Exploring & eating in Maine: York Beach, Ogunquit, Portland


Top: View from short sands beach (personally preferred long sands beach), Bottom: our nearby motel

This has been the summer of weekend getaways, and each one has made me appreciate how much New England has to offer. I was thrilled to find out I had Labor Day weekend off, and was easily convinced by friends to go on an impromptu retreat to Maine. We visited last year with another couple, and couldn’t wait to explore more.

The first day we went on a “lobster luncheon” kayak trip run by a local pair. We were the only 4 that signed up and got a little private tour. I’ve kayaked leisurely up and down the Charles river in Boston and thus, ambitiously signed up for this half-day ocean kayaking tour thinking it’d be a breeze (even considered doing full-day…gasp), and will just say Nick was not pleased with his tandem paddling partner. maine2012-10

Left: Overpriced seafood place (~$30/lobster)  Right: Group shot in the middle of the ocean

All the “luncheon” consisted of was us rowing to an open restaurant with a dock and buying our own lunch. Despite this, I don’t think I’ve paddled harder in my life than when the food came into sight.

Refueling on onion rings, oysters, and coconut shrimp before another workout

maine2012-1The next day we drove ~20 minutes to Perkins Cove, ME to get our lobster fix. There’s a number of places to choose from, but my heart was set on the Lobster Shack which had the best reviews. We were surprised to find a lunch special that was much more reasonably priced than the previous day’s fare. Two of us gorged on twin lobsters, and the other two had rolls and chowda. Each meal was just $15, plus they sold local beers and wine in solo cups – what’s not to love?

Lots of old-fashioned “shoppes” like this, to pop into while strolling around town:

We had dinner in Ogunquit, ME which is a very quaint beach-side town with a whole street of restaurants and bars. We originally wanted to stay there, but realized that was wishful thinking for last-minute travelers on Ogunquit’s busiest weekend of the year. The Yelp app helped us pick Frills, which was a great little outdoor spot with delicious seafood entrees and cheap cocktails.
maine2012-2 I had sworn off seafood after the double lobster showdown, but am too much of a sucker for seafood pasta. This one did not disappoint – generous portions of sea scallops, lobster, and shrimp tossed with grated cheese and local-made pasta. Nick had crabcakes topped with lobster w/ mashed potatoes, and licked his plate clean. And you can’t leave Maine without some blueberry pie.
There’s not much to do around York at night…saw some women “working” the streets outside which made us go running back inside. We considered late-night dips in the ocean but the waters there are FRIGID…ended up settling for boardgames and “airplanes” at the motel.

On the last day, we drove an hour north to Portland, ME which is foodie and craft beer lovers’ haven. First stop, Novare Res “Bier Cafe”. I just about finished my drink before the guys were done poring over the vast selection.
maine2012-7Next up, the Thristy Pig. What a great concept. For $10 you can get a cold brew + hand-crafted fat sausage link w/ toppings ($2 more for a bun). My kielbasa was juicy and flavorful.
Top left: After beers, we treated ourselves to hot stone couples massages. I’ve never splurged on treatments before and think I might prefer a hot shower. My companion probably had trouble relaxing with my giggles and snapshots invading his privacy.

For dinner, we had a tough time getting reservations (seems like a Portland thing) but eventually made one at Local 188. We smelled the smoker outside and told the waitress we wanted what was inside (turned out to be chorizo). Ingredients are supposedly local and quantities were limited…they were running out of things left and right, and Nick hailed someone down to reserve one of the last few ice cream sandwiches before we even ordered appetizers.
maine2012From top left: grilled flatbread with hummus; hit-the-spot meatballs; scallop ceviche with sriracha mayo; chicken & chorizo paella; braised brisket, and last but not least an ice cream sammy. Everything we tried was fantastic, and I cried a little inside as my friend removed the “fat” from the brisket (the best part!).

On our way home, I was pleased to find a Savers thrift store in NH stocked with quality materials. I half expected to run into NH blogger Kerry who introduced me to the chain in the first place, but no such luck! They were having a 50% off sale, so needless to say, my thrifting addiction kicked into full swing there and will be responsible for many additional outfits over the coming months.
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Readers – Have any of you visited beautiful Maine?

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  1. Fight Wear wrote:

    The food looks really yummy and delicious to eat and it’s really suits to eat in beach sides.

    Posted 9.28.12 Reply
  2. I love Maine! The last time I went we had dinner at Fore Street restaurant in Portland. But my favorite meal of the trip was at Fishermen's Grill, a hole-in-the-wall spot in the middle of Thai town. So not fancy but such great quality seafood. Best scallops I've had in my life!

    Posted 9.26.12 Reply
  3. Jo Abiog wrote:

    i want THAT lobster!!
    awesome post 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    ♥, Jo

    {style + travel}

    Posted 9.25.12 Reply
  4. I've never visited Maine, but would love to, just for the scrumptious lobster!

    Posted 9.24.12 Reply
  5. beautiful pictures .. I actually went to Lobster
    Fest in Maine about 3 years ago and I definitely
    enjoyed my stay.


    Posted 9.23.12 Reply
  6. Carol Amy wrote:

    I went with my family a few summers ago and we also hit up the Lobster Shack! My mom also proceeded to have lobster in some form for every meal the rest of the trip… haha!



    Posted 9.22.12 Reply
  7. so cool! A place I have always wanted to visit… and that food is making me drool!

    Posted 9.22.12 Reply
  8. Vivian F wrote:

    Maine is amazing! I'm working over in New Hampshire right now on a project, and we go to Maine all the time for shopping and dinner! If you ever make it down to Kittery next time, hit me up! I can send you some restaurants 🙂

    Posted 9.22.12 Reply
  9. Guia wrote:

    Looks like so much fun! I would love a weekend getaway in New England but times just never work out for all who would want to come! The food looks delicious too!

    Posted 9.22.12 Reply
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    hey what app did you use to edit those square pics? They are so pretty 🙂

    Posted 9.22.12 Reply
  11. I just found your blog and I love it! I follow Wendy @ wendyslookbook.com because of her style, and because she seems petite… Now I just found you! And I know for sure you are petite, because your about page confirms it. I am 5'2 and 95 lbs., and I totally understand about the difficulty of finding clothing. People don't believe how hard is to find clothing when you are so small. Anyway, I'm following you now 😉

    Posted 9.22.12 Reply
  12. Leslie wrote:

    Really enjoyed this post! I visited New England with a girlfriend quite a few years ago, also in early September. Still remember having 3 lobsters and my friend having 3 lobsters and 6 lobster heads over the course of a week! I love the quaint seaside towns. Do they still have that flagship LL Bean store that's open 24 hours? We hung out there when we couldn't sleep!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  13. Eli wrote:

    Great photos!! and the food looks.. yuum!
    please pass by…

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  14. Diana wrote:

    Hi! Looking at your pictures made me miss Maine…I lived in York for a year and just fell in love with it (it was also where my met my BF). My BF's family own the Ben and Jerry's scoop shop/drug store in Ogunquit. Have you ever been to Barnacle Billy's in Perkin's cove? According to Maine natives, they have the most authentic lobster rolls and the best rum punch. Former president Bush would go there every now and then, and they would have the whole area blocked off.

    Thanks for posting your pictures of Maine! Makes me want to get back there ASAP.

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  15. Michelle wrote:

    I was told by our kayak tour guide once that he calls them the "divorce boats"!

    Your food selections look amazing. I hope to be living in a coastal town soon so I can take advantage of all the fresh fish!!

    The "airplanes" in the hotel room is just about the cutest thing I have seen in a long time! That needs to be on a greeting card!!

    Hope you have a great weekend! 🙂

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  16. GEMMA wrote:

    Lobster!!!!!! so delish:)



    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  17. Lauren wrote:

    I just moved out to Boston and visiting Maine is at the top of my "East Coast To-Do" list!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  18. Youa wrote:

    hi Jean. love all the good eats while on vacay!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  19. Ann wrote:

    All these food pics are making me hungry Jean!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  20. REESHELL wrote:

    this looks so great!! this makes me want to do an impromptu trip with my man <3

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  21. I have never been to Maine, but this post makes me want to go now. Beautiful pictures!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  22. Anonymous wrote:

    Great post! I haven't been to Maine but would love to go esp. after reading this. 🙂

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  23. Diana wrote:

    I have always wanted to visit Maine (ever since high school and I have no idea how it happened)! All of your pictures are gorgeous! And the food! Look at all of that glorious food!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  24. Mary Ann wrote:

    Ha, love all these pics, Jean, especially the lobster bib! And David and I totally do the "airplanes," too, but I'm usually on the bottom working on my leg strength, lol, and trying to get him to balance. 😉

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  25. Erin wrote:

    My fiance still talks about the Lobster Eggs Benedict at Porthole in Portland. Pretty sure we'll have to stop there again at some point in our lives 🙂 Great post, makes me nostalgic for my one and only trip to New England!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  26. wow! the food looks delicious and you look like you had an amazing time! I am so happy for you!



    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  27. Jackie wrote:

    I haven't visited Maine (yet). But the more I see the more I want to go! All the food looks so good!

    Thank you for sharing your trip with us, Jean!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  28. Mary-Irene wrote:

    The beaches of Maine have been part of my life since I was a little kid. I am originally from Massachusetts, and we visited York and Ogunquit ever year.
    This year, my hubby and I took our boys to Ogunquit for a long vacation and it was awesome. We had lobster, lobster rolls and steamers. The kids loved to ride the trolleys named Dolly, Lolly, Polly, etc.
    The beach was beautiful. Great photos you have on your blog!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  29. newpetite wrote:

    Yes! Portland is beautiful! We were there about 5 years ago. Its beautiful and I dont think any other lobster has even come close to what I had there. I still remember the taste!
    I love your travel posts!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  30. Stephanie wrote:

    Oh my gosh those food pictures look yum! I want to go to Maine but I think now's not a good time since it's getting cold. Well at least I'll check back this post and note down all those yummy places to go to for our next summer road trip! 🙂

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  31. I am soooo hungry after reading this post…everything looks amazing…but that sausage…I would love to have that right now!!
    Looks like a beautiful time away…eating, drinking, laughing and relaxing 🙂

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  32. OMG everything looks so delicious!

    Check out the Friday Five on The Glitter Life: http://the-glitter-life.com/2012/09/21/friday-five-7/.

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  33. Great post check out what I am been doing lately and I am wearing from traditional dress….

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  34. Elle wrote:

    chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich…get in my belly!

    I used to visit Maine every summer when I was growing up and have fond memories of all the various b&b; we stayed at. All this despite not being a seafood fan…but my dad was a happy camper. 🙂

    I always enjoy your travel posts and this one is no exception. I can't wait to see what other amazing things you picked up at the thrift store.

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  35. I love Maine! Looks like you had a great time! 🙂

    xo, Yi-chia

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  36. Katherine wrote:

    I love Maine! I miss having the ability to go there so easily from Boston. The food is always amazing. I always have a hard time paying for massage/facial treatments – but I try to get mine as discounted as possible (hot stone is always so expensive!). Also I've found that couple's are always more than just getting two individually separately for some reason.

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  37. Thanks for sharing your trip – it seems like such a fun getaway! It totally is my idea of fun – and would love to take my family to Maine in the summer – all that food looks amazing…too funny that you had to reserve your dessert before it sold out LOL!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  38. FW wrote:

    I was in Portland, ME that same weekend! I had some of the best seafood I've ever had. If you ever go again in the future, definitely try Fisherman's Grill. Great value for the amount of food they give. Their lobster roll was overflowing with huge chunks of lobster. I also had a great meal at Street and Company, which was a recommendation from a co-worker that is from that area.

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  39. Cindy K wrote:

    Hi Jean, Avid follower for the 1.5 years – love your style and blog! These travel posts are awesome as well and definitely appreciate the feedback on the places you've visited! 🙂

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  40. I have yet to do that but will definitely keep your post in mind for restaurants & such when I do visit. Thanks for sharing, Jean! 🙂


    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  41. Rachelle wrote:

    Great pics everything look so good.yum!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  42. Bettina wrote:

    Love the airplane games! And, all of these seafood pictures look delish. I am now craving a lobster roll!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  43. OohLookBel wrote:

    Very entertaining and honest writeup. You'd make a brilliant (and well-dressed) travel writer!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  44. Megan wrote:

    I adore your travel posts! Keep traveling! 🙂

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  45. Sabrina wrote:

    Beautiful pictures! A lot of food there, I love weekend getaways involving a lot of eating, hehe. And the door of this one shop saying "handmade dipped turtles" made me laugh (whatever dipped turtles really are, now I'v got this picture in my head 😉 )


    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  46. Carla Krae wrote:

    Wow, me has major envy. Maine is one of 3 states I have left to see.

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  47. Katie wrote:

    fab photos, looks like a great getaway! the food looks gorgeous too 🙂

    Katie x

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  48. Fiona wrote:

    I visited Acadia National Park a couple summer ago and it was GORGEOUS. I hope I get to go back and camp under the stars–actually, the end of September is supposed to be the best time to do it! I'm glad you had a great, delicious time and I'm excited to see your new finds!

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  49. AC wrote:

    Awesome photos Jean! I've never been to Maine, but it looks beautiful! However, I will be visiting Boston mid-October and I was wondering if you have any recommendations for places to see/things to do in Boston. Any particular restaurants/foods I must try?

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply
  50. Caroline wrote:

    Haha! The part about the fat cracked me up – bc it IS the best part! I love New England – it's where my dad's from – and I hope my husband's job leads us to Boston in 2 years! Beautiful photos.

    Posted 9.21.12 Reply

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