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 Staycation

Today is pretty much the most depressing day ever because it’s back to work after a really, REALLY awesome week off. It’s been so fun relaxing, sleeping, spending time outside, and celebrating with friends, family, and each other. I want to share our (mostly) staycation with you guys today, so here’s the day by day rundown of our week:

Friday night
We stayed in and made blackberry mojitos and fish tacos to enjoy while finishing season 3 of The Walking Dead. Does anyone own season 4 that we could borrow?

Blackberry Mojito

Saturday
After hitting up the Waltham Farmer’s Market in the morning, we ventured up to Gloucester where the engagement happened.

Engagement in Gloucester

After we got home from our day trip and dinner, my parents stopped in for hugs and a glass of champagne while we relayed the story.

Engagement: Parents

We drank the champagne on our front porch, which Tim’s parents decorated while we were away for the day. So thoughtful! This picture doesn’t really do it justice because it was hard to capture the porch in one shot, but you get the idea.

Engagement: Porch

Sunday
On Sunday we slept in and then called and texted what felt like a bajillion people. I also got my nails done before planning an impromptu celebratory BBQ at our apartment with some of our favorite friends.

Engagement BBQ: Friends

Engagement BBQ: Friends

Engagement BBQ: Me and Ashley

Engagement BBQ: Me and TimEngagement BBQ: Me and TimEngagement BBQ: Lexa and LaylaEngagement BBQ: Girls

I just realized that we didn’t get a single picture of any of the men who came to celebrate. Oh well!

Monday

On Monday, Tim and I were finally able to get a beach day in. We headed back up to Gloucester and spent several hours relaxing at Wingaersheak Beach.

Staycation 2014: Wingaersheak Beach

On the way home, we stopped at the jeweler to square some things away with my ring. We spent the rest of the night cleaning up from the BBQ the day before, and then I went to bed early since I was teaching class the next morning.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning was an early gym day for me. I taught an outdoor Tabata stations bootcamp workout on the basketball court, and then I stuck around to do a strength workout since I hadn’t exercised Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.

Staycation: Bootcamp

After the gym, Tim and I packed up the car and headed first to work to pick up our CSA produce and then to a nearby lake to get our first kayak of the season in. It was a beautiful day, and we just floated around while enjoying the water. We also had a picnic lunch, Tim did some fishing, and I did some sunbathing.

Staycation: Kayaking

Wednesday

Unfortunately, I woke up on Wednesday not feeling so hot. My throat hurt, my head felt cloudy, and I felt stuffed up. I was seriously annoyed because who gets a head cold in July? I made it through the entire winter without being too sick and then I felt all stuffed up on vacation? Gah. Anyways, I slept for 12 hours from 10pm Tuesday night to Wednesday morning. On Wednesday we didn’t do anything outside since it was so humid. Instead, I got another strength workout in with a cardio finisher to try to sweat out the stuffiness. The rest of the day I spent inside getting some things done around the apartment and shopping at the mall for some new shorts. Tim and I also went out to dinner at night to try to beat some of the heat. We enjoyed a bunch of different small plates at Temple in Cambridge before calling it a night.

Staycation: Temple Bar

Thursday

I woke up Thursday feeling better. I was still stuffy, but without the head pressure and sore throat, so we packed up the car and headed down the Cape for the next three days. I wasn’t going to let a little cold ruin the rest of our time off!

4th of July 2014: Cape

We got to my uncle’s Cape house around noon, ate lunch, and then met my parents and Uncle Chris at the beach. We stayed at the beach for about three hours before stopping by our favorite Cape Cod bar, The Summer Shanty, for a few drinks.

July 4th 2014: Summer Shanty

July 4th 2014: Summer Shanty

July 4th 2014 Summer Shanty

We spent the rest of the night just hanging out, grabbing a bite to eat, and having some more drinks.

Friday

The weather on Friday wasn’t as horrible down the Cape as it was everywhere else in Massachusetts, but it still was no beach day. Tim and I woke up and went for a three-mile run to start our 4th of July. It was still humid, so we appreciated when it rained a bit on us during our run!

July 4th 2014: Running

4th of July 2014: Post Run

When we got back, my aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandfather arrived. We spent all day just hanging out together at the house, eating, drinking, and playing cornhole.

4th of July 2014: Breakfast

4th of July 2014: Cape

4th of July 2014: Cape

4th of July 2014: Cape

4th of July 2014: Cape

4th of July 2014: Chickpea Salad

4th of July 2014: Cape Meal

After dinner, Tim and I were on the porch when all of a sudden everyone came out with a big cake singing what they thought was the wedding song but was really the graduation song. It was hilarious! My uncle made Tim put on a big fourth of July hat with a little tux pinned to it, and he made me put on a light up fourth of July crown that he attached a little veil to. Then they made us cut the cake and take one thousand pictures.

4th of July 2014: Cake

July 4th 2014: Cake July 4th 2014: Cake

As you can see, Tim smashed the cake in my face, and I told him that it better have been the first and last time he did that! The rest of the night included games, strawberry prosecco floats, and more relaxation.

4th of July 2014: Strawberry prosecco floats

Saturday

When we woke up on Saturday morning, the weather still wasn’t so hot, so I did the Baby, You’re A Firework workout that I posted last week. Once the sun popped out, Tim and I packed up our things and said good-bye to my family.

July 4th 2014: cape

We then headed to the opposite side of the Cape to visit with our friends Jeff, Jill, Cate, Joe, and Nicole for the afternoon. I was happy to squeeze in another couple of hours at the beach and see baby Hannah.

July 4th 2014: Falmouth

We left the Cape around 6:30 to go to Katrina’s parents house (halfway home for us) where she was throwing Geoff a surprise 30th birthday party. We wrapped up the night with more fun friends and some night swimming. Geoff was surprised and happy, and I was happy we could be there for his day.

Staycation: Geoffs 30th

Sunday

Cue Sunday blues. A lot of the day was spent catching up from our week off, but I was able to sneak off to the pool to meet Slesh for a couple last hours of sunshine and last minute wedding talk. I cannot believe her big day is in less than a week!

Staycation: Pool with Slesh

And that’s that! Do I have to be back in the office today?

–Let’s chat–
What’s been going on with you in the past week? How did you spend your 4th of July? How are you enjoying summer?
Do you have any time off to look forward to?

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?