Wednesday, October 30, 2019

New England Road Trip - Portland to Salem

The final day spent on our New England road trip was so much fun! I had always associated lighthouses with Maine, so when we decided to do a lighthouse tour, I was excited. We also visited an abandoned beach, a museum all about witches, and went to the movies. All the details of our last day are below.

Missed the first part of our trip? Click here for Boston/Portland and here for Acadia National Park.


Lighthouse Tour
We booked our tour through Portland Explorer and I can't recommend them enough! The guides (and owners) gave us a complete history of the city of Portland, as well as the different lighthouses we visited. We started at Breakwater "Bug Light" Lighthouse, then stopped at Spring Point Head Light, and ended with Portland Head Light. We spent the most time at our final stop, walking along the coast and learning about the most famous lighthouse in Portland.

Old Port, Portland
After the tour, we spent some time walking around Old Port. Our first stop was for lunch at Porthole Pub - a recommendation from our tour guides. The ladies enjoyed some lobster, while I had a very tasty club sandwich. From there, we popped into some shops for souvenirs, ending our time at The Holy Donut. The donuts were huge and so delicious.

Old Orchard Beach
To break up our drive, we decided to make a pitstop at Old Orchard Beach. It wasn't what we expected. The Pier and amusement park were both shutdown and there was hardly anyone in sight. It was actually kind of creepy. We joked that it would be the perfect setting for a Stephen King novel.

Growing up, we had all learned about the Salem Witch Trials, so we decided to visit the museum. We thought it was going to be a walking museum with artifacts, but it's actually a live storytelling experience, with a short tour at the end. It was a good, interactive experience. Once the tour ended, we walked around the town, stopping to look at the water along the way. 

Our Evening
We made the decision to go see a movie to end our trip. We were all pretty tired and had early flights the next morning, so it was the perfect decision. We saw Hustlers and then had some dinner. It was relaxing and just what we needed.

Our trip to New England was one for the books. I absolutely love exploring new places, so getting to visit so many cities in states I had never been was the best. Something even more special about this trip was those I spent it with. Bonding with new people and developing friendships in such a short time is so rare.

Betty, Ashley, and Hollie - thanks for an incredible trip!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

New England Road Trip - Acadia National Park

Today, I'm sharing the next part of my epic New England road trip! Days three and four were my absolute favorite. We woke up before the sun came up, hiked the edge of a mountain, and saw some incredible views. Acadia National Park is a beautiful place, so we tried to pack as much as we could into a short time. All the details are below.

If you missed my recap of the Boston and Portland start to our trip, click here.


Stop #1: Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain
When researching for our trip, I read on countless blogs how amazing Cadillac Mountain sunsets were. Even though we drove over three hours the night before, we were determined to make it. I'm so glad we did! Seeing the sun come up over the horizon was something I'd never seen. One tip: wear layers. We underestimated how cold it would be at 6 AM. You can tell by the photos below how chilly we were - we even had the couple in front of us thank us for their entertainment while they were waiting for the sun. Ha!

Stop #2: Breakfast at 2 Cats
After a quick nap, we went into town for breakfast. Highly recommend 2 Cats Restaurant! The staff was so friendly and the food was delicious. All of the tables are different colors, just like the walls, making it a very fun environment to eat in.

Stop #3: Sand Beach
The first stop in exploring Acadia was at the only sandy beach there. The sky was blue and the water was beautiful.

Stop #4: Thunder Hole
If you time it right, there's a spot at Thunder Hole where water spouts up forty feet in the air, making a loud thunderclap sound against the shore. Sadly, we didn't time it properly, but we were able to climb some rocks and take in a beautiful view.

Stop #5: Beehive Trail
We had heard from multiple people that Beehive Trail was quite challenging, but totally worth it. They weren't kidding! We walked along the edge of the mountain, climbed metal rungs, and scrambled up boulders. I was so proud once we finished the hike! The views were definitely worth it - sprawling greens, lake and ocean views, and never-ending clouds.

Stop #6: Dinner at Jordan Pond Restaurant
This restaurant is known for its popovers - and for good reason. They were so warm and tasty. They also have a nice gift shop where you can purchase the popover mix and baking pan. If I had room in my suitcase, I would have bought them in a heartbeat.

Stop #7: Wine + Hot Tub
Our hotel had a hot tub, so we decided to pick up some wine to sip while we relaxed in the warmth. It was the perfect end to our day.


Stop #1: Breakfast at Mount Dessert Bakery
We were on a strict timeline for the beginning of the day, so we stopped into somewhere quick to grab some muffins and coffee.

Stop #2: Bubble Rock
This was a hike we were planning on doing the day before, but ran out of time. Thankfully, it was a fairly quick and easy hike (especially compared to Beehive Trail). We took the faster option straight to Bubble Rock, a natural boulder created from the glaciers. Starting our day with a hike was the best. 

Stop #3: Whale Watching
I officially have the worst luck with whale watching trips. This is the second time I've been on one and still haven't seen a whale. Bar Harbor is one of the best places to go whale watching, so it was a real shame we didn't see any. We did, however, see some porpoises, puffins, and a research lighthouse. This is another time to dress warm. Being on the water, with the wind in your face, definitely calls for layers.

Stop #4: Shopping Downtown
As with any trip I go on, I was on the hunt to find a charm and ornament from Maine. We walked around downtown, popping into different shops along the way. I ended up finding both items on my list and I'm so in love with them!

Stop #5: Dinner at Geddy's
The three girls I took this trip with all really love seafood, so we found a place that offered lobster and non-seafood options. Betty and Ashley had a complete lobster dinner, Hollie had fish tacos, and I had a pizza. Ha! They loved what they ate and were so happy to have finally had some true Maine seafood.

After dinner, we started our drive back down the coast to Portland.

Acadia National Park was my favorite part of the trip. After visiting Banff National Park this summer, I fell in love with hiking in our national parks. We already decided that we'll try to visit a new one each year.

Check back in a couple days to see what we did on the final day of our trip, where we visited four cities in less than 12 hours.