We were a family of 6 and 2 dogs heading up to Bar Harbor ME for a holiday weekend getaway. We couldn't find any available houses on Airbnb so we decided to try vacation rentals.com. We found a perfect house for us! Diana Paine lists her home for visitors. The home had plenty of space, beds, seating areas, and many amenities. We especially loved being able to sit while listening to music on the sound system or playing the piano.
Our first nights dinner was at Mache Bistro. We ordered a variety of appetizers and my sister and I were thrilled with being able to order a small bottle of Veuve Cliquot (My favorite). Our appetizers consisted of the Vinter Board, Frisee Salad, Boquerones Bruschetta, and the Two Blues Board. I can't quite remember what everyone else ordered but Greg and I dined on the Slow Roasted Pork and the Slow Cooked Duck Confit Leg. Overall the friendly service, variety of flavors, and the well executed entrees made for a delicious evening.
After dinner we walked through town for dessert. Sadly my favorite ice cream shop CJ's Big Dipper didn't have their vegan and almond free ice creams ready yet. We went further down the main st and some of us got pastries and my amazing sister found chocolate ice cream for me made with coconut milk!
For breakfast we went to one of our favorites. Two Cats Restaurant has something for everyone. I always enjoy the corned beef hash. After breakfast we walked around the main street a bit. Popping into the shops.
Sadly I had a bad experience in one of my favorite stores. Inside A Little Mad not even 5 feet away from me the staff decided it was a good idea (while chatting to a local they knew) to make fun of tourists wearing Bar Harbor sweatshirts. I just happened to be wearing a Bar Harbor sweatshirt (the morning was cold and rainy and we were supposed to be going rock climbing so why not throw it on). I couldn't believe the nerve they had. Needless to say i put down the pieces of art and perfumes I was going to buy and left without spending a penny. I was also dismayed at their response on Tripadvisor. They reassured me that I misunderstood the employee and that while they were praised for being a store that didn't sell that typical merchandise they were friendly with other local shops that did. Did I fail to mention that we were a group of 6 adults who all heard it??? We continued on our way and purchased some local artisan products: gourmet olive oil, maple syrup, wooden kitchen bowls and more. There are so many wonderful shops in Bar Harbor so don't ever worry about having one bad experience.
On the way back to the car I stopped back into CJ's Big Dipper and they had several flavors of their soy ice cream. Their soy ice cream and smooth, creamy, and not overly sweet. On this occasion I enjoyed their vanilla with raspberry swirl. After shopping we all went back to the house and had some much need rest. It was so wonderful that we all got to just read, listen to music, take a nap, and enjoy each others company. It has been a very busy year for all of us and a rainy day in was just what we needed.
It was only 4 of us for dinner that evening and so we opted for a casual outing. We drove down the road to Mainely Meat BBQ at Atlantic Brewing Company. We found a table right away and while my dad went into the store to purchase some beer to bring home we ordered some drinks. For dinner we enjoyed pulled pork, ribs, coleslaw, potato salad, and beans. Delicious!!
The next morning we awoke to sunshine and warmer temperatures! After breakfast we drove up the road to Asticou Azalea Garden. We took our time experiencing all the nooks and cranny's the garden has to offer. There are so many beautiful flowers to look at, stunning settings for pictures, and an overall relaxing feeling.
For lunch we drove into Bar Harbor and opted for Peekytoe Provisions. We were able to get a table outside for the 6 us and the dogs. After finding a table we went inside to order. We ended up buying a couple bags of chips because the wait was going to be at least 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the food wasn't worth the wait. Items came out separately, incorrectly, and didn't hold up to their description.
Since it was finally a nice day we were looking forward to driving through Acadia National Park. Apparently so were the other tourists. We had a bit of traffic once inside. It didn't stop us from finding great viewing point nor parking spots to get out and wander.
Our last dinner in Bar Harbor was at Havana Restaurant. After walking to the back section of the property we were seated at a lovely table with a view of the wine room. To start our meal together we ordered the Spring Rolls, Braised Pork Belly, Mussels Borracho and the Vegetarian Mixed Grill. The bread basket was filled with warm and scrumptious bread (I couldn't enjoy it but everyone loved the cornbread) that we used to soak up the mussels broth as well as the aioli.
For entrees we ordered the Seafood Paella, Fish of the Day, Scallops, Flank Steak, Lobster Moqueca, and the Pork and Beans. The portion sizes were plentiful, seasonings were bold and yet not overpowering, and the temperatures were perfect. Havana was the perfect choice for our final dinner of vacation.
A couple of months ago my mother in law came for a visit and we had such a fun time together. It was so great to relax and have fun with one another. During her stay we mostly spent time unwinding but we did have a couple of outings.
We drove up the coastal route to Hampton Beach NH, Kittery ME, and Wells Beach ME and stopped in at Cape Neddick lighthouse. The weather however was awful! We have hardly any pictures because the minute we stepped outside the car we were caught in wind and rain. It definitely made for an interesting hair day!
We decided to eat out most of our meals during her stay just so we could enjoy our time and not have to worry about cooking or cleaning.
One day we stopped in at Eataly in Boston MA. We picked up a couple loaves of bread, proscuitto, salami, cheese, olives, and spreads. It made for a perfect light meal with some delicious wine.
One night we went to dinner with my parents to The Hardcover in Danvers MA. The Hardcover is an old school dark wood steakhouse. This type of restaurant isn't my usual style but my NY Sirloin was perfection!!
You can also check out my review of Gaslight in Lynnfield MA that we enjoyed during her stay.
Another visitor we had recently was my cousin from Ohio. My cousin was in town to go to Boston's Lamb Jam but we did get to spend some time sightseeing as well.
We first took a scenic route to Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester MA. The weather wasn't exactly beach weather but it was really nice to walking up the boardwalk onto the soft sand. We were able to take some pictures and catch a peek at some local surfers. We drove further up the road and parked in Rockport MA. We walked around, popped into a few shops, and my cousin purchased Greg's favorite....a baked clam to go.
After sightseeing it was lunch time and we decided to try My Place by the Sea. For drinks we ordered the Lemonade Chiller. While we thoroughly enjoyed the cucumber lemonade the idea of calling it a Mocktail so that they could charge $9.00 seemed ridiculous. Our entrees were fine. My salad was deconstructed due to my allergies however I think it was actually for the best. The description was "Warm Salad of Zucchini, Summer Squash, Tomato, French Olive, Feta & Basil with Grilled Spicy Shrimp." I ended up having the feta and pesto removed. The salad was bright and filling.
The morning of the Lamb Jam we went to my parents house for breakfast and then decided to go down to Newbury St in Boston. We walked around Newbury St a bit and went into Restoration Hardware to marvel at the buildings architecture.
This review is from October 2016.
Greg and I invited my parents on a 2 week road trip back to the Southwest US. Luckily my father has an over-sized SUV for the 4 of us plus Fred! Our road trip is a mix of silly road side attractions, awe inspiring national and state parks, various lodging types, and always delicious food! I'll write about our whole trip (the bad, the good, and the amazing) by writing a day by day diary!
This is roughly the route we took showing the main locations we stayed in. The miles we drove to different sights isn't included nor is Omaha NE our stay on the ride home.
Here are just a few pics from the upcoming posts!!
Playing Tourist in Massachusetts
In November we had family in town from Ohio. We had an extra large turkey who visited us on Thanksgiving (look familiar)? We did a little sightseeing and shopping around Salem. Salem can be unique and fun all year round not just at Halloween. Finally, we surprised my dad with a birthday party. We had a vintage candy table, wine bottles with his picture, and dined at an old school steak restaurant. In between all this we grabbed some good take out, poured some fun drinks, and played games as a family. What a wonderful long weekend!!
Before Christmas Greg and I spent a night in Boston. You can read about our stay at the Ames Hotel, our lunch at Haru Sushi, or our dinner at Bar Boulud. While walking around and shopping for Christmas gifts we got interviewed by students from a local college regarding the legalization of marijuana. We watched people ice skate on frog pond, watched the lights twinkle in Faneuil Hall , and wandered around taking in the views of the skyline.
During the Christmas break we had two of our teenage cousins visiting us from Colorado. We took them for lunch at Eataly and were lucky enough to purchase a black truffle. We took that truffle home and made risotto for the rest of the family. Before heading home we did shopping on Newbury Street for clothes and harry potter gear. Another day we walked through Boston to The Old North Church, Fanueil Hall, and the Holocaust Memorial. Our last tour of Boston was a Fenway Park Tour (more about this later), lunch at Sweet Cheeks, and a visit to Harvard.
Night out in Portsmouth NH
We joined friends for an overnight stay in Portsmouth NH. We wanted a fun night out, safe drinking, and delicious food!
Fairfield Inn Portsmouth NH
Clean room, friendly staff, shuttle into downtown every half hour from 5 to 10 pm. Easily accessible from highway and taxi from downtown. Complimentary breakfast (we only took part in the coffee though). Several guests seemed to be ill and spreading their germs in the breakfast area so we went on our way.
The Thirsty Moose
Lots of beers on tap! Delicious pumpkin beer with cinnamon sugar, Omegangan, Gluten Free beers, and more. We also needed some snacks while here so we enjoyed their french fries and their smoked chicken wings. The chicken wings have a sweet, salty, and smoky flavor and you can choose several sauces to accompany the dish. The favorite seemed to be the Siracha sauce.
Sadly, we were kind of let down by Brazo. The menu does offer gluten free choices (our reason for choosing it) but the menu as a whole is very small. In addition to this the sides that Brazo chose to accompany the main courses aren't very complimenting. It felt rather disjointed. Our food (Paella, Guava Pork, and Ahi Tuna) were good but definitely not memorable.
The highlight of the evening was the Blueberry Sorbet with Passion Fruit Sauce. This was utterly delightful and packed with flavor!
We love the Portsmouth Brewery for some delicious pub food but on this trip we were looking for just drinks. As usual the beers on tap were wonderful as were some mixed drinks. Our bartender made a delicious Tom Collins and some Chocolate Cake Shots.
The Friendly Toast
We arrived in between the breakfast rush and luckily didn't have a long wait. We were seated and brought over coffee right away. We love this restaurant for the fun atmosphere and delicious food! Sadly this restaurant doesn't have too many options for my dairy allergy. The eggs, potatoes, and vegan bagel they could offer me was delicious though! The gluten free pancakes were also delicious and great texture according to my friend.
Best concert of 2013
It feels rather odd to be saying this but the best concert I have been to this year was New Kids On The Block. The opening act was Boys II Men (which definitely shouldn't have been the opener). While I'm not a huge fan of there's the songs of the past were fun to hear and the group put on a terrific show. The middle act was 98 Degrees. I have never been a fan of 98 Degrees. I honestly didn't know one song by them. I'm also probably one of the few women in the world that isn't enamored by Nick Lachey lol.
Finally, 2 non-stop hours of New Kids On The Block. It was a killer time with old songs, new songs, covers, and a type of Block Party! My friend and I both had an extraordinary time!
I'm so excited for our fall trip. We will be venturing back to the Caribbean with friends. This trip came together so easily and at a great price. It was meant to be!
We will be flying to Florida with American Airlines, staying at the South Beach Marriott (for a pre-cruise night), and cruising on Celebrity Cruise Lines newest ship Reflection.
We aren't sure yet about our plans in Miami but so far I have been researching:
Sushi Samba - Restaurant
The Bazaar - Restaurant
Yardbird South Table & Bar - Restaurant
Scarpetta - Restaurant
Nobu - Restaurant
Ola - Restaurant
Miami Beach Chocolates - Chocolate shop with Dairy Free offerings
On Celebrity Reflection we have opted for an Aqua Class room. Here's a breakdown of the room amenities: Service
· Priority check-in
· Express luggage delivery
· Personalized Concierge service
· Priority disembarkation based on your travel needs
· Complimentary shoeshine service
· Access to the exclusive Concierge Class Pre-departure Lounge
· Our signature friendly, personalized service with a guest to staff ratio of nearly 2:1
· Twice daily service (makeup and turndown)
· Daily ice service in stainless steel ice buckets
· A Personal Spa Concierge to arrange AquaSpa® treatments
· Daily delivery of bottled water and tea
· Main and specialty restaurant seating time preferences
· Expanded room service menu
· 24 hour complimentary room service
· Private mini-bar*
· Interactive Samsung flat-screen television system to view and select shore excursions, order room service, and watch movies*
· Private safe
· Dual voltage 110/220AC outlets
· Welcome Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine Daily delivery of Afternoon Savories
· Fresh fruit
· Fresh flowers
· Personalized stationery
· Use of binoculars and golf umbrella
· Complimentary tote bag
· Custom blended bath products (shampoo, conditioner and lotion), shower cap, cotton balls
· Additional bathroom amenities, including shower gel, facial spray and lip balm
· Water/wine glasses
· Celebrity eXhale™ bedding featuring custom premium mattresses, plush duvets and pillows,
· Hair dryer
· Complimentary access to the Persian Garden and Relaxation Room
· Aromatherapy diffuser
· Pillow menu
· Additional bathroom amenities, including shower gel, facial spray and lip balm
· Plush Frette® bathrobes
· Oversized 100% cotton bath towels
· On-demand wellness programming including meditation and yoga
· Hansgrohe® Massaging showerhead
Here's a breakdown of the ship restaurants:
Main Restaurant - set times and any time dining (guarantees food allergy awareness)
Blu – Aqua Class / Suites
Mast Grill – Burgers (Bad for gluten allergy)
Oceanview – Buffet
Bistro on Five – Crepes / $5 pp (Doesn't seem great for gluten and dairy allergy)
Café Al Bacio – Coffee / Gelato $3/6
The Porch – Panini / $5 pp (Doesn't seem great for gluten and dairy allergy)
Tuscan Grill - $35pp
Qsine - $45 pp
Murano - $45 pp
Lawn Club - $40 pp
I'll post more as I keep researching :-)
Finally got out and about!
We went out for dinner with friends Saturday night and had an interesting time. I can no longer cheat with dairy so it's hard to eat at restaurants at times. On top of that, my friend is allergic to gluten, sesame, almond, and white potatoes. Combined we're difficult with a menu!
We found that Stella Blu in Nashua NH had a good looking gluten free menu and we opted to try the restaurant. Stella Blu offers Tapas from around the world. Everything started out great, the restaurant is cozy, presentation looked good, and the staff seemed nice. We ordered their Stella Blu signature drink (blueberry and prosecco), Greg found a great beer, Goose Island Matilda and Tom ordered his usual Old Fashioned. Unfortunately, the Gluten Free menu differed a bit from online menu. On top of the menu variance, almost everything at the restaurant contains dairy (whether the menu states it or not) and they didn't seem able to accommodate non-dairy requests.
The guys ordered the Wild Game Meatballs, Roasted Venison and Brussels Sprouts. We ordered the Pulled Pork (I couldn't eat the accompanying cornbread) and the Kobe Sliders. The Kobe Sliders arrived and they had cheese on them even though or waiter knew I had a dairy allergy. Robyn's Sliders came with sesame seeds on the buns so that was out for her too. $120 later the meal was done and I was starving (I ate a bite of pulled pork and one slider); as was Robyn. The guys enjoyed their dishes but would have ordered more if they could have accommodated our dietary needs.
We decided to go for 2nd dinner and walked up the street to Surf. Surf is a delicious seafood restaurant. The decor is beachy with a touch of class, the staff are great, and food is very tasty. We had a short wait (they don't take reservations) so we headed to the bar. The guys ordered draft beers, I ordered a Key Lime Martini, and Robyn ordered a drink which I can't remember the name but included whiskey, and apple foam. All were outstanding (it was called a Johnny Appleseed).
We headed to our table and, once seated, ordered the Scallops seared with coffee and coriander. Our waitress was easily able to accommodate my allergy by putting the sweet potato puree on the side. The Scallops were cooked beautifully and the crust wasn't overpowering. For entrees Tom ordered the Portuguese Seafood Stew - he highly recommends it and Robyn ordered the Scallop appetizer from the main menu. Greg ordered the Shrimp Vindaloo (I had a taste and it was flavorful without too much heat). I ordered the Bamboo Steamed Shrimp which was perfect with hints of lemongrass and ginger. After a disappointing dinner at Stella Blu we were all thankful to Surf for offering amazing food, great drinks, and a large variety of options for everyone.
Whenever the four of us get together we have a great time and make the best of any situation we come across.
Shopping on Newbury Street Part 2
Here are a couple of the shops that I noticed on Newbury Street (Boston MA) and didn't have a chance to visit. I'm hoping to hit up a few of these on our next venture into the city.
Second Time Around
Sabatino and Co
Delicious in Boston
3 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116
I just posted a new review about these delightful morsels!
Oliviers & CO
161 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116
Oils, Vinegars, and Condiments. I absolutely love Oliviers & Co for several of their products. One of our favorite dishes is Pasta with Tuscan Kale. I top this dish with the Lemon Olive Oil from O&Co. I also love their Premium Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. The Vinegar is rich, sweet, and has the perfect amount of tartness.
141A Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116
If you are like me and appreciate a finely crafted piece of chocolate than you must visit Hotel Chocolate. The staff are knowledge and seem as though they might be foodies themselves. The variety of chocolates is astounding, I could spend forever reading the details of each one. Once you taste the smooth chocolate with depth of flavors you will always want to buy from Hotel Chcolate.