Jeff and I recently went to the USA for a week around Easter to visit my family and friends in Massachusetts. While we were there, we decided to treat ourselves to a mini break in Portland, Maine, about a three hour drive from my mom’s house, for two nights. Here’s what we got up to in Portland.
We drove up in the afternoon through a horrendous rain storm and made it to Portland, Maine around 5pm. We were tired and a little-bit-but-not-really-hungry, so after checking in to our hotel we headed out to get some sushi for a light dinner from Yosaku. It wouldn’t be New England without lobster, and when we ordered the lobster sushi it was loaded high!
Tuesday was our only full day in the city, so after a small breakfast at the inn we headed into the city to look for coffee (me) and pastry (Jeff) and explore.
We ended up at Tandem Coffee + Bakery on Congress Street, which is based in a 1960’s build which was once a gas station then laundromat.
But on the inside it feels just like a trendy coffee shop designed with Instagram in mind!
I got myself an almond milk latte (they make their own almond milk!) and Jeff got a malt iced coffee. We also got a sticky bun to share, even though he ate most of it!
After we were fully caffeinated we headed back to the inn to get in the car and head out of Portland to check out some nearby state parks.
But I couldn’t help myself from photographing the front doors and firehydrants – they just looked so perfectly Americana!
About a twenty minute drive later we arrived at Portland Head Light.
Portland Head Light dates back to 1776 when the Town of Cape Elizabeth posted a guard of eight soldiers there to warn citizens of coming British attacks. Then in 1787 the Genearl Court of Massachusetts provided funds to begin construction of a lighthouse. Over the years the structure has been changed and adapted.
We visited out of season so the museum was closed, but it also meant we were able to take lots of pictures without many people in them!
But it was still March and we were up north in Maine and were hanging out along the coast on a very blustery day. So after about 15 minutes we raced back to the car, put on the heat, and took off to the next location…
Our next stop was a short drive away to Two Lights State Park.
Opened in 1961, the park encompasses 41-acres of rocky headlands and offers sweeping views of Casco Bay and the open Atlantic.
The park’s name originated from the twin lighthouses located nearby at the end of Two Lights Road. Built in 1828, these were the first twin lighthouses on the coast of Maine.
Again, we didn’t see many people while we were there so we had those beautiful views all to ourselves!
By the way – you see the ‘wood’ in these pictures? Well, that’s actually rock that’s been weathered away by the ocean!
For lunch we drove to nearby restaurant The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, which is an award-winning restaurant that’s been a local landmark since the 1920s.
But, more importantly, it does a damn good lobster roll.
And along with that damn good lobster roll you can enjoy a damn good view.
Native to the area, lobster just doesn’t taste this good in London!
So the only time I ever eat it is when I’m home in New England.
After lunch we headed back to Portland to drop off the car at the inn and explore the city.
After wandering for a while, we ended up at Maine Squeeze drinking fruit and veg juices.
We also took the opportunity to do some reading, and I finished up All The Light We Cannot See. It was a beautifully written book, so if you’re looking for your next read and haven’t read this one I highly recommend it.
From there we wandered to the waterfront to check out the coast, and stumbled upon a piece of the Berlin Wall! Jeff and I both knew that pieces of the wall had been sent around the world, but we weren’t aware that a segment had ended up at Long Wharf in Maine. You learn something new every day!
Then, not too far from that segment of the Berlin wall, we stumbled upon a bridge covered in love locks which reminded us of Pont des Arts in Paris.
Finally, I will leave you with this picturesque view from nearby Long Wharf complete with lobster traps.
It was evening now, and while we weren’t the hungriest we decided to get a snack instead of dinner at Duckfat.
We started out with craft sodas (made in house!) – an All Maine Tonic for me (the waitress compared the flavour to Kombucha, and it was a bit sweet and also vinegary yet delicious) and a Roots, Barks, Sticks & Leaves for Jeff – and deep fried brussel sprouts, with pickled apple, bacon and garlic croutons from the specials menu.
And finished off our snack with a portion of Belgian hand cut fries cooked in duck fat, with garlic mayo – yum! – before heading out for a drink.
We started our our final day by treating ourself to a dozen donuts from The Holy Donut.
Highlighted as making some of the best donuts in the USA, we weren’t about to miss out.
The donuts are handmade with local ingredients and offer a special not-so-secret ingredient: fresh Maine potatoes. The result is denser than your normal donut, but lighter than your normal cake. And totally scrumptious. We filled up a box with loads of different flavours, from plain to vegan to maple and everything in between!
And about the dozen donuts? Well, we drove these back to Massachusetts and shared them with my whole family! (There are a lot of people in my family.) And everyone was a fan.
We didn’t actually eat those donuts for breakfast, so we went into town in search of coffee and hot drinks and ended up at Arabica Coffee.
As much a I was craving a latte, they had a speciality drink on their menu called ‘Moo Drinks’ – which are essentially steamed milk with a flavour syrup. Jeff got himself a chocolate option, I went for maple.
And they were delicious! Sugary and sweet, but hot and warming. I’ll be adding maple syrup to my hot milk instead of cocoa powder next winter, thank you!
On the way out I couldn’t help but snap a #FromWhereIStand for my Instagram.
On Wednesday we were walking around a fair bit before driving three hours back to Massachusetts, so I opted for loafers (which are comfy for walking in!), jeans, a warm jumper, wool coat and a scarf.
And instead of a handbag, I spent the whole of my time in the USA using my new pink Zara rucksack.
Before we headed out, we went down to the waterfront one last time for lunch – and spotted this thoughtful warning on the way.
For lunch, I enjoyed my final foray into seafood for this USA holiday at Gilbert’s Chowder House.
And it was everything I know a good New England seafood place to be.
I went for a special of fried clams, chips and clam chowder.
Jeff got a lobster stew… and was immediately sad about his portion size compared to mine! Still, we’d asked for extra plates to share my main and he was welcome to tuck in.
Lucky for me, he had about a dozen MASSIVE chunks of lobster in his stew and was happy to share.
New England, I love you so much!
“See, I come from Boston. I’m gonna tell you about how I love New England. It’s my favorite place. I’ve been all around the world, but I love New England best. I might be prejudiced. But it’s true, I love New England best.”