Getting Back into the US When Your Last Names Differ

(note: this blog was updated in December 2018)

This is a third post about my trip with my 10-year old daughter through Eastern Canada, where we kayaked, mudded, and ate. Should you take your kids on a trip to Eastern Canada. Absolutely!

We said Good-Eh to Canada this morning, and we crossed in to the US. Wow, these immigration guys don’t have much sense of humor. I had a US passport, Florida license, New Hampshire tag on the car, and a daughter of a different last name. Why was I traveling with a minor of a different last name? After finally explaining that we flew to Manchester, stayed with my sister in Portland, and took a trip to the Bay of Fundy, they let us back in. All I can say is, thank goodness I wasn’t trying to cross into Arizona.

Acadia Welcomes My Kid and Me

Anyhow, we made our way up and down, sideways and back, over and under through every little Maine-burg to Acadia National Park. This is another place I’ve wanted to visit for over a decade, and I’m so glad we made the effort. Unfortunately, it rained and rained and rained and rained and then fogged and fogged and fogged the entire day. So when we got to the park, Kelly, my 10-year old, looked at me and said, “I don’t want to hike and I want to go to the hotel to swim. I need to relax.” Fortunately, as a parent, I can over rule her.

And Then, We Almost Died

I compromised, and we decided to take a carriage ride through the park. Historically, Henry Rockefeller envisioned carriages only in the park. Hundreds of carriage miles criss-cross the park, and beautiful stonework builds quaint cobblestone bridges. The horse ride travels these paths, highlighting the craftsmanship of the bridges while at the same time getting a close look at the botany of the park. How lovely! We bought $1 rain ponchos and joined another family also willing to brave the elements with their son.

Brian, our guide who was 20 and still trying to figure out the college thing, drove the carriage. Although kind, Brian needs to learn a bit more about the park and less about the rumors of the park. I support and pay to visit National Parks because of the quality of the info they insist on maintaining; I think Brian may have missed this point in his contract. But we did enjoy the info he parted to us, recognized that we don’t build with craftsmanship anymore, and learned much about the different sizes and types of large horses (Clydesdales, Belgians, etc.)

Kelly, the horse/frog whisperer, enjoyed herself immensely, engaging Brian in her Horse Camp stories. But no sooner had Brian finished answering Kelly’s question about strange things happening while on a horse, the horses (Rex and Toby) spooked! We were only 100 yards from the stables, but Rex and Toby felt the need for speed and bolted.

Fast, Whoa!

Off through the trees we went, knocking one of the passengers into the middle of the carriage and causing us all to hang on for dear life. The carriage bumped and banged, tearing through the woods and knocking down trees. Branches sprang back and forth, whipping around our heads and almost knocking us out of the carriage. Brian somehow, magically, kept the horses from going through several fences and got them to stop.

The stable staff, who were running after us, calmed the horses, checked us to make sure we were fine, and escorted us to our cars. Fortunately, no one was hurt; but we could all easily imagine being overturned and trampled. Thank heavens we were so close to the barn.

I would have liked to have finished a bit less dramatically, but it was fun and I’d recommend it.

To the car we went for a two-hour drive from Acadia National Park to Augusta, Maine. Kelly took a nap, I finally heard some NPR after a three-day hiatus, and my phone got a signal. We cashed in some points at Marriott (no thanks to Colonial Inn from last night), got a nice swim in (Kel can’t get over indoor pools!), and settled in for the night with some local, delivered pizza. Tomorrow, we meet my sis at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden.