At the start of the summer, Mike and I traveled up north to see our friend, Kelly, tie the knot in Kennebunkport, ME. I had never been to this part of the country, so we made a six-day-long vacation out of it. It was beautiful!
It was significantly cheaper to fly into Boston so that’s where we started. Coincidentally, I have a friend from college, Danielle, who lives just outside of Boston with her SO, Alex. We were able to stay with them, catch up, and explore Boston with the best, local tour guides! Of course, our flight was delayed that morning so we had a later start than expected, but soon spent the day wandering Boston on foot. We stopped into a local pub (Bukowski’s) for some sweet potato tator tots, burgers and craft beer. We explored many of the major sights: Boston commons and public garden, Faneuil Hall, the Boston tea party ship, the library, and even the Cheers bar (Anyone else watch that show “where everybody knows your name”?). We also walked along the Freedom Trail. If I’m being honest, I am not terribly intrigued by history, but it was pretty cool to see things I have only read about in textbooks. Later that night we went into the north end, “little Italy” and found a great place (Mother Anna’s) to get massive plates of pasta! We also ordered a pitcher of not-so-memorable sangria.
The following day began with AMAZING donuts from Union Square Donuts (highly recommend). I got a salted Bourbon and a lemon flavored. Yum! Unfortunately, our friends had to work so we took the subway system to the New England aquarium (we always tour the local aquarium, and this one had little blue penguins so… obviously, we had to visit). We heard parts of the penguin keeper talk and the large reef talk, and also watched the seal show. I thought this aquarium had really interesting animal collections and engaging exhibits. The only downside was being there on a weekday morning because the many field trips that joined up were overwhelming!. The aquarium is set up in a large upward spiral which I thought was unique but not so great for crowds and noise control. The gift shop was trouble- their harbor seals are trained to paint, so if you know me- you know I couldn’t leave without one! Next, we went to tour the Sam Adams brewery. Let me tell you, this is a great visit: free short tour and free generous tastings. They have also recently added an outdoor beer garden where you can purchase a drink from a small bar. Fun! We then took the party trolley to a local bar, O’Doyle’s. If you’re looking for a good time and a few laughs, take the trolley- we were on the last one so we had to walk back, but it was definitely manageable. That night we went to a cute place called Flatbreads which is in a bowling alley, Sacco’s Bowl Haven. It was delicious! On the walk home, we picked up some ice cream to go.
The next day, we picked up our rental car and drove into Portland, ME. We wandered the small town for a while before our whale watching cruise began! (Funny story… while walking to the port, we were following the directions from Mike’s phone. Everything was fine as we made our way from town to the docks, but then we seemed to be passing into a more commercial/fishing port. Turns out, the address was off because we put “West” at the end of the street name by mistake. We should have arrived about ten minutes early, however, with our one mile detour out and another mile back… we barely made the boat! Just getting in some exercise!)
The Odyssey Whale Watch’s boat ride out was cold and rainy; although, we saw dozens of harbor porpoise along the way and even a harbor seal! Our marine biologist supposedly pointed out a minke whale at one point, but it didn’t look like much to me and I am a pretty decent spotter. Later on, after we were heading back, we got a really great look at another minke whale! This whale surfaced many times all around the boat, you could even smell the exhalation! (You might find this weird or gross, but I think it is amazing!) When we got back, we enjoyed our first lobster dinner at Demille’s- the original floating restaurant that brought so much attention to Portland. After dinner, and an exhausting dinner, we drove back to our hotel in Scarborough and crashed for the night.
We got up early and went back to Portland to check out the Saturday morning market. It was nice to walk around with the locals in the park enjoying all of the fresh dairy and produce, while also saying hi to everyone’s pups. (This is a VERY dog friendly area and I loved every minute of it!) Next, we wanted to check out the brewing scene! Mike and I visited the Rising Tide brewery and distillery which are right next door to each other. We had some liquor tastings at the distillery and then tested a beer flight across the way. Most of this was outdoors with lawn games and a taco food truck- lots of fun and full of young people! Next up, Shipyard brewing. We also sampled a flight here, it was a very different atmosphere inside with the taps and gift shop, but still enjoyable. Last, we tried out Liquid Riot which was along the water and really set up as a restaurant and bar. We sat at the bar with a few tasting sized beers and a cocktail. All along the way, we had also been exploring downtown shops and a great lobster roll lunch at Portland Lobster Company. We decided to set out on sunset lighthouse cruise (same company as whale watch) which was beautiful and toured us around some smaller islands to see the best of the lighthouses. Some we had seen during our previous whale watch excursion, but they really do transform as the sun goes down. We saw more harbor seals and two bald eagles along the way, too! After the cruise, we opted for another meal at the Portland Lobster Company. Mike was obsessed with that lobster roll and I needed to try some clam chowder. Worth it.
We slept in a bit Sunday morning before driving to pick up our friend, Aaron, who had BICYCLED from Orlando up to Portland (Yes, we told him he was crazy. And yes, we were also so excited when he made it!) The three of us were bound for Kennebunkport! We had a small chunk of time before the wedding so we checked out the coastline, downtown and had a quick lunch at the Clam Shack before getting all dolled up. Soon, it was wedding time! Mike and I were staying at the venue, the Colony Hotel (unfortunately, it took a long time for our room to be ready so we were short of “getting ready time” and my friend Tiffany had to come in and help rush me along). The outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour were beautiful- almost as much so as the bride, but not quite! The reception was fun- and full of more deliciousness- lobster and whoopie pies, yes please! So much love to our newlywed friends, Kelly and Johnathan!
Monday was rather uneventful. We enjoyed a nice breakfast at the hotel, sat out by the pool and then drove back to Boston to catch our flight home. On time and everything. Overall, it was a nice trip! I enjoyed seeing a new part of the country. I would like to go back and see new sights, check out new cities. But, what a great way to spend the start of summer break for this new teacher!
Any suggestions about what else we should’ve tried on our visit? Tell me about it in the comments below!