my own backyard. It's not huge, but if I ever get tired of it, there are National and State Parks to explore nearby (although getting tired of it doesn't seem likely.) Going there never fails to clear my head. I think my Mass Audubon membership should be covered by health insurance. It's ... fabulous.
And it was right here, all along.
So, the moral of the story is: Don't open your presents so fast you miss the gift.