Updated: Mar 1, 2020
Our aunt and uncle in Northern California have recently taken in a crow as, sort of, a pet. He fell out of the nest as a baby, was discovered by their dog, and they nursed and fed him. It’s been about six weeks, and now he believes they are his parents.
They named him Pedro.
I don’t know why they named him Pedro, by the way.
As cute as the story is (He lets you pet him! He comes when they call him! He rides on the back of his canine brother!), this post really isn’t about Pedro. It’s about a colloquialism that we use a lot when talking about distance.
On our recent vacation in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, we decided one day to go to the iconic Pemaquid Point Light. This is the lighthouse on the back of the Maine state quarter, a quintessential white lighthouse perched atop the telltale rocky coastline of mid-coast Maine. We’re pretty relaxed on vacation. As two professionals who maintain pretty rigid schedules in real life, we prefer very little structure in our day when given the choice. So one morning at breakfast, we started to weigh options on what to do for the day.
We pulled up a navigation app to see how far Pemaquid Point was from our B&B. Only 8.5 miles! Well, that was an easy decision. We’d stop at the quaint general store for some lobster rolls and have a picnic at the lighthouse and still have time for some other activity.
Well, it turns out, Pemaquid Point was not really 8.5 miles away...it was 35 miles away and (because of the windy roads and small towns along the way) about a 60-minute drive.
It was only 8.5 miles away as the crow flies. Or, as we now like to say, as Pedro flies.
Since we’re not crows, we’d have to rely on the traditional automobile to transport us to Pemaquid. We almost scrapped the idea. I’m not one for sitting in cars when I can be hiking, kayaking, biking, sailing, or anything else that’s not sitting in a car.
But we knew this was a magnificent sight to behold, and besides, what adventures might we find along the way?
Sure enough, as we were heading out, our innkeeper inquired about our plans, and suggested we stop at a fairly new little spot that serves fresh oysters. So off we went in search of Shuck Station.
This intimate, bright, industrial spot sits on the Damariscotta River in a rehabbed gas station in a little village named Newcastle. You know all those East Coast oysters you love? Well, this is where they come from! Chris calls it “the Napa Valley of oysters.” Damariscotta is the oyster capital of New England, or pretty much ground zero for oysters.
Shuck Station proudly serves oysters from eight different local farms on the river. Pemaquid, Glidden Point, Mooks Bay, to name a few. The staff are warm, friendly and super knowledgeable about not only oysters, but also the best wines and beers to pair with them.
We ended up spending a couple of hours in this adorable place, learning a lot about oysters, how different parts of the river create different sizes, shapes and tastes of oysters, how long it takes for an oyster to mature (3 years!), and even how to shuck an oyster! We slurped our way through about six different types of oysters with curious house-made mignonettes and enjoyed some kind local IPAs along with them.
We almost forgot about the lighthouse.
I was a thinking about this on our flight home. If we’d simply been able to get to the lighthouse “as Pedro flies,” we’d never have had such a rich experience - on so many different levels.
Even on vacation, we often default to hurrying through life. To take shortcuts in order to fit it all in. But when you take the shortest way, what might you not get to see? How may you be depriving yourself of an enriching experience that you might not get another way?
When you travel “as Pedro flies,” what are you missing?
Put another way...what does saving a little time ultimately cost you?
There were things we wanted to do on this vacation that we just didn’t get around to doing.
But we have no regrets. We’ll never look at oysters the same way again.