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We usually don't do too much for the 4th of July but my family was going to be up in Portland Maine so we joined in on the fun!
We had a reservation at the pet-friendly Hilton Garden Inn Portland Airport hotel. Check-in was friendly and easy. We met up with the rest of our group and enjoyed a couple of cocktails on the patio and chatted with another guest. Our room was clean and in a good location however it did have a bit of a mildew smell. My parent's room on the 2nd floor was fine but my sister's room had a similar smell so I don't know if it's just older air conditioners or something about the 1st floor.
For dinner, we drove and parked in town and decided to eat at Solo Italiano. We ordered a bunch of plates and ate family style. The octopus could have been a little more charred for my taste but everything else was delicious. Our steak dish was the highlight thanks to the tenderness and flavor.
The next morning we went into town for breakfast. We ordered juices from Blake Orchard Juicery. Then I made my way to The Holy Donut for a couple of vegan donuts!
After breakfast, we met up with my parents and went for a ride to Portland Head Lighthouse. On the way back to Portland we stopped into the hotel to check out of our room and move our stuff into my parent's room so we could hang out for a couple more hours. In Portland, we did some shopping and enjoyed lunch at the Flatbread Company. Their patio has great views and is pet-friendly! My vegan pizza and lemonade were definitely satisfying!
After lunch, the three of us hopped in the car and made our way home!
Monday morning we packed up our belongings and left Bar Harbor early to try and avoid some of the holiday traffic home.
This post was rather difficult for me to write. In June we had a lovely little getaway with Porscha and my parents. Unfortunately, an experience we had at lunch stayed with me for the rest of the weekend and still causes me sadness. Portland Maine is a wonderful city, filled with sights, restaurants, hotels, and good people. We will definitely visit again and still recommend it to you.
We checked into the Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront. Only one of our 2 rooms was ready but that was fine. We booked a king bed room for my parents and a double queen room for us and Porscha. We brought up our luggage and settled in Fred. My mother and Fred were hot and tired so they decided to relax at the hotel while we went out for a drink and some lunch.
Vena's Fizz House is a gem! The staff, store selections, and beverages are all wonderful. The 4 of us sat at a hightop and ordered a mixture of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. We did order a snack but the staff forgot about (we were probably better off without it anyway).
We ended up bringing lunch back to the hotel for my mother and all hung out together for a little while. Once the weather cooled down we went shopping and enjoyed a nice stroll through the city. Back at the hotel, we weren't able to sit in the bar area with Fred but the wonderful bartender said he would bring us drinks into the lobby area (where Fred was allowed to be). The front desk staff also offered to turn on the fireplace for us to enhance the ambiance. A Shirley Temple for Porscha, wine for my mother, and Manhattans for the rest of us were all perfectly made.
For dinner, we opted to order food to go and watch a movie together. My dad and Greg walked up to The Thirsty Pig to pick up the order we called in. My favorite items from the Thirsty Pig are Matt's BBQ Banh Mi, Icelandic Hot Dog, and the Potato Salad. For a casual, balanced, and delicious hot dog or sausage definitely try The Thirsty Pig.
The next morning we woke up early and walked around Portland and enjoyed the quiet. For breakfast, my parents popped over to Standard Baking Co but we headed to The Holy Donut (yay vegan donuts). Porscha is also obsessed with cannoli's so of course, she loves the holy donut's cannoli donut!
After checking out of the hotel we headed back to Kittery Maine. We stopped into When Pigs Fly Bakery once more for a loaf of sliced sourdough bread to enjoy during the week. Luckily, traffic was light and we made it the rest of the way home easily.
On Saturday morning we woke up early, dropped Fred off at my parent's house, and headed north to Portland ME for the day. We're obviously creatures of habit because whenever we head to Maine our first stop is in Kittery ME. Kitttery is probably best known for their outlet shopping. We stopped into Starbucks for coffee, tea, and my matcha lemonade. At 10:00 we popped over to When Pigs Fly Bakery and purchased some bread. I opted for the raspberry, blueberry lemonade bread while Porscha chose the apple cinnamon bread.
Back in the car we munched on our bread and finished our drive to Portland. As we were nearing the Portland Head Lighthouse we started to notice a lot of foot traffic. Once we pulled into the parking lot we realized that it was the family fun day. Somehow we were lucky and scored a parking spot right at the lighthouse! If we hadn't found that spot Greg would have had to drop me off and park pretty far away due to the crowds and activities.
The weather was absolutely perfect for walking around the grounds, taking photographs, and watching the ocean. Sadly, with my foot in a boot, I'm pretty limited and we had plenty of walking to do in downtown so we cut our visit a little short.
Walking around downtown Portland we popped into Vena's Fizz House for some adult beverages (mocktail for Porscha). We chose a high top table rather than the bar so I would have somewhere to put my foot. Man, this boot is a pain! The owner came over to welcome us and we chatted about how we briefly met him years ago during a visit to Portland. We were reminiscing how at that time they didn't serve alcohol and how we loved the inventive flavor combinations. We ended up ordering a virgin Blackheart, Grandma's Bourbon, and I wish I could remember the name of my drink! We enjoyed the cool vibe of the bar, the air conditioning, and the delicious drinks!
For lunch, we decided to visit The Honey Paw. We opted for 3 seats at the bar and our server brought over waters and took our drink orders. Here's where we over ordered! We decided to try the lobster wontons, the chicken wings, and the fried oyster ssam appetizers. The lobster wontons were tender and came in a savory broth. The oyster ssam was bold, crispy, and also came with delicious kimchi. The chicken wings are unique, crispy, and a great mix of sweet and savory. For entrees, Porscha and I ordered the ramen while Greg opted for the banh mi.
I'll start off by saying that I did enjoy my ramen and others will like it. I'm pretty particular with ramen and I would have preferred my egg to be cooked longer. I also felt the noodles were on the thick side for a ramen. Both Porscha and Greg enjoyed their dishes and we were full. On the way out I popped into the women's restroom and I just loved the natural looking sink. Very cute touch!
We wandered around Portland a little more looking for some unique pieces of clothes for the fall. Before leaving the city we grabbed a dessert to go at The Holy Donut. I ordered the vegan lemon and triple berry donuts while Greg and Porscha ordered a variety. The donuts are cake-like donuts (made with potato), aren't overly sweet, and are topped with delicious frostings. The lemon donut was a bit tart but still delicious.
The drive home was pleasant and hardly any traffic. We picked up Fred, finalized plans for Father's Day, and then headed home to relax.
Sunday morning we were ready to try somewhere new for breakfast. We decided to try Project Social. Our party of 6 were the first table of the morning and were given a high top. We all ordered coffee which was fine for me but others found it to be a bit too strong (slightly bitter). For entrees we ordered the Basic Breakfast, 3 Pork Belly Benedicts, 2 Brussels Sprouts Hash, a Classic Crepe, and an Apple Crepe.
My pork belly benedict was delicious. The pork was tender, the eggs runny, and the bread thick and crusty. The basic breakfast with blueberry sausage was also enjoyed.
Unfortunately, a few dishes weren't what we hoped they would be. When we hear hash we think of crisp, browned, and melded. The brussels sprouts hash offered boiled brussels sprouts, large chunks of potatoes, and topped with an egg. The dish wasn't visually appealing, nor satisfying. The apple crepe was also not to our liking. The filling states roasted apples however they tasted as if they were poached in wine. The flavor combination was tart and unappealing.
Our breakfast was split 50/50 and so I would try the restaurant again but I would probably return to try out their dinner menu.
While we were at lunch Fred was resting at the house. We picked him up and decided to drive around Acadia National Park again. We ended up driving through the whole park stopping for pictures all along the way. The scenery was beautiful and we were nice and relaxed.
Monday morning we all woke up early and finished packing. Before leaving the house we stripped the beds, piled up the towels, wiped down the kitchen, and took out the trash. On our way out of town we stopped for breakfast to go. Thrive Juice Bar & Kitchen offers juices, smoothies, bowls, as well as snacks. I opted for the Quinoa Beach Bum Bowl (minus banana and adding in strawberry). The fruit was fresh and flavorful however I don't think they rinse their Quinoa before cooking as it had a bitter taste.
Greg chose the PB&J Smoothie which he enjoyed. I did have an impulse buy at the register. I ended up adding 2 vegan peanut butter cookies to my order. Back in the car we ventured south with all the other cars. We did hit traffic home but the 4 hour drive ended up being only 5 hours. Not too shabby!
Another successful family getaway in Bar Harbor! Looking forward to next year!!
Whenever family visits we try to take them all around New England. This time we had my grandmother, my eleven year old cousin who visits often, and my twelve year old cousin who has never traveled before.
The first day trip we took was to Rockport, MA. You can read all about that in the previous blog post.
Next up was Mini Golf and Ice Cream. We ventured to Middleton, MA to visit Richardson's Ice Cream and for a round of Mini Golf. Richardson's has a large variety of flavors as well as some Dairy Free Sorbets.
Our third day trip was to Taza Chocolate Factory in Somerville, MA. Taza creates Mexican style chocolates in a variety of flavors and bars. The tour takes you from start (the plants) to finish (the packaging of bars and discs). Along the way you are able to taste their chocolate discs, chocolate bars, and cocoa nibs. When the tour finishes you are able to walk around their shop. Here you will find all of their products, products from other companies that include Taza Chocolate, as well as other goods.
Our fourth day trip was to Kittery, ME. We did a little outlet shopping: Crate and Barrel, Cooking supplies, Yummies Candy, etc. We then enjoyed some lunch at When Pigs Fly Pizzeria. You can read that review here. Before heading home for the day we drove up the road to Cape Neddick (Nubble lighthouse) and also were able to watch some surfers along York Beach.
Below are some photos from our staycation. Stay tuned for Summer Fun Part 2.
A New Review is up for Bob's Clam Hut in Kittery, ME. This past weekend we went up to Kittery for lunch and also to stop in at Yummies Candy Store. I am creating wedding favors for my cousin and this is the best place to shop for candy.
Some of our other favorite things to do are:
Head to York Beach for some fun in the sun, boogie boarding, kite flying, and picnicking.
Visit Nubble Lighthouse and enjoy the scenery and maybe an ice cream.
Outlet shopping in Kittery. They offer everything from clothes to camping goods. With Brands like Adidas, Coach, Crate and Barrel, Yankee Candle and more.