I'm finally posting about our last day of vacation, in perfect timing as school's about to start next week. :) While these pictures and stories have been looming over my head the past month, it has been such a joy to have a reason to look back at those days away, that now feels so very far away. And some of our memories from our last day in New England hold their spot among the rest as the very best of our trip. Just wait 'til you see our sunset!
It was Friday, our last day in Maine, and we decided to take a short drive to the hip city of Portland for another day of exploration fun. Portland is the largest city in Maine, although only has a population of around 66,000 people. Once known as a bit of dive, Portland is in the midst of a great revival, and has made its place on the map as one of the top spots in New England area for foodies like us. It ranks among the top in the nation for restaurants per capita (score!), and is home to several nationally known chefs. Less than a two hour drive from Boston, Beau and I quickly decided this would be a place we would love to return to, maybe sans kids, for a long weekend to hop in and out tasting the local scene.
We spent most of the day in the Old Port District, the waterfront area of the city, known for its fishing wharves and old warehouses converted into restaurants, brew pubs, and hundreds of one-of-a-kind shops. I swooned over the old cobblestone and brick streets, the fishing boats coming in and out of the port, and the smells of food seeping in and out of each building we passed. And when we turned a corner and met a large cluster of people holding donuts and looking happy, we knew we had found our first stop of the day.
If there is ONE thing I think about our trip more than anything else, it's Holy Donut. I would kill for one of these donuts at least three times a week, and especially every Saturday morning. I discovered this phenomenon when researching must-see things to do in Maine, and was inspired by this woman and her dad who started making fresh, flavorful donuts from scratch, with mashed potatoes, as their not-so-secret ingredient. They started a business in 2012 and have since grown in crazy popularity all over the East Coast. They make one million donuts a year and they are the best donuts I have ever tasted IN MY LIFE. If you in live in Cedar Falls, this hip, funky, and absolutely wonderful place would fit our downtown area to a tee, and if you love getting up at 2 am to make a bunch of donuts, I am confident you would have a gold mine. For me, I'll say some donut prayers and check Holy Donut's website weekly to see if they'll start shipping.
After donuts, well, we were happy. We hopped in and out of shops, pubs, and alley ways, feeling like locals and tourists at the same time. We both loved Portland and said several times that we would be back for an extended weekend in the future.
It was hot and the kids started melting by the middle of the afternoon, so we hopped in the car and headed to our lodge for one last break of checkers, lemonade coolers, and a little time at the pool. Knowing I had one more bucket list item to cross off my list, I asked around for the best lobster dinner in all of Kennebunkport. And everyone pointed us to Mabel's Lobster Claw on the scenic Ocean Avenue. The stars were aligning in our favor and it was looking to be a gorgeous night.
Our last night in Maine fit the picture of the Maine that sat inside my dreams. In our New England best, we sat on the porch at this little restaurant, nearly rubbing elbows with people from all over the world, there at Mabel's for one thing. Lobster. We had a large British family from England on our right, two sisters on a girl's trip from New York City to our other right, and a family from down South on our left. We ordered a couple of two pound lobsters, studied the directions listed on our place mats, and got a number of tips from our surrounding friends, for it was pretty easy to see was it was not their first rodeos with lobsters of this size.
The kids gagged frequently, and we enjoyed every last bite! Let's just say they had a bit of a culture shock this week with the seafood that was consumed! After dinner, we walked back to our car and rolled down the windows, turned up the radio, and took a cruise down the highly recommended Ocean Avenue just as the sun started making it's way west. We drove along the ocean, passed mansion after mansion, and stopped on the side of the road to get one last look of Walker's Point from land. Knowing we had about an hour of sun left, we once again pulled into a parking lot just off of Cape Porpoise to walk the rocky coast and watch the sun go down.
Not much to say other than this was it. This hour, sitting together on this cliff, watching fisherman pull their lines in for the day, keeping Mila from getting too close to the edge, laughing at Cruz in Beau's shades, and watching the sun slip into the sky was just the way to end this trip away. I watched the golden sun on their little faces and did my best to breathe in as much ocean air as I could to last me through the year. It was a night we won't forget.
Not much else to report other than a long drive home. We decided on a whim to leave that night, packing up our things and hitting the road at 10:30 Friday night. It was the best decision we could have made. Rather than leaving Saturday morning, as we had planned to do, we had covered more than half of the 1300 miles home by 6:00 Saturday morning, and the kids slept straight from the time we left until 8:00 that morning. We drove and drove and drove, and made it home sweet home by dinner Saturday night. Home!