* Thank you to Visit Maine for sponsoring this trip!
I'll be honest, I'd been wanting to visit Maine (as in it was on my list), but leading up to this trip I was hitting a wall with all of our cold weather getaways. I kept telling Sam, "we need to go somewhere warm, with Sunshine, where I can sit my bum in the sand." I was somewhat reluctant to stuff my big Columbia jacket (that I love so much) into my suitcase yet again. When is the last time I even wore a swimsuit?
Anyway, all that to say I forgot ALL about my cold weather grumbles as soon we landed and climbed into bed at our first hotel with the anticipation of snowboarding the very next day. I was really excited that Sam was able to join me on this trip, praise the Lord, because these things are so much better when shared and also this was probably be our last time snowboarding this snow season! Side note: Isn't it funny that I married a Marine Biology major who prefers the mountains and snow over the beach? I die at the irony of this every time I think about it because I'm the opposite and my dreams of coastal / island life fade a little more each time I look at my pale face in the mirror. HAHAHA. I kid, I'll hold onto that dream forever.
MOVING ON. This trip to Maine was altogether adventurous, quaint, tasty, and too quick. Sam and I enjoyed one last hurrah down the slopes at Shawnee Peak, tasting our way through Portland, and relaxing by the sea on Cape Elizabeth (my FAVORITE obviously). We could have stayed so much longer and honestly hope to find our way back some summer or fall. So here's a look at our 3 Day Visit to Maine - A great getaway if you've been wanting to explore the Portland area.
Day 1: Ski Shawnee Peak & Stay at The Francis + Dinner in Portland
We woke up at The Francis ready for our first day in Maine! Our flight got us in past midnight, so we slept in in one of The Francis' cozy Historic King Rooms, walked across the street to grab some (really yummy) breakfast sandwiches from Tandem Coffee & Bakery, and then started our 44 mile (roughly 1 hour 10 minute) road trip to Shawnee Peak to do some snowboarding!
The Francis is a quaint Luxury Boutique Hotel located in downtown Portland, ME. The hotel was converted from a historic mansion to include 15 unique bedrooms, a restaurant AND a spa and is officially on the National Park Service's Registry of Historic Places.
The hotel is named after architect Francis Fassett who designed the brick home in 1881 and before that had helped design a new Portland, greatly influencing much of the neighborhood the hotel sits in as well as many other brick buildings around Portland after The Great Fire of 1866.
During our 2-night visit at The Francis, Sam and I stayed in one of their Historic Kings on the second floor! Our room highlighted one of the historical fireplaces no longer in use - but added a unique decorative warmth to our loft-like quarters. Another favorite was the mini bar!! It was stocked with numerous Maine goodies and refreshments, so we got into a few of those during our stay. And the bed was heavenly. Slept like a baby!
Shawnee Peak was a quick hour and ten minutes from our hotel in Portland. While it's not the biggest ski resort in Maine, it boasts the most night skiing in New England with 6 lifts to 19 trails! It's also one of Maine's favorite family-oriented ski resorts and the closest Maine mountain to the coast.
Sam and I enjoyed wide open, unpacked runs and a delicious lunch at Blizzards Pub on the top floor of the Base Lodge during our visit. Sam also convinced me to wear my Ski Obsess Impress Red Onesie despite having gained 8lbs since I was gifted it! If you know me, you know that's a huge accomplishment because I LOATHE wearing things that are too tight and constricting. BUT I'll admit it made for a much better photo op than my normal oversized stained 10 year old white ski pants and I actually really love the suit now.
Dinner at Eventide + Portland Dining Recommendations!
For dinner we walked 1.2 miles over to Eventide Oyster Co. (we could have taken a Lyft but I love any opportunity to walk around a new city), a tapas-style eatery with a menu that changes daily to accommodate seasonal and fresh classic New England fare.
We landed on Eventide because it was rated #1 on Yelp and was recommended to us by Visit Maine AND a friend! I'll be honest, we didn't realize it was tapas-style until we arrived so we were slightly taken aback by the portions to price ratio, however the two dishes we ordered were really good! We're always open to these local experiences and we were glad that we went, but equally as glad we'd eaten a big lunch that day and weren't particularly starving.
A Few Other Portland Dinner Recommendations compliments of Visit Maine:
Day 2: Old Port Culinary Walking Tour, Portland Museum of Art + Old Port Shops, Check-In to Inn by the Sea, Dine at Sea Glass
Our second morning in Portland was gray and rainy, the perfect kind of day for eating a lot of food!! The Old Port Culinary Walking Tour was easily one of my favorite things we did - I'd never done a food tour before and tasting our way around Portland was so much fun and really tasty! Afterward the rain had cleared so we walked over to the Portland Museum of Art and around town one last time before checking into the DREAMIEST escape on Cape Elizabeth, Inn by the Sea.
Old Port Culinary Walking Tour with Maine Foodie Tours
The Old Port Culinary Walking Tour took us on a leisurely 3 hour taste bud adventure to 6 different establishments on the streets of "Old Port."
Tours are $69/person and happen daily - rain, shine or snow! All food and beverage tastings are included in price.
During our tour we stopped at:
- Vervacious: We tried a variety of their spices on fresh Maine Lobster Mac and Cheese and a variety of their balsamics on some fruit! Our favorites were the Spicy Curry Finishing Salt (Which they were cols out of at the time because it's one of their most popular) and the Chocolate Balsamic (that we actually brought home with us!).
- Baristas + Bites: We each got to try an entire breakfast Sconewich with "Local cage-free egg, arugula, roasted tomato + sour cream Siracha on a bacon cheddar chive scone." My favorite bite of the entire food tour - it was SO good! Would definitely recommend this place even if you weren't taking the tour!
- Gritty McDuffs: "Maine's Original Brew Pub" where we did some beer tasting and snacked on their Scotch Deviled Eggs. Gritty's offers handcrafted ales, traditional pub fare, and entry into their Mug Club complete with a personal ceramic mug that is always waiting for you where it hangs above the bar and can earn you discounts on beer, food and merch!
- Cafe Crepe in the Public Market House: We tried the Pacific with smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and red onion - delicious! The fun part is you get to watch the crepe being made right in front of you!
- HiFi Donuts: Specialty Donuts made from Scratch Daily! Co-founder Melissa Selvon is the creative behind the donuts, using fresh and locally sourced ingredients to create their new and signature donut flavors. While there we tried the Honey Glaze, Honey Dip and HiFi French Cruller. They were all really good but I had my eyes on the Salted Chocolate and Boston Creme Filled! Their homemade Chai was also really good!
- Dean's Sweets: Last but not least we did some chocolate tasting! Among the chocolates, we tried the traditional Maine confection known as the Needham - made using Maine potatoes or in their case, Maine Cold River Vodka!
Portland Museum of Art + Old Port Shops & Stops!
After the food tour we were ready to walk off some of those delicious calories, so we stopped by Portland Museum of Art. If you love art, you'll love checking it out!
The museum had 3 levels of art and several different exhibitions going on while we were there..."with an extensive collection and nationally renowned exhibitions, the Portland Museum of Art is the cultural heart of Portland, Maine."
I like art but I prefer history museums (I love history!), so halfway through I was zipping past everything as Sam was actually taking it all in, haha. After I started getting impatient I had fun bothering Sam with my ridiculous interpretations of paintings and sculptures.
Other Shops & Stops in Old Port as recommended by Visit Maine:
- Sea Bags | Sea Bags are born as sails and transformed into nautically inspired totes and accessories.
- Edgecomb Potters | Beautiful Maine-made pottery creations.
- The Holy Donut | Known for imaginative donuts, made with Maine potatoes!
- Coffee by Design | The folks from here travel from Portland, Maine to farms around the world to find the
most distinctive beans, then roast every batch with care and precision.
Inn by the Sea
As soon as we checked in to Inn by the Sea we knew it was a special place! It's luxurious, it's charming, it's peaceful - not to mention pet friendly, eco-friendly and big into environmental preservation, and supporting local growers and craftspeople!
One of my favorite aspects was that the day we came in they had a new foster dog coming to live with them! They basically care for the dog, allow guests to interact with it, walk it and even adopt it into their loving homes! The property is very pet friendly, with dogs allowed almost everywhere except the dining room and they even have massages available for your fur babe! I LOVE that!
Inn by the Sea offers a variety of accommodations including Garden Suites, Spa Suites and Traditional Guest Rooms all at the Main Inn. And then they offer Cove Suites and newly constructed Beach Suites! We had the awesome opportunity of experiencing a two-bedroom Cove Suite and it was so luxurious and comfortable - I couldn't believe we only had one short night to soak it all up, but was soooo excited and thankful that we did!
To find out more about Inn by the Sea follow this link! And let me know when you're planning to go because I want to come with!! 🙂
Dinner at Sea Glass
Sea Glass is the restaurant located in the main building at Inn by the Sea. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch in a comfortable, artsy and intimate setting with great ocean views!
We enjoyed both dinner and breakfast at Sea Glass, with the Clam Chowder taking the cake as dinner favorite and my breakfast bagel dishing out some serious breakfast goals!
Day 3: Breakfast at Sea Glass, Visit Portland Head Light, Take a little Road Trip to Nearby Freeport, Kennebunkport or Ogunquit
This was our final morning in Maine so we enjoyed a long and lingering breakfast at Sea Glass that was phenomenal! I'd say their breakfast has their dinner beat. Then we packed up, checked out and drove 5 miles over to Portland Head Light - one of the oldest and most photographed Lighthouses in Maine! With our remaining few hours before the flight home we took a quick road trip to Ogunquit to shop and grab lunch!
Breakfast at Sea Glass
Visit Portland Head Light
Portland Head Light was stunning the day that we visited because the Ocean was wild. The waves had knocked out part of a road leading to the park and the waves at the park were crashing high above the fenced barrier by the Lighthouse where onlookers were getting drenched! It was a really pretty day with dramatic clouds that made the contrast of the crashing waves look so magical. It's no wonder this place is so highly photographed.
We would have loved to linger longer had it been a warm sunny day. There were trails all around to walk on and wide open spaces that would be perfect for a picnic with a view.
Road Trip to Ogunquit
Before leaving we wanted to check out a nearby Bay/Coastal Town so we drove an hour and so down to Ogunquit which I imagine to be much busier and more alive in the summer and fall. We were still able to enjoy some shops and a really delicious artisan pizza with homemade dough at Cornterstone! Note: need to come back for their seasonal Maine Lobster pizza.