“I want to eat a lobster roll from Maine” my boyfriend Brad stated as we talked about the places we wanted to visit, sights we wanted to see, and good eats we wanted to savor.

For Brad, exploring Maine and experiencing his first authentic lobster roll were high on his list. Having never been to Maine nor eaten a lobster roll myself, it sounded pretty good to me, too.

“Then let’s go!”

With a little bit of planning and recommendations from friends, we made our way up the cost of Maine for amazing views (hello fall and your gorgeous foliage!), a lobster roll or two, and quite a few adventures!

We spent a lot of time in downtown Portland exploring the local lighthouses and eateries.  We were pleasantly surprised that there was so much more to see (and really good places to eat) in Portland than we expected.

Below are a bunch of photos from some of our favorite places.  We enjoyed Maine so much that we know we’ll go back!  Is there somewhere in Maine that you love that we missed and need to add to our list for next time?  I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments!



Bug Light-Portland Breakwater Lighthouse

Use to the much larger lighthouses dotting the North Carolina Outerbanks, Bug Light was definitely the smallest lighthouse we’d even seen!  Despite its small stature, this little guy allowed for a great view of Casco Bay with a variety of boats passing by. It was also a quick 15 min drive from downtown Portland.

Brad’s mom is into painting rocks so we picked up a few “souvenirs” to bring back with us. 🙂


Smiling Hill Farm

Just outside of downtown Portland is Smiling Hill Farms, a cute dairy farm that’s been family-owned for 12 generations!  We decided to stop by for a change of scenery from downtown and to eat ice cream.  Well, mostly to eat ice cream. 😉

The baby cows were so cute!

We made friends during our visit to the farm, too, which was no surprise since we were willing to share our ice cream.  HAHA!

How awesome is that Stop sign??  HA!


Peaks Island

We learned about Peaks Island while dining next to a group who had just finished their bicycle tour of the small island.  Intrigued, we decided to check it out ourselves!  With surprisingly lovely weather for a fall day, we boarded a ferry and took a 20min ride across Casco Bay to the quaint, small-town-feel island.

Since we didn’t have a lot of time to explore, we decided to rent a golf cart to check out the island vs. renting bikes. For $20 we rented a golf cart and we were off!

There are cute handmade signs on the roads directing you where to go as you make a big loop around the island.

Can we just talk about this view for a minute? So amazing! I highly recommend a picnic lunch and taking time to soak up the scenery!

Someone was selling honey on the honor system. Does it get any more charming than that?! 🙂

Along the shore of one of the beaches are hundreds of stone sculptures built by visitors and island residents.


Fort Williams & the Portland Head Light

Another stop on our trip was Fort Williams and the Portland Head Light.  First lit in 1791, the Portland Head Light offers spectacular views of the Casco Bay and is next door to Fort Williams. We had a gorgeous and sunny day to explore both!

The forts at Fort Williams reminded us of the forts and barracks of our very own beloved Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA.

When I say the views of Casco Bay were amazing, I wasn’t kidding!  The coastlines that we came across were rocky unlike the sandy beaches back home in VA.


Since the initial purpose of our visit to Maine was to sink our teeth into our first lobster roll, we set our sights on three highly-rated restaurants based on recommendations from the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” as well as the recommendations from Eater for the “17 Essential Maine Lobster Rolls.”  Throughout our trip, we checked out The Clam Shack, Bob’s Clam Hut, and Susan’s Fish and Chips.  We also squeezed in a visit to the local’s favorite spot for donuts. Suffice it to say we weren’t disappointed. 🙂

The Clam Shack

From what we learned, there are two main types of lobster rolls: Those served on a hamburger bun or roll with mayo and/or butter and the lobster is in large, whole pieces or the lobster roll is on a hotdog style roll cut down the middle and the lobster is cut into pieces and tossed in a light mayo-type dressing.  The Clam Shack served their lobster rolls in the former style, with large chunks of lobster, butter, and mayo on a delicious roll.

We ordered two lobster rolls and clam strips. At $20 a roll it was a splurge for lunch, which was understandable since it was lobster. The lobster was sweet and tender, and the locally-baked roll was so good I could have eaten it all by itself! After we enjoyed our lunch by the Kennebunk River, and with a constant line to order the entire time we were there, we understood why it was such a popular place!


Bob’s Clam Hut

Our second lobster roll was at Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, Maine. Also boasting a line to order, the cashier at Bob’s warmly welcomed us as we ordered a lobster roll and fried whole-belly clams.

Our lobster roll was served hot dog bun style, with the lobster cut into smaller pieces and tossed in a light, sweet dressing. Definitely different from the lobster roll we ate at The Clam Shack, it was good and we enjoyed it.

Even better than the lobster roll was our basket of fried whole-belly clams. Back in VA we’re use to eating clam strips, which are slices of clam fried golden brown without the belly. A whole-belly clam is just as it sounds: the whole clam is fried including its belly. Whole-belly clams are a bit more chewy and squishy than clam strips and have more of a sea taste to them. We ate the entire basket of whole-belly clams and would order them again!


Susan’s Fish & Chips

Unassuming and unpretentious was our last stop for seafood at Susan’s Fish and Chips in Portland, Maine. Definitely a hole-in-the-wall, Susan’s may not be much on the eyes but more than makes up for it in its dishes!  This time we skipped the lobster roll and opted for the seafood platter.  With fried haddock, scallops, shrimp, and clams the seafood platter was more than enough for two people to split and was deliciously good!  This was easily one of our favorite meals during our entire trip.


The Holy Donut

Known for its donuts made out of Maine potatoes, we stopped in for our daily dose of sugar and carbs at The Holy Donut!  Our favorite was the bacon cheddar filled donut. 🙂


 The Penobscot Narrows Observatory

We planned a day at Acadia National Park in Ann Arbor and on our way there came across this neat bridge and observatory (and amazing views!).



Acadia National Park

If you’re ever in Maine and are planning your itinerary, add Acadia National Park to your list and budget AT LEAST an entire day there! A pass is $25 to access the Park and that pass is good for 7 days. There is plenty to see and it’s worth it to take your time! We planned to spend the entire day there, but due to issues with our hot water at our AirBnB, we got a late start and rushed to see as much as we could in half a day. We’ll be back, Acadia, that’s for sure! 🙂

Jordan Pond

One of our favorite spots in Acadia was Jordan Pond. The views were spectacular and it’s a perfect location for a picnic lunch and photo op!

Right next to Jordan Pond is the Jordan Pond House Restaurant where you can sample their famous popovers, which are light and airy rolls served with butter and jam.  If you’re tight for time, we’d recommend skipping the Pond House and just exploring the Pond. You won’t be disappointed!


 

Our first trip to eastern Maine was one for the books and we’ll definitely be back!

Is there somewhere in Maine that you love that we missed and need to add to our list for next time?  I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN AN IMAGEBACK TO TOPCONTACT ME
  • Dianna - Looks like a GREAT trip! Thanks for sharing it and your beautiful photos. We’ve been to Maine a couple of times, once with Brad’s parents!ReplyCancel

    • amber@amberlrichards.com - Thanks for the blog love, Dianna! 🙂 Maine was definitely charming and we were surprised how much we enjoyed our trip! 🙂 It sounds like there are plenty of places still to be explored so I have a feeling we’ll be back. 😉ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - Amber…how fun that you guys took a trip to Maine!
    Maine is definitely one of my top places to visit. I have family that lives in York Beach, ME. I went there almost every summer growing up and we still go and take Joel now. We love Bobs Clam Hut! I’m glad y’all tried it!
    If you go back, you should definitelymake stops in Ogunquit and York Beach. Ogunquit has a walking trail called Marginal Way and it’s beautiful coastal scenery with a lighthouse and the rocky coastline. In York Beach, you must visit Nubble Light and get ice cream at Dunne’s Ice Cream(it’s the best ice cream I’ve ever had). Also, visit Short Sands beach and Long Sands beach at York Beach and go for a walk. It’s beautiful. Visit the Goldenrod at Short Sands beach it’s been there since the late 1800s and they make fresh salt water taffy daily(they call them kisses and once you have them, you won’t eat any other taffy ever!!)
    Not sure when you went to Kittery to eat at Bobs, if you went to the Kittery Trading Post, but if you didn’t than it’s a must stop. Also, about 10 minutes from Kittery right on the ME/NH border there is a reaturaunt called Newicks on the water. It’s a dive but the fresh seafood is seriously so good!
    Anyways, I know that was long winded and a lot of info. If you ever make your way back up to New England and have any questions let me know. I’ve been going to ME, NH and MA my whole life.ReplyCancel

    • amber@amberlrichards.com - Hey Carrie! I had no idea you had family and so much history with Maine! Based on your and other’s comments, it sounds like we have a lot more exploring to do, HA! Thank you for ALL of the recommendations. They will definitely be added to our list for next time! Especially Dunnes and Newicks. We love a good dive (And ice cream, HA!)! 🙂ReplyCancel

This May I visited Colorado on a business trip and squeezed in some personal adventures after hours.  To recap, Part 1 included a hot air balloon ride, which was AMAZING and highly recommended if you’ve never been on one!

Here I’ll share Part 2 of my trip which included a few of my favorite things: savoring a cold beer at local craft brewery Avery Brewing Co. , hiking Boulder’s scenic Chautauqua Park twice (the first time in 90 degree weather AND later in the week when it SNOWED!), touring the tea factory at the Celestial Seasonings Headquarters in Boulder, and visiting with the local felines at Cat Company, Denver’s first cat cafe.

The more I explored the more I realized that Colorado has SO much to see and experience and that I was only seeing the tip of the iceberg!  A return trip is definitely in order. 🙂

Have you been to Boulder or Colorado?  If so, i’d love to know what were your favorite places to explore?

Bacon-wrapped dates, Brewery, Beer at Avery Brewery in Boulder, CO

Colorado is home to nearly 230 craft breweries!  After work a coworker and I took a trip to Avery Brewing Co. where we enjoyed a cold beverage and got a peek at their bottling facility.

Bacon-wrapped dates, Brewery, Beer at Avery Brewery in Boulder, CO

Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo and goat cheese?  Yes please!

Bacon-wrapped dates, Brewery, Beer at Avery Brewery in Boulder, CO

Chautauqua Park on a 90 degree day. Colorado has a dry heat with very low humidity so it’s a very different 90 degrees than in Virginia!

Colorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, Streams

Most of the homes’ exterior colors coordinated or mimicked the surrounding outdoors. Imagine houses painted in browns, greens, and dark oranges to match the outdoors.

Colorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, Streams

I’m such a sucker for wildflowers! 🙂

Colorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, StreamsColorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, Streams

Colorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, StreamsColorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, Streams

From ginormous boulders to gentle streams, a hike along one of Chautauqua’s trails did not disappoint!

Colorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, StreamsColorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, Streams

During my visit most of my time was spent here at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). Can you imagine having this as your view everyday?!

Signs of springtime were everywhere including this sweet momma robin diligently guarding her nest filled with pale blue eggs!

Robins nest, blue eggs, Boulder, CORobins nest, blue eggs, Boulder, CO

And then this happened. Snow.  In May.  The funny thing was that the Colorado folks weren’t phased by it.  Living by the mountains means the weather can be wonky at times so snow in May after a 90 degree week isn’t that odd.  Reminded me of home and the precocious weather we can get in Hampton Roads. HA! 🙂

Chautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on MountainsChautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on MountainsChautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on MountainsChautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on Mountains

I wanted to get a better view of the mountains and the city covered in snow so I decided to drive up the side of the mountain.  Along the way up I came across this interesting log cabin HalfWay House which had an even more interesting warning about the local wildlife (YIKES!).

Chautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on MountainsChautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on MountainsChautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on Mountains

After all that cold weather I needed a hot cup of tea.  To the Celestial Seasonings factory for tea tastings and a tour of their factory!

Tea tasting, Celestial Seasonings, Boulder, CO

If you’re a fan of tea or want to experience a unique tour of an automated tea factory (for free!), a visit to Celestial Seasonings is worth the time!

Tea tasting, Celestial Seasonings, Boulder, CO

I ended my trip with a visit to Denver’s first cat cafe!  At this cafe you pay a small fee to hangout with kitties who are up for adoption and looking for furever homes. The kitties come from local shelters and rescue agencies and is a great place to enjoy a beverage, free wifi, and get in a few snuggles from the super friendly locals.  😉  For my cat people in Hampton Roads interested in getting in a few snuggles of their own while supporting the local cat adoption agencies, a cat cafe called Catnip Cat Cafe JUST opened up in Norfolk!  You’re welcome. 🙂

Cat Cafe, Denver, CO

Cat Cafe, Denver, COCat Cafe, Denver, COCat Cafe, Denver, COCat Cafe, Denver, CO

Cat Cafe, Denver, COCat Cafe, Denver, COCat Cafe, Denver, CO

 

Thanks for the adventures, Colorado!  Until we meet again! 🙂

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN AN IMAGEBACK TO TOPCONTACT ME
  • Dianna - Wonderful pictures of your trip, Amber! Amazing to think of snow following 90-degree days.
    But, I must admit, my favorite part of your post is the cat café. Only problem is, I’d want to take ALL of them home!
    Thanks for sharing memories of your trip. And no, I can’t imagine working somewhere with that view.ReplyCancel

I love to travel.  New destinations mean unique landscapes, food, cultural experiences, and people! I recently spent 10 days in Colorado on a business trip. While on business travel I try my best to squeeze in time to explore and experience as much as I can after work hours and Boulder was no exception!

I’d been to Boulder previously for work 8 years ago, but was too afraid to venture out on my own after work. This time would be different. I’d learned years ago that if I waited to travel until I had someone to go with me, that i’d miss out on a whole lot. And I was done missing out!

While in Boulder, I knew I wanted to schedule a hot air balloon ride. What better place for it than with the Colorado foothills in the background and the beautiful green landscape below for miles and miles?  I was sold! I’d arrived in Boulder early on a Saturday morning for my first-ever hot air balloon flight and the rest was history!

If you’re ever in Boulder and are looking for a must-do experience, I highly recommend a hot air balloon ride! Shout-out to Fair Winds, Inc., an amazing customer-focused company that kept us entertained and spoiled us with goodies at the end of our flight!

We started the morning super early…hello 6:15am! This was the basket we (about 8 of us total) rode in during our flight.  Cutest license plate ever for a hot air balloon company, right?! Our balloon was the last one to be inflated so we got to watch as the other balloons were inflated and launched. There were three other balloons on the field at the same time as ours!It took about 15 minutes to fully inflate each balloon. I might be a bit biased, but our balloon was the prettiest! She was the balloon of many colors!

I wasn’t excited.  Nope. None. Not at all. Ha!Once she was inflated it was time to climb aboard! Within minutes of the balloon being inflated we were off! 

It was surprising to me just how quiet, peaceful, and calm it was up so high. Also, check out that view!!
Goodbye launch site, hello Boulder for as far as the eye can see!!Every now and then our pilot Jeff would break the quiet and add a bit of heat to our balloon from the gas tanks onboard!Again, check out that view!! We managed to stay up for about an hour and 15 minutes with this view. It was spectacular!It was then time to find an open field and land, which we did with just a few bumps! The team from Fair Winds met us on the ground where they packed up the balloon and drove us back to our launch site where we were showered with goodies and said our thank you’s and goodbyes! Fair Winds Hot Air Balloon Ride in Boulder, CO, Amber L. Richards Photography, LLC

If you could drop everything and fly/drive/sail to the travel destination of your dreams, where would it be & what would you do while there?  

 

SHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THIS POSTPIN AN IMAGEBACK TO TOPCONTACT ME