What better way to wrap up a week down the Cape than a weekend in Vacationland? Or technically, 20 hours in Portland, Maine. We were only there long enough to catch a ferry, enjoy a wedding on an island, eat a pizza, take a nap, drink a cup of coffee, buy a lighthouse postcard for a lady in Poland, and retrieve our car… but hey.
I’m always game for a change of scenery, however short, especially if water and boats and beaches are involved.
20 HOURS IN PORTLAND, MAINE
Saturday, 1 PM: Check-in at The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront
After 3-ish hours on the road from Boston (we hit a little traffic, which seems appropriate for a summer Saturday) we arrived at our hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront. My not-so-extensive research involved Googling the ferry line we’d be taking to the wedding, locating the closest hotel, comparing prices a bit (there are a few hotels within walking distance of the Casco Bay Ferry Lines), and checking availability.
We were really happy with the Hilton. So, um… thanks, Google. The night before we arrived, I was able to check-in using the Hilton Honors app and choose our room (something I’ve never seen before, making joining HH and downloading the app totally worth the 2 seconds each required). I snagged the last room available with a water view, which felt like a triumph of sorts.
We arrived well before check-in… but shortly before we needed to arrive at a wedding in all our “beach formal” glory, so we left our bags with the front desk staff and freshened up in the pool/fitness center area before making our way across the street to buy our ferry tickets.
Even the drain markers are cute. Or whatever.
1:30 PM: Purchase ferry tickets
Super easy. Round-trip tickets to the Casco Bay islands are $11. They need to be purchased in person, however… so don’t do what I did. (Which is spend an hour trying to figure out how to buy them online. And another six minutes calling the terminal to ask how to buy them online.)
1:35 PM: Quick lunch at the Dry Dock
And by lunch, I mean… I ate onion rings and drank a Diet Coke at the bar. That’s how I wile out on vacation. Nick, on the other hand, had a lobster roll and an Angry Orchard. He’s my better half, and also, my more normal half. It was relatively quiet at the bar, but there’s a bigger seating area out back, including a deck with views of the bay. I think that’s where everyone else was. Eating onion rings. Or maybe an entire meal of food.
2:00 PM: Board the ferry to Long Island
There’s a Long Island in Maine. And that’s where we went. I didn’t take many (any?) pictures on the ferry, but the 30 minute ride was comfortable and the views were extraordinary. We passed several lighthouses, gorgeous sailboats and schooners, and a few smaller islands before reaching the dock and heading to the wedding.
8:50 PM: Return ferry to Portland
The ride back to Portland took closer to an hour (the route is a loop, and so we hit more stops on the way back), but we got to enjoy the most spectacular sunset while waiting on the pier. Once we got back to Portland, I grabbed our bags and headed up to our hotel room… while Nick picked up a veggie pizza from Bill’s Pizza on Commercial Street.
Sunday, 8:00 AM: Breakfast at the Standard Baking Company
The next morning, we ventured out for a walk, but the skies opened up (and who packs an umbrella?) after a few blocks, so we headed back toward the hotel and grabbed coffee, tea and 9,000 calories worth of baked goods from the Standard Baking Company. I highly recommend the gingerbread with lemon glaze. And I want to go back and eat everything else they have to offer. In the meantime, I’ve got my eye on their cookbook.
We stopped into a nearby shop for the aforementioned postcard (a postcrossing special request) and matching lobster pajamas for the babes before checking out and heading back to Boston.
It was a short, but sweet (extra sweet if you consider that gingerbread) visit to the Portland area. I’m looking forward to heading back when we have a bit more time to explore and enjoy the area.
Also On Tap for Today:
- From the experts (a.k.a. The New York Times): 36 Hours in Portland, Me.
- Whole Foods Market’s 10 most popular summer recipes
- Class with the Mama Beasts
Where’s your favorite
Long Island quick getaway destination?