on Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd-24th, AONE set a club milestone by holding its first overnight motor tour in many years! Thanks to the superb planning efforts of Maine AONE member Mike Torrusio, we were treated to a truly unforgettable weekend experience. Unfortunately, Mike himself was called away on a family medical emergency and couldn’t join us, but he made arrangements to hand off all the info we needed on Friday, and we were able to carry on famously without him.
The lucky participants, in no particular order, were John & Lauren DeWaele (green 74 Spider), Kevin & Diane Murphy (another green 74 Spider!), Scott Sciumeca (black 87 Spider), Peter Walker & Meg Anderson (white 77 Spider), Mark Ziburis and Charley Sundblade (red 92 Spider), Dave & Vi Pratt (red 61 Giulietta), John and Ki Basel (lesser car), Gene & Judy Durso (lesser car), and Donna & Tom Ryan with their daughters Jessie, Livie, & Maddy (relatives of the Dursos in a lesser truck, bringing up the rear).
We were off to an inauspicious start since, when we rolled down Saco’s Main Street on Saturday morning to find the restaurant where we were to group up, we discovered that this was the day of Saco’s Sidewalk Art Festival. Tents and canopies lined both sides of the street, obscuring everything including the restaurant, and traffic was crawling. But we managed to muster in a parking lot on a side street, and eventually we were all gassed up and ready to go. We were each equipped with over twenty pages of directions and maps for our two-day excursion, although the plan was to stick together, since nine cars was a manageable number. Gene & Judy had picked up all the data from Mike the day before.
The first part of the tour took us through some of the coastal towns south of Portland, which was a tad slow-going on a late-June Saturday, and we got split up a few times, causing us to regroup. So we decided that we’d all fend for ourselves, at least for the nonce, and that worked well. Around midday, we pulled into Fort Williams Park, where the Portland Head Light is. Here, besides the beautiful park and lighthouse, we were pleasantly surprised to find a fellow AONEr waiting for us—Frank Luongo of Portland, ME, who has a Giulia Spider under restoration but wanted to meet some of the Alfa gang.
From there, we motored inland, where Mike had scouted out some marvelous roads for us to traverse. Our tourmaster, as we learned, has a unique and colorful way of expressing himself—even when it comes to tour directions. (Example: "At Rt. 231 Depot Road kind of turns into Freeport but then changes to Allen Road which melds into Fickett where you will veer right, which then turns into Rabbit Road. No matter, just follow the road till you reach Rt. 9.") This left us individually and collectively flummoxed at several spots along the way, but we quickly got into the swing of things. In a sense, it was good that Mike wasn’t with us to lead the way, since that would have taken some of the fun and challenge out of it.
Our target in this leg was the Railway Café in Richmond for lunch. Alas, because of our delayed start, the slow going toward the beginning, dawdling at the lighthouse, and the substantial number of miles Mike had charted for us, we didn’t get there till nearly three o’clock! But the funky bistro was worth the wait, serving up large quantities of great food—and fast!
From there, it turned out to be only about an hour’s worth of twisty roads down to Damariscotta on the coast and the Down Easter Inn, our destination for the night. This was a perfect sort of spot for us—spacious grounds, plenty of rooms, and an accommodating staff. We had plenty of time to kick up our heels and relax on the big, screened porch, hashing over our day’s travels, before heading out for dinner at the Anchor Inn, about ten miles of Alfa caravan away. The restaurant was right on the water and served up some great views, in addition to some terrific fresh seafood. After the caravan back, we said our goodnights and hit the sack to get ready for what Sunday would bring.
Have I mentioned the weather? Saturday was a mix of sun and clouds, a tad cool—perfect top-down conditions. And Sunday dawned even nicer and stayed that way—even more sun and warmer! We nibbled some muffins and slurped some coffee at the Inn, and were ready to shove of at our agreed-upon time of 9:30. We first headed south down to New Harbor for some unrivaled shoreline scenery and a stop at the Pemaquid Point lighthouse—a gorgeous spot that was hard to drag ourselves away from. But drag we did, and we spent the rest of the morning exploring a few of Maine’s many peninsulas, along some extraordinary winding roads, dictated, no doubt, by the peninsulas’ topography rather than the desire to build roads for sports cars, but we’ll take it!
At the very end of one of the paired peninsulas jutting south from Brunswick, we reached our final destination: Este’s restaurant—a definitive lobster shack if there ever was one! Culinary-wise, this is Maine at its most extreme! Between Saturday night’s feast at the Anchor Inn and Sunday’s lunch at Este’s, I wish I’d been counting how many lobsters our crew consumed. We savored our fruits of the sea at a huge picnic table in the sun overlooking the harbor—a fitting end to a most enjoyable weekend. Oh—and Frank Luongo and his wife Joan surprised us again by showing up and joining us!
We owe a great deal of thanks to Mike Torrusio for masterminding this phenomenal weekend for our club, and dearly hope that he can join us next time. (Hear that, Mike? Next time!) Several hundred miles in our Alfas along wonderful driving roads, no break-downs, fabulous coastal scenery, an overnight stay at a comfortable inn, terrific seafood, nearly perfect weather, and lots of time to hang out with our Alfa friends—it doesn’t get better than this, folks! When we do it (or anything like it) again, don’t miss out!
[Mike writes: "Well, the truth is, my beautiful wife Rebecca deserves most of the credit for this trip. It was she who sat in the hot sun, taking notes as we drove hither and yon seeking the "perfect wave" of road trips. It was she who tirelessly noted each turn and every landmark, and penciled the route as we went. The old adage of just who is behind every man was certainly at work here. I did the driving, but Rebecca did the thinking."]
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