We’ve snuck out of town for some warmer weather. And yes, I know you’re not supposed to tell people you’re away, but let’s be serious:
What happens on vacation ends up on Instagram and I can’t resist sharing a good sunset shot.
All the important and valuable things are coming with me (Because, hello… the important and valuable things aren’t things. They’re people). So, I guess I’m not really worried.
If you’re spending this Monday getting sucked into a Polar Vortex (Do we capitalize that? It nearly froze my eyelashes off last year, so I am guessing something that powerful and terrifying deserves capitalization.), the least I can do is give you a little mental vacation.
A few of my favorite vacation photos
Here are a few of my favorite vacation photos (and memories) I’ve collected over the years.
North Adams, MA
A couple years ago, we spent a long weekend at Porches, visited Mass MoCA (and an old burial ground, because I am a creep) and climbed little mountains with our little dog.
U.S. and British Virgin Islands
And now I want to go on our Honeymoon again. Like, real bad. We stayed on St. John, but took a few sailing and day trips to places like Virgin Gorda. We snorkeled in caves, spied on sea turtles and drank Old English ciders (because gluten allergies do not take vacations no matter how badly one craves a cold beer). I took 9,000 photos. And did lots of floating.
Boothbay Harbor, Maine
This is why Maine is called Vacationland.
Aaaaand… a bonus photo of Clark.
The dude knows how to do vacations.
Also On Tap for Today:
Working on some festive posts and giveaways (which I shall draft on the back of a cocktail napkin — attempting to unplug whilst on vacation!)
We made a quick trip to Maine this weekend to see Nick’s parents, and made it back to the city in time for our niece’s birthday party. By the time Sunday evening rolled around, I was ready to face plant into bed… but forced myself to do laundry first. You know, so I would have something to wear come Monday morning.
Oh, and before we dig into my own Instagram feed, I came across something worth sharing this morning: Brendon and Danielle are hosting a fantastic yoga challenge (starting today) that focuses on modifications. I love that there is room for everyone to practice in yoga, and this challenge reflects that.
Okay. Let’s look at pictures of my trunk. And the harbor. And my dog.
This is what “packing light” looks like these days. After visiting my parents on the Cape over the 4th, we had a pretty good sense of what was necessary and what we could leave home. I am not sure why I packed 100 diapers for a 36 hour trip, but hey. In addition to the obvious (ye olde Pack ‘N Play), we have a couple baby items that have been great for travel: this Skip Hop outdoor blanket which folds up beautifully and easily wipes clean (bonus points for for detachable insulated bag – we used this for Grace’s rash guard and swim diaper last weekend) and the Puj Flyte infant bath, which also folds up (sensing a theme?) and fits in most sinks. I was afraid Grace had outgrown the Flyte (we used it for her first few baths at home), but it actually works even better now that she’s, welp… sturdier.
I will never tire of this view. Dusk in Boothbay Harbor is just incredible. I remember one of my art history professors in college talking about how the light in Maine is magic. I thought he was high. Now I think he was just telling the truth (also, he could have been high).
Other magical things in Maine: This aptly named “Little House” nestled just along the harbor. When I’m old I want to live in a little house (specifically: a tiny house).
I’ve been sharing pages from my sketchbook lately on Instagram. I’ve always loved to draw, but I’m finding it especially productive as a way to quiet my brain a bit at the end of the day. I’m the first to admit that I’m tightly wound and the last few months? On another level. I’ve been breaking out some paper, a pen and a set of watercolors most nights after Grace goes to sleep (and, inevitably, before she wakes up again). There were a few Audubon field guides at the cottage (plus, like… real birds outside…), hence the, um... birdoodles.
An old, old wooden ship.
Clark loves heading North. He also loves pretending to play guard dog behind decorative screen doors.
How I close out the weekend: brewing a pitcher of peppermint tea to sip cold throughout the week. Super refreshing. The Yogi Tea quotes help.
New animal obsession: hedgehogs. I picked up this set of notecards at Target (no surprise there). More hedgehog cuteness: Biddy the Hedgehog’s Instagram account. He fits in the palm of your hand, he visits National Parks, he is magnificent.
Aaaaaaand a tiny OOTD: Grace’s party dress for her cousin’s birthday. Wouldn’t be a party without a bow.
We’re spending a few days in Boothbay Harbor, enjoying the relaxed pace of Maine life and cool ocean air. Nick has vowed to eat lobster at every meal, while Clark and I are spending as much time as possible curled up on the porch swing now that the rain has cleared.
We love it up here; I am sure it’s easy to see why.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]After a quick back float in Boothbay Harbor, I’m back and better than ever probably just my same old self.
Salt water is good for your soul. So are naps, especially when you have a Frenchie to serve as your alarm clock.
We were only Downeast for 48 hours before returning to the city, but we made sure to get our fill of swimming, lounging, and snacking.
Nick and I had to get back to Boston for our day-long Pre-Cana (marriage prep for Catholics, required if you’re getting married in the church) on Saturday. And, um, we were also anxious to catch as most of the Crossfit Games as possible. God before wods, though… obviously.
I am in awe of how strong, fit and focused all of the competing athletes are. Watching various parts of the Games served as great motivation. We hit up Crossfit Southie together on Sunday morning and, though I am still scaling my workouts on the easier side, I completely crushed it, finishing in 6:17. Apparently I have a strong affinity for box jumps and lunges.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Earlier this year I went on a puffin expedition with every intention of spotting that little clay guy from Elf. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. Also needless to say, I need to brush up on wildlife. While in Maine, Nick and I joined his parents aboard The Pink Lady at Pier 7. We had cameras, binos (short for binoculars… learned that one from Whale Wars, obvi), sunscreen and snacks. And a plan to see some puffins.
Buddy the Elf had Arctic puffins, but it turns out the ones in Boothbay Harbor are Atlantic puffins. Because, um, one lives in the Arctic and the other in the Atlantic. Once I realized I knew nothing about (really anything) puffins, it was a lot easier to learn from the naturalist on board The Pink Lady. It turns out that Eastern Egg Rock, located about 10 miles off the Maine coast, is the first restored puffin colony in the world. The puffin community there was depleted in the late 1800’s by hunters collecting eggs and feathers (for sassy old lady fashions). Young puffins were brought from New Foundland to Egg Rock by the Audubon Society. Naturalists hoped that they could imprint the location in the pufflings memory so that the birds would later return to Egg Rock to breed.
Yes! Baby puffins are called pufflings!
It took several years, but eventually the puffins returned to Eastern Egg Rock and started having pufflings of their own. And the rest, as they say, is history. As we cruised out of the harbor, I wondered if we’d actually see any of these little cuties. Boothbay itself is full of puffin imagery, but the way the naturalist was talking, real, live sightings weren’t guaranteed.
We must have good puffin karma, however, because as we approached the Egg, the captain spotted a puffin flying across the bow. And soon there was another. And another. And an entire raft of puffins on the port side! (While I looked for an actual raft, covered with puffins, everyone else took photos of a group of puffins, floating on the ocean’s surface.) In addition to two new vocab words (puffling and raft), I learned that puffins are quite small. And that a zoom lens would have helped quite a bit.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Remember that 90’s jam, “Back to life, back to reality?” I feel like the singer with the serious shoulder pads has been whispering the lyrics into my ear all week long. I’m back in the city, and back to the grind, but certainly feeling more relaxed and rested (and freckled) after our Maine vacation. Boothbay Harbor is only half a tank of gas from Boston, but feels like it could be on another planet. Mostly because my office and laundry pile aren’t there.
Mini ship in a mini bottle.
If you’re looking for a quick getaway from your own pile of laundry, I highly recommend a trip to the Boothbay area. The drive from Boston takes about 3.5 hours (though I make it under 3 once last year…), and is really scenic. Towards the end of the trip, you pass through adorable towns like Wiscasset, where everything is cute and old and you sort of want to take pictures of random people walking their dogs. Or maybe you didn’t get enough sleep because the night before you go on vacation feels like Christmas Eve.
Regardless, a few tips if you’re thinking about heading north. Or south. Or however you get there from where you are.
Where to stay
My fish eye lens is one of my favorite little gadgets-- it was super inexpensive and really fun to use.
Last year, Nick’s mother found the most adorable cottage, located right on Linekin Bay, on Home Away. The house was built in the 1920’s and is the perfect place to spend a week on the water. I was so excited when she rented the same house again this year. If I wasn’t floating in the bay, I was curled up on the glider on the porch with a book. Nick and his brother fished from the dock, while we chatted with the family staying next door. It really feels like a home away from home. If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel or inn, there are a number of great options right downtown, as well as the Linekin Bay Resort, located right on the water with numerous amenities.
Time to get crackin'. (And yes, that is a vacation beard.)
If you’re into seafood (specifically, lobsters), Boothbay Harbor is where it’s at. If you’re a vegetarian, and you like when your boyfriend is happy (after consuming 9 lobsters over the course of a single week), Boothbay Harbor is most definitely where it’s at. There are several places downtown that sell lobsters wholesale (~$6/lb.) for cooking and eating at home. We had two lobster dinners at the cottage, out on the deck overlooking the water. I wore yoga pants. And no shoes. Those were probably my favorite meals of the week. While everyone else went to town on their lobsters and clams, I enjoyed corn on the cob, salad, tomatoes, potatoes, pasta and ice cream sundaes the size of my Ford Focus.
We also enjoyed some great meals in town. I would recommend a visit to any of these restaurants and cafes.
I bet this guy catches some pretty big fish.
Mama D’s: Lots to look at, including a fairy village built inside one of the bay windows. Breakfast was consistently good there.
Ebb Tide: Skip the bowl of berries (too sweet, possibly frozen) and go straight for the cinnamon roll. Trust me on this.
Lobster Dock: Grab a picnic table right next to the water for incredible views of ships coming in and out of the harbor. And be sure to take a peek in the tank for “Lucky,” the rare yellow lobster.
McSeagulls: Gigantic menu (including several vegetarian and gluten free options), and really great service.
Boothbay Lobster Wharf: Beware the seagulls at this casual restaurant. Though there is indoor seating, you won’t want to miss the view. Grab a seat at one of the picnic tables on the dock.
Coastal Maine Popcorn Company: We stopped into this cute storefront twice last week. First round: 1 small bag of garlic parmesan, and 1 small bag of white cheddar. And then we went back for round 2: dill pickle (amazing) and something chocolatey for Nick. I was too busy inhaling my bag to take note of the actual flavor. Check out the website for their popcorn of the month club, and a full list of varieties.
What to do
Maine in the rain.
The weather is incredible (even when it’s raining, which only happened once), the views are breathtaking, and your phone likely won’t get reception (which is both awesome and terrifying… hello, how do you call 911?). Boothbay Harbor is the perfect place to do nothing. Once you’re done doing nothing, I recommend renting kayaks. And searching for pufflings.
If the sticker's facing you, you're holding the paddle correctly.
Cruise: There are a number of companies located right in the harbor that will take you on half- or full-day excursions. From puffin tours (amazing!) and whale watching, to mackerel fishing and an adventure to Monhegan Island, there’s likely something for everyone. Except the people that hate boats. Obvi.
Rent a kayak or two: Nick’s parents rented two kayaks for us to play with for the week. Someone from Tidal Transit dropped up the boats, did a safety demonstration (which I ignored) and gave us some tips on which coves to explore. Nick and I went on a few explorations– it was really fun to “see Maine from sea level.” Until I almost got capsized by a lobster boat.
What is this? A center for ants?!
Make a fairy house: Fairy houses are a coastal Maine tradition. The house I built last year using an acorn cap, some moss and a few twigs, didn’t survive the winter but our next door neighbors made sure no fairies were left out in the cold. They were on to something with those shells.
What a bad photo of something really good. Whoops.
Do a bit of shopping: Boothbay Harbor has lots of great little shops and galleries. We browsed at a few antique shops, where I fell in love with a set of small pilgrim dishes and pair of clip-on “Ike” earrings from President Eisenhower’s campaign (don’t worry, I didn’t buy either). I picked up a two of Dana Heacock‘s gorgeous prints of beach stones and a little surprise for my parents at Abacus Gallery. We also picked up a toy for Clark at a really great place called The Creative Turtle and a few goodies from Sherman’s Books and Stationary. Oh, actually… I got a few things there for you!
Because it wouldn’t be a vacation if I didn’t bring home a souvenir or three, I’d love to give* one of you a braided sailor’s bracelet, your very own “No Puffin'” sticker, and a sail-inspired journal.
Fun fact: We have painted concrete floors. And sadly, no puffins.
To enter, all you have to do is:
Leave a comment below
Not mind that I have a matching bracelet, journal and sticker and will probably claim that a. we planned it and b. we’re BFFLs
For an extra entry, feel free to tweet (please include this link: http://wp.me/pySBS-182 and @ElizabethEv, so that I catch it)
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Nick and I are back in Boston, after a relaxing week in Boothbay Harbor. I read two whole books while we were away. I am officially the last person ever to read The Help, after absolutely devouring Maine. These were two of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Maine follows three generations of an Irish Catholic family from Boston– I felt like it could have been written about my family (the good, wholesome characters of course). Apparently we were not the first ones to play “first one to see the bridge gets a quarter” as kids. I didn’t want either book to end. But then again, I would have never made it to dinner otherwise.
Great company, good food, a view of the ocean and a few top notch books– could you ask for more? A few more signs that I had a great week up north:
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Today is Day 3 of my vacation, and Day 1 of me wearing something other than a small bikini and a very large hat. We ventured into town this morning for a few necessities: Coastal Maine popcorn, rope to tie my pretzel float to the dock, details for Wednesday’s puffin cruise and blueberry pancakes.
This is the life.
Also On Tap for Today:
Happy birthday to my not-so-little little brother! I love you, buddy!
I enjoyed a quick trip to Boothbay Harbor, Maine earlier this week. And by quick, I mean it took me less than 3 hours to get there. And also, I was only up there (i.e. Downeast) for 48 hours. Nick and Clark had gone up on Saturday, and were waiting at the seaside cottage to greet me. The trip may have been short lived, but I enjoyed every single minute of it.
Here’s what I did on my summer mini-vacation.
15-19 hours were spent floating. And yes, creepers. I am wearing a bathing suit.
I snacked on some strawberries.
I watched Nick and Frenchie Fry fish.
I chatted up an old fisherman, but he didn't want to dance.
I celebrated Turtle Time in a major way.
I caught a fish, sort of on purpose, sort of by accident. Holy mackerel!