My friend Collin, whom I mentored for conversion to Judaism, married Hanna in Maine. Carolyn and I attended, enjoying a small vacation in the Pine Tree State. Ziplining at the wedding was only of the delights we shared.
Air travel concerns? Sure. But our Delta flight from SFO to New York’s JFK left on time. Our flight to Portland International Jetport—yes, Jetport—boarded late but arrived early. Delta allows an hour-and-a-half for a 50-minute flight. Strengthens their on-time record.
We first stayed at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth near Portland. The resort features beautiful grounds and its own beachfront. Maine summer weather can be iffy, but the entire week was sunny and warm.
At our first dinner at the resort, we secured an outdoor table overlooking the gardens and the Atlantic. Islands dotted the near distance; the coast is strewn with them, many residential. Guess who showed up minutes later?
Hanna and Collin, who didn’t know we were there, along with their dog Willow, also had had dinner reservations. The inn is dog friendly. We invited them to join us and had a wonderful time. You don’t often have the about-to-be bride and groom to yourselves.
Over the next two days, Carolyn and I visited Fort Williams and the Portland Head Light, perhaps America’s most painted and photographed lighthouse. We took walks in the nearby Greenbelt and Robinson Woods, a 145-acre preserve. We lunched at the—drumroll—Lobster Shack. Carolyn hadn’t had lobster in 30 years and, well, we were in Maine. I ate fish.
For the wedding, we moved to a hotel on Portland’s waterfront. Waiting for our room, we took a short Portland Fire Engine Co. tour of the city center. Nifty town! At the pre-wedding dinner, I signed the couple’s ketubah (Jewish marriage certificate) as Collin’s witness. Signatures were affixed in English and Hebrew.
The wedding took place on wooded Cow Island, 25 minutes by boat from Portland. The ride was comfortable and beautiful. We walked to the site for the ceremony. The chuppah (wedding canopy) was topped by two tallises (prayer shawls), one from Hanna’s family and one of mine representing Collin. Hanna’s dad, Rabbi Jeff Glickman, performed a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. Collin and Hanna together broke the traditional glass and received shouts of mazel tov.
Off to another spot for cocktails. I went to the zipline set-up. Much fun sliding along above the guests. Carolyn ziplined, too! Dinner beneath a tent and dancing followed. We enjoyed the 10 pm boat ride back and the quiet walk to our hotel.
The next day—July 4th—Hanna’s grandmother hosted brunch. I filled up on bagels and lox, and terrific pastries. That afternoon, Carolyn and I walked central Portland and found open the Maine Jewish Museum. The restored Etz Chaim Synagogue features a beautiful two-story sanctuary and art exhibit spaces. Dinner followed at a wonderful restaurant, Fore Street. We skipped the East Promenade for fireworks but discovered another big fireworks show right outside our hotel window.
The flights home went smoothly.
In a time of violence and threats to American democracy, it’s soul-refreshing to share a special day with bride and groom. As long as we are capable of joy, we are capable of making our world a better place.
I’ll be interviewed re Lola Flores this Wednesday, July 20, 7:30 pm at Congregation Sherith Israel, 2266 California Street (Webster), San Francisco. Wine and cheese, too.
The post will take next week off and return July 29.
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