When we set off on our trip last June we talked about the idea of spending some serious time in areas of the country that we really liked. To really get to know it, and explore as a future place to live. Maine was on our mind as one of the places we wanted to dig into. Prior to our late summer visit Shal got online and searched housesitting websites for potential housesitting gigs in Maine. She found one ad for a house in the entire state that also involved caring for a dog. This gig was from January to mid-April. Hmmm…winter in Maine? OK. Why not! So we looked into it. While exploring Acadia National Park for a week in early October we were able to meet the prospective housesitting “boss lady” Helen, her Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Brisa, and check out the house. We all hit it off immediately! Helen felt like a familiar friend, Brisa charmed us, and the home was lovely…a private 5-acre property on the water about a half-hour from the stunning playground of Acadia.
Our 60 minute interview stretched into a 3-hour visit and Helen offered us the job. She told us she had interviewed several people so we felt honored. We accepted and started getting excited about begin able to explore Maine and care for a wonderful, sweet dog and a beautiful home. The fact that we would be doing this over the winter didn’t phase us. On January 2, 2015 we flew to Maine to report for duty. We didn’t have any particular expectations just a lot of curiosity. Would we like being in one place for so long? Would we get bored? How will it be for our relationship? Will we bond with Brisa? How will we spend our time? And so on. Well, this winter turned out to be the second snowiest the Downeast region of Maine has experienced in recorded history! It was crazy. Snowstorm after snowstorm left us with 11 feet of beautiful snow. We took full advantage with frequent snowshoeing hikes, sledding, and cave building. We attended a couple SnowCross events that involve fast moving snow machines racing around tracks and flying several feet in the air over jumps. We committed to eating healthy and working out to get in shape for our next big moto adventure. We saw A LOT of $6 a ticket not-quite-current movies at the Bar Harbor’s Reel Pizza. We relished in the warm house with the stunning views of the changing tides and ever present wildlife. Steph loved the amazing kitchen with the AGA stove. Shal loved the proximity to the local YMCA for her daily workouts. We became good friends with our neighbors – sharing meals, walks, and outings in the snow. We got to know people in the small town and became regulars at the local coffee shop. Got hooked on American Idol, and yes, got bored on occasion. And the best part of all, we completely and unabashedly fell in love with Brisa. We also felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore a new area of the country without fully committing. And to explore living rurally, especially for Steph who has been living in an urban setting for the past 15 years. Housesitting was a perfect way to do this. Very soon into the experience we were so personally involved in the entire experience that we nearly forgot it was a “job.” It felt like we were watching over a treasured home and beloved companion for a dear friend. As excited as we were to get back on our bikes it was hard to leave in April. Tears were shed all around. This enchanting winter will be etched in our minds forever.