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Trip Report Trip report for Southern Maine and Boston

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Last month I took a nice trip to southern Maine and Boston. My travel companions were my mom and my aunt, who flew in from New York. Thank you to the Fodorites who gave me some helpful information as I planned this trip. Here's my trip report.

June 16, Flight from Houston to Boston was uneventful. Met up with my aunt and then we headed to pick up our car at Advantage.

Headed off and got a little off track because of bad GPS. Garmin did not do a good job in Boston, Portsmouth or Portland.

We wanted to stop for lunch in Portsmouth at a place called the Library. We arrived at 2 minutes past 3 and found that they stopped serving lunch at 3. We were able to get some food in the bar, but were very disappointed they wouldn’t cut us any slack and let us order off the lunch menu.

Nevertheless, it’s a neat restaurant and the food we did have was good. We walked off our lunch wandering around the little shopping district and found a really neat Irish import store.

Onward to Cape Neddick and Nubble light house! What a lovely spot. We were pleased to find it free of crowds and we enjoyed the scenery.

Fodorite joesorce recommended we try Brown’s ice cream, so we hopped in the car to go find it. Upon finding it, we found we were not quite ready for a treat, but it sure looked good. We should have gotten some anyways! It was an unusual moment of restraint and will power. We drove around and looked at some stunning houses that had fantastic views of Nubble.

We then decided we should make our way to our lodging in Kennebunkport. We stayed at the Lodge at Turbat’s Creek. I highly recommend this place for anyone seeking reasonable, family oriented accommodations. It was very clean; the bedroom and bathroom sizes were very good. It has an outdoor heated pool, but we didn’t use it. Off the parking lot is a pretty garden area with nice picnic tables, along with some Adirondack chairs.

Sophie checked us in and she was wonderful.

After resting up for half an hour, we headed into town to find dinner. We chose Federal Jack’s and the place was hopping. It was about a 20 minute wait, but no big deal. Food was nothing exciting, but perfectly adequate.

We walked around window shopping before calling it a night.

A side note: as a couple of you had indicated to me, traffic was not a problem traveling at this time. I could see how it would be crazy in July and August though.

June 17, Friday. Lighthouse day!

We started our day with a drive by George Bush’s compound, which was fun to see, along with the gorgeous homes in the area.

Our next priority was breakfast. While the Lodge serves a continental breakfast, I had heard about a place called the Wayfarer and we went there. Great choice! Tasty food and a very kindly and friendly waitress.

After enjoying our meal, our first lighthouse of the day was Goat Island. My mom and my aunt weren’t venturing out of the car to see this one, but when they saw a creepy guy follow me down the path moments behind me, they got out and summoned me back.

We got out of there and headed towards Cape Elizabeth to see the “Two Lights.” We first went to the park and then went to see the lighthouses, parking in the lot next door to the Lobster Shack. I’d like to go back someday and have lunch at the shack, but we weren’t there at the right time for this trip.

This was a pleasant visit. There were several people around, some fishing and some just sightseeing.

Next stop was Portland Headlight. What an extremely photogenic place! I took a ton of photos here. We took our time and really enjoyed it. We also went down to the beach in Ft. Williams Park. I went up to the Goddard mansion while my mom and aunt relaxed at a picnic table.

En route to Spring Point Lighthouse, we had to make two bakery stops. Yes, we had to. First was the Cookie Jar. They had coffee cake samples that were divine. I ended up purchasing two cupcakes, to be consumed later. Then, at joesorce’s recommendation, we stopped in Scratch Bakery. Thank you Joe! We knew were at a good place the moment we walked in the door as the scents were heavenly. Alas, there were no cupcakes, but I picked up a brownie and a giant chocolate chip cookies. The brownie was especially good. While were still in there, a big pizza was brought out, which you buy by the slice, so we ended up getting a slice.

We sat outside to eat the yummy pizza and ended up meeting and chatting with a very nice lobster man. I learned a little bit about lobstering and found the encounter very charming. This is what travel is about!

Off to find Spring Point Lighthouse. It’s not as appealing as Nubble and Portland Head light, but was still very pleasant and fun. I saw Bug Light too.

One of the things my aunt and mom wanted to do while in Maine was to visit LLBean in Freeport. I wanted to go too, just to have a photo op with the big boot.

Before the shopping began, I figured I needed to fortify myself and ate one of my Cookie Jar cupcakes. It was quite good.

We didn’t find the shopping in Freeport to be very exciting and there were no good deals, but it was still nice walking around. I got a cute t-shirt at the Mangy Moose and one for my brother, but that was the extent of my purchases.

Lunch was a late one at the Jameson Tavern. The food was decent, but I could have done without the intense aroma of the popcorn they were popping.

We called it a wrap in Freeport and went back to Kennebunkport. We did a little shopping there, rested up, and then went for dinner at Ryan’s Corner. We enjoyed that place very much. I had bangers and mash and it was very good. We also drove to Kennebunk and saw the wedding cake house.

Saturday, June 18

Time to say goodbye to Kennebunkport. Before taking off, we drove by the Franciscan monastery just to see what it looked like. It has a pretty outdoor grotto.

I had suggested we stop in Marblehead en route to Boston, but my mom just wanted to get to the city, so sadly, no Marblehead. We had breakfast at a quaint place on the river, not sure what town. It seems like it was near Ogunquit. Anyways, it was very good and cheap.

We arrived in Boston, returned the rental car, shuttled to the airport and then took a cab to our hotel, the Westin Copley Place. We were ripped off by the cab driver. I should have asked for a meter receipt. Price was around $40 when I know it should have been around $20.

To our surprise, there was a giant parade going on celebrating the Bruins’ win of the Stanley Cup. It was insane! Luckily the parade hadn’t impeded our arrival at the Westin.

The Westin had been sold out the night before, so we were not able to check into our rooms upon arrival. My mom and aunt chose to stay at the hotel and dine in the onsite restaurant. I checked my bag and took off. Wow, was it crazy out there! I wanted to get lunch at Quincy Market, but it was a mob scene. So, I headed to the North End, and that was mobbed too. You should have seen Mike’s Pastry. There was a gigantic line going down the street to the corner.

Every restaurant was swamped. I remembered Florentine from a previous trip, so I headed there. As luck would have it, there was one place at the bar, as if it had my name on it. I ordered a pizza, which was very good. I chatted with a guy next to me who transports seafood for a living.

I took my time walking back to the Westin, stopping for a cookie at Quincy Market since the crowds had lessened somewhat.

Our rooms were finally ready. I had reserved three rooms through Priceline. Price was $129 per night ($150 with taxes) per room. The rooms were very nice. I thought it was a great deal for the location and quality of the rooms.

We each rested in our rooms until time for dinner. We walked to the Back Bay hotel, where we stayed last year and dined at Cuff’s. It was delicious and relaxing.

We popped into Filene’s after eating, and then the ladies went back to their rooms to call it a night. I headed off on my own, first walking through the public garden, eventually making my way back to the North End for cupcakes from Mike’s Pastry. Can you tell I like sweets? It was still very busy there, but I was able to get what I wanted and get out of there. I also stopped in at the CVS in Copley Square, stocking up on bottled water. The Westin has ordinary bottled water for $5, ridiculous!

Sunday, June 19

I did my own thing in the morning, with the plan to meet the ladies at Cheers at 11. I was able to have a peek inside a couple of churches that I had always wanted to see, but are not normally open except for Sundays. I visited First Baptist and Arlington Street. The deacon at First Baptist was very friendly and told me a lot about the church.

I enjoyed the public garden again before heading to the Cheers on Beacon Street. A big line was already forming.

After lunching, we walked to Faneuil Hall. On the way, I was able to see the inside of Park Street church. At Faneuil Hall, to our surprise, the shops were gone! I don’t know what the deal is, hopefully they are just making renovations. It was disappointing. I wanted to buy a Ben Franklin bobblehead doll I had seen last year, to give to my brother as a gag gift.

The ladies went off in one direction, I headed to the North End to walk the freedom trail. I like visiting the Copp’s Hill burial ground.

I meandered around the area and then found myself at Mike’s again, picking up a different flavored cupcake.

I spent the rest of the afternoon walking along the Charles River, enjoying watching the boats and the people. I also walked the Beacon Hill area, visiting Louisburg Square and just taking in the charm of the area.

My phone rang and it was my mom calling about dinner. They wanted to go to Cuff’s again, so I met them over there.

We walked around for a while and then called it a night.

Monday, June 20

My aunt had a 9:30 am flight back home, so we bid her farewell. I then took off for a walk through the public garden and then through the Beacon Hill area. I finished with a walk through the Boston Common, spending some time at the Central burial ground.

Alas, it was time to check out of the hotel and bid goodbye to Boston.

We grabbed a cab from the hotel to the airport. This time it was the right price, $20.55.

Uneventful flight home to Houston. Now it’s time for me to work on my Denver trip in August!

Thanks again to my fellow Fodorites for the helpful tips.

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