Where to go on an Unplugged Vacation
Do you remember when going on vacation really meant you were taking a vacation? In today’s totally connected world it is almost hard to imagine doing that, but it can be done. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of technology, in fact, I use it every day. Like many people, it is integral to the way I work and live. However, sometimes I need to put my out of office message on and mean it. For the last few years, I have been taking an unplugged vacation with my family. Disconnecting from our devices allows us to reconnect with ourselves and each other.
Maine Windjammer Cruises
While I appreciate 21st-century technology, I like knowing there are still places I can go where it is hard to reach me. Cruising on a Windjammer off the coast of Maine is the perfect way to escape from it all. Because there is no wi-fi, no TV, and barely any cell service, it is the perfect time to put down the electronics and unwind for a few days.
The Windjammer Angelique sails out of Camden Harbor. From May through early October Captain Dennis, the proud owner of the Angelique takes 29 passengers on uncharted trips along the rugged Maine Coast. The wooden schooner was built in 1980 and modeled after 19th-century sailing ships that fished off the coast of England.
Life onboard the Angelique is informal and very relaxing. There is plenty of time to put your feet up, read, or even knit on deck. Depending on the itinerary, you may also have the opportunity to explore a small coastal town or island hiking path. If the water is warm enough, the Captain is happy to let you jump off the rail into the water for a swim. In the evening, after the dropping anchor in a snug harbor guests can paddle board right off the side of the boat.
Types of Cruises
The Windjammer Angelique offers several three-to-six-day voyages. Many have themes like yoga and wellness, wine and foliage and there is even a grandparents and grandkids cruise. Relying on the wind and the tide, Captain Dennis chooses destinations based on the weather and conditions of the day. He says “the beauty of windjamming is not knowing where you are going each day.”
We were on a Lighthouse Cruise. The coast of the Maine is dotted with more than sixty lighthouses of all shapes and sizes. Before modern day nautical navigation methods were invented, lighthouses were used to guide sailors into harbors and keep them away from treacherous areas. We had the opportunity to get up close to several lighthouses one of which was Pumpkin Island Light. It went into service in 1855 and the first keeper was paid a salary of only $350 a year. In 1934 the lighthouse was shut down and sold. It is is currently a private home and no longer open to the public.
You do not need to know how to sail to go on a windjamming vacation. You are also under no obligation to help out on deck. However, if you do want to lend a hand hoisting the sails the crew is more than happy to have your assistance. I am fairly certain that if you offer to scrub the deck or do the dishes, they won’t turn you away either.
You may be asked to help row ashore, but when the time comes there are usually many folks who are willing to take on that job. There is a real camaraderie that forms between the guests after they take on the task of working together.
There is always plenty of good food coming out of the tiny galley of the Angelique. It is amazing what the chef prepares on a daily basis. Mornings begin with a hearty breakfast, hot coffee, and plenty of fresh fruit. Lunch and dinner include a selection of salads, fresh-baked goods, hearty chowders, marinated steak tips and more. All meals are served family-style up on the deck. You are welcome to fill your plate and to sit wherever you’d like. There is a dining room, known as the mess, in case of inclement weather.
One evening the crew treats you to an authentic lobster bake on a secluded island. When in Maine it is almost a requisite to feast on fresh lobster dipped in melted butter, roasted potatoes and hot corn on the cob. The lobsters are steamed to perfection in seaweed over an open fire and served right on the beach. If you don’t like crustaceans, there are alternatives like burgers, dogs, and salads.
Life on Board
- Cabins: There are 15 cabins. Most rooms have upper and lower bunks, although there are some double beds and one room that is a triple. They all have their own freshwater sinks.
- Sunny Deckhouse Salon: There is an indoor lounge above deck that is completely enclosed from the weather. Often times guests will gather around the piano for a sing-a-long in the evenings.
- Power: There are USB outlets in the cabins for charging small devices.
- Bathrooms: You’ll find three heads and three hot freshwater showers onboard. Fair warning, the showers are are nothing more than a garden hose with a spray nozzle, but they do the job. They are warm and you’ll end up feeling clean.
- Clothing: You don’t need to dress for dinner or anything else. Life on board is very informal. However, you should bring comfortable, casual clothing suitable for all types of weather. Additionally, be sure to pack a warm sweater, jacket and rain gear just in case.
- Adult Beverages: Alcohol is not part of the all-inclusive rate. You are welcome to bring your own beverages on board though and store them in their ice box.
While I appreciate 21st-century technology, I like knowing there are still places I can go where it is hard to reach me. A Maine Windjammer Cruise is my ideal unplugged vacation. It is a great way for us to escape for a few days.
To date, I have sailed on two of the nine vessels that belong to the Maine Windjammer Association. All of the ships in the fleet are unique in their design, personality, and types of cruises they offer. I am confident that if you want to take an unplugged vacation making the choice to book a Windjammer Cruise won’t be difficult. The only hard part will be deciding which ship to sail on. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.
Disclosure: Complimentary accommodations, meals, and activities were provided by the Windjammer Angelique and the Maine Windjamming Association. No other compensation was received for this review. This post reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.