Memorial Day Weekend 2015 was filled with two weddings as well as my own one year wedding anniversary. Sean and I made the most of it, extending the already long weekend into a five-day mini-vacation. Luckily both weddings happened to be Maine, just about an hour apart from one another, so we decided to spend the extra couple of days exploring Portland (still Maine, not Oregon) – a new destination for both of us that we had recently been hearing a lot about.
(May 22 2015) Day 1. Leaving Boston, Arriving in Kennebunkport.
The first wedding took place on Friday in Kennebunkport. We both took the day off from work so we could sleep in and miss traffic driving to the early evening ceremony. We couldn’t check into our hotel until after the ceremony, so we drove in our dress clothes and my hair/makeup done. But that didn’t stop us from grabbing a casual lunch at a local brew pub we found along the way.
The ceremony was beautifully set on the water in an old wooden church. This was the wedding of Sean’s life-long family friend (the bride), and it was nice to see some familiar faces from family gatherings, as well as joining Sean’s parents in the pews. The reception was at a resort on the water, another beautiful location which lots of charm. Sean and I didn’t know too many of the bride and groom’s friends, but they were all so warm and friendly that we couldn’t help but have a great time and dance the night away. We even discovered that one of the groomsmen went to High School and was in class with Sean – such a small world!
(May 23 2015) Day 2. Leaving Kennebunkport, Arriving in Raymond.
The second wedding was in Raymond, taking place at Kingsley Pines Campground. Because we had taken it pretty easy the night before (no after party for us on wedding #1 of 2), we were easily ready to check out of our hotel by the deadline of 11am. This left us with a little extra time to explore Kennebunkport, and recognized many of the shops from a previous trip to the town – also for a wedding! Although it was a little chilly from the sea breeze, we took the opportunity to visit downtown and do some window shopping. Perhaps most importantly, we also stopped at the semi-famous Clam Shack for some delicious lobster rolls to sustain us during our upcoming car ride. And let me tell you, they did not disappoint! The lobster pieces were large, the dressings were delicious, and the buns were so fresh. I wish I had some more now.
And then we hit the road. Most of the other attendees for this wedding had arrived the day before in order to enjoy various activities on the campgrounds, so when we arrived everyone was already mid-way through the day of water sports, lawn games, and enjoying some beverages. Sean and I checked into our cabin and quickly joined the others playing Corn Hole and Polish Horseshoes. After a few hours everyone got ready and went to the lakefront for the ceremony.
This wedding was for my sister’s best friend, who basically at this point was family. She’s so warm and lovely that instantly became close to my sister, all of her friends, and my family that I often forget she has only been in our lives for a few years rather than my entire life. The ceremony was beautiful and personal, and I wish her and her husband all of the best. This wedding reception continued late into the night, involving raucous dancing, bonfires, and laughing until my face hurt. My sister was there from San Diego, so it was also special to be able to spend time with her.
(May 24 2015) Day 3. Leaving Raymond, Arriving in Portland.
The next morning was Sean and my one year anniversary. I was feeling a little more alert than Sean (I’m not even sure when he finally went to bed; I definitely feel asleep while he was still out at the bonfire), so I woke up in time for breakfast and coffee before packing up, helping clean the grounds a bit, and hitting the road once more. We went straight to Portland, and arrived in the early afternoon before we were allowed to check into the Bed & Breakfast.
So we found parking and walked until we found some restaurants. We grabbed a few slices of pizza from Otto and ate at Deering Oaks Park. The weather was gorgeous, and the park was calm. We lounged about for a while, took a quick walk to check out the entire park, and I even found a four leaf clover!
When we were finally able to check into our room, we were pleasantly surprised to see how much the B&B reminded us of our home in Dorchester; it was a renovated triple-decker from the early 1900s. The hosts were very friendly, and our room was spacious and comfortable. And we promptly decided to take a nap to rejuvenate before exploring more of the city.
After our nap, I had a huge craving for an iced coffee. We started walking and finally saw a place with coffee, but alas – it was closed! However, after standing outside looking depressed and distressed about what next, the owner took pity on us and sold us some iced coffee. Thank goodness for nice people! Now that I was properly caffeinated, we continued our walk with the hope of finding a place for our anniversary dinner.
Our first choice (Fore Street) has a three-hour wait, which we were absolutely unwilling to do, so instead we walked around the block until we found an inviting seafood restaurant instead – Old Port Sea Grill. After dinner we were feeling full and sleepy, so we decided to visit the local convenience store to pick up some beer and prosecco on the walk home. We then proceeded to get in bed and watch a couple hours of HGTV (which was exciting because we don’t have cable at home) until we fell asleep…by 10pm. But hey, recovering from back-to-back weddings!
(May 25 2015) Day 4. Portland.
We woke up in time to enjoy the homemade breakfast at the Inn. Everything was made from locally-grown produce, and it was all delicious. Afterwards, we went for a walk downtown. We stumbled upon the Memorial Day parade, and were a little dismayed to see that the majority of shops were closed for the holiday. We had hoped the weekend would bring enough tourists for the shops to be open, but we were out of luck and had to settle for window shopping instead (I guess that was fort the best, budget-wise). After the parade ended we tried to get some donuts at Holy Donuts, only to find out that they, too were closed.
After our mid-day vacation nap we went out to lunch with one of Sean’s friends at Local Sprouts. He is from the town we grew up in, and has lived in Portland for a while. We had a nice leisurely meal with him, his wife, and their new baby daughter.
Afterwards consisted of lots of walking, even by our vacation standards. We grabbed an obligatory coffee from Coffee by Design to get us through the heat to Rising Tide Brewery and Portland Craft Distilling. Rising Tide impressed us with their beer flights in the little tasting room, and we also enjoyed a few sips of whiskey and blueberry moonshine at the distillery. Unfortunately, Shipyard was closed for the holiday, which disrupted our plans for their tour and tasting. Instead we got a mid-afternoon drink at the Sebago brewpub while watching some of the baseball game. Once we had our fill of air conditioning we continued our walk along Commercial Street on the water, again window shopping and wishing the cute stores were open. We grabbed a couple of pizza slices at Bill’s Pizza before going to Gritty McDuff’s brewpub. We honestly weren’t blown away by their beer, but the atmosphere was authentic and the bartender was nice.
As our last stop on the beer tour of Portland, we went to Novare Res Bier Cafe, with its enormous beer list. We were able to try a couple new varieties on their deck, enjoying the beautiful night – until we got hungry for our dinner. We decided to try a restaurant recommended by the Inn owners, only to have it close just as we showed up. So instead we continued to walk toward our lodging and decided to get a late night thai dinner Boda, which ended up being a delicious way to end the day.
(May 26 2015) Day 5. Leaving Portland, Heading Home.
On our last day we again had a tasty breakfast at the Inn before checking out. Determined to try the famous Holy Donuts, we drove back to their store and were pleasantly surprised to see it was open and not yet sold out of their treats, so we bought a couple donuts – dark chocolate coconut for me and classic for Sean – and coffee for the road (since we were still full from breakfast). After that we returned to Rising Tide to pick up a six pack of our favorite beer we tasted, as well as to the distillery to buy a bottle of the blueberry moonshine (neither of which we had wanted to carry around while walking the day before).
We then drove to the Eastern Promenade for a walk along the water and reading about the USS Portland and Arctic Campaign memorial before getting lunch at Silly’s. Finally, we got back on the highway towards Boston and was home and reunited with Forest in time for dinner.
What I saw of Portland so far I liked; the brick architecture, the good food and beer, and the waterfront were all right up my alley. But I would definitely want to go back because I don’t think I got to experience everything due to so many holiday closures. Luckily, it’s only a couple hours from our home – definitely worth another long weekend trip! (P.S. the donut was delicious)