Rejuvenate and Explore: My Two Nights in a Museum

We’ve talked about getaways and writing retreats and taking time for ourselves as ways to recharge, get back in touch with the muse, and just to enjoy life — because what’s life if you aren’t enjoying it, right?

A couple of weeks ago, I had a fabulous opportunity to join a group of other active older adults who enjoy group outings through Boomerang Adventures. This one involved an island, a ferry, a golf cart, tai chi, yoga, kayaking, walking, cycling, and dining on fresh-from-the-ocean lobster, mussels, and clams.

NightAtTheMuseumHave you ever seen the movie Night at the Museum? It’s from 2006 and stars Ben Stiller. It’s a fun movie about a museum security guard who discovers the museum exhibits come alive at night.

Anyway, back to my adventure weekend. It was on Peak’s Island, Maine (a quick ferry ride from Portland, ME). I’d never heard of the island, yet it was only 2 hours from my home.

The island itself has a lot of civil war history – and at one time it was considered the Coney Island of Maine with hotels, entertainers, amusement parks, and more.

Currently on the island (among many things) are 2 military museums – the Fifth Maine Regiment Memorial Hall and the Eighth Maine Regiment House and Live-in Museum & Lodge. It’s amazing how much history is preserved on this beautiful little (4 mile) island on the Maine coast.

8th Museum and LodgeThe Boomerang group stayed at “the 8th”, and, wow! It’s really a museum! Part of what is preserved is the kitchen and dining hall (both in the basement). The main floor has an enormous fireplace and is open space – it’s where the civil war soldiers gathered (and slept) when they met at the lodge for reunions. Descendants still come and stay at the 8th.

I signed my name in the visitor’s log that dates back to 1924. How cool is that? The building is only open during the warm months, and the log book shows the influx of visitors – when the reunions happened, and now that the museum is open for reservations, it was fun to read the dates people have visited and where they’ve visited from.

8th Dining Hall Thankfully, the museum didn’t come alive at night, but I felt the history and saw it at every turn. Eating is a community event – visitors are assigned refrigerators (modern) and cupboards (original) for their food and tables so they can meet new people. Everyone chooses their own dishware (vintage and old) and silverware from the kitchen, and, most important, everyone does their own dishes! It’s how the soldiers did it, so it’s how current visitors do it.

There is still so much I’m absorbing from the trip. So much I’m writing down so I can remember. So much I plan to write about. So many people whose essence lingers and whose stories I would love to learn!

Peak's Island landingToday, I wanted to share how rejuvenating a totally different type of getaway can be. It wasn’t a writing-related getaway, I’m not a history ‘buff’. The trip was unique – and that attracted me.

New experiences – and sharing it with new friends – can rejuvenate and recharge you in ways you can’t imagine.

If you have a chance to try something new, go somewhere nearby you’ve never explored before – even for a few hours – I hope you’ll do it. An open mind is a great asset for any writer.

And if you can get to Peak’s Island and even stay at the 8th for a night or two – it’ll be a unique experience!

(I’m not a paid sponsor for any of the places mentioned. I just personally recommend them. And I do think the 8th Maine would make for a great unique writing retreat location – as there are lots of places to sit — inside and out — and large spaces to gather and share writing projects as a group.)

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She highly recommends getting a change of scenery now and then as a way to rejuvenate – and if you can turn it into an adventure, so much the better! You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook,  Google+, and LinkedIn.

14 thoughts on “Rejuvenate and Explore: My Two Nights in a Museum

  1. What a great experience! I went to a ceramics museum on Friday, and it was a great way to recharge. Your pictures and commentary are lovely. It certainly makes me want to visit. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, it sounds like a beautiful trip…Museums are always fun to go to when you want to relax ad fill your mind with interesting thoughts.

  3. It is very pleasant to read your piece and i take your suggestions to heart. I seem always to have been a strict nose-to-the-grindstone type person–no vacations, no days off, If I’m not writing I’m reading something that will better prepare me to write. I’ve been doing this for many years and have been quite productive. But I’m willing to try a new approach, and so will give some thought to going off somewhere to rejuvenate myself and get the creative juices freely flowing. Thanks for the idea.

  4. Glad you enjoyed your visit to Peaks Island. I knew of the history, but not the museum, thank you for that. I am much closer, shame on me, only a 30 minute ferry ride away ~ and just riding the Casco Bay Ferry on its mail run or sunset cruise to the calendar islands causes the brain to spark imaginative ideas! I also had never heard of the “Coney Island of Maine” history… one I will definitely have to explore! Come back, Maine and it’s islands have lots of places to excite your writer within!!

    • Thanks, Carol! I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t know about the history. Sometimes I feel like I should know everything to do with New England since I’ve lived here all my life, but there’s so much out there!

      I’d love to find some pictures and more to do with the island in its hey day. 🙂

  5. Hello Lisa

    This is Todd Whitcomb. My wife and I was the hosts at The Eighth Maine the weekend you were there. I am so glad you had a good time. It is fun to read another persons experience of places you are familiar. I hope you can come back next year. If you are looking for pictures of the island during its hey day I would recommend looking on amazon as there are plenty of post cards for sale. You don’t’ have to buy them but they really bring back that time really well.

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