We recently enjoyed a magnificent Maine weekend escape combining work and play. My husband’s gorgeous co-worker married a great guy, who, along with his brother and dad, spent some months on our home renovation. Lucky for me, I had the pleasure of photographing this ultimately preppy Kennenbunkport wedding. I took a break from editing it on my birthday and sifted through my iPhone snaps to whip up a little recap while it was still fresh in my mind.
My kids were excited to host their Winston-Salem cousins, and my brother and his wife were kind enough to move in for a few days and drive six kids around town. Since my daughter didn’t attend Camp Cheerio this year, I named this zany gathering after another cereal, which now has its own hashtag: #campfrootloop. We flew into Portland, Maine, after a quick connection in Atlanta, scooped our rental car and made the 15-minute trip to downtown as it was approaching dinner time. Months ago, I’d looked for interesting accommodations in Portland and couldn’t really find anything. Some historic hotels seemed a bit run-down, and since I don’t get out much, I was hoping for something beyond the typical chain options. Wedding season started, and when I finally revisited hotels, a new boutique one had just opened in May. The Press Hotel was perfect! Housed in the former newspaper offices of the Press-Herald, it was fresh and funky and perfectly situated a short walk from good eats, cool cocktails and cute shops in Old Port.
Yummy shampoo, chocolates at bedtime and fluffy robes. Fans of the written word might agree The Press Hotel is fontastic!
The hotel restaurant was buzzing and looked appealing, but I had my eye on Central Provisions, just a couple of blocks toward the waterfront. What a fantastic meal! We had a short wait, just long enough to check out the downstairs bar and order yummy welcome-to-vacation cocktails. Then we tucked in to our table in the small and bustling upstairs and sampled several amazing small plates, including the most amazing roasted cauliflower ever, delicious gingered beef, asparagus en croute, a little halibut on a lemony aioli and an out-of-this-world key lime tart with a dollop of whipped cream and lime zest. It was all crazy good!
Locks of love like those in Paris? It’s Portland, Maine, y’all.
After dinner we needed to walk for a while, but I was sidetracked when I spotted the ferris wheel, which had just been set up for the weekend’s Old Port Festival. Took in a sunset from the whirligig, did a little window shopping and stopped in Sonny’s, which looked groovy and just happened to be rated best in town for its cocktails. The buildings in this area reminded me of Pioneer Square in Seattle. The ice cold cucumber gimlet I had was so good and as herbal tasting as a freshly mowed lawn, but better.
Although we didn’t have time for ice cream this trip (I’ll be back, Nutella! And Blueberry Basil Sorbet! And Girl Scouts Gone Wild!), we walked down the hill to The Holy Donut the next morning. Never mind there were only two of us, we had to sample a variety, and six fit in the bag so well.Window shopping: we didn’t stick around long enough for the gallery to claim my cash, and I managed to escape the coastal kitchen store despite liking everything in it.
That was all she wrote for Portland, so the valet scooped our car and we hopped in, leftover donuts in hand, and headed 15 minutes north so the hubby could check out L.L. Bean. Ever seen bored men flipping through magazines, waiting not-so-patiently for their wives to finish shopping? This was the opposite. But I watched an albino trout swimming instead. (Of course, there were plenty of solid options for anyone wanting to fill shopping bags, but I didn’t need a thing, except to get out and inhale salty air.) Next stop, Cape Elizabeth.
After taking in the view from the pristine park by the Portland Head Light, our sugar energy had vanished and it was time for a lobster roll. I weighed the options of best taste, best value and best view, and chose the latter, while Pearsall drove us to Two Lights. It was heavenly, just like the view! Finally, on to Kennebunkport to check in to our dreamy splurge, the Cottages at Cabot Cove. Then it was time to amble over to the Kennebunk River Club for the wedding rehearsal.After the ceremony run-through, we spun through town, which was bedecked in signs wishing Barbara Bush a happy 90th birthday. Scooped up a bottle of pinot noir at the wine shop and took it back to our cottage to rock on our porch. (Trust me, I will be well-suited for old age, whenever it comes.) Later we ate some dinner at David’s KPT and called it a night. The next morning, our breakfast was delivered and hooked outside our door. A warm baguette, creamy cheese, strawberries and sunshine in a carafe were just what we needed before our little waterfront tour. The communal bikes were all spoken for when we checked, but the tides were perfect for a morning paddle from Cabot Cove into the Kennebunk River. The water is so clear! Blues, greens, and of course, boats were plentiful. From the Secret Service inflatable docked by the Bush’s Fountain, to lots of lobster boats and my fave crackly red vessel, they were well documented by my trusty iPhone, which thankfully didn’t take a dive.
After kayaking, we walked into town, ate lunch in the sunshine at Arundel Wharf, picked up a coffee mug, ran into some Charleston people and then it was time to gear up for the wedding festivities. Oh, for anyone who follows me on Instagram, you might have seen me label watery posts with #seastheday. I guess this store thinks that’s a clever phrase, too!
It was a whirlwind weekend full of fun! The wedding was fantastic, the setting was perfect, the band was rocking and the food was phenomenal. And if you’ve never heard of a crafty bride who sews her own striped tablecloths, assembles her own invitations and matches it all from her striped grosgrain to striped gown, well, you’ll just have to see the next bit of Maine I share in a few weeks. Meanwhile, I’m dreaming of fresh, humidity-free air as we head into July. I hope you’ll reach out with the links below if you’re interested in photography or leave a note with your fave spots in Maine. I’ll be going back sooner rather than later.
Okay, one shot from my big girl camera. Perfect coordination, right?! And I love the peek of the seated boy’s legs poking into the edge of the frame.