New England Coastal Visit

Old Aug 27th, 2011, 10:34 AM
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New England Coastal Visit

We just returned from about 2 weeks visiting Cape Cod and Maine (with a bit of Boston thrown in) and had a wonderful time. The first week of the trip was spent on Cape Cod in Chatham where we rented a house with a group of friends to celebrate a couple of monumental birthdays. We flew from LAX to Boston and then rented a car and drove to Chatham. Of course, we had to stop for some seafood as soon as we hit the cape and stopped at Sam's Seafood in Sandwich where I had some clam chowder and a lobster roll.
The house we rented in Chatham was very nice and easily accomodated our group of ten. It sat right on Oyster Pond so the views and setting were wonderful. It was about a 20 minute walk to the commercial center of Chatham. Our usual plan when we travel with this particular group is that each couple will be responsible for one night's dinner. One of the other two nights we ate out and the other night was when we held the official birthday party and I was in charge of the food for that. We chose the night of our arrival to be our "dine out" night and we went to the Vinings Bistro in Chatham. The food was good but not stellar and the atmosphere was lacking in the charm department. But they were able to handle our group and we were grateful for that.
One of our best discoveries in Chatham was Marion's Pie Shop. I think they provided dessert for every one of our dinners at the house and we enjoyed some of their savory pies for a dinner as well. They also have wonderful muffins and cinnamon rolls that we enjoyed several mornings. I ordered a birthday cake from the Chatham Bakery and it was very good.
While in Chatham we rented bikes and enjoyed riding them around the area and also on the wonderful bike path which runs throughout much of the area. Some of the group also enjoyed kayaking on Oyster Pond.
One day several of us took a ferry from Harwich Port to Nantucket where we enjoyed the day. We took a bus to Siasconset where we wondered around a bit and then spent the rest of the day in Nantucket town where we had a pleasant lunch at Even Keel.
For the birthday party we had other friends come from various destinations and they stayed in inns and hotels in the surrounding area. We hired a trio to play music and had a wonderful party on the patio overlooking Oyster Pond.
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 10:40 AM
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So far, so good. You were well organized and got to do a lot. I look forward to the Maine posting.
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 10:58 AM
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After a great week on the cape, four of us ventured on to Maine. But we did have one last breakfast at the popular Grumpy's in Dennis.
En route to Maine we stopped to check out the charming town of Portsmouth NH. We got a snack at a bakery and walked around the town a bit.
Our Maine trip included staye in Portland, Ogunquit and Bar Harbor.
Our night in Portland was spent the La Quinta. We chose that hotel because it was difficult to find a place to stay in Portland the night we wanted to be there. It's a standard La Quinta. The location was fairly close to downtown although I would probably be a little reluctant to make the walk at night because of distance and the somewhat sketchy area just beyond the hotel. But the place served our needs just fine. We had dinner at Vignola which was very charming with good food. Portland seems to be a wonderful vibrant little city with a thriving food and arts scene.
We made a lunch stop in Biddeford Pool which is a tiny coastal town Some folks we know from our days in Atlanta own a market and cafe called F.O. Goldthwaite's. It's a cute, old-fashioned spot with picnic tables overlooking the water where you can enjoy their delicious food.
Two of our nights were spent in one of my favorite spots, Ogunquit ME. We stayed the Captain's Quarters. It's owned by the same folks who own the popular Gazebo Inn. The Captain's Quarters is essentially a renovated motel and the rates are reasonable for the area. It's also pet friendly and I think we were the only ones there without a canine companion We had a small but tasteful 2 bedroom suite which cost about the same as just one room at other places we checked. The location is pretty good--about a 15-20 minute walk to the main part of town or the beach. There is also a shuttle stop right by the motel. There is no breakfast included in the rate but the popular breakfast spot, The Egg and I is right next door.
One evening in Ogunquit we had dinner at the Front Porch where they have a varied menu and the food is good. We also enjoyed seeing the campy "Judy Show" in the upstairs bar. Our other dinner was at MC Perkins Cove which is a very nice spot with a lovely setting, good service and excellent food.
We also enjoyed a boat tour with the Finest Kind tours to see the Nubble Lighthouse. This was a really nice tour on a pretty boat. The people who work for the company were very nice and even fetched my hat out of the water after it blew off when we were boarding the boat.
Ogunquit is a very pretty little town with lovely beaches and a wonderful seaside path called the Marginal Way.
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 11:30 AM
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After two nights in Ogunquit we dropped out friends off at the train station in Wells. They took the train to Boston for their flight home. And we ventured onward to see more of beautiful Maine. Our destination was Bar Harbor but we made a couple of stops along the way.
First we stopped in Booth Bay Harbor and spent a few minutes walking around and checking out a bit of the scenery there. We then stopped in charming Camden ME. We had a good lunch of chowder and lobster pizza at the venerable Cappy's.
Our "home" in Bar Harbor was the Holbrook House B & B. My personal design aesthetic leans toward the minimal and modern so B&Bs are not really my thing from a design perspective but we often enjoy the personal touch one often gets from them. The couple who own the Holbrook House are very nice and helpful in answering questions. Our room was nice, comfortable and quiet. The breakfasts were very good and cheerfully presented. Location-wise, it's on a nice street with mostly other b&bs and just a short stroll to the main part of town.
Our first night we had dinner at Gaylen's. This is a pretty popular spot near the water. We had a nice table with a view. Our food was just so-so. It wasn't a disaster but I probaby wouldn't make a return visit.
We enjoyed taking a tour on the 4-mast schooner the Margaret Todd. There was a park ranger onboard who told us about some of the animal and plant life in the area.
One of the highlights of area is the Acadia National Park. We would have liked to have had more time to explore the park but we did manage to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain and walk around Jordan Pond (hint: if you want to eat the Pond House reserve in advance.)
Our second dinner in Bar Harbor was at Havana. I had read about this spot in a NY Times article on Bar Harbor---the Obamas ate there last year. We had their lobster paella which was good but didn't completely rock my world. Overall, it was a nice meal with good service in a nice setting.
The area is very pretty and we also spent some time driving around and checking out different spots. We're hoping to return for a bit longer next year.
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 11:38 AM
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The end of our trip was the drive from Bar Harbor to Boston where we spent the night before out flight home to CA the next day. We stopped in York ME for our final lobster roll of the trip.
We were able to snag a great online rate at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. The hotel has lots of old fashioned charm and our room was comfortabe albeit a bit dated.
The hotel has a great Back Bay location and we enjoyed walking in the Public Garden and the Boston Common. For dinner we chose the tiny Italian place Artu on lovely Charles St. I loved my porchetta at Artu!
Before heading to the airport we had breakfast at Paramount on Charles St where I used to eat many years ago when I visited Boston frequently.
Our trip was most enjoyable and we look forward to another New England visit soon.
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 01:07 PM
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What a great report--and what fun that you travel with a group. Thanks for writing. Where are you going for the next birthday?!
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 02:30 PM
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Funny you should ask, on the flight home I was reading Travel and Leisure Magazine and saw a villa in Italy that would be perfect for our group!
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 03:41 PM
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sequess, enjoyed your trip report a lot! Thanks for posting.
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Old Aug 28th, 2011, 05:51 PM
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thanks for posting. Sounds like a fun trip.
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Old Aug 29th, 2011, 01:39 AM
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Great trip report! It's so much fun to see where people go when they come for a visit to New England.
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