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:

Scenes from Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Last week I shared some scenes from our day trip to Peak’s Island.  After we got back from Peak’s Island, we had a couple of hours to kill before dinner so we decided to check out Portland Head Light.  My friend Jen recommended we go here, and it did not disappoint!  The lighthouse is a historic landmark in Cape Elizabeth, and it is also the oldest lighthouse in the state of Maine.  I love seeing different lighthouses in different places, and this was one of the prettiest I’ve seen.  I enjoy lighthouses so much because they bring back happy memories from when I was younger and my grandparents would take my brother, sister, cousins, and I to Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester.  I always loved the lighthouse at the end of Wingaersheek Beach, and my grandfather used to paint pictures of it.

Anyways, Tim and I had a great time exploring Portland Head Light.  We discovered that it is located right next to Fort Williams Park, which is full of picnic facilities, hiking opportunities, sports and recreation areas, historic fort structures, and beautiful views of the ocean.  They even had a little mini beach (tiny!), but I think that it would be ideal for reading a book by the water.  I also loved seeing the setup for the Beach to Beacon race – I had seen bloggers posting about it all week!

If you find yourself up in Maine and looking for something both touristy and relaxing and recreational all at once, I recommend checking out Portland Head Light for sure.

What’s the prettiest lighthouse you’ve ever seen?

Hope everyone’s long weekends wind down nicely today!

Scenes from Peak’s Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island Lobster Salad

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Peak's Island

Another day trip that Tim and I took during our Maine vacation week was to Peak’s Island.  Peak’s Island is one of the more well-known and populated islands in Casco Bay, and several people recommended that we take the ferry over and either walk or bike around.  We chose to go on a day that was supposed to be cloudy so we wouldn’t miss out on a beach day.  The day started out VERY foggy.  In fact, it was so foggy on the ferry ride over that we couldn’t see anything!  We chose to walk the perimeter of the island instead of bike, and eventually the clouds broke and the sun came out.  We were thankful so we could enjoy the pretty ocean views, but it actually ended up being really hot, almost too hot for walking around.  Had we known this, we would have brought some beach gear to lay out on the one strip of sand we found, or we would have gone to a different island in Casco Bay that is known for having better beaches.

I hope I don’t offend any Peak’s Island lovers by saying this, but I kind of thought it was overrated.  The island is definitely cute, but I was very underwhelmed after all that hype.  For an island, I was unimpressed with the beach options (very rocky), and I think I was expecting some more shops or *something* else.  We knew going into it that there were only a few food options, and we did enjoy lunch (I loved my lobster salad and glass of wine) and an ice cream, but other than that there’s not much to write home about.  I do think that’s the “beauty” of it for some, but that kind of solitude is just not my cup of tea for more than a few hours.  I’m glad we went so Tim and I could see what it’s all about, but I’m not sure I’d go back, especially with the abundance of other things to do in the Portland area and other islands to explore.

Have you ever been to Peak’s Island?  What are your thoughts?