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Trip Report Portland/Wells ME weekend trip

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Once a year, 4 of us spend the weekend together. Last year we discovered the advantages of renting a vacation cottage off-season so our trip planner chose Summer Village in Wells, ME. With tax, the two bedroom cottage cost approx $150 a night. It was well stocked with a full kitchen but the amenities of the gated vacation village were not within walking distance and we were no where near the ocean. But, if you aren't looking for pool time it was a great deal. We also planned to economize by eating some of our meals at the cottage.

We arrived in Kennebunkport in time for lunch and some shopping. Since we usually don't see each other during the rest of the year, we put a big emphasis on together time. A quick stop at a supermarket and local fish market and we were ready for a quiet evening and book club type discussion. One friend introduced us to whipped cream flavored vodka and orange juice. This went very well with fresh shrimp cocktail and fresh crabmeat dip.

Saturday was our Portland day starting with a 10:30am Maine Foodie Tour to sample the dellights of the Old Port area. We knew we would need shopping time as well so decided the best parking deal was a parking lot right on Commercial Street for a flat $8/all day (otherwise $3/hr). We would recommend the tour but it wasn't the best we've been on. We were not given a map and list of shops so our ancient brains would have to memorize our route. The hills and cobblestones made the walk a bit strenuous. The only sit down time was during the movie at Shipyard Brewing. We didn't plan on lunch since sometimes there's so much food sampling you don't need lunch but we were still a bit hungry and we had just walked past Duckfat. I suggested we at least share an order of their famous fries but my friends decided a sit down lunch was in order. One was content with an order of Canadian style fries with gravy and cheese (very very tasty). The rest of us order sandwiches or salad and shared an order of fries. Extra dipping sauces are 75 cents so we had both truffled ketchup (YUM) and a garlic aoili. We knew we had to leave room for dessert because I had campaigned for a stop at Mount Desert Ice Cream on Exchange St.

All the food stops were great but we were most impressed with the fish market. Not only was it on the working part of the docks but there was a wonderful variety of fish and seafood at reasonable prices. Soft shell lobster was $3.99/lb. Clams and oysters were in bins labeled with the place where they had been harvested.

There is plenty of shopping variety in the Old Port District and one of the reasons why husbands are best left at home for our weekend. Unfortunately, we missed getting back to the bakery for take home Whoopie Pies because it closed at 5pm. The filling was incredible - a Swiss buttercream type that was like whipped cream. Our "free" sample there had been half a whoopie pie.

I pointed out to my friends that MDI ice cream allowed two free tastes. OMG what kind of strategy would we use? I usually like to try new flavors that I might not like. Blueberry (or was it blackberry) Blue Cheese was one of my choices. I suggested to my friends that they watch out for the flavors with heat (Thai Chocolate). Next,we terrorized the ice cream scoopers by each deciding to order the flights - four 1oz scoops of different flavors.

Although the Ogunquit Playhouse offered a great show we decided to see the movie "The Help" for our evening entertainment. We had just enough time to get back to the cottage for a quick, light supper of homemade empanadas and more crab dip before the 6:40 show. The Wells location wasn't really convenient to Portland. We didn't have the energy for a sunset cruise of Portland harbor. A day in Portland is not enough but we had been there before and it's an easy drive from home so we didn't feel like we missed out on anything. After the movie there was time for more alcoholic discoveries. Another friend brought chocolate wine which goes well with homemade cookies (think thick chocolate milk) or there was the choice of having seasonal Pumpkinhead Ale with a float of whipped cream vodka (also made in Maine and available at supermarkets).

We had a breakfast casserole for our lazy last morning. Leaving the cottage at 9am (10am checkout) we headed south on Rt 1 intending to stop at Stonewall Kitchen in York. Although we couldn't use the 10% discount the tour had offered, we knew the York store was much large. More food sampling. Expect the store to be crowded on weekends. Our next stop was When Pigs Fly bakery and more free samples. I couldn't even imagine the variety of breads available and ended up bringing home 4 different loaves.

On a different visit DH and I had enjoyed a morning walk on the Marginal Way in Ogunquit. Since 2 of my friends don't enjoy walking, the foodie tour had maxed them out. Expect the Old Port area to be crowded on weekends and we were surprised that a cruise ship was also in port. With a full kitchen at the cottage, we could have had lobsters steamed at the store and had a budget friendly lobster dinner but the crab dip and fresh shrimp made up for that lack. The whole point of our weekend is re-connecting.

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