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Butchers in New England
Butchers in New England

I went for a run last night. Don’t let that fool you. I’m not an avid runner and I was slow going, but nevertheless….Nashville’s humidity has been slowly lifting this week and the whisper of fall is heard in the rustling of leaves.  There’s something about this season that speaks to Jen and I…and although our calendar would tell you otherwise, autumn always calls for rest. A quiet season to enjoy the outdoors and the changing of seasons.

Near the end of 2014 (almost a year ago) we took a trip to the Northeast.  Starting in Boston, we road tripped north to New Hampshire for Ben & Sarah’s wedding, then cut back to the Atlantic to Portsmouth, Portland, and eventually up to the haunting hues of Bar Harbor. As much as we could, we followed the coastline through sleepy fish towns hardly seeing a living soul outside of birds and working fishermen.

It felt like a dream we never wanted to wake from…

We’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of our country the last few years…. the majesty of the Rockies, the glowing coast of California, the uninterrupted views of the Mojave Desert,  the lush forests surrounding the great lakes…but we’ve never seen the palette of green, granite, and dark blue that could only be found in Maine.  I once heard that “Maine is a joy in the summer, but the soul of Maine is more apparent as winter sets in.

Maine doesn’t demand your attention. It quietly exists and politely asks for your respect.  The land, the sea…it all feels so much bigger than us and watching REAL fishermen come in every evening to unload the day’s catch made us feel so small….as if this were the last place in our great country that actually relied on the bounty of our natural environment.

There’s truly nothing like it.

And while we’re sharing these much later than we anticipated, we thought there’s no better time than now. Below are the images made on the 500 mile stretch from Boston to Bar Harbor along with a list from Jen’s favorite stops along the way.  Hope you enjoy!

WHAT TO DO IN BOSTON

– The Lobster Roll at Neptune Oyster was dripping in hot buttery goodness and made our first lobster roll experience messy and memorable.

– We’re always on the hunt for a good burger and R.F. O’Sullivan & Son delivered a serious contender.  They take a while to prep and cook, but it’s worth the wait….and they’re cheap!

– Grab a Cannoli (or three) at Mike’s Pastry on the North End… the peanut butter and espresso were our favorites :)

DRINK, the cocktail bar off Congress St. was our only bar discovery that went above and beyond in service and offering up custom cocktails based on our liquor preference.  Highly recommended.

– Walk through the North End

– Grab coffee at CREMA CAFE in Harvard Square, then walk the Harvard Campus…you’ll feel smarter afterwards.

– Visit Fenway Park for a Red Sox game and eat a hot dog!

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WHAT TO DO IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

We didn’t spend too much time in Portsmouth, NH, though we could have.  Portsmouth is a small port city (the 3rd oldest city in America) loaded with history, shops, summer tourists, cafes, breweries, and an active port….all braided in brick sidewalks. It’s a beautiful city.  Here are a few discoveries from our time there…

– Walk the Harbour Trail stopping at breweries and 70+ points of scenic and historic significance

– Walk/Shop Market Square

– Take pictures along the shores of the Piscataqua River

Hanover, NH was one of our favorite stops along the way. This place is the epitome a of quaint fall town.

-Go to Lou’s Restaurant and Bakery (a old school diner on Main Street) for a delicious Apple Cider Donut or an effortless breakfast.

-After, walk around the Dartmouth Campus with a coffee in hand from Umbleby’s Bakery Cafe

-Make your way across the bridge to the quiet little town of Norwich, VT, park your car and explore.

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WHAT TO DO IN MAINE

We treated Portland, ME (the largest city in Maine) as our hub and stayed just South of the city in a cozy Airbnb just big enough for the both of us…although small we hardly spent time there so we weren’t too concerned about finding the most inspiring space.  We spent about week in Portland either venturing out from the city or staying in the area.  Here are our must dos…

– Grab a quick breakfast with best damn bagels we’ve ever had at Scratch Baking Co. 

– Coffee at Tandem Coffee Roasters.

– Dinner on a rainy evening at The Front Room

– Fresh (and affordable) Lobster Dinner at Portland Lobster Co

– Lunch Lobster Rolls & Oysters at Eventide Oyster Co

– Something we didn’t get to do this time around, but will definitely be adding to the list next time is to catch our own Lobsters with Lucky Catch Cruises

– Small plates and cocktails at Central Provisions. You can’t go wrong, but the “Perfect Storm” (their take on a Dark & Stormy) was our personal favorite.

– Walk the Eastern Promenade

– Whale watch with Odyssey (must have patience, but so worth it!)

After spending a few days exploring Portland we headed North and spent two days driving to Bar Harbor.  You MUST avoid the expressways and take HIGHWAY 1 through Boothbay, Rockland, and Deer Isle.  Most of the images below were taken on that two day trek and made for some of our favorite memories.

Lastly, visit Bar Harbor, ME

– Being in Bed & Breakfast country, we had to stay in at least one B&B while we were here.  Castlemaine Inn was the prefect little place to call home for a night. Comfy beds, friendly and helpful staff, fireplace in our suite and delicious breakfast in the morning.

– We woke up at the crack of dawn and spend all day driving through Acadia National Park. We only had one day to spend in the park,  but could have easily stretched it to three.  Like Brad mentioned above, there’s truly nothing like it and if we could bottle up our time in Maine it would be exploring the shores of Mt. Desert Island. The views, the hues, and the majesty of that park will forever be a favorite of ours.

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