Off to Portland (of the Maine variety) we went! We started our phone detox with a vow not to check email, Facebook, or Instagram and just scan text messages and phone calls a few times a day for anything urgent (see dog walker above). Ping! Others on our plane were very clearly not on a phone detox. Ping! I guess vibrate mode is no longer hip. Ping!
After a relaxing flight of me draping myself over Troy to nap, we drove to Old Orchard Beach just outside of Portland for our first East Coast meal. We landed on Joseph's by the Sea, which had a rooftop patio with a view of the ocean and had been around for fifty years.
The smell and feel of the sea air, albeit a tad more fishy than usual, wafted by. We bundled up in our jackets while the locals waltzed around in shorts and tank tops during their "heat wave." We had our first lobstah' roll, mayo based, and bowl of chowdah'. The lobster was surprisingly soft and dissolved in my mouth. These rolls became fabled for a reason.
We took a stroll on the beach and noticed a lot of white dots in the water. As we came closer to the shoreline we discovered dozens of dead fish...and very plump seagulls. You couldn't walk more than a few feet before seeing another. We then noticed the red algae swirling in the water. I had no idea the toxic red tide impacted that far up the coast. I felt dismayed. No one was playing in the water during this alleged heat wave.
We walked away from the shoreline and sat on a bench, letting the sound of the waves relax us.
We started the beautiful drive (based on Troy's account...I was keeping my pro napper status) to Sunapee, New Hampshire. It looked an awful lot like North Carolina with the green trees surrounding the roadway. Sunapee is straight out of a Hallmark movie, it is so quaint and adorable. My cousin and his soon to be wife had a welcome dinner on the MV restaurant ship.
We ate from a wicked salad bar and southern entrees while cruising Lake Sunapee. It was great to catch up and story tell with my sisters, their significant others, and cousins.
The next morning we searched yelp and google for local breakfast establishments to no avail. Despite the abundance of maple syrup, breakfast was no where to be found. Wherever does all the syrup go? Quite confusing really.
Chomping on our granola bars from our wedding welcome bags, we hit the road to check out the Fells historic estate and gardens. The Fells was built by John Hays, Abe Lincoln's right hand man. I was taken aback by how beautiful the gardens were and I loved all the the little stone benches. Who knew stone could be so dang charming!
We met up with the family at Bubba's for lunch. We shared our picture of a moose and had everyone fooled into thinking we spotted one...we had but it was from a sculpture exhibit.
We had a hot buttered lobstah' roll and it was succulent, the mayo version seeming unimpressive. More chowdah. I could eat chowdah' all day, but alas we had a wedding to get ready for.
To get to the wedding ceremony we got to ride the ski life up the summit of Mount Sunapee. This was the longest lift I've ever been on and the view! It looked like a watercolor painting in the backdrop with overlapping pastel mountain ridges.
On to celebrate! Cocktail hour did not disappoint. Have you ever had green onions dipped in artichoke dip? You should. The speeches, Troy's favorite part of weddings, were on point; a balance of humor, reflection, and love. Despite my desire not to delay dinner, I was inspired and felt compelled to speak, sharing the story of my cousin sending me a letter years ago that ended with, "P.S. I'm going to ask Caroline to marry me." I tore the house apart trying to find that bloody letter to frame for them to no avail!
On to dancing, my favorite part of weddings, and the bouquet toss. I was a shoo in given my wingspan. Luckily the bouquet split in two and I didn't have to take it from the flower girls...we each got our own. Despite my excitement over my fate, it was very anti-climatic. Troy was in the bathroom at the time and my entire family was out on the patio. No one seemed to care that I was now surely going to soon be engaged to be married. I was happy to hear a guy saw Troy exiting the bathroom and exclaimed, "She caught it!" I'm not sure if he said it apologetically or excitedly.
We ended with pie, such a unique and lovely touch, in honor of the bride's mom. She believed if you always brought a homemade pie to a get together you'd always be invited back! I am a huge fan of pie and happily savored the raspberry delight.
Heading back to Portland the next morning we were in luck, the East Coast does believe in Sunday Brunch! We stopped at the Breakfast Club in Manchester. I felt the need to get an item that required maple syrup and chose the french toast. I have never had a bad piece of french toast and this was no exception.
After another nap er drive back to Portland we wandered around the cobbled town checking out the shops.
We stopped at the Liquid Riot Brewery. We landed prime time seats on the back patio overlooking the water and began our seagull observation.
The Tropical Storm sour beer was good, but not quite as tart as I prefer. Troy gave their IPAs two thumbs up.
On to Sebago Brewing Company. Super excited to try the cranberry sour "Bog So Hard", I was a little let down by the lack of tartness as well. There was a faint flavor of cranberry if you knew what you were expecting. The chowdah wasn't homemade so we passed. The IPAs didn't pass the Troy Test. Womp Womp.
We walked through DiMillo's floating restaurant, but it seemed too cruise ship and I started having flashbacks and we proceeded on to Scales. The entrance is tucked away down the wharf.
We were shocked to hear it would be a three hour wait, but consoled when the bar wait was thirty minutes. As we waited in the convenient lounge area we met two people in the restaurant business there to eat and felt confident in our dinner selection. I wasn't overly impressed with the fried cauliflower, it was a little bland, but every other bite I wanted to imprint in my brain. The heirloom tomato salad was fresh with hints of basil. The cloverleaf rolls with garlic butter were like eating a cloud. I had to refrain from ordering more. We decided we had to try lobster outside of a roll and ordered one steamed. I watched on in mild astonishment as the local to the left of Troy grabbed a lobster leg right off Troy's plate, manhandled it, and showed him the proper way to eat it.
I splurged on a hotel room with a balcony and view of the water and Old Port. I love when I can get to fresh air which is rare in a hotel. We were so excited to discover we could hear the live outdoor music perfectly from our balcony, grabbed the complimentary throw blanket, and bundled up on the balcony chairs with the dreamiest view.
We slept for ten tranquil hours! We debated going to a local yoga class and decided we weren't ready to leave the view from our hotel room just yet. I laid out the throw blanket for a mat and settled in for a "home" practice, feeling more and more human with each minute as I found my breath and released travel tension. Feeling like a new woman, we headed to our last stop, Holy Donut. The line was halfway down the block, but moving quickly so we jumped in.
Half an hour later we left with half a dozen donuts and Maine blueberry coffee. Our donuts in order of favoritism; lemon, pomegranate, maple, Maine blueberry, vanilla glazed dark chocolate, vanilla glazed.
The only regrets from the trip were not having enough time to get more hiking in and Troy wanted to get out on the water to fish or crab.
I love traveling, and I especially love doing it with Troy, he is an amazing travel partner. I always feel at ease and relaxed and he supports my pro-napper ways. We include activities we each want to do and take it all in.
We didn't pick up the East coach accent, but did gain a greater appreciation for Lobstah...and breakfast.