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Maine Trip Report – Family Road Trip (Portland/Bangor/Acadia) Maine Trip Report – Portland/Bangor/Acadia

Hope this is helpful to others considering a trip up to Maine. Keep in Mind we travelled with a large family with kids ranging from baby to teens

Portland Area
•   Portland head light – Lighthouse and Fort Williams Park: picturesque lighthouse with small museum. [$1-2/pp]. Also a park with some A short visit was nice but no entry into the light house itself. Reinforced concrete batteries from the Fort, Also there walking paths, playground and small beach area.
•   Peaks Island: a 10 minute ferry ride from Portland to the island [$3-7/pp]. On the island there is golf-cart rentals [$25per hr, carries 4 people, reservations recommended & Mike’s gold cart rentals] and bike rentals. The golf-carts are lots of fun. It takes about 35 minutes to go around the perimeter of the island on the Golf Cart.
•   Groupon: We got a groupon for an indoor trampoline park in Portland (Get Air). (I often find groupon’s for interesting activities at my trip destinations). Also the Portland sea dogs is the minor league baseball team in Portland and tickets start at less than $10/pp. There was also a groupon for that. (I think that’s about the price of medium soda at a Yankee game).
•   Yarmouth Maine - Eartha- A huge rotating globe that’s 3 stories high in the Garmin offices. Entrance is free. An interesting but short stop along the highway.
Hotel – “Fairfield Maine Mall” – Met expectations. Clean, and friendly service. (25,000 Marriott points/night)

•   L.L Bean outlet store has a few different buildings. The elaborate store is a big tourist stop. In addition to equipment from clothing and tents, to rifles, motorized bikes, kayaks, stand-up-paddle-boards, they have a lot of cool displays (fish tank and pond, animals on display in the stores, were cool. They also have “discovery courses” starting at $25/pp a short distance from the store (e.g. kayaking, SUP, archery etc). Reservations recommended.

Rockland Maine
•   Maine Light house Museum - Interesting museum about lighthouses with a focus on the evolving technology from how the lenses work, to the use of Lyle canons to help evacuate ships offshore (using zip-lines). Mostly self-guided. $8/pp (no charge for children under 12).
•   Also in Rockland- Rockland Breakwater Light – mile walk out to light house – on granite stone.

Other interesting attractions north of Portland (listed from South to North) – (Options which we never made it to, due to scheduling, or pursuing other options)
•   Bath Maine - Maine Maritime Museum
•   Freeport - Desert of Maine
•   Brunswick Maine  - Slot car Junction
•   Camden – Camden Hills State Park - Mount Battie Trail
•   Prospect Maine  - Fort Knox & Observatory

Bangor: Base location for Acadia National Park
•   1 hour from Acadia National park. City has an Orthodox shul. The current Rabbi is from Chabad. There is rarely a minyan during the week. See Shul (Beth Abraham Orthodox Synagogue) website and Chabad of Bangor website for details on kosher/jewish life in Bangor.
•   Bangor Hotel – Stayed at Marriott/residence inn. (25,000 pts per night). Terrific experience (worth more than its rank as a category 5). Brand new hotel (built or fully renovated in 2015). Spacious fresh suites. Nice Lobby. Staff were helpful with accommodating Shabbos needs. Pool and hot tub were nice and often empty during the week. (30 minute walk from shul). Highly recommend
•   Cedar Winds Stable – Charleston Maine – Horseback riding. $35/pp for a 1 hour trail ride. Lots of fun. Their target customer is first time riders (40 minutes northwest of Bangor). Reservation required. Highly recommend.
•   Cole Land Transportation Museum. Bangor – Mostly self-directed. Some in my group enjoyed. Others not so much. $7/pp over 18. Free entrance for those under 19. Stopped for about 1.5 hours.

Acadia national park: Spent 3 days there. $25 for entrance pass for parking. (Make sure to set GPS to part entrance Hulls Cove, or you may end up at a random spot in the center of this large national park).
•   There are many dozens of hiking and biking trails in the park. Hiking trails range from easy to extreme. There is also a scenic route to drive through the park to see some of the highlights (Sand beach, Thunder hole, Cadillac Mountain). Park gets busy in the summer so you may have to wait to find a parking spot in some of the many parking lots throughout the park. The park has free busses which come about every 30 minutes (varies by time of day) but those can occasionally be full too. Rangers near park entrance provide lots of information (Hulls Cove). Recommend getting the detailed trail map for $5, to help find and navigate well marked trails.
•   We did 4 hikes (choices based on internet search and ranger recommendations, for our group), each was about 1.5-2 hours (with children ages 4 through teens. baby was carried in backpack carrier). They were all great for our group.  (1) Great head trail, (2) Gorham mountain trail, (3) North bubble and south bubble peaks, (4) Jordan pond walk – flat but 3 miles.
•   We (teens + adult) also biked around Jordan lake on the “Carriage roads” (~8.5 miles). The Bike trail was more challenging than anticipated as the carriage roads are somewhat hilly and made of crushed gravel (more friction). Seems like we spent a fair amount of time walking bikes up hills. Some people online suggest taking the route counterclockwise is easier. Perhaps that was part of our mistake.
•   Some in our group also spent some time playing in sand at Sand Beach. Water is ice-cold in Maine. The nice side of that, is that the weather was perfect in the low 70’s most summer days.
•   Right next to Acadia park is the village Bar Harbor – Touristy little town. Nice place to stroll. We tried but did not find a park to make a barbeque there. You can rent bikes for use in the Acadia there. Mostly motels, restaurants, café’s and shops etc..
•   Bar Island - From Bar Harbor there is an Island you can walk to the island on dry sand (<0.5 miles from shore) during low tide. During high tide the sand is covered. We checked it out in low and high tide but did not walk over. Times change daily. Check website for low-tide and high tide schedule.

•   We stopped at Six-Flags New England (Massachusetts) to break up the ~8 hour drive from the Tristate area. (we are season’s pass holders this year)
•   We stayed at the Residence inn of West Springfield (15,000 Marriott points). We were pretty disappointed with the hotel. It fell materially short of expectation for the Residence Inn brand.

September 04, 2016, 12:49:05 AM
Re: Marriott Certs Sale I was hoping someone else would do this. . . .but decided to help out the market.
Attachment (below) is a summary the bid/ask prices since June 1, 2019

July 21, 2019, 02:33:06 AM
Re: The 13th Global Siyum Hashas of Daf YomiAgudath Israel of America.
Blindly? I would guess somewhere between 3 and 4 mill fully staffed. But i have nothing to base that on other than the fact it cost a billion to build. In terms of revenue we are talking about a number many times that.

Logically, and based on some quick research I'd guess cost for Metlife is $5-$10/seat * 80,000 seats = i.e. between $400,000-$800,000. There is probably not a lot of competition for an open stadium on a winter day.

In terms of revenue, If you assume average seat price  at the siyum is $75 * 80,000 = $6 million in revenue, so they should walk away with a nice profit, even after heavy marketing.

It's hard to find a better cause. They do what no one can do in Washington DC, Albany etc, and if you wanted to try to evaluate that in dollar terms, I'd guess they save the broader community and especially schools at least many tens of millions of dollars a year.

September 26, 2019, 11:29:27 PM
Re: This is getting serious... a somber thread about COVID-19 There are several factors that made the evidence of a pandemic less clear, both in and beyond the frum community in the tristate area
—lack of sufficient testing kits in the US greatly slowed awareness.
—limited exposure to media among rabbinonim and yeshiva oilam
—lack of coordination. Agudath Israel  took a leadership role in communication but we have not previously had a single body coordinate between doctors and rabbonim for guidsnce. Also not everyone subscribes to their emails or to their guidance. That coordination of information collection and dissemination is something we can learn from and leverage better in the future.
—fake news. The internet, social media make it confusing to know who to listen to. The ones to spoke up early were viewed as alarmists. We have had similar issues with conflicting opinions on vaccines, people don’t know what to believe. i think veracity of sources is something we need to educate our community on. Though sometimes we undermine reliable sources when it comes to negative things about our people by criticizing the sources.
—There are many people promoting natural and alternative healings and promoting conspiracy theories to support those meyhods. People assert and suspect the government and pharmaceutical companies of all sorts of conspiracies.
—some Politicians also talked down the risks. I won’t mention any names.
—expectations for a quick cure. There are various drugs thought to potentially be efffective. Many thought that or warm weather might mitigate this whole thing. Or that more spread out population would lead to lower rates of infection.
—hypothesis based on statistics created confusion. Deaths occur several weeks after infections so the estimate of death rates were unclear. some People assumed the death rates (1%-4%) were grossly overstated because that only got the symptomatic patients, so people thought the death rates were maybe a tenth of that or less (people were equating this with the fatality rates of the seasonal flu). It was easy to make that mistake and others with the statistics that were available (eg that chine stars were worse because of the high rate of cigarette smoking there).
—we have never seen a plague/pandemic in our lifetimes. Previous threats (SARS, anthrax, global warming ) have all turned out to be overstated. We’ve gotten accustomed to doomsday forecasters being wrong.
—we believe G-d controls the world and the best way to gain His favor is serve him more diligently by keeping yeshivas open and trying to maintain the spirit of Purim and minyanim. There is a time and place for that. And there is a time and place where histatadlus on protecting lives supersedes  that. Younger more idealistic people are prone to focus on idealism over pragmatic steps that are sometimes needed. We value our leaders Who have a broader perspective and experience, for that reason.
—even under the most severe guidance by the CDC and state leaders shopping for food was viewed as inevitable and permissible. Thus With full isolation not possible it becomes a slippery slope. E.g. to attend a family Purim gathering, a small wedding in a backyard of a yasom etc
—some people  are suffering more than others from boredom, isolation, being contained in a small home, lack of privacy etc (imagine those without internet access) and are feeding a very strong emotional need for interaction that we might not find as pressing.
I’m sure you can think of others. . . Feel free to share additional reasons

March 26, 2020, 01:51:22 AM
POLL: Wedding expenses in the frum Community - BH for simchos? or out of hand? Mishpacha magazine (Family First) ran a fascinating article in the Pesach edition (April 5, 2020) on the wedding expenses in the frum community in the US, with lots of detailed numbers. This is obviously an overwhelming financial burden for many but one that's hard to solve.

Being a numbers guy and being stuck at home, attached are the numbers mentioned all lined up and categorized in excel.

Among a sample of 7 families, the median spending for one side was $67K, (the average was 76K), before any financial support for living expenses or a car (which are common) and the article indicated that the boys side is generally only 15% less than the girls side.

Even the latest proposal with about 1000 people signed-up for self-imposed restraint at only addresses part of it.

Thoughts? B'H for simchos? This needs to be addressed? It's a problem we can live with (See poll)

April 13, 2020, 11:41:50 PM
Re: POLL: Wedding expenses in the frum Community - BH for simchos? or out of hand?
I don't think those numbers are representative of most people. I may be naive, though. My close family definitely did not spend those numbers on gifts and furnishings.

So what is representative? 50k instead of 75k?

I doubt the average is below 50k even with a takana wedding, once you include the various parties, gifts, clothing for the family, setting the couple up with some clothing/sheitals and furnishing for an apartment.

And that excludes a car or financial support (e.g. for those starting off learning).

April 22, 2020, 12:17:01 AM
Re: POLL: Wedding expenses in the frum Community - BH for simchos? or out of hand?
Doing these things like they used to do it in the small shtetel inderheim is what everyone yearns and wishes, but will very unlikely happen.

I highly doubt weddings will return to anywhere near their prior size at least through the end of 2020 and probably longer, given residual social distancing efforts.

I assume a gradual easing of social distancing over the coming year (minyanim resume by the summer with certain density constraints, schools resume in September etc), but that  there is no handshaking, no tight crowds, no hand-in-hand dancing, mask wearing in public, etc. at least into 2021.

At that point the norms will have been effectively disrupted and there is a realistic option for this communal behavior to permanently reset . . . . . . providing there is a genuine will and concerted effort from both those who can and cannot comfortably afford these expenses. (BTW - There are many affluent families signed on to that list).

One might even argue that remedying this is among highest forms of tzedoko/chesed as it maintains the dignity of the beneficiary (more dignified than offering loans or grants for hachnosos kallah so that every family can keep up).

April 24, 2020, 01:35:40 AM
Re: Any Lawyers out there of whom I may ask a question?
Do yourself a favor and hire a lawyer. There are some great frum attorneys who do this, PM for recommendations.

Perfection is the enemy of the good. Better something standard/generic than nothing at all, which is the current situation for many including myself.

April 29, 2020, 10:03:03 AM
Re: POLL: Wedding expenses in the frum Community - BH for simchos? or out of hand?
I don't get it. Why is it the rich people's fault for making a simcha within their means?

“Fault” is the wrong word. The question is why should the wealthy care that it’s causing grief and hardship to other families who feel they need to keep up?

The answer is: vahavta l’reacha kamocha. It’s no less a chesed or tzedoko (probably much more of one) than helping them pay for (or giving them loans for) their weddings. It’s also part of kol Yisroel areivim zeh l’zeh.

And don’t dismiss the pressure as easy to overcome, just because you Bh don’t deal with that. Even if one spouse is comfortable with a simple chasunah, the other spouse (or child) might not be. Also people  feel pressured to make a good first impression and start the relationship with their new child-in-law on a positive and generous footing (and generate goodwill with their child who is moving to a greater degree of independence). Moreover many people feel that they are (and indeed they probably are) judged by their wealth (it affects their social standing) within their community (e.g. with regard to shiddduchim of future children).

Finally this is viewed by many as a particularly wasteful/frivolous form of spending. (At least a large house provides many years of benefit and usually appreciates in value over the long term).

This is not different than the takana to limit spending on funerals discussed in the gemoro, for similar reasons.

May 05, 2020, 08:29:26 PM
Re: Areivim USA - Coronavirus
I predict if they need the money they will get it
If there's other money maybe not

Agreed, except that they are now already $8 million in the hole and this would add another million or so!

And too much pressure on donors could cause the whole system to collapse, so I’d say it would also be contingent on monies being available from monthly donations over coming years, rather than making a commitment today.

On the other hand what right do they have to charge members for that collection unless they make it voluntary

May 06, 2020, 03:07:41 AM
Re: Areivim USA - Coronavirus
My understanding was different, it's not because they are busy

Of course they are not accepting. The risks are much higher now. The premiums this year are effectively double the max level previously agreed to, and there could Ch'v be a second wave. They certainly don't want short term members looking for coverage only during the pandemic.

June 14, 2020, 12:11:06 AM
Re: Is there any good news in the fight against COVID-19?
June 16, 2020, 10:00:01 AM
Re: Marriott Certs Sale
I was hoping someone else would do this. . . .but decided to help out the market.
Attachment (below) is a summary the bid/ask prices since June 1, 2019

For a second year (2020) . . . . Attached is a summary of the bid/ask prices on Marriot Cert over the last ~6-weeks. (since June 1, 2020). (See rows 1-18 of attachment)

Also shown a comparison of prices this year vs prior year (see rows 24-40). (Prices have come down 0%-40%).

July 12, 2020, 11:42:48 PM
Re: Marriott Certs Sale Is there a way to use these certs for "homes and villas by Marriott International"?

July 14, 2020, 11:13:13 AM
Re: Hotel stays: when traveling with a family of 5 Residence Inn suites (one of the Marriott brands) is all suites and include a kitchenette with a large Fridge/Freezer.

The "2 queen + a sofa bed" sleep 6 comfortably (without using the floor) including plenty of space to spread out.

Many are category 4 or 5 (if using points). That's my favorite brand when travelling with the family.

July 21, 2020, 12:35:18 AM
Re: Ziplines
Any good deals or other suggestions for ziplines for the backyard?

I purchased "Slackers Zipline 70' Hawk Series with Seat" on Amazon. The quality is good.
We have been happy with it. The kids love it. It's been up for several years and we leave it out over the winter.

Ps You need to wrap the tree with something so the wire doesn't cut (eat into) the bark or you can damage/kill the tree.

PM me if I can be of additional assistance.

August 20, 2020, 11:07:55 PM
Re: Lakewood covid cases Debating the medical risks and potential loss of life the virus can cause does not seem to be the most effective way to persuade people to use masks and social distance.

Perhaps a more effective way to encourage that, is to highlight the risk of a DOH imposed community-wide quarantine if statistics rise substantially (like in white plains), and the impact on learning/tefila-b'tzibur/yom-tov/economic-impact/mental well being etc.

In any event, to judge the folks (taking this lightly) favorably:
(1) there is enough misinformation and changes to scientific opinion (and continued medical and statistical uncertainty, including whether the strain has gotten more mild) to confuse even well meaning folks and even a minority of experts.
(2) There is a view that society has borne enough inconvenience to protect the vulnerable, and at this point the vulnerable need to be the ones exercising extra care and let the young and healthy members of society return to normalcy so that the economy/schools/life resumes. (This includes the view that think herd immunity, is already far along, and the best way through this).
(3) The way this has become a political (republican vs. democrat) issue has those identifying with republican party, forced to choose between the views of their allies (who they trust) or the opposition (who they vigorously distrust as conspiring liars). The viciousness of partisan politics and the high-level-of-distrust undermines the arguments/evidence supporting the opposition on any individual issue.
(4) Mask discomfort, the inconveniences of SD, the emotional/psychological distress of being in quarantine earlier this year, the harsh economic impact on many, and the weakening of religious practice to those who feel passionate about that (as we all should), sway the risk/benefits toward the return-to-normalcy route.
(5) There are large swaths of people in our community who have anti-bodies have no concerns about their personal health (or spreading it to others -though I'm not sure there is 100% agreement on this).

I'm optimistic the unified and influential communications and guidance from the Moetzes will enhance unity and more consistent practice on such issues.

September 17, 2020, 12:13:43 AM
Re: Lakewood covid cases
Done, thanks

Done. Thanks.

October 29, 2020, 12:54:00 AM
Re: If there is COVID-19 vaccine will you get it.
It is interesting to learn about the public opinion on this issue.

I propose a recount (redo the poll) now that the leading vaccines to be available in the US are likely to be based on MRNA technology.

The public's concern about rushing development seems to have been alleviated, perhaps in part by the FDA adding stringency of 60 days surveillance to provide approval, and with the election (mostly) out of the way.  The use of MRNA technology now seems to be primary source of concern (presumably in part due to a lack of understanding of microbiology).

One irony is the deep concerns around undetected long-term vaccine side-effects among those who were relatively dismissive about such risks as it relates to getting COVID-19 (which, as I understand it effectively produces the same RNA in these vaccines). Maybe a poll on whether you think there is greater risk of long-term side-effects in contracting COVID-19 vs. taking the RNMA vaccine.

Interestingly anti-vaccination opinions are positively correlated with republican political leaning and lower education levels (even pre-covid).

Some interesting statistics on anti-vaccination and correlation with political affiliation (even pre-covid) . . . from Gallup

P.s. Obviously the risk reward trade-off varies across the population. e.g. reports say 39% of COVID deaths occurred in long-term care facilities, even as that population represents only 1% of the overall population, so I would guess that's a population with a relatively favorable risk/reward trade-off, by all measures. 

November 25, 2020, 12:59:59 AM
Re: If there is COVID-19 vaccine will you get it.
Ur saying they were lucky, I'm saying they might be lucky but more likely have some form of immunity.

That argument would carry more weight if almost everyone else in the country got COVID.

But statistics show only about 13 million individuals got COVID out of 300+ million people in the US (about 4%). Even if that is understated by a factor of 10x, that does not support an assumption of natural immunity.   

November 25, 2020, 12:39:10 PM
Re: Long Term Effects of COVID-19

Wow! This should get more attention!

Makes the argument for the vaccine all the more compelling for the young and healthy.

December 16, 2020, 11:34:53 PM
Re: Marriott Certs Sale Thank you for the smooth recent cert transactions with @simplicity @flyer31 @easygoing77 
February 03, 2021, 01:03:37 PM
Re: Minivan rental - How to rent an 8-seater (as opposed to 7 seater Minivan) My strategy was to book a couple of bookings at large rental agencies in the airport.

Then I called and ask to confirm an 8-seater. The offshore customer support said they will do that and make a note on the reservation.

My experience was that although there was no 8-seater minivan on the lot upon arrival, they readily upgraded me to another 8-seater vehicle (large SUV - Almada) when they saw that note on the reservation.

February 07, 2021, 12:06:31 PM
Re: Lakewood covid cases There are some reasons why frum Jews sometimes have a harder time abiding by COVID restrictions than the average non-Jew, and it’s not disregard for others.

These include
— larger family size unit / larger extended family / more involvement with that extended family / eg stronger involvement between grandparents and grandchildren
— less complete trust in science and a belief in G-d/ fate
— less media consumption
— greater level of social interaction with community
— a culture that celebrates life events as a community
— stronger allegiance to president Trump who was a COVID “denier/minimizer”
— a conviction that doing the right thing religiously will protect them from a bad outcome (sometimes misapplied).
— fewer forms of acceptable/permitted entertainment/distraction, that can make the isolation more tolerable

February 14, 2021, 09:33:34 AM
POLL: Do you have lingering symptoms 3 months after having had COVID? This is a survey of those who were relatively healthy pre-COVID and had mild-to-moderate COVID (no hospitalization/no pneumonia)

1--I had no lingering symptoms 3 months after having COVID
2--I had mild lingering symptoms 3 months after having had COVID (e.g. some issues with taste, small, minor weakness/fatigue)
3--I had meaningful lingering symptoms 3 months after having COVID. These have meaningfully reduced my quality of life (moderate shortness of breath, significant fatigue, significant loss of of smell/taste that has not returned, etc.)
4--I had significant symptoms 3 months after COVID, that likely relate to COVID (been to a doctor several times, taking medication, significantly interfere with my productivity/quality of life; have been diagnosed with asthma, diabetes)
5--I had severe lingering symptoms beyond 3 months after COVID, that likely relate to COVID (Stroke, Hospitalization, disruptive to the points where I am unable to maintain job/basic-level of responsibilities)
6--I have lingering symptoms but it's not yet 3 months.
7--My lingering COVID symptoms resolved themselves when I got the COVID vaccine.
8--I didn't have COVID, (but still want to participate in the poll)

This is a spin-off of a related thread on lingering symptoms following having COVID (Long-COVID): see

May 11, 2021, 09:46:02 AM