Thursday, August 05, 2010

Maine Mini-Vacation Highlights

In case you were wondering, our recent road trip to the Maine coast wasn't ALL about food. I didn't even make a menu for the camping part of things--and I think that is a first. OK, I have to admit part of me was hoping we'd encounter so many local good eats, that cooking over an open fire would take a backseat.

Sure enough we did, like the absolutely perfect lobster roll pictured above from Percy's Store on Popham beach. Oh and you already heard about our lobster feast, complete with a hatchet to open the claws.

Yes, there was great food, but most of our time, though, was spent enjoying this:

You won't find much information online about the Popham Beach area, or the small, family run campground we stayed in. It was the perfect, non-touristy, off-the-grid kind of place that we like to hang out at.

Most of the time we had the beach nearly to ourselves, especially in the early mornings and late evenings, my two favorite times to stroll the beach. And on a cloudy day? The 3 kilometer stretch was ours!

These little dudes acted like they owned the beach, especially the one in the middle.

Popham Beach was SO ideal for small children, with it's gentle surf and miles of sand. Even the big kids had their fun.

Choosing to spend the maximum time at the beach, we kept the food really simple. Well,with the exception of this chocolate cake that I made the day before the trip...

I somehow had the feeling that we were going to need some comfort food, but I had NO idea how badly...

Maybe you heard about our storm tornado from my tweets, but you didn't hear about the power outage on the entire point. The trees down. The flooding of our tent. The terror of my children. The tornado touchdown not far away and The. Most. Intense. lightning storm I have ever witnessed.

And, at about 10 pm, our retreat to Comfort Inn.

I consider myself a seasoned camper; I've canoe-camped, winter-camped, and slept under the stars by glacial streams. Never in my 31 years of camping have I ever taken a hotel. Seriously though, those coastal storms are somthin' else.

And so chocolate cake was consumed, our tent dried, camp set up and the next day looked like this: perfectly peaceful.

Some of the local sites included a magnificent old fort, which Noah was convinced was a castle, and ripped around the place with tireless energy.

Another hit with the whole family was the Maine Maritime Museum, where we played pirate on a almost-to-scale 'real' pirates ship, toured the extensive and interesting shipbuilding grounds, and went aboard a real wooden fishing vessel.

Our morning in Portland flew by (OK, so maybe stops at the L.L.Bean empire and J. Crew outlet store on the way cut into that precious time) but we saw enough to vow to return. And possibly even move there.

Highlights were The Standard Baking Company, which Travel & Leisure calls the best bakery in Maine, and this place:

We took our sweet time on the drive from Montreal to Maine, making sure the road trip was about the journey just as much as the destination. Stops along the way included this one, of course, for a full factory tour.

Aaaand this place,

which will now be on our not-to-be-missed list. (Psst! Free WiFi on the terrace!)

How nice are the folks at Green Mountain Coffee? They supplied us (no charge) with more than enough of their French Roast to last our camping trip. Thanks, Green Mountain Coffee!

Rolling Vermont hills, dotted with farms. I never get tired of the drive.

And a good time was had by all...


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A. said...

Lovely pictures. I still haven't gotten mine up!

...I don't know if agree that Oceanview campground was "non-touristy" but the beach WAS awesome.


Jennifer said...

We just returned from Southport Island, Maine, and I was excited to see you were in Maine too! Have always wanted to try Popham Beach (have tried Reid State Park) and the photos and your story have convinced me to try Popham next time. Would love to camp too! (was the campground tent-friendly and wooded?)Thanks for the inspiration!

Aimée said...

Jennifer- The best part of the campground as its close proximity to the beach. Ah..the beach.
No, it wasn't very tent-friendly (I hear Hermit Island is much better)and although our site was shady and treed, most sites were just a minuscule piece of land on which to park a RV.

Cheri said...

Love it! Pretty much all the beaches here are rock.. it looks like so much fun to play in the sand. What would a camping trip be like without a major storm? :) Although that's definitely a lot crazier then normal. Makes good memories though. :) So glad you got to go on a real vacation!

Jen said...

Hermit Island is very tent-friendly! Spent many a summer there as a kid, and someday will bring my girls there!

Kara said...

Looks lovely! (and you've got a great tornado story now)

And, that last picture? WONDERFUL! I can almost hear the happiness :-)

Best Wishes,

Sue @ Above the Dam Jam said...

I loved your post about your family's visit to my home state. I don't appreciate enough how many incredible people, places, and things to do we have here for everyone in every season. Thanks for the reminder!

Adrienne said...

Yay! I'm so glad you had fun in my home state :) The maritime museum is pretty fun, I had forgotten about that - we used to go there on field trips every couple of years. And hermit island IS very camp friendly, I used to go there with a friend's family.

Tiffany @ Eat at Home said...

That looks wonderful! What a great time you had. I told my oldest daughter that next year I want to go to a beach in Maine, stay at a house with no phone, no internet, no tv. She gasped at the suggestion of no technology, but I think it might be refreshing to unplug. And I've never seen Maine before, so that would be fun. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

erin said...

my parents live about ten minutes from popham beach, so i'm there pretty regularly - another great spot to go, where you can camp out as well, is hermit cove, not much further down the road from popham, with equally clean quiet beaches that are kid friendly. :)

Miranda said...

I loved reading that summary of your trip! I feel like I went on a mini vacation!

Cheryl Arkison said...

Another link between us - the early morning, late night strolls. Man, I need me some beach time!

Haidi said...

Great shots; nice to hear about part of Maine I've wanted to go. Love the shot of Mateo and D.

Helene said...

Love camping in Maine but I have not heard of that campground. Looks like you had a good time, except for the storm.

kickpleat said...

Your trip sounds so fantastic. And that beach and lobster roll look amazing. But seriously, it's the cake that I'm totally jonesing for. Yum!

Natalie said...

Loved your pictures and Maine descriptions! We're going to Kennebunkport and Portland Maine in September...I cannot wait to go!

librariane said...

Holy cow, I've always wanted to go to Maine and now want to go even more! Beautiful pictures and descriptions.

Ingrid said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Stress free beach vacation with kids is a difficult task for parents, but I see that you have passed everything in an odd way. I'm very glad that you have such wonderful children.

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MBA Siddique said...

Your kids will get super fun, if you go to beach to spend your summer vacation. Remember took best beach chair and food also.

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