p> By Lorie McClory
My husband and I have lived in Eastman with our two children for nearly 16 years. While we've been on the lake several times in kayaks, taken the pontoon boat ride during Lake Appreciation Week and been to the beaches more times than we can count, we've never kayaked the entire lake or taken time to walk on Heron Island until last weekend.
Despite the weather forecast — 40% chance of showers at 2 and scattered thunderstorms at 4 — we decided there was still a 60% chance it was going to be
a nice day, so off we went. We took our time, paddling while we talked about the kids, my upcoming class reunion, a vacation weekend planned for January, the busy week ahead with work, drivers education carpool, meetings and golf leagues. We noticed the people on the beaches, other paddlers and children jumping from rocks into the cool water, all of whom had more confidence is the sunshine than the clouds. We also got a glimpse of one of the loons and saw a heron fly across the lake, skimming the water to land on the opposite shore.
Once we completed our paddle around the private island and Loon Island, we went back to Heron Island and beached the kayaks, ready to stretch our legs on a short hike in an unfamiliar location. What struck us about our visit to the island is that our son, who is now 19, has camped on Heron Island with friends, and our daughter, now 16, has walked it as well, while we had never once set foot there. It's a welcoming spot, with a trail head sign indicating the flora you'll see if you take the time to look, a picnic table and fire pit (along with the necessary water bucket), and some great marshmallow-roasting sticks waiting for the next campfire. A short rain shower did wet the leaves above our heads, but not a drop penetrated the green canopy. Once the rain stopped, we got back in the kayaks and headed to South Cove.
After stowing the kayaks, we gave in to our hunger (we remembered to bring water but not snacks), so we stopped at Peppermint Patty's for a quick bite. The tuna on croissant was delicious, the iced tea was great and the service was impeccable. A copy of the Valley News was
on the table, giving us a chance to read what we hadn't gotten to that morning at our house. Then it was back to reality — a ride to Lebanon to pick up our daughter at work, a quick dinner and then a drive to Grantham Indoor for pre-season field hockey.
It's wonderful to take a day trip without having to leave our wonderful community.