7.07.2011

Date Day in Maine

During our weeks in Maine each summer, Brian's parents like to spend a day with Emily, allowing Brian and I to have a date day anywhere we choose. This year, we decided to spend our date day in Portland and South Portland. Start to finish, it was a wonderful day. As we drove into the city, Brian's tour began. He thoroughly enjoys giving me tours everywhere we go, and I have to say even though I give him a hard time, I love listening to them. He drove me around his old college campus (University of Southern Maine, Portland), parked next to his first apartment, and told stories as we passed by the house he lived in with his friend Sam. After driving up and down the streets of downtown Portland, we headed over to the Old Port where we spent the rest of our morning and afternoon. The buildings were historic the sounds of seagulls filled the air, and cobblestone streets lined the harbor. It was a beautiful area to spend our Sunday.
We started at Mornings in Paris, where we sipped on coffee and shared a piece of delicious blueberry crumb cake.
Next, we started wandering the streets and popping into boutiques and shops. We saw several families walking around with shopping bags full of popcorn, and knew we had to go into Coastal Maine Popcorn Company. I have never seen so many kinds of perfectly popped popcorn! We stocked up on rosemary popcorn, caramel corn, kettle corn, and salt and vinegar popcorn. It was the perfect snack as we walked around the harbor.
We wandered through the Harbor Fish Market, where Brian admired the fresh lobsters and clams as I tried to cope with the smell (I am not a seafood person...). After walking through the market, we walked along the back of the building where the boats bring the fresh catches every day. Being from the midwest, I had never seen an oceanside harbor like this before, and I loved everything about it.
Next, we walked back towards the shops and restaurants in search of a place to stop and have lunch.
We decided to eat at the Portland Lobster Co., located right on the water. The menu had plenty of fresh seafood options for Brian, along with some sandwiches and appetizers for me. We ordered onion rings, a lobster roll, fried clams, and a veggie burger, and it was all delicious. Two (make that four) thumbs up! We listened to live music as we ate, and planned out the remainder of our afternoon.
For dessert, we picked up two cupcakes at East End Cupcakes: a blueberry cupcake with maple icing and a carrot cupcake with cream cheese icing. We saved them until later that evening, and they were both yummy. I especially loved the blueberry one; it had all of wonderful ingredients that Maine is known for!
Our second stop was at Mt. Desert is Ice Cream. The sign outside the ice cream shop boasted fearless flavors, along with the award of being one of the top 15 ice cream shops in the nation. So, obviously, I had to try it. I loved the salted caramel ice cream. On their website, they announced that they will soon serve a chocolate bacon cone- the rim of a waffle cone dipped in Callebaut chocolate and then rolled in candied bacon. If I could make a trip back to Portland for that, I would. Until then, I may just need to try making that one on my own!
The architecture and colors around Portland were charming, and I loved driving through the streets looking out the window. We stopped several times to take a closer look at the old brownstones. How cute is that row of color-coordinated houses?! Every door was a different style and color, which added to the curb appeal.
After our afternoon in the Old Port, we drove over to South Portland to Fort Williams Park. We spent a couple hours walking around the Portland Headlight, one of the most famous lighthouses in Maine. After going to the lighthouse, we explored some of the trails that lined the rocky coast.

I have always had a fear of open heights, but I did not realize how bad it was until we started to veer off the trails at the Headlight. As soon as I stepped off of the path, my whole body felt shaky and I began to tear up. As we walked closer and closer to the edge, my tears turned into full on crying. But, with Brian's encouragement and a very slow crawl, I made it towards the edge for a picture in front of the lighthouse.
The crying continued as we walked down a cliff to the rocky shoreline. In my defense, I have sprained my ankle more times than I can count and was wearing flip flops, both of which added to my fear. But I made it (with Brian holding my hand the entire way). I have to admit, I was pretty embarrassed as I watched three year olds climbing down the same hills as me without any problems. The views from the bottom were worth the trauma of climbing down.
As you can see from the picture above, Brian had had enough of my picture taking by the time we reached the coast. So, a cheesy senior picture style pose was all he would give me. And check out how smooth I look trying to make my way to that big rock to take a picture... that's apparently how I look when I am scared and trying to walk on rocky ground.
We finished our day at the original L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport. There are actually several L.L. Bean stores within the area, including a home store, a hunting and fishing store, and the retail store. I can't wait to wear my new boots this fall- they are the perfect souvenir from our date day! After we finished shopping, we listened to an outdoor concert by The Mallett Brothers as part of L.L. Bean's Summer in the Park series. The band sounded awesome live, and even though they are a little more country than my usual taste, I think I will get their album. Check them out!
I love exploring new places, I love Brian, and I love date days! 

3 comments :

  1. OH I am so jealous! I LOVE lighthouses, and Portland Headlight is my absolute favorite. I WILL see it one day.....especially after seeing your beautiful pictures. Love it! :)

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  2. Don't worry. Joe is afraid of open heights too. except he doesn't cry...at least not when I'm around....

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  3. Hi Daina,

    I was just reading through some of your older posts and of course this was one of my favorites! I actually work one building over from the furthest building on the left of your first picture (the cobblestone street with the row of colorful shops). I wrote a blog entry about Maine also. You can read it here: http://empiricallyerin.blogspot.com/2012/03/where-are-you-from.html

    Once again, amazing pictures!

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