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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

· Top 11 Things to Do in the Portland, Maine Area ·

I finally have photos of my recent trip to Maine to share!  It's been a dream of mine to go to Maine for a while, and for the last year I've been having a hankering to go on a fun "girls trip" cross-country and thankfully my friend Kathryn was up for it, too. ;-)  I usually like to be super prepared and extremely frugal but this was my chance to be a bit more laid-back.  Which considering I had a list of locations to go to everyday and all the details for them... was only partially a success, I guess. ;-)

We stayed just outside Yarmouth, on the edge of a penninsula- complete with a private dock. :-) Yarmouth is right on the coast, 20 minutes north of Portland.  I looked up a few things to do before and we discovered a few of the things on this list while we were there. :-)

We flew into Portland airport, picked up our rental car, and headed off for our first bucket-list item:

1. Go blueberry picking!

I came across a recommendation for Libby & Son U-Pick Farms in Limerick, so we decided to try it out!  The blueberries were just coming into season when we went and I was so pleased the timing worked out so well.  Robert McCloskey's work was a huge influence in our desire to visit Maine, so naturally we wanted to get the Blueberries for Sal experience!  We definitely got it.  If felt just like the book! With the exception of bears. ;-)  Oh, but sadly no tin pails to go "kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk"....

Libby & Son was a fabulous experience and well worth the extra drive it takes to get there (about 1 hr from Portland)- the bushes are on the side of a mountain and the views are gorgeous!  The picking was great- everything was well-groomed and neat, and the golfcart rides up to the bushes are super convenient!  I felt so spoiled- it was almost as pampered as the "strawberry picking party" at Donwell Abbey in Emma. ;-)  The blueberries themselves were amazing and it's almost embarrassing how quickly 2 of us can eat 6 lbs... except that they're so chock full of antioxidants that it's a good thing we ate that many.  Right?

Not to be missed are their incredible blueberry donuts!  Now, neither Kathryn nor I are super fond of blueberry baked goods....  However the donuts came highly recommended so we took a chance and bought a half-dozen.  Oh. My.

They were SO GOOD!  Fresh, warm, light, and yummy!  By far the best donuts I've had!  They may not look like much (I was a bit skeptical that they really worth the raving) but wow! do they ever make up for it in taste!

I loved the excuse to drive inland more, since the majority of our itinerary was along the coast.  Our roads winded throughout the countryside and we had ample opportunities to admire the quaint old houses.  I do love the allure of older architecture....   Also, does everyone in inland Maine own a black vintage car??  We saw plenty!  Since we had plenty of time, we decided to be spontaneous and stop at a river that looked cool.  There was parking nearby and a little path through the trees to the edge of the river.  The water was comfortable and the area was so peaceful.

Our day ended with our drive back to Yarmouth and settling into our accommodations for the week- a refurbished airstream trailer!  We didn't get a chance to get many pictures of it, basically because we were enjoying it too much. ;-)  The exterior was adorable too- wish we had taken a few more pictures with the camera!!  I've wanted to go "glamping" for quite a while- I was so thrilled to be able to cross off yet another bucket-list item. ;-D

2. Picnic lunches on the coast

The next day we went down to Kennebunkport for the day.  It's a lovely town, but the downtown area has been built up into tourist central.  Lots of good shopping and food, but rather crowded and traffic was bad all day!  We packed a picnic lunch but there wasn't a good place to eat it in town so we walked down Ocean Ave. to the sea.  Well, turns out it was over a mile to walk before we got to a nice place to sit, which wouldn't have been an issue at all if I would have prepared in the footwear department... (you'll notice my footwear was ditched shortly after reaching our destination ;-))

The walk was entirely worth it however, our view was amazing and it was so relaxing!  We're both big fans of bread and cheese lunches, so we brought that along for our lunch.  A local mouse was apparently also fond of bread and cheese lunches.  We didn't get any photographic evidences of his (multiple!) attempts at hauling off our bread nor our startled/disturbed realizations of his sudden appearance in our personal vicinity.

But, really.  A view like this makes up for it. ;-)

3. Ocean Avenue near Kennebunkport

We returned to Ocean Avenue later in the day by car and it's a great drive!  Wonderful views of the ocean, lots of places to pull off on the side of the road, and areas to explore on foot!  If you make it to Kennebunkport, make sure to go a little bit off the beaten path to explore this area! (and dream about the real estate....)

4. Have a Lobster dinner!

Of course, what's a trip to Maine without lobster??  Yeah, that's right- nothing.  I looked up the best place to get an authentic lobster dinner and Nunan's Lobster Shack got great reviews everywhere.  They're less than 10 minutes from Kennebunkport (15 if you take the scenic route along Ocean Ave.) and definitely off the beaten path!  It's not somewhere you'll happen upon, but it's a popular favorite judging by their full parking lot!  We were concerned about waiting when we showed up at 6:00, but since we were only a party of 2 we got seated immediately.

I wanted a more authentic experience for our dinner- after all, it's not really a clean meal to eat!  Nunan's delivered on that!  It truly is a lobster shack and has been from day 1.  However, it's super clean!  Win, win. :-)  Huge points for the atmosphere and the food was good, too!  It was my first time eating lobster at all, so I don't really have much to compare it to... but it was good!  And we successfully ate our lobsters without making too big of a mess. ;-)

5. Wiscasset and Boothbay Harbor

The next day, we were off to Boothbay Harbor for the day!  Along the way, we stopped in Wiscasset to do some antiquing and window shopping.  Wiscasset was one of our favorite towns- smaller and less touristy than Kennebunkport and oozing charm. :-)  One of our lodging options for the trip was a B&B in Wiscasset... I think I'd love to do that sometime!  We also admired real estate here and plotted our lives as little old spinster aunts in a cottage here in 30-40 years. ;-)

Sadly, some of our very favorite places to visit are the ones we didn't get photos of.  But that's kind of how it goes- you're too busy soaking up the moment and making mental photographs to take the time to get any pictures to share with others!  So you'll have to take my word for it and go visit yourself. :-)

Boothbay Harbor was... grand.  I loved the area!! (again- no pictures. We were too busy soaking it all in!) The town itself was super busy like Kennebunkport but the location is fabulous!  The area reminded me of One Morning in Maine- all the little islands in the harbor, each covered with conifers and each with a few charming vacation cottages.  The iconic New England steepled churches.  Sigh.  Loved it there!!  The further north we went in Maine the more I loved it, so I'd love to go back and see Bar Harbor and Acadia since I've heard such wonderful things about them! :-)

6. Burnt Island lighthouse tour

Our reason for heading up to Boothbay Harbor was for the Burnt Island Lighthouse Tour.  Highly recommended!  The island is a few miles out from the mainland, so it's only reachable by boat.  Well, or canoe.  But we aren't that good.  The lighthouse tour is run seasonally by Balmy Days Cruises and takes 3 hours.  2 1/2 hrs are spent on the island; reenactors portray the lighthouse keeper and family from the 1950s and the program was very well done.  It includes a tour of the home and the chance to go up in the lighthouse as well as an hour or more of time to explore the 5 acre island!

This was one of our very favorite things we did!  Exploring the island was great fun- we quickly discovered that if our day included "scampering" on rocks, we were happy as clams. ;-)  It was so peaceful and quiet on the island- just my style!

7. Lighthouse tour of the Portland area

Our 3rd day was spent in the Portland area going on a lighthouse-spotting tour!  I found driving directions online here and we were off!  The directions were good and made for an enjoyable trip.  If I was doing it again, I'd recommend starting earlier than we did....  Arriving at Two Lights (picture below) anytime after 11 means minimal parking is available.  The lobster shack there is super popular, so go a bit earlier to avoid traffic jams!

Next up was Portland Head Light- the biggest crowds here, but still enjoyable!  And, well, it is the most well-known and gorgeous, so you have to go, right?!

My personal favorite lighthouse was Bug Light.  That Greek Revival influence is right up my alley!

8. Lobster rolls! (of course!!)

While we were at Portland Head, we made a point to stop at the local food truck, Bite Into Maine, for lobster rolls!  Eating lobster rolls in Maine is a must and I wanted to be sure that we went to the place with the best reviews.  Lots of places rank high, but Bite Into Maine seemed like just what we were looking for.  It's not a cheap lunch, but oh my is it GOOD!!  I'm salivating just thinking about it....  Toasty buttered bread, tons of fresh lobster meat, just a bit of mayo, and a sprinkling of green onions.  Heaven!

We were able to take our rolls down to the coast to eat them on the rocks.  Gentle, cool breeze.  Warm sun.  Stunning lighthouse in the distance.  Sea spray.  Yep, it was wonderful. :-)

9. Eat Ice Cream!

Maine is known for its ice cream, so naturally one must do full justice to such a reputation, right??  We got some at a shop in Kennebunkport (one of many available!) and look how big they are!  Their claim of being "1 scoop" seems a bit far fetched... but that just means that only 1 scoop of calories counts, right? ;-)

We got some more ice cream at Toot's just outside of Yarmouth as well.  No pictures of that since the cones were so huge that we had to eat them quickly before they made a mess!  Oh, the trials of it all....  Another great place for ice cream- and lots of great flavors!

10. Explore downtown Portland

Our final day was spent in downtown Portland.  We wanted to do a bicycle tour of Peaks Island just off of Portland, but the ferry times weren't working well with our schedule.  So we just wandered the town!  It's very "up-and-coming" and has lots of fun shops in great old buildings!  I think this was the one day I wished I had more planned as we didn't have enough to do to fill our time.  I'd recommend spending 2-3 hrs exploring the area, but unless you're a big shopper, you won't need more time.

We did find a great place for lunch, though- the Portland Lobster Co.  The clam chowder was great and the location was wonderful!  We ate at a counter right on the wharf and we had the perfect day for soup- cloudy and cool but no rain!  We also adored their decor and logos- perfect retro vibe!

We finished off the day before catching our flight with donuts at The Holy Donut- yummy!  But also super busy, so be prepared for a line!

11. Take time to enjoy the coast!

Maine is all about nature, so take plenty of time to explore it!  I'm not a big sand person, so all the rocky coasts were my favorite!  I never get tired of scampering around and exploring in areas like this! :-)

Portland Head Light



Oh, and since this is a sewing blog after all.... here are links to detail posts for our outfits!
My BBQ Dress
My 50 States Dress
My Fruit Dress
My Navy Polka-Dot Dress
Kathryn's Nautical Outfit
Kathryn's Gingham Dress

· Photos by Kathryn- mixture of camera and phone shots :-) ·


  1. You are making me miss Maine so much! My grandparents live the little town of Peru, Maine and I've spent many a summer there growing up. And my hubby and I went to Portland for our honeymoon. There is a lot of shopping but also tons of yummy food. I love the rocky coasts of Maine! So pretty! It's definitely not great for swimming (brrr!) but excellent for scampering as you found.

    1. I'm finding it amusing how many people have been to Maine or know someone who lives there! I'm glad to finally join the ranks of Maine tourists- I completely understand the appeal now. :-)

      You're right about food in Portland- we were wishing that we didn't get so full from our lunch, there were so many great looking places, but it was about all we could manage to eat a donut after that! ;-)

  2. Some stunning photos of your trip and some lovely outfits - thank you for sharing them.

    I have been following your excellent blog for few months now and am impressed by your outfits. I have one question if I may - Do you wear pants? I have never seen you in any. I was a skirts/dresses only person until fairly recently when my friends persuaded me to buy some pants and I was surprised at how comfortable they were. I am now looking for some vintage style slacks.

    1. Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much. :-)

      As for the question- don't worry about asking! :-) No, I don't wear pants at all, nor have I for.... 13? or so years. I will admit that I'm tempted by 1930s/40s overalls, but I haven't taken the plunge yet nor have I really had a dire situation for them! ;-)

  3. It sounds like you guys had a fun trip! I have never really traveled the East coast but I'd love to do so someday. You both looked so stylish the whole time too!

    1. Thanks, Bianca! I'd love to explore the east coast more, too- especially New England... I've been to VA several times, but other than that, my "States Visited" list is sadly lacking. :-)

  4. How lovely, I love sneaking a look at others holiday photos.

    1. Kaitlyn, thanks! :-) I'm glad to know that others don't mind me showing off all my vacation pictures! :-)

  5. That looks so, so beautiful! I love all of your stylish outfits, too. I've never been to Maine, but this post definitely put it higher on my list...

  6. Oh this trip sounds like it was utterly fabulous!!! I am an now wanting to travel to looks like a trip worth taking. All of these pictures are just so perfect and fun. Thanks for sharing:)

  7. Oh my word, what a thoroughly lovely, engaging post - I swear, I feel like I've just been on a wee holiday. Thank you very much for this beautiful entry. I now have many more reasons to try and see Maine one day.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thanks, Jessica! It's nice to be able to write these re-caps of trips so I can remember all the little details, so I'm glad others don't mind reading about them, too! :-)

  8. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos! I'm a native New Englander and it's so easy to forget that there are so many beautiful places nearby to see. I definitely want to check out the lighthouse tour you mentioned :)

    1. Thanks! Oooh, I'm so jealous of all the history you have at your fingertips.... ;-) I hope you get a chance to do the lighthouse tour!

  9. Wow, I went to Kennebunkport and stood exactly where you took the photo of the house near the beach! Now I wish I'd dressed as prettily as you did here - on holiday I just really let my appearance go downhill as the climate is all wrong for me (waaay too hot). How do you stay so fresh and vintage-y?! :o

    It's so beautiful in Maine, so thanks for putting together this guide!

    1. Thanks, Ellie! How fun that you were in the same place! :-)

      Heehee! I had to have a little chuckle that Maine was way too hot for you! As for staying so fresh-looking... I think a lot has to do with being acclimated to hot weather. :-) Where I'm from, we had just had a normal summer- unrelenting super high humidity with temps in the high 80s-90s. So Maine felt absolutely WONDERFUL!!! I do think dressing like this on a daily basis helps too- you're used to it all so it doesn't feel unnatural at all. :-)

      Thanks for commenting!

  10. What a fun post!! :) Thanks for sharing the pictures from your trip - it looks like you two had a blast!! I've never been to Maine, but this certainly makes me want to. It's just beautiful!
    I loved seeing you in a scarf! :) You styled that look so perfectly!

  11. Wow! Looks like a great trip! I've never been but Kathryn's pictures show off the area beautifully! Also how awesome was that airstream trailer! So cool!

    1. Yes! The airstream was one of the big perks I was looking forward to! ;-)

  12. Looks like so much fun! And you visited Boothbay Harbor! My grandmother lives there, so when life's less busy, we enjoy visiting so much! And the ice cream......... SO amazing!

    1. How fun to get to visit regularly! I am exceedingly jealous!



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