Mini Vacation to Maine

Tim and I took a week off from work at the beginning of September. At the beginning of the week, we stuck around Boston to celebrate my birthday and do a lot of wedding venue hunting. For the tail end of our week off, we headed north for a mini vacation to Maine. Portland is one of our absolute favorite places to go together, and we stayed there for three nights to just get away. Plus, it’s SUCH a foodie city, and we always revolve our entire trip around what we are going to eat and drink while we’re there.

We arrived on Thursday around lunchtime, and our first stop was at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth. My manager Julia and her husband Steve were also vacationing at the same time, and they invited us to stop by their hotel. The inn was beautiful, right on Crescent Beach, and we had fun hanging out for the afternoon. We ordered a little snack plate and a couple of drinks at the hotel restaurant before heading down to the beach.

Maine Vacation: Inn by the Sea

Maine Vacation: Inn by the Sea

Maine Vacation: Inn by the Sea

Tim and I left around 5pm to check into our hotel in Portland and get ready for the night. We actually ended up meeting back up with Julia and Steve for dinner at Fore Street, one of the best restaurants in the area. The menu changes daily, and I love the ambiance in there. It seemed like the service was a bit slower than it was the last time we went, but since I like to take my time and enjoy my meals out, it didn’t really bother me. We ordered a tomato tart to split among the four of us, and I ordered scallops for my meal.

Maine Vacation: Fore Street

After dinner, Julia and Steve headed back to their hotel. Tim and I continued on for another drink at a bar called The North Point, another place we really enjoyed hanging out at last year. On the way in, I snapped a picture of this funny sign:

Maine Vacation: The North Point

We only stayed for one drink before heading back to our hotel for the night too.

On Friday we woke up and decided to head to Kennebunkport for the day. We spent a couple of hours at the beach, and I finally felt like I could completely relax for the first time in weeks. We just sat in the sun just reading, napping, and enjoying each others company. We were in need of some serious quality time together!

Maine Vacation: Kennebunkport

Maine Vacation: Kennebunkport

Once we were done with the beach, we decided to explore the local area a bit and drove to Cape Porpoise. We walked around a bit and snapped some pictures of the pretty scenery.

Maine Vacation: Cape PorpoiseMaine Vacation: Cape Porpoise Cape Porpoise 2Maine Vacation: Cape Porpoise

After we were done exploring, we headed to downtown Kennebunkport to grab an appetizer and a drink outside. We ended up at David’s KPT, thanks to a recommendation from Monique! We ordered oysters and a cheese plate to share. There is just nothing like drinks and an app with a view, am I right?

Maine Vacation: Davids KPT

We sat here for a few hours! Eventually it was time to decide whether to stick around the area for dinner or head back to Portland. We decided to stay because we didn’t feel that gross from the beach. We changed into something a little nicer and ended up at The Tides Beach Club Restaurant thanks to another recommendation, this time from Dawn! We LOVED this place. This restaurant was part of an oceanfront hotel. It was cozy, and the prices were up there for us, but I did not feel out of place because the service was excellent and our bartender made us feel welcome. It cooled down pretty quickly, so we didn’t get to dine outside, but we had a great time at the bar anyways. We just kept ordering food over the course of the couple of hours we were there! That’s what vacation is all about right? We split the Maine lobster spring roll (cucumber, mango, napa cabbage, cilantro, mint, and citrus sauce) along with a bowl of clam chowder. For my meal, I ordered the swordfish with mushroom ragu and grilled asparagus. Amazing.

Maine Vacation: Tides Oceanfront Restaurant

If you are ever in this area and looking for a romantic dinner spot, I highly recommend Tides. Tim and I went for a walk on the beach after our meal before we drove back to Portland and called it a night.

When we woke up on Saturday, it was a bit cloudy and overcast, so we used the time to walk around the downtown Portland shops. We hit up all our favorites, including Cabot cheese! Yum.

Cabot Cheese in Portland

Once we got hungry, we stopped at the Portland Lobster Co. for lunch. We hung out there for a bit during the afternoon and enjoyed beers while listening to the live band that was playing. We did get caught in a downpour, but that’s okay!

Portland Lobster Company

Saturday night was our last splurge dinner out, and we decided to try Hugo’s. This was hands down one of the coolest restaurants I have ever been to. Their menu is a tastings menu divided into three categories: foraged and farmed (meats), from the sea (seafood), and forest and field (vegetarian, mainly). Basically you can choose between 2-5 courses from all the different menus. The wait staff were some of the most knowledgeable servers I’ve ever had when it came to describing the food on the menu, and we got to watch some of the food preparation. Since these were tapas sized tastings and not full plates, Tim and I each tried three items and tasted each others. My favorites were the yellowfin tuna and the heirloom tomato.

Maine Vacation: Hugo's Yellowfin Tuna

Maine Vacation: Hugo's Heirloom Tomato

In between courses, we were given various palette cleansers. This was a Parmsean flavored broth, and Tim kept calling it cheese tea!

Maine Vacation: Hugo's Restaurant

We left Hugo’s feeling full and very impressed. It’s definitely somewhere to go for a culinary EXPERIENCE and refined food selection, that’s for sure.

Finally, Sunday was our last day up in Maine. We started our day with breakfast at Local 188. All the other breakfasts and lunches we prepped and brought with us so we’d be able to reasonably afford our really nice dinners out, but we did want to do breakfast at least one day. I ordered a spinach florentine omelet, and it came with English muffins and home fries. It was a nice way to start the day, with a cup of coffee and outside!

Maine Vacation: Local 188

After taking about a week and a half off from working out (I think maybe we did two light fitness days throughout our whole vacation?!), we were starting to feel pretty gross. Don’t get me wrong, my body definitely needed the physical rest for many reasons, and I am so happy I let myself take it, but after splurging for so many meals and not being as active as usual, it was starting to catch up with us. We decided to go for a 3.5 mile walk around Back Cove Trail, a really scenic route around the water with a great view of the Portland skyline. It was nice to get moving again!

Maine Vacation: Back Cove Trail

Maine Vacation: Back Cove Trail

About halfway around, we stumbled upon a fitness playground. We obviously stopped for a bit to play.

Back Cove Fitness Trail

We finished up our trip with one last beach stint at Willard Beach in South Portland before heading home. The water wasn’t as swimmable as some of the other beaches we went to, but it was a good choice for a quick couple of hours.

Maine Vacation: Willard Beach

After our insane summer, Tim and I really needed this little getaway to ourselves, but it went by way too quickly. Once I finally felt like I was starting to *really* relax, it was time to go home. We seriously think we could live up there, and as we were driving back into Massachusetts, I honestly felt anxiety and stress starting to kick back in. Not normal, right?!

Maine Vacation: End

Anyways, our mini vacation was great, and I highly recommend the beginning of September for a vacation week. Our weather was almost perfect minus that Saturday rainstorm. It wasn’t too hot, but it was still nice enough to be at the beach.

Until next time!

–Let’s chat–
Did you go on a big summer vacation this year or did you do several mini vacations or getaways instead? Have you ever been to Portland, Maine? What’s your favorite part?

For more F&F posts on Maine:

No Carbs Left Behind Weekend 2013

One of my favorite traditions with my college girlfriends (plus Katrina) is our annual girls weekend every summer (or sometimes early fall).  This is something that we started during the summer of college graduation back in 2007.  I invited the girls to stay at my uncle’s Cape house before we all headed home from school.  Who knew that one little getaway would be the start of an annual event?

Just for fun, here we are through the years:

2007 (Woof)

Cape 2007

2008

Cape 2008

2009

Cape 2009

2010

Cape 2010

2011 (this recap is on the blog)

Cape Cod Weekend 2011 035

In 2012 we unfortunately couldn’t coordinate a weekend, but here we are this year!  A huge thanks to Bridget for bringing the weekend back at her family’s house in Ogunquit, Maine.  It really doesn’t matter where we are, because the themes of the weekend are the same.

Cape 2013

Mainly food.  Some poop jokes and funny snap chats and drinks and catching up, but mainly food.  We call this little getaway “No Carbs Left Behind Weekend,” or NCLB weekend for short.  This originated the very first year when we got back from a bar, no pizza places were open, and we discovered two jumbo packages of mozzarella sticks in my uncle’s freezer.  We tore into those bad boys, and the rest is history.  We now have to bring mozz sticks wherever we go.  And every year we try to bring more snacks than the last.

Mozz Sticks

Don’t worry, Uncle Chris, we replaced yours.  We wouldn’t leave you hanging like that.

Here are some scenes from this weekend!

Mustaches on wine glasses…

NCLB 2013

Prancersizing…

NCLB 2013

Walking along Marginal Way…

NCLB 2013 - Marginal Way

Perkins Cove…

NCLB 2013 - Perkins Cove

Squatting like we’re hot…

NCLB 2013

Beers on the beach…

NCLB 2013 - Beers

The annual random Slesh tackle…

NCLB 2013 - Tackle

Pretty views…

NCLB 2013

A yummy pizza dinner at Cornerstone… chicken fig balsamic, mushroom, and acorn squash.  Yum!

Cornerstone

Frozen martinis and fun at the piano bar…

NCLB 2013 - Front Porch

Dance party…

NCLB 2013 - Dance Party

Another great beach day…

NCLB 2013 - Beach

Another great dinner – steamers and salad from The Lobster Shack!

NCLB 2013 - Lobster Shack

Aannnddd another fun night out with the same circuit of frozen martinis at the piano bar followed by dancing across the street.  Oh, and rum punches from Barnacle Billy’s too.

NCLB 2013 - Drinks

NCLB 2013 - Front Porch

And finally, some browsing and lunch at the Stonewall Kitchen store.

NCLB 2013 - stonewall kitchen

As you can see, we had a ton of fun!  As far as healthy living goes, during weekends like these (especially when they are named No Carbs Left Behind), I simply accept the fact that I am going to splurge.  However, my body DEFINITELY cannot handle NCLB weekend like it used to be able to.  That being said, I made sure to prepare both a quinoa salad and sweet potato salad ahead of time to have for lunch at the beach, and I tried to stick with either eggs or a bagel thin with peanut butter and bananas for breakfast.  This way I could at least save most of my splurging for dinner, drinks, and late night snacks and mozzies instead of “waste” my splurging early in the day.  Although I did have a few bites of those delicious donuts/muffins from Congdon’s throughout the weekend. It’s all about moderation, and because I went into the weekend with a plan, and a plan that did not include deprivation, I already feel back on track this week!

Tell me about a fun weekend you’ve had lately.  Or a fun annual tradition that you always look forward to.  Or how you plan to stay on track when there are lots of treats involved.  Or anything you feel like!

Have a great Thursday, friends!

Scenes from a Lucky Catch Lobstering Tour

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lucky Catch Lobstering

Lobsters after lobstering This my last “scenes from somewhere we went in Portland” post.  And this was my favorite activity that we did, so I guess I saved the best for last!  On our last full day on vacation, we were finally able to sign up for a Lucky Catch Lobstering Tour.  We tried to do a couple of different tours earlier in the week, but each boat we tried to join was full and had a waiting list.  When the Friday 5pm cruise opened up, we grabbed it right away.  My advice for anyone who is looking to do this someday is to book your spot in advance!

Anyway, the tour lasts about 90 minutes.  It takes you through the islands and sights of Casco Bay, and you can choose whether to go on the seal tour or the lighthouse tour (we chose lighthouse).  And then you learn how lobsters are caught!  The staff on the boat obviously helped everyone along and were the ones to actually pull the traps in, but anyone on the cruise got to help measure the lobsters to see if they were good to keep or if we had to throw back in, figure out the gender so that we didn’t keep any females with eggs, throw the bait back into the sea (warning – LOTS of seagulls hover over you when this happens), and more.  If you don’t want to participate and just watch you don’t have to, but what’s the fun in that?  I liked that there were only about 15 people on the boat so everyone could be involved.

The best part is that at the end of the tour you can buy a lobster for only $5 each.  And then if you have nowhere to cook it on your own, you can walk over to the Portland Lobster Company restaurant right next door to the dock and have them cook you up a full lobster dinner for only $10 more.  So you basically get a 90 minute tour of Casco Bay, learn to lobster, and are able to enjoy a full lobster dinner for only $40 (the tour itself was $25 a person).  Can’t beat it!

If you ever find yourself in Maine looking for something to do, head on over to Lucky Catch.  You will not be disappointed, I promise!

What’s a fun vacation excursion that you’ve done before?  Any good stories to share?