The Journey is the Destination

Maine is For Lovers: Portland and Other Maine Coastal Towns

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Of all the places Bill and I have visited, Portland holds a special place in our hearts. It’s WHERE it all began and why we decided to go back there to celebrate our one year anniversary. It was so much fun! Don’t get me wrong, the first time we went to Portland was a lot of fun and incredibly exciting. Sparks flew! And this time sparks flew as well, lol, but this time we had the security and comfort of knowing one another. This time we experienced everything with our best friend. Ah, this love is amazing!

 

1545761_10203074488678725_7667970225891300646_nWe knew months in advance we were going to spend our anniversary in Portland, Maine so it gave us a lot of planning time. Thank God for LivingSocial and Groupon! Those 2 sites are all I used to get awesome discounts for almost everything we did over the weekend! Our hotel, the brew tour, and 2 of our dinners were purchased ahead of time through those two sites so we basically just had to show up! And because I went through them, we saved about $400!

 

What we didn’t know is we would have a loaner vehicle for the weekend. Bill Dodge BMW offers me a replacement BMW normally when I have routine maintenance done, but this time all their loaners were out. That’s okay though! We got to buzz around in a little Mini Cooper all weekend. It was a big difference from the bimmer but what a blast! And you can’t beat free! It was so darn cute and added to our trip. You’ll notice many photos of it throughout the album on Facebook.

 

10273766_10203074488958732_8616789936350511886_nOn our way to Portland we stopped off in Biddeford for lunch. It was  one of those times where we were starving and just wanted to eat. Often we find some of our best places that way and this time was no different. We ended up eating at Palace Diner in Biddeford, the oldest diner in Maine that dates back to 1927. It was like entering the doors to the past when we walked in to this 15 stool diner. Oldies were playing on the radio and our waitress had an old fashioned sense of style. Overall we were completely satisfied with our experience and the food hit the spot! Bill’s corned beef with thousand island slaw was incredible as were my diner French fries (of course!) To top it off, we scored the last old fashioned donut to split for dessert!

 

 

 

 

With bellies full and excitement for what was next, we made our way to Portland. By the time we got to the Hilton Garden Inn, we had only a little bit of time to walk around before we had to meet our group. We were booked for the Maine Brew Bus (another Living Social deal!) tour and couldn’t wait for them to “drive us to drink locally”!

 

10268459_10203074494118861_2170613843118005314_nOur tour was so much fun and I would recommend it to anyone. The guides were personable, the people who joined us on the little green bus were fun and the samples were plentiful! We visited four breweries that day. 2 were strictly beer and the other 2 were meaderies. I had no idea how many micro breweries were around Portland, what mead was, or how yummy it tasted!

 

Thai food for dinner- and you guessed it, it was another living social deal! I love LivingSocial because we usually save 50% on our meal, if not more. You just can’t beat it! And it’s a great way to try new places and support local business. Since we haven’t spent a ton of time in the Portland area since that magical weekend last year, we weren’t sure of places to eat. If you know of some great places, please comment below for when we go back again! We were pretty lucky with the Thai food though and were pleasantly surprised… Well, at least I think we were. After so much sampling, our moods were rather light and our focus wasn’t exactly on the food.

 

A nice stroll back to the hotel, a dip in the pool, and the most comfortable bed of all the hotel beds in the world had us ready for our day on Sunday and our actual anniversary day! Have I mentioned lately how LUCKY I am? I’m pretty sure he feels lucky too…

 

10292147_10203074504359117_5912421961426031244_nWe had no specific destination planned for Sunday. All we knew for sure was the place we were eating dinner. Rainy weather and that awesome Mini Cooper sent us up the coast of Maine. We spent all day driving on Route 1 North and on the return trip it only took us about 2 hours. Yup, we sure know how to meander and make the day pass. 🙂

 

Our first stop was in Yarmouth to devour food. We need to learn not to wait so long! Anyway, the food was okay and the service was… well, I really liked our waiter. The best part of Yarmouth was the photo opp for the mini! We got a few photos of some old vehicles and the water. You you can view those in our album on Facebook.

 

 

1794782_10203074505079135_8587999229451191957_nFrom there, we drove up to Freeport where Bill saw the big world at Delorme Map Store. We felt a little guilty using our iPhones and Google Maps. I at least shut it off when we entered the building. I’ve driven by there a bunch of times but never actually went in. I’m glad we did! This globe is 3 stories high! We raced to the 2nd story but we weren’t high enough. We raced to the 3rd floor and ah, just in time, we made it! To the right is a picture of Bill pointing to Ireland, his homeland. If you are ever in the area, it’s a great little stop and at night the world lights up which I guess is a sight to see!

 

 

We went to the Desert of Maine but it was closed still. I didn’t realize it was a tourist attraction and people actually owned it. I thought you could just go and walk through the desert. Oh well, we have a trip planned in July and hope to make it there then.

 

 

 

10151154_10203074506599173_7465977027810952484_nThe next stop was the big boot. OF COURSE, the big boot. L.L. Bean’s giant Bean Boot is legendary, right? I guess? To me, it’s nothing big. I’ve been to Bean’s a hundred times so the novelty has warn off. BUT, being there with Bill, a virgin to the experience, brought excitement all over again.

 

He was like a little kid, impatient finding a parking spot, walking hurriedly to the entrance, begging passerby’s to take our picture, throwing himself at the boot… Haha, maybe it wasn’t as intense as I am making it out to be… but pretty close. Either way, I’m happy his dream of seeing “The Boot” came true. How could that moment be topped?

 

 

One of the destinations we had in mind when we set off was Wiscasset, Maine. I am not sure why exactly. I think Bill read about it being a quaint little Maine town and wanted to check it out. Along the way, we stopped off at a few places. Some sites we saw were the Brunswick Naval Station, Bath Iron Works (BIW), the Maritime Museum, and Adirondack chairs. Apparently Maine is the capital for Adirondack chairs. We didn’t stop and explore any of these places but they are definitely in our memory bank for future trips!

 

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Once we reached Wiscasset, the fun began. We explored Fort Edgecomb State Historic Site that was built as part of the Second System in early 1808. It offered gorgeous views and we took quite a few pictures there that can be viewed on Facebook.

10294244_10203074513759352_3323675912565063133_nOne of my favorite memories of the entire weekend was when we trespassed. Yes, we broke the law. There was this cute little island that caught our curiosity. As we got closer, we noticed there was access via 2 bridges. You could walk across one wooden bridge that led to the railroad tracks, step over the tracks, and on to the 2nd bridge that connected to the island. “Let’s go!” We were both so eager and then we noticed it was blocked off. Well, it wasn’t high enough to keep me out and what was Bill to do, right? No one would fault my man for following his girlfriend over that barricade.

Half way out, I started to realize why they had it blocked. The bridge was wobbly! He backed up a few steps and when I joked that it was so I would fall in first, he explained it was to displace our weight. Needless to say, we made it across and it was worth it! I wanted to hang out there the rest of the day – start a little fire and drink in the surroundings. But we couldn’t do that since, after all, we were breaking the law. As we started back, a car pulled up next to ours and I switched places with Bill. Haha, sorry honey, but I thought you would be better at talking our way out of it! There was no need though since they drove away before we made it back. Phew, probably just other tourists wishing they were like us…

We stopped off at Sarah’s Café (definitely going back there with the one and only Sarah!) for some pie and coffee. We were discussing a walk across the bridge in town- one that wasn’t blocked off and condemned –  but it started to rain so we decided to continue our adventure up Route 1 toward Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.

On the way to Pemaquid, we found another fort called Fort William Henry. This fort was built in 1692 and was originally the largest in New England. It was destroyed in 1696 however and a replica was built in it’s place. We were the only ones at the fort and exploring was a lot of fun. I think it’s one of the few times the sun actually came out that day.

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Up the road from here just a little bit, we found an old cemetery that also dated back to the late 1600’s. Many of the people in it were killed by Native American’s. It’s sad to think we couldn’t share such a vast, beautiful land with others. Just look at how big the population is now!

10150594_10203074521359542_5009508989570979031_nPemaquid Point Lighthouse was gorgeous and I think this photo was the photo of the day! Do you ever have one of those moments when you get the perfect shot? When you can’t stop looking back at it on your camera roll? I do! I think that is part of why I love to travel so much, catching the right shot to represent the day. I got a lot of those this weekend but THIS shot is a perfect picture of a Maine lighthouse.

Crisp temperatures and sprinkles didn’t allow us to stay outside too much but this stop energized us and had us both asking, “What next?” On our way up Route 1 we saw signs for Boothbay and decided why not?

 

10177308_10203074524279615_1205343708931266834_nIt was early in the spring so not much was open but we did find the Tugboat Inn open where we stopped to drink in the views and sip on a cocktail. It was my first time to Boothbay Harbor and I can’t wait to go back there this summer with Sarah when everything is open!

We decided to make the trek back to Portland after this stop and were happy when Google Maps indicated it was a lot closer than we expected it to be! The overcast weather and activities on the Brew Bus tour the day before finally had taken it’s toll on us…

10302039_678076325581008_4782836863555851992_nWhen we got back to Portland, we were surprised how quiet things were. We still had one Living Social deal to use up and luckily the Corner Room was open. The outside of the place was deceiving, it appeared dark and quiet at 8:00pm on a Sunday night. But when we opened the door it was a bustling place and we actually had to wait for our table! I understood why when we started eating! Wowza, if you like Italian food, definitely check it out!

Our bellies were so full after this scrumptious Italian fare that it hurt. We decided we better go for a little walk around Portland. Brrr, it was so cold out! It definitely didn’t feel like spring with this 40 degree weather and the wind whipping around!

On our walk, we stumbled on to one of the bars we had been to the prior year. We were so full, all we could do is peak in, sit on the comfy leather couch, and reminisce for a minute. If we stayed any longer, we would have fallen asleep. We were both so happy to find it though and next time will make it a point to spend some time there.

 

10301508_678068652248442_8917817255900210986_nThe following morning we decided to take the slow way back to Nashua and travel South on Route 1. Well, that didn’t last long when we noticed signs for Arundel, where Bentley’s Saloon is located. Bill had mentioned this place on our way up and how it was one of the coolest motorcycle hang outs he’d ever been to. It was indeed pretty cool. I had never been to a place like it and it reminded me of a roadhouse you might see in the movies. Yeah, it didn’t take me long to blush.

Sadly, the only bikes we saw were the ones hanging from the rafters, like the one pictured to the right. Bill said it was the slowest he had ever seen it. For this, I was relieved. Don’t get me wrong – I’m looking forward to our next trip back there but it was a little shocking to me for the first time. 🙂

Our last stop of the day was perfect! It was romantic and a beach we found one evening last summer, while chasing the sunset. I almost hate to share it here for fear it will become overpopulated but… I will. It was Parsons Beach in Kennebunk Maine. We walked up and down, exploring and sharing with one another… ah, my love… you have made all my dreams come true!

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for all the great information with so much detail. I can’t wait to hear more about your Maine and Southern New Hampshire travels. When you do get back to Portland you should definitely try RiRa’s for dinner and drinks, it’s a terrific Irish pub with great ambiance and a beautiful view of the boats coming in from the ocean as you enjoy your meal.

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