We moved out of our Boston condo this spring*, but have been a little indecisive on exactly where we want to move to. All of our “stuff” got moved either to a storage unit or to my in-law’s house. My very patient in-laws.
All good things must come to an end, though, and so it goes with their patience. We do have two homes, technically, in Vermont and Maine, but neither one felt like the right place to move all of our everyday life stuff. My husband solved the short term problem with a shiny new snowmobile/storage trailer, backed right into his parent’s driveway. The kids moved their toy basketball hoop inside and declared it “home”. We loaded all our boxes then figured we’d drop some in Vermont, some in Maine.
It’s a best-case 5.5 hour trip to Maine, and that’s if you drive up just in time for the next ferry, and there is room for you on it. That’s a long day for 2 kids and a baby who hates car seats, so we decided to break it up with a night in Portland. Portland was so much fun that we added a couple of nights in Camden on to the tail end, as well, and called it a vacation.
There are easily thousands of ways to spend 4-5 days in this gorgeous state, but here is what we did this time around:
Portland Regency Hotel, Portland waterfront A little tired but in the best location and we got a HUGE two-room, two-bath suite with a fire place and a massive whirlpool tub.
The Press Hotel, Portland So cool. Awesome decor, themed around its past as the original site of the Portland Press Herald newspaper
Tidewater Motel, Vinalhaven Quaint. Also the only option on Vinalhaven, so we booked a room since the water was not on at our house yet. The owner is renowned island resident Phil Crossman, author of the hysterical collection of short stories, “Away Happens“, focused on the everyday hilarity of small-town island life. Within 1 minute of our arrival, Rocky had found the knives and paint brushes that were left on the floor. But we got a quick personal apology from Phil himself, and Van puked all over the entire cottage around 2AM, so I’d say in the grand scheme of things, we’re even 🤢 (Not really, not at all. Phil had to clean vomit and I scooted out with a good story to tell. Sorry, Phil, it’s almost like a life-swap!)
16 Bay View, Camden Our favorite Camden boutique hotel, 16 Bay View is right in town, with fantastic harbor views, and all the best shops and restaurants just outside it’s door.
The Honey Paw 78 Middle St Portland ME Favorite favorite favorite. Asian fusion deliciousness. I’d eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Oh wait, I usually do. (Not open for breakfast, but I like to bring enough leftovers home to have the next day!)
LB Kitchen 249 Congress St Portland ME This place actually IS open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it’s also amazing. So many fresh local vegan options, with local eggs and bacon added if you wish.
The Nightingale 26 Main St Vinalhaven ME We’ve been waiting 3 years for this!! The former fried-food institution was re-made this winter and newly open as The Nightingale, by our friends Lauren and Brian. Named after the sailboat they sailed from New York to Grenada, The Nightingale serves fresh local fares. So so pumped to finally get to try it out, after following their renovation adventures all winter on instagram. Verdict: worth the wait.
Salt 64 E Main St Vinalhaven ME Vinalhaven fine-dining mainstay. The Nightingale was serving a limited menu so we ended our night at Salt. Not a ton of vegan possibilities but lots of creative tequila concoctions, all the people, and all the fun 🙂
Fresh and Co 1 Bay View St Camden ME This place has something for everyone. Dedicated vegan options plus fresh local seafood and locally raised meat. The Middle Eastern flavored mezze platter was so good we went back and got it as take out the next day!
Zoots Coffee, 31 Elm St Camden ME The best place because all their baked goods are VEGAN!!! So delicious!!!
Main Street Markets 435 Main St Rockland, ME This is where we stock up on everything delicious before boarding the ferry to Vinalhaven. They have an awesome selection and a deli counter with amazing smoothies, salads and wraps.
FourTWELVE 412 Main Rockland, ME women’s clothing, shoes and jewelry across from the market. I grabbed a couple new pairs of AG jeans here, and somehow resisted the cutest shoes and leather jacket. Trying to be a good vegan and stick to faux leather from now on!!
Island Spirits 32 Main St Vinalhaven, ME only our favorite wine and gourmet food store of all time, no big deal. Go there on the right day and find local hand-picked lump crab.
French and Brawn’s 1 Elm St Camden ME The best-market award for Camden’s downtown. Stock up on snacks, fruit, wine and coffee.
Little 42 Exchange St Portland, ME This is the only children’s store you ever need visit. I pretty much save all my kid shopping for this place. I bought ALL my baby stuff here for Rocky, every single item!
Zane 41 Exchange St Portland, ME Women’s boutique in Portland. Nice clothes but most importantly a huge selection of Antonello Tedde purses! The best eco- and animal-friendly Italian line
Sugar Tools 29 Bay View St, Camden ME One of those dangerous stores with a curated collection of gorgeous home goods, clothing, books and jewelry. We purchased a beautiful hand-made backgammon board here and River has been kicking our butts on it ever since.
Planet Toys 10 Main St Camden ME Giant toy store, full of literally everything. Considered yourself warned if walking through town with kids 😉
The Owl and the Turtle 33 Bay View St Camden ME One of my favorite bookstores of all time. They have an awesome selection for all ages, and the upstairs is devoted to kids and young adults, complete with giant teddies, bean bags and pint-size arm chairs. The café downstairs serves up baked goods and our favorite locally roasted coffee, Coffee on the Porch. They sell it in bags, too, so stock up!
Swans Island Company 2 Bay View St Camden, ME Beautiful and Classically “Maine” blankets and home goods. Expensive but hand crafted and worth it.
The original LL Bean, of course 95 Main St Freeport, ME We finally took the boys in to see the aquarium and trout pond, and he could not believe we’d been holding out on him all this time. LL Bean is having a retro-cool comeback and even if you don’t buy anything, there’s a lot of cool history displayed around the store.
The Local 148 Maine St Brunswick, ME Part market, part coffee house, part deli, part cutest-homegoods-shop and, finally, part toy store. This place is awesomeness and danger in equal parts.
AE Ceramics 359 Main St Yarmouth ME Gorgeous works of art in this gallery and shop.
Rosemont Market and Bakery 96 Main St Yarmouth ME Another perfect place to stock up for the car ride, especially if you swing by the local ceramics gallery too.
IF YOU GO:
Maine State Ferry Service 517 Main St Rockland, ME
*Saying “we” moved out of our apartment was an easy breezy way of saying that my husband moved us out while I was on our sailboat in the Caribbean with the kids. Not that I was lounging on a beach drinking pina coladas or anything, at least not every day, but I was certainly not packing a condo while snow storms raged outside. This asterisk is here to keep all spousal indignation somewhat in check 😉 And if that didn’t work, hey Jonathan I love ya!!