Our first family getaway to Portland, Maine: Where we beached, shopped, dined and stayed with our 3-month old
Jake and I decided to head up to Maine for the fourth of July and spend some time away from the city for our 2nd Anniversary. Jake spent his childhood summers in Wells and we spent the days following our wedding in Kennebunkport and Portland two summers ago. So needless to say, we love Maine. If you've never been, it's a quick drive from Boston, you don't have to fight Cape traffic and it's a beautiful state with a generous coastline. Portland especially has some great food and to me, Maine is everything New England. This is by no means to full guide—just my recommendations for a couple days in Portland.
Going to Portland was our first out-of-state, over-night trip with the baby! Nikko is now 15 weeks and at this point, very alert and curious! He is also somewhat on a schedule so we felt like we could explore the city without being overwhelmed or stop often for frequent feedings. We packed up our essentials, creature comforts and just a couple outfits, and were on the road by 8am Monday morning. In case your wondering, Nikko's creature comforts: Fischer-Price Newborn Rock 'n Play, Dohm Sound Machine and his Angel Dear Lovie Blankie—the three main things he needs to fall asleep!
We made it up without a stop and decided to head straight for the beach! Jake had mapped out a couple spots for us to check out including a beach just south of Portland, Crescent Beach, in Cape Elizabeth. Nikko's first beach experience was a success (yay!) and besides the ice cold water, he loved dipping his toes in the sand! The next 48 hours would be the perfect mini getaway hitting up our favorite shops (coffee included), discovering some new views of the ocean and eating at some of our favorites . . . all at our own pace.
Here's our 2-day trip and the places I'd love to share:
8:00a Portland bound!
10:00a First stop: Crescent Beach State Park (ample parking, per person admissions, kids under 5 are free at all Maine State Parks, nice facilities) In preparation for Nikko's first beach trip, I snagged an inexpensive beach tent on sale at Target and a little hat (also on sale) at Janie & Jack. I had found this Honest Co. swim diaper at Marshalls a while back and a long sleeve cover by Tea for 50% off at Mockingbird—all great things I'm glad we had for the babe!
1:30p By this time we had caught some rays and our stomachs were calling for lunch—lobster to be exact. We had a couple recommendations for lobster rolls in Cape Elizabeth and ended up choosing Bite Into Maine Truck at Fort Williams Park. The recommendation did not disappoint! These lobster rolls were hands down the best lobster rolls I've ever had. Order from five equally delicious styles and take your lobster-filled tray and find yourself a picnic bench under the old trees or walk the cliff. You'll get a great view of the coast. P.S. The hubby stood in the moderate to long time while Nikko finished his nap and fed. He's the best.
3:00p We headed downtown and checked in at The Press Hotel, an Autograph Hotel by Marriott. The staff was friendly and took notice of the screaming baby in the back seat. At last, we settled into our room and took a family nap.
6:00p What next? Shops on Exchange: You'll find the most adorable clothes, accessories and gifts at Little and you'll hop over to Bliss Boutique (same owners) for something for you!
7:00p It wasn't too long before our bellies were rumbling again. Eventide Oyster Co.'s wait was unrealistic with Nikko so we popped over next door to Honey Paw and they took us in 15 minutes. The food was amazing. The dishes were sweet, spicy and delicious and the service was great. And since we had been to Eventide before, I was glad we had dinner here.
8:15p Since we declined the dessert menu at Honey Paw, we grabbed a ice cream cone on our way back to the hotel but detoured towards the wharfs for a quiet stroll before hitting the sack for a decent bedtime.
9:15a Jake requested to take a walk around the block before sitting for breakfast . . .
9:45a We decided to try breakfast at Union, The Press Hotel's restaurant by Chef Josh Berry. It was great. I loved it's interior and the menu had a little bit of everything. We often take turns holding Nikko when we're out eating to give the other some time to enjoy their meal. This works for us and we like that we get to interact with him vs. being in his Bjorn or car seat all the time.
11:15a Jake walked with Nikko to get a coffee at Bard Coffee while I hit up Blanche & Mimi across the street. Blanche & Mimi is one of my favorites. It's a great little shop around the corner from The Press Hotel packed with Brimfield finds combined with new product, great gifts, home accents and a sweet little baby corner in the back. I picked up some antique silverware, two Go Gently Nation pieces for Nikko, a candle and hook for our kitchen. They also have reclaimed light fixtures from boats which were awesome and great for bathrooms!
12:45p We hopped in the car and took a short drive south to Scarborough Beach State Park (parking, admissions, life guards, snacks, out houses) which proved to be another great beach! We ended up meeting a sweet women who had met her husband on the beach over 30 years ago who's the head lifeguard.
5:00p We headed back to the city and b-lined it forEventide Oyster Co. for a late lunch / early dinner. The oysters are a must but Jake was craving a burger and my taste buds were craving a fish sandwich. This was maybe the second time (if not the first) I've ever ordered fried fish on a bun but it was delicious! We also shared the asparagus salad and clam chowder—one of the best we've ever had. Light, tasty, whole clams, a piece of thick cut bacon and seaweed for a little added flavor. We opted for their ice cream sandwich to-go and enjoyed it in the hotel room while we chilled out and Nikko took his record-breaking nap (10 hours!)
8:30p After a little downtime and washing up, we walked to Eastern Promenade along the north coast of Portland's East End where they were having a fourth of July celebration . . . food, music and fireworks at 9:45. It was the perfect night. We arrived sans a blanket but the beautiful view of the inlet, all the twinkling lights of the boats that had pulled in for the show along with the sounds of the Portland Symphony Orchestra were enough to keep all of us happy! Surprisingly, Nikko slept through entire thing—a very explosive fireworks show and all! Note: He's a pretty light sleeper and wakes up bright-eyed for just about anything.
10:30p We headed back to the hotel and enjoyed the evening in their cozy lobby, typed a letter on their old typewriter, and called it a night!
8:45a With not much time before we had to get back to the city, we decided to have breakfast again at The Press Hotel's restaurant, Union. It was good, easy, and convenient, so why not? I highly recommend the detox smoothie and red flannel hash with beets—delicious! Of course you should order the avocado toast, vanilla brioche french toast and the smoothie bowl, too! Another suggestion for breakfast is Hot Suppa down Congress Street.
9:45a By mid morning, we had the car packed and ready to go. I popped into Folly 101, a store I had never been to (also a block from The Press Hotel) and grabbed some last minute finds. A great shop for kitchen wares, linens, gifts and home storage pieces. Then we quickly walked over back to Bard Coffee so Jake could get his decaf ice latte for the road!
Of course we wanted to stay . . . "Another beach day?" I asked Jake. Not in the cards for us this time but we left very content and happy that our first mini getaway with Nikko was smooth sailing.
OK. Yes, we got lucky. Very lucky. Nikko was awesome. He either slept in the car, in his car seat or in our arms while we were out. He took lots of cat naps at the beach and we fed him when it was time. If you're wondering how we did it, I'm nursing in the morning (first feeding of the day) and only pumping twice a day now. And while we waited for our table at Eventide on Day 2, we (and by "we" I mean Jake!) fed Nikko in the car. It worked out perfectly. Otherwise we were feeding him at dinner or at the beach or in the parking lot. He's on a 4 to 5 hour feeding schedule drinking 4.5 to 5 ounces. And we are pretty rigid about it so that we can go about life and plan ahead for his feedings. It's given us some freedom and allowed us to feel in control.
Happy Summer! Would love to hear your travel stories with or without babes!
MORE shopPING & EATING
In addition to what I've mentioned above . . . Portland Dry Goods, K. Colette, More & Co., Shift, Judith, Bliss Boutique, Maps (where they serve grilled cheese, beer and cake!), The Holy Donut, Portland Hunt & Alpine Club, Central Provisions (for the craft brew drinkers, Duckfat, Hot Suppa, Two Lights Lobster Shack