In late July, the Engineer and I took our first child-free trip and spent a few days in Maine. (I highly recommend being child-free for a few days! Also, a big tahk-you to my parents for watching the boys while we relaxed.)
We had to scramble at the last minute to find accommodations for our first night, since our original plans fell through (with just a bit over 24 hours’ notice). It wasn’t easy, because it was during what some hotel owners refer to as “peak high season”, but in the end we booked the last room at the Wells Moody Motel. It turns out it was a perfectly nice room at a good price point for us, so I recommend the place! It’s also close to the beach (a half-mile walk, though we ended up driving because of the heat wave). Wells is just north of Ogunquit and slightly less expensive (you’re welcome). We went for a swim before dinner, and the water was even colder than we had imagined. We managed to stay in the ocean by making a contest of it, and it had been a really long time since we’d laughed that hard! So it was fun, and yet, not that pleasant. Actually, the rising tide and the freezing cold water made us glad we hadn’t come with our small kids, even though it’s a family-friendly spot. We ended up spending as much time in the hotel pool, but without screaming with every wave!
When we went out for dinner, we quickly realized that it was going to be harder than we thought. We were driving south on Post Road towards Ogunquit, but restaurants were getting full and one turned us away (because they refused to fill any more 2-tops that night), others we called didn’t even bother picking up, and traffic was bumper-to-bumper already. So we made a quick decision and pulled in to Food For Thought, getting one of the last tables on the patio. And it was exactly what we wanted. The ambiance was pleasant, we had friendly service, and the food was great. I had the most perfect burger (with charred heirloom tomato, Vidalia bacon jam, and smoked cheddar), while the Engineer had lobster poutine, and we split the amazing donut bread pudding for dessert.
The next day, we went to Ogunquit, left the car at the parking lot on Cottage Street, and walked to the Marginal Way, a path that stretches along the coastline for 1 ¼ miles. It is paved and relatively easy to walk, and you get the most beautiful views along the way! (More info here.)
We also strolled through Perkins Cove before making our way back, then strolling some more through Ogunquit. And guess who had vegan soft serve ice cream at The Scoop Shack! I tasted the maple blueberry, but it was watery and not sweet enough for me, so I went with the mango pineapple coconut.
We stayed in Scarborough that night, very close to the beach, but went to Portland for dinner. I had of course read Bon Appétit’s feature on Portland last year, but since I don’t like seafood, descriptions of many of the best restaurants left me indifferent. However, I have other sources (see here and here, in French), so we went to The Honey Paw. It would not be kid-friendly, because there are only very tall chairs, but we were on a kid-free vacation, so who cares? Don’t miss the fry bread with ssamjang butter (so good!) and the pork and crab with fried noodles (or any noodles, really). Sadly, the only dessert they had was ice cream – no lactose-free options. The famous Eventide is right next door, and there are multiple bakeries and breweries in the area. FYI, there’s a Hampton Inn right in the middle of the action for all the foodies out there – we’ll keep it in mind for the future.
The next morning, after walking on the beach in the rain with blessedly cooler temperatures, we drove back to Portland and made sure to go to Tandem Bakery on Congress. My thick slice of banana bread topped with black sesame was heaven! The Engineer had a loaded biscuit with jam and butter that was absolutely delish. We then walked around Portland for a few hours, mostly on Congress Street. (Special mention to The Green Hand Bookshop, which not only happened to have a very nice second-hand copy of the next book I wanted to read, but where I also could have spent hours browsing. Also, Maine Craft had some really nice stuff, and there were so many wonderful small shops all around… I really miss neighborhoods like that in my everyday life.)
When we’d had our fill (and our parking time was about to run out), we went to Cape Elizabeth to see Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in Maine. The lighthouse itself isn’t accessible, but there’s a neat museum where we had time to stop and read every single explanation because, again, no kids. We had a bite to eat at Bite Into Maine and chilled at a picnic table overlooking the ocean – I started reading the book I had bought earlier that day, and it was perfect. We spent the night at an Airbnb in Windham and drove home the next day.